Updated: Aug 25
Starting a business can feel overwhelming.
But what if you could take what other women have learned and apply it at the start-up stage of your business?
Well, I have compiled a list of information gathered from other women in business, that they wish they would have known before starting their business. There is a lot of gold nuggets here take it, apply it, and be successful. The best way to succeed is by listening to those who have already made the journey and learn from both their mistakes and success. And although I do realize that men and women may face the same challenges with their startup, there are some things that are specific to women.
According to a SCORE article, women-owned business make up 39% of the 28 million small businesses currently in operation in the U.S. This percentage is expected to continue to grow. These businesses also employe around 9 million people and generated a total revenue of $1.6 Trillion.
From 1997-2017 women-owned businesses have grown 114%! This was taken from an article titled The 2017 State of Women-Owned Business Report commissioned by American Express.
1. Timing is Everything
Yes, timing is everything!
Personally, I tried three times to start my business, the concept was great but the timing was not.
When it comes to timing you should consider your personal timing and the economy ~ whether consumers are ready for what you are offering.
In my case it was my personal timing that was off. And what I mean by that is what was going on in my life at the time. At the time I first tried I had a toddler and then got pregnant again, the second time we had to move, so the timing for me was off.
The economy is important too.
For example, AirBNB and Uber.
When AirBnB was looking for investors many passed on them because they didn’t think people would want to rent a room in their house to strangers. But because AirBNB came out during the recession, in 2008, it was a time when people needed extra money. Now it has an estimated worth of over $2B.
Uber also launched during the recession, when people needed extra money. Now, Uber has a valuation of $72B.
There’s a great video on how important timing is. In this video, Bill Gross did a study of 100 companies his company founded and 100 companies that were funded by other. Each company was ranked on a scale of 1-10 with five factors, idea, team, business model, funding, and timing.
The results were impressive.
So consider your personal timing and if consumers are ready.
2. Don’t play small because you’re a woman
Just because you’re a woman doesn't mean you have to back down or back up.
Now more than ever women are owning and becoming more and more influential in business.
And you can too!
According to an article by Lioness Magazine, “businesses led by women have dominated private growth in America since 2007”.
Women are very capable! Don’t shrink back, be aggressive and dominant growth!
3. Be proud of what you have done
Starting a business is a big deal!
The fact that you can start something and make a living out of it is a huge accomplishment in itself. Building something from the ground up is always something to be proud of.
4. Focus on Your Business
If you are a woman with a family you really need to focus on your business when you have the time to do so.
For Example, for me, as well as others female entrepreneurs, I focus on my business when my kids are in school. I don’t clean the house, or watch TV, or talk on the phone, etc. I just focus on working on my business.
Sometimes you’ll have to wake up super early while everyone is still in bed or work while everyone is asleep. And during those times you have to focus solely on your business.
5. Charge What You are Worth
Don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth.
When you charge less than your worth, you will end up resenting the client, your business and the quality of your work will go down.
But by offering the right price you will have quality clients, be proud of the work you are doing, and you’ll be happy.
Remember people equate quality with price. So charge what you’re worth!
6. Not all Clients are Good Clients
Not all clients are clients you should work with.
My niece is trying to break out of the 9-5 and start her own interior design business. While she was contemplating how to get started an acquaintance called her up and asked her if she could design this hair salon. My niece jumped at the opportunity and saw this as a stepping stone to getting her own business off the ground.
One of the first things the client told her was that she had worked with two other designers, first red flag, and then told her because she had worked with others her budget was low, second red flag and there were more red flags. But my niece thought she would help her because she was an acquaintance. So she began working with this client and it was horrible, the client would call her at all hours expect things from her that my niece didn’t say she would do and eventually didn’t pay her the full amount they agreed to not to mention all the grief and headaches.
You need to consider this! Not all clients are good clients to work with and pay attention to the red flags you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches and unnecessary stress.
7. Create an Actionable Marketing Plan
Marketing is so important!
In order to create a good marketing plan you’ll need to do some research.
Find out who are your competitors and who is your target market.
Your target market is your potential customer base.
When doing your market research, Andreea, founder of immigrant school, says, interview your target market.
