Women Take the Lead: Overcoming Challenges Unique to Women Entrepreneurs
It’s no secret that in recent decades women have cracked the glass ceiling in many previously male-dominated business ventures. Forbes magazine reports that, of the 25 million entrepreneurs in the US, women are more innovative in their endeavors offering more new products and services than their male counterparts.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that women entrepreneurs employ 8.4 million workers and pay out $264 billion a year in wages.
The days of women secretaries taking messages for male CEOs are largely behind us. Women are the boss now. And with the shift in leadership roles that have accompanied the past few decades, a new leadership style has emerged.
Women do not have to try to fit into the stereotypical male management styles that are overtly harsh or critical.
We, as females, possess certain unique characteristics such as loyalty, intuition, wisdom, compassion, and inner strength that help us – not hinder us – from being better entrepreneurs.
Leading with Wisdom and Gentleness
Women have been managing people for millennia as the backbone of their households and society with wisdom, discernment, and gentleness. A powerful intellect and shrewd business sense are not diminished by female emotion.
Coincidentally, female intuition enhances her business acumen and her wisdom and compassion make her an even more effective leader.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, says, “We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in.” Embracing our femininity instead of pulling away from it makes us better leaders.
The days of doing a man’s job in a man’s world are past; now we get to be the best version of ourselves in a world where we sometimes outnumber the men.
It is our femininity that enables us to overcome obstacles unique to women and ultimately excel in all areas of business – especially entrepreneurship.
Obtaining Funding with Intuition
Many entrepreneurs need to find investors to get their start-ups off the ground. It can be difficult for some women to find the capital they need, especially since most venture capital investors are male. Investors expect large returns on their investments.
It is up to us as women entrepreneurs to use our innate intuition and discernment, creating an effective pitch and building a business capable of generating revenue that will appeal to investors.
There is certainly a need for more women investors. Try seeking out a female angel investor group and take advantage of any educational workshops or mentorship opportunities they may offer.
Take Us Seriously: Female Confidence and Quiet Strength
It sounds crazy since women permeate virtually every area of business, but some women entrepreneurs still struggle to be taken seriously by their peers, especially men.
Consequently, women sometimes feel that they should adopt attitudes more stereotypical of their male counterparts with aggressive management styles. But the confident woman entrepreneur will continue to be herself, embracing the femininity that makes her unique and capable.
Remember, you have got career as a woman. Don’t feel pressured into morphing into a man’s stereotype of effective leadership.
Balancing Work and Family with Unconditional Love and Loyalty
Most entrepreneurs start pursuing their dreams of building their own businesses in their 30’s. This coincides with the age that many women also start to build families of their own.
As women, we fiercely love our families. As entrepreneurs, we are loyally committed to the success of our businesses.
Our families come first, always. But it is possible to effectively juggle work and family life, as we have seen exemplified by working women for decades.
Although our responsibilities can feel overwhelming as entrepreneurs, we usually have more flexibility with our work than if we held traditional corporate jobs.
We can communicate with our staff from the couch while we cuddle a sick child. We can reschedule work meetings around PTA meetings. Think outside of the box and don’t be afraid to try unconventional approaches.
Additionally, managing work and family makes us more compassionate employers. Employees who also juggle work and family appreciate when management allows them the flexibility they need for their families, especially in the form of extended maternity and paternity leave.
Valued workers are more loyal to their companies and the smart female entrepreneur understands that mutual respect in the workplace increases loyalty and productivity.
Feminine qualities such as unconditional love, gentleness, wisdom, intuition, and loyalty do not diminish our abilities as entrepreneurs – they enhance them.
As women entrepreneurs, we should lean into these characteristics that set us apart and benefit everyone around us.
Thank you for reading.