Is there a typical profile that comes to mind when you think of a woman entrepreneur?
Probably not, because no “typical” female business owner exists. There is no hoodie-wearing, energy-drink-chugging male equivalent and for good reason. Women entrepreneurs have broken the mold. This next generation of industrious and ambitious females is multi-faceted with varied backgrounds, experiences, and motivations—and they’re breaking records.
Women are launching more than 1,200 new businesses each day in the United States alone, which is double the rate from only three years ago, according to a report commissioned by American Express OPEN. The numbers are impressive, but how can they thrive in a world notorious for spitting out even the most experienced and confident women? There are some simple tactics.
Here’s how the next generation of women entrepreneurs can succeed:
Know Your Motivation
Women start businesses for a variety of reasons. Many women launch businesses to provide more freedom and flexibility in their lives, while other women are motivated to create something that has a significant impact on their customers and community. You need to know exactly what is driving you to start a business and why. This will guide everything, including your decision making, and will anchor you in difficult times. Successful women are very clear on what motivates them and how they define success. They can easily articulate their “why” and it is apparent when talking to them that their motivation is always present in their business activities.
Find Your Voice and Speak Up
Speaking up begins in the early days of business ownership when you are unfolding and fostering an idea, and it continues every day in the development of your company. It is easy to keep your business small if you never talk about it with others. The next generation of successful women entrepreneurs is not afraid to ask for guidance and feedback. They enjoy talking up their businesses to anyone willing to listen. However, they don’t indiscriminately pitch. They often passionately share what their companies stand for and how they serve others. To be a successful entrepreneur in today’s business environment, you need to find your voice and use it frequently.
Ditch Your Worries
Many women business owners worry about all the things that could go wrong in their lives and businesses and focus needlessly on areas outside of their control. This causes undue emotional stress and often restricts them from taking bolder steps, particularly as it relates to entrepreneurship. Instead of worrying what might happen to you, redirect your energy towards making things happen for you.
Act Like a CEO
When I interviewed over one hundred women entrepreneurs for my book Women Entrepreneur Revolution, the women who had the greatest success were the ones that fully stepped into the role of CEO. No matter how small their businesses might be, they know they are the CEO and act the part. There is confidence that exudes when one steps into her own power, and that confidence attracts customers, investors, and media attention.
Forget the Blueprint
Continuous learning and gleaning valuable information from other people is incredibly valuable when building a business, but there is a strong trend these days to follow a blueprint. Many of the women I interviewed recognized that it is easy to fall into this trap but advised other women to keep on their own courses. Successful women entrepreneurs recognize that they can learn from others, but they also understand that their own paths need to be paved with authenticity, hard work, and fortitude that comes from designing one’s own blueprint.
The next generation of women entrepreneurs is here and they are setting the stage for impacting the world in phenomenal ways. The one factor that will propel this generation of women entrepreneurs and the generations to come will involve women standing up and fully sharing their stories with others. Women entrepreneurs need to share their successes, their challenges, and how they have overcome obstacles. They need to stand firm as role models. When a woman shares her story she becomes a beacon of light for other women who are journeying this shared path. When we see all that they have accomplished and conquered, we know, without a doubt, it is possible for us as well.
Jenn Aubert is an author and entrepreneur. Her first book Women Entrepreneur Revolution: Ready! Set! Launch! (Balboa Press, 2014) explores the mindset, motivation and behaviors of successful female entrepreneurs and the role models in their lives who have influenced them. She is also the Co-founder and CEO of LearnSavvy, an online education marketplace and community for women business owners. Personally, she adores inspirational quotes, all things French (yes, that does include wine), Deepak Chopra and a comfy pair of ballet flats. She has recently relocated to Portland, OR with her husband and adorable son and is spending her free time exploring everything this new city has to offer.
You can find her these days at: www.learnsavvy.co