This will give you valuable insight into your target market even give you information on what they do or don’t like about your competitors.
Once you have an idea of your ideal customer you can create a customer avatar. I got this idea through a blog by Reese Evans, titled Your Guide To Attract High Paying Coaching Clients On Autopilot. It’s a great read, very informative and you can apply it to your business.
This will help you get a better understanding of your customer.
8. Don’t be Invisible to Potential Clients
You might be thinking my product/service is great! It’s going to help my target market with x,y,z they are going to love it and come knocking at my door.
But the truth is, when you are just starting no one cares about you because they don’t know you.
I’m saying this not to discourage you! No one knows who you are. But this doesn’t mean you can’t become a valuable business. You need to show your potential clients that you are here, that you have a product/service that they need.
So don’t be invisible!
Put yourself where they can find you. This can be done with paid advertising or free marketing. There are a lot of tips out there that can help you get in front of your potential clients.
A few of my favorites are:
Promotional launch. If you’re opening a retail store like a boutique, coffee shop, some kind of B-C based brick and mortar, the best way would be to create buzz before you opening.
Join meetup groups
Local business events
9. Not all Business is Good Business
Just because you are starting a business doesn’t mean it's a good business to start.
You may feel like it is your baby, but if it is not getting sales, clients, or is just not working then it is not a good business. You need to drop it before you waste any more time and money.
And don’t worry about your failures, the one that counts is the one that makes you money!
If you already launched your business consider dropping it if:
You’re not generating money-if its not working out financially
If the economy has shifted and there is no more need for your products or services
If you are on the idea stage and not sure if your business will succeed or fail, there is a great article from foundr.com. This article is written by Daniel DiPiazza it provides more detail into how to know whether your business will succeed or fail by answering three questions.
10. Have a Support Group
Surround yourself with friends and family that support you.
If they don’t support you then you really shouldn’t be around them.
Having a close support group is so important, especially when you are just starting out. Personally, my family is my support group. They are so supportive, when I tell them my ideas or tell them my frustrations, they are so positive and encouraging.
That’s what you want, positive people surrounding you encouraging you to go on and stay focused.
11. Find other Like-Minded Entrepreneurs
Having like-minded people to talk to and bounce ideas off of is so valuable. This is somewhat different from your support group. Your support group encourages you and your like-minded entrepreneur group helps you with your business specifically.
With like-minded entrepreneurs you can talk things through, bounce ideas, and hear what others have done. By connecting with other like-minded entrepreneurs you can get so much help and advice that you might not be able to get with your friends and family.
With me, my family is my support group. But when I tell them about certain struggles or business related things all they can do is listen. With my entrepreneur friends they get it and guide me. I can’t tell you how much great advice I have gotten from them! And you can too you just need to find them.
12. Have a coach to help you out
There are a lot of different types of coaches. You have life-coach, business coach, strategy coach, marketing coach, business development coach, etc.
Before you start this journey or even right at the beginning, it’s good to have someone who is unbiased with experience to help you.
Having a coach is a short-term task based help. And believe me, it’s great.
If you are a mother wanting to start a business, having a coach that specialized with your needs can provide so much value and guidance.
At the beginning of my business journey I had a coach who really helped me start in a strong way. I guess you could say she was a vision coach. She helped me with my vision, goals, the things holding me back, it was just an overall great experience with very positive outcomes.
On her site she says, "You have the power to be as successful as you want to be. To that, you have to access the greatness that’s ALREADY in you."
It’s people like Violeta and Veronica that give you that jump start you need. It was a huge help and really worth the effort.
13. Not having a Mentor is is Difficult
You may be asking, why do I need a coach and a mentor?
A coach is short-term task based support while a mentor is a long-term relationship between you and typically someone older with a lot more experience.
A mentor can really be the difference between succeeding and struggling. They can point the way to success and growth. The advice mentors have is of true value.
14. Have Different Sources of Income Streams
Maybe you are offering a service. That’s great, but don’t let that be your only source of income, create a product, add affiliates, sponsors, advertisement, expand your service offerings to meet other needs, etc. Don’t just count on the one source of income.
By offering different things you can expand your business and grow!
15. Have a Purpose
Your business purpose is not your vision or mission. It is the reason why you started your business.
