Being a small business owner is hard, and being a woman in business comes with an additional set of challenges. We all know that mistakes are part of the process, but they are still frustrating. Luckily, there are many women who have been in your shoes—thousands of them, in fact—who want to share their advice and help you get on the right track. We polled a group of over 17,000 female entrepreneurs to find out what they wish they knew when they were starting their business. Here is what they had to say.
Boston Female Entrepreneurs Share Their Advice
The number of women-owned businesses makes up 39% of all small businesses, and that number is growing two times faster than the national average growth rate (Source: American Express). Listening to the advice of those that have been in your shoes is a great way to avoid preventable mistakes. Take a look at what these gals have to say about starting a business.
Face Your Fears
Making the leap from a 9-5 job can be terrifying. Leaving the security of your position is a huge risk, and while some take the jump fearlessly, others may be a little more hesitant. But it’s important to push through your doubts—almost all of the women we asked expressed that their only regret is that they wish they had started sooner.
“I wish I hadn’t been so afraid to take the leap from my full-time role to working for myself. I was too focused on what I’d be losing from my previous company (regular paycheck, insurance benefits, etc) to what I’d actually be gaining as a self-employed woman—the flexibility, freedom, personal growth, and overall sense of accomplishment.” –Christina Orso, Christinaorso.com
“Starting is the hardest part, whether it’s starting a business or just starting a new project within a business. If you wait until it’s perfect before starting you might be waiting forever.” –Morgan O’Neil, Morgan O’Neil Photography
Ask For Help
Small business owners often struggle because they think they should be able to handle all aspects of their business themselves. Reluctance to share responsibilities, however, can actually hinder you more than you think and lead to long hours, mistakes, and stressful situations. Whether it’s from family, friends, employees, or freelancers, asking for assistance is imperative to your