According to research from the Boston Consulting Group, if women and men jumped into entrepreneurship at equal rates, the global economy could gain as much as $5 trillion in additional activity. Women entrepreneurs are imperative for economic flourishing amongst many other things. In honor of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, we teamed up with a few of our members to ask for their insight on things every female entrepreneur needs to hear. Their advice is real, tangible, and sure to leave you ready to tackle that next big goal or dream!
1. Take care of your work/life balance
Lani Basa, owner and CEO of The Business Women’s Circle®, a community that provides a confidential and collaborative setting for business women to act as trusted peers coming together, shared some wisdom around the topic of work/life balance. “Don’t chase after work-life balance. I don’t believe it is healthy for you nor realistic. Instead – figure out what work-life integration looks like for you. We always talk about how many hours we spend working, but what if we asked “what is the number of waking hours you want to spend NOT on work?”. To help with that, she recommends to re-evaluate our commitments and work load. “When you reach your capacity – look at what tasks you can take off your plate so you can be focused on doing what you do best. Consider if it is worth paying your “hourly rate” to do that task versus someone like a virtual assistant’s rate.”
2. Develop a strong network of people
Chris Freytag, a long-time ModernWell member and owner of Get Healthy U TV, an online resource with workouts to stream anytime and on any device, shared her thoughts on the importance of networking. “Networking is key to success. Online is great but in person matters just as much. Human connection is the key to growth in business and in your personal life. Take advantage of every opportunity you can to network!” Around this topic, Lani Basa also shared how it’s crucial to have a close circle of people in your life in addition to a network. “Create a circle worth being a part of. Who is in your circle? These are the people who “get you.” Who see you. The people who will or have been through it with you. They are the people who you reach out to, engage with, and learn from.”
3. Find your purpose and have a plan
Anne Andrus, owner and founder of Honey & Rye Bakehouse, shared some wisdom she has learned from generations of family entrepreneurs: “Know your market and have enough capital to stay in the game long enough to become established.” Lani Basa also stressed that “your business can be part of your purpose – but it shouldn’t be your life. Your business should ultimately help you live the life you want to live. It may be work up front – but it should lead you to where you want to be – so plan for that and work the plan.”
4. Find a mentor
“Find a mentor. I have had a few mentors in the last 30 years of my career. I can make a long list of things they taught me over the years. Wisdom comes with age. Learning the right things to do and avoiding major pitfalls comes from experience. Having someone to use as a soundboard that understands your business is helpful. To have another person who has walked in a similar path share with you their wise advice is a big deal!” Chris Freytag explained. No matter where you are at in your business/career, you aren’t meant to do it alone! Having women who know where you are at, are honest about their experiences, and are invested in your success is truly invaluable.
5. Hire slow, fire fast
Anne Andrus stated that this approach “has proven useful time and time again.” Another tip she shared is that she had better results hiring employees based on personality and values versus experience.
6. Know when you’re good and when to hire a consultant
Unfortunately, Anne Andrus had to learn the hard way when it comes to a business partner and was kind enough to share her experience with partners in a business. “The most difficult part of my six years as an entrepreneur was splitting up with a business partner. This happened within our first year of business, and for me, the writing was on the wall early on. It was important to listen to my intuition that it wasn’t the fit we had hoped for and to act on that; otherwise the business would not have survived. My takeaway is not “Never go into business with a partner” but rather, know what you’re good and and know when to hire a consultant. Know who your resources are and use them, rely on them. Knowing when and how to ask for help is so important, but it doesn’t require giving someone a stake in your business.”
7. Understand your finances
Lani Basa shared some tips on the finances part of running a business. “Understand your finances – and pay yourself! You should learn enough about your finances to be able to make good decisions when you see your financials. Doesn’t mean you have to do all of the accounting and bookkeeping – just that you should understand what you are looking at.”
8. Learn to be still and REST
Renee Powers, owner and founder of Feminist Book Club, a subscription book club that supports literature and women businesses, shared a wise piece of advice with us around learning to be still. “One thing my biz bestie and I say to each other a lot is, “Sometimes progress looks like standing still.” We spend so much time achieving and if we don’t take a breath, we can lose sight of our goal.” Anne Andrus also encourages entrepreneurs to “take time to celebrate accomplishments along the way!”.