Why did you start? Was it to:
Was it to help the community?
Help restaurant owners get more customers?
Give people in need a chance to succeed?
Provide jobs? etc.
Forbes actually has a good article written by William Vanderbloemen discussing why your business purpose is so important. Check it out, Why Purpose Should be a Pivotal Part of your Business Strategy.
16. Have a Mission and Vision
Once you have your purpose you can create your mission statement. The mission statement states the business functions and objectives.
As soon as you are done writing your mission statement you can then write your vision statement. This statement describes your vision or aspirations for the future of your business.
Chantai Woolcock advices you to make your mission your business. She says, “My mission in life has always been to help people and to make the world better however I can, that’s why I became a Life Coach. With that mission in mind, I have been able to overcome some of my greatest challenges to date. I think your “why” has to be so good and change the way you feel to have the most impact, especially on the days when you really don’t feel like doing the work.”
17. Educate Yourself Before Jumping into your Journey
It’s good to have some understanding of how to do things in your business.
For Example, Maybe you don’t do the accounting in for your business, but having some understanding of how Quickbooks works will be so valuable.
Or maybe you’re opening pilates studio but aren’t certified in teaching pilates, well getting that certification will be so valuable, not to mention you can give classes instead of paying someone else to and/or you’ll understand what going on.
Or taking some management classes, all this will help you so much so that you can actually work on your business.
You want to be able to understand what your accountant is talking about, what they are doing, you want to know how to manage your employees so that they work efficiently and so that you work efficiently as well.
Learn everything you can so that you can have the authority to back you up.
There is so much help available to you nowadays. There’s free mentoring, workshops, articles, online courses, etc. Often times your city’s chamber of commerce will have a list of resources, many of which will be free. Check out your community college, even some of your local universities will have resources for the community.
18. Stop Asking for Permission
Sometimes, you might inadvertently ask other people's permission before starting your business. Stop doing this. This behaviour usually stems from trying to get others approval. But the truth of the matter is that you’ll always find people who are excited and others who are naysayers. If you have an idea, surround yourself by positive people and just get started.
The only person you have to prove yourself to is yourself!
19. Budget for Social Media
Social media is huge, everyone and their mother is on social media.
Budgeting to advertise on social media just makes sense. According to a Pew Research article on social media usage, 74% Facebook users visit Facebook daily.
The global social media usage is at 2.3 billion people and expected to grow to 2.95 billion.
That is just nuts. There are literally billions of people on social media, you would be crazy not to invest in reaching them on social media.
And Facebook is the leader in users. So if you haven’t already consider this platform, educate yourself a little on it and set aside some money specifically for this, social media marketing!
20. Manage Your Money
Money management is huge!
So many businesses fail because they don’t account for low sales stream. You’re always going to have a great month and a horrible month, you have to account for that.
Sometimes entrepreneurs just take their profits and pocket them, and sure, I get it. But reinvesting those profits into your business and setting aside for those low months will help your business survive.
Start by educating yourself a little bit first. There are so many free and useful courses out there that provide valuable information as well as tools. Like this FREE Money and Mindset Accounting Strategies for women by Advanced accounting, LLC. I found this course by joining the Facebook group, and Alexis provides a lot of great information. You can really glean a lot of valuable free information, it's out there you just have to look.
Then, get an accountant and manage your money. Because, at first you may need to do this on your own, but you're still going to want a professional, to more of the heavy lifting. Let's be honest no one wants surprises, especially when it comes to your taxes.
21. Choose Your Team Wisely
Having a great team can stand between great success and a horrible experience.
Choose your people wisely, don’t just choose someone because they are family or a friend.
Choose them because they know what they are doing, will work hard to see your business succeed, and will fit into your company culture.
22. Don’t let the Fear of Failure Stop You
Don't let fear of failure keep you from starting.
“Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once”~Drew Houston
My brother once told me, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve failed, what matters is the business that makes you millions. This was sweet because at the time I was frustrated because I had failed yet again. But you know what he was right! The business I’ll be talking about is the one that makes me millions and this is true for you as well.
You learn from your failures and mistakes, this makes you a better person and entrepreneur.
