Whether you like it or not, being a female entrepreneur comes with a unique set of challenges. It might not be fair, but it’s the world you live in right now. One day, things might be different, and maybe the only thing future female startup owners will have to worry about is their business.
But for now, the world is what it is, and you need to learn how to deal with the slings and arrows pointed at you. Here are 10 things that will help with that:
1. Feedback is Important, But You Decide What to Do With It
Generally, feedback is a critical part of growth. However, as a woman, you’ll receive your fair share of useless feedback, which is usually just insults in disguise. The good news is you don’t need to listen to them. You have the power to decide what you do with what you get, and you can let useless comments roll off your back.
2. Impostor Syndrome is Real and Normal
Some people may deal with it better, but make no mistake – impostor syndrome can happen to anyone. Once you have your startup rolling it can feel like you don’t deserve what you have, but rest assured, you do. You built your company. Shake off those emotions and focus.
3. Look for Understanding and Alignment
You’re not going to get everyone to like you, and there will be people who’ll dislike you just because of your gender. It’s the world you’re in, but the good news is you can deal with it. You may not be able to avoid working with such people, but you don’t need their approval to get what you need – and all you need is understanding and alignment of goals and expectations. If you can get that, you can do a lot.
4. You Won’t Escape Stereotyping
No matter how skilled you are, or how smart, some people will run to easy stereotypes when dealing with you, and you’ll only run into more if you’re a mother. Fortunately, you are in a great position challenge said stereotypes. Don’t let them get you down. Focus instead of changing those stereotypes with your performance.
5. Fundraising for Your Startup Will Be More Difficult
Female run companies received only around 10 percent the amount of funding that male founded startups did in 2016. The world may have progressed, but it hasn’t gotten to the point where your company will be viewed as being as valuable as one run by a man.
It’s unfortunate, but that’s how things are. There’s little you can do directly about it, but you can adjust your expectations and effort accordingly to account for this additional difficulty.
6. Your Confidence is Under Your Control
An often-quoted piece of advice is that whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right. This speaks to the power of confidence. Having it lets you perform at your best, and not having it limits what you can do. It’s also largely under your control. You can decide how you react to events that affect it. Don’t give your confidence over to anyone else. Make it your own.
7. Ask for Things Straight-Up
The problem with being a female entrepreneur isn’t just that you’re challenged by your present – your history plays a big part in how you interact with people. Unfortunately, you were likely raised to be more demure and indirect than men, which can give you a lot of trouble when you’re the boss of a company. Learn to ask for things directly rather than being coy, and you’ll get better results.
8. Find a Community
You are not alone. Around the world, millions of women are fighting the same good fight you are. If you look, you’ll find a supportive community of like-minded people who are running into the same walls and problems you are. It might not seem like a big deal, but having people who can relate to you can lead to a lot of perspectives and emotional stability.
9. Brace for Some Loneliness
While you may find people who share the same goals and struggles you do, the fact is you’re still going down a lonely path. There will be times when you’ll feel alone in a crowd, and there’s nothing to be done for it but to deal. It’s unpleasant, but it’s part of the game.
10. Don’t Stop
Most industries have a startling turnover rate for women. In tech industries, for example, they leave at twice the rate as men. There are plenty of reasons for it, but the fact is that their gender and the challenges surrounding it played a tremendous role in the numbers.
So be prepared – you’ll sometimes feel like you’ll have to work twice as hard to get half as far, but that’s what being an entrepreneur sometimes entails. Give up, and everything you’ve worked for will mean nothing. Keep going, and you may turn the tide, not just for yourself, but for women around the world.
Becoming a female entrepreneur will be tough, probably tougher than it would be if you were a man. But if you have a good idea, a solid team, and a good head on your shoulders, you can succeed. So what if it’s a challenge? That’s just part of the path of being an entrepreneur.