Becoming an entrepreneur is one of the greatest career choices a woman can make. However, having gone through the journey myself, there were some things I wish I had known before taking the leap.
So many resources are packed with the hyper-masculine advice of “just work harder!” Or “keep grinding day and night!”, but I was craving some deeper, more applicable advice to building my empire.
Starting your own business ISN’T just about working harder than everyone else around you. It’s about working smarter, knowing what you’re getting into (the good and the bad) and making a plan to scale obstacles before they knock you down. Being a serial entrepreneur over the last decade, I’ve come out the other side with some insight I know is sure to help any ambitious babe with big dreams and goals.
9 Brutally Honest Things Women Should Know Before Becoming an Entrepreneur
1. It’s About Helping Others FIRST
When women head into business solely thinking about how much money they’re going to make, it usually results in failure. Successful businesses are the ones who offer a solution to a problem and set out to improve the lives of others.
Greediness leaves a certain stench that doesn’t mix well with Chanel No5.
I once approached an online business with ONLY an income figure in mind, and guess what, it never worked. At first, I couldn’t understand WHY this amazing idea wasn’t taking off like gangbusters, and then I realized it was because I was putting ME first, not the other way around.
The moment I changed my mindset about serving others is when I became successful.
Help others first and the income will happen naturally.
2. There is no Clocking Out
As an entrepreneur, especially in the growth phase, there is no clocking out. If a client wants an order at 1:00am and you need the income, guess who is up in the middle of the night working?
A time will come when every female entrepreneur learns to set some healthy boundaries, but it won’t happen right away.
Honest moment – If I miss anything about the ol’ 9-5 grind, it would have to be the perk of clocking out and getting to leave work behind.
I am working while I am on vacation, at the airport, in the car, even sitting and watching a movie with my husband. Yes, there are times when I try and apply a healthy balance for family or ‘me’ time, but that doesn’t happen often.
3. You Will Become Obsessed
Becoming an entrepreneur you’ll soon notice every conversation starts to revolve around your business. You scribble things on napkins, take 3978 notes in your phone, even start to strategize in your sleep. Obsessed people get things done and a certain level of obsession is definitely required to stand out from the crowd.
Prepare yourself for a little cray, but it’s a vital building block of success.
4. Engagement is Key
The most ingenious idea, product, website, social media or service in the WORLD will fall flat without engagement. If a brand is not out there engaging with potential clients, they will never like, know or trust them. Engaging and starting a conversation with an audience is a key factor in running a successful business. This includes asking great questions, leaving room for conversations to take place and also seeking out others to engage with.
Engagement doesn’t happen on its own, it requires you to get out into the world and start talking to people!
One of the keys to becoming an entrepreneur is to get out there. Be vulnerable, start talking with your target market and sooner or later those actions will conjure up some engagement magic.
5. Just Because You’re Open For Biz, Doesn’t Mean Anyone Cares
When I made one of my first websites I remember hitting ‘publish’ to make it live for the world to see…and then hearing crickets. I didn’t understand! I worked so hard on the website, logos, and branding for months, yet there was no one paying any attention! Why didn’t they care as much as I did? Because it’s not their business!
Not everyone will even like your business and that is okay.
You don’t need 100% of the population to be your potential client. You won’t get anywhere trying to cater to everyone. Pick a niche and keep promoting yourself consistently.
6. People Won’t ‘Get It’ At First
I still don’t think my parents understand what I do, and they are entrepreneurs themselves!
Friends, acquaintances and especially family will look at you with all kinds of doubt or confusion. That’s cool, it’s not their life babe.
You might try explaining your idea until you’re blue in the face and they still won’t understand. Just leave it be, continue to work on your ideas, and SHOW them what your business is really about with your results, not your words.
7. Spend Less Time Planning, More Time Doing
Weeks can go by planning for different ways to launch a business, and then guess what, no business ever gets launched. Perfectionism is the killer of all creative ideas. If I plan long enough, I can talk myself out of anything! (And I have many times before)
I wish I’d known to plan 90% less and instead, just DO 90% more!
8. It Takes Time. And Money
It will take longer than you think, and it will cost you more than you think, but WOW is it going to be worth it!
There have been so many roadblocks or obstacles I couldn’t anticipate that ended up costing me weeks or even months’ worth of time. The same thing happened with budgets and investing in the biz, there are always unexpected costs, both small and big, that jump out and take me by surprise. If I had been concentrating on the short game, these things would have totally thrown me off course. By focusing on the long game and the big picture, I KNOW in my heart I will make up the time and the money.
9. You’re Not Alone
Hallelujah! Supportive communities of fellow female entrepreneurs actually DO exist. There are more ambitious women entrepreneurs in the world right now than ever before in history. This means your journey doesn’t have to be a lonely one, but instead one surrounded with like-minded besties.
Take The Societe, Boss Babes exclusive online community for fempreneurs, as the perfect example. Never before has a driven woman had so many ways to connect, collaborate and learn from mentors and peers alike. For any girl thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, this is the perfect storm.
You don’t have to do this alone, nor should you try. It feels so good to reach out with a problem and get dozens of responses from women who care about solving it with me.
So here’s the big question:
What do I wish I had done differently when becoming an entrepreneur?