23. How to build and implement sales funnels
A sales funnel is steps designed to guide your visitor to buy, the steps whereby a potential customers moves towards becoming a customer.
A sales funnel creates awareness then interest and then sales.
From those definitions you can see, learning how to build and implement a sales funnel is very important, it leads to SALES.
But there are different ways and funnels and steps you can take to do this. Educate yourself, implement, and try different methods until you find the one that works best for you.
24. Persistence and Consistency
No matter what, be persistent, despite the obstacles and challenges. Be consistent with the work, service, and products you put out.
Maybe you started your business, and you’re thinking, finally I started, but now you have to grow your business and that doesn’t happen overnight. You have to be consistent and persistent. And this takes hard work, it can be tiresome, strenuous, but being persistent and consistent payoff. When you hit important milestones, goals, and expectations or when you’re able to go on that vacation you’ve dreamt about, it pays off.
25. Business is not a hobby
A hobby is something you do during your leisure time for your pleasure a business is an organization whereby you exchange your products or services for money.
You don’t run your business during your leisure time. If you have a hobby that you have turned into a business, then treat it as a business. this takes work and dedication! Especially if you want to turn a profit.
There are so many people who turned their hobby into a business. More notably, BBQ restaurants. How many BBQ restaurants have you heard that the owner started out as a hobby? Or turned a passion for knitting into a business, or the photographer, or writer, etc. There are so many people who love what they do because it started out as a hobby and turned into a successful business because their focus was business.
26. Networking is the Key to Growth
Connecting with others is so crucial because you create relationships that are mutually beneficial.
You need to network, talk to other professionals, others in a similar field as you or in complementary markets. This will help you grow.
You need to get out there and talk to people, your consumers, it helps you become visible to your market. It help you build your reputation and even become an authority in your field.
27. Don't expect to know everything
You should educate yourself but don’t expect to know everything It’s okay if you don’t know everything, and truth be told you won’t. But that should stop you. More than likely you’ll learn along the way. I know I did.
28. Legal Aspects
There are quite a bit of things to look at when dealing with the legal aspect of your business. And it is crucial to protect yourself. Hire a business lawyer and get legal coverage for you and your business. This will keep you covered and give you peace of mind.
If you go the DIY route just remember to get your:
Doing Business As (DBA)/Fictitious Business Name (FBN)
Business legal entity coverage
Even with the DIY route I would still strongly suggest you talk to a lawyer, there are sites like legalzoom that offer consultation now. Sometimes your local community college will offer free legal services so you can look into that too.
29. Have a Plan to Scale your Business
It’s great being in business and having lots of clients, but if you don’t have a plan for that and to scale your business to meet the demand you are going to get a lot of frustrated customers and you’re going to get frustrated.
Being busy is great, but when you start to get so busy where it starts to affect your business, then you have a problem. So, plan for it. How will you deal with being booked for the next 6 months? What are you going to tell your clients? How are you going to ship out your products on time? How are you going to deal with low to no inventory? What are you going to do if seating capacity is full? What if your coaching business is growing to the point where you don’t have time for yourself, do you have a plan for this?
Have a plan ready to scale your business. This will help you realize what steps you need to take in order to take care of this demand.
30. Stay Focused
Sometimes staying focused can be difficult, there are times when you just lose focus and don’t want to write anymore or you get frustrated. But if you stay focused on your vision, mission, objectives and push through you can provide so much value to your customers. They will appreciate it and become repeat customers, not to mention a great source for referrals.
31. Work life balance
Having a balance with work and life is important, otherwise you’ll just get burned out. And this goes back to having a plan. As a business owner you are going to be busy, especially at the beginning. If you have ever been the manager of a business you know that when an employee calls in sick, even if it's your day off, you have to go in and work, it’s just how it is. But if you create your business model in a way to account for this, your life will be much easier.
Business planning is so important!
Creating a business plan can really help you visualize your journey.
Every year businesses fail due to improper planning.
Knowing who your competitors are, understand your market, and having realistic finances is all part of the business plan and are so important in your planning.
So create a business plan and adapt it as your business grows.
I hope this article has encouraged and helped you to move forward with your business or business idea. If you need more help or have any questions send me a message, I'd love to help!
Leave a comment tell me which point helped you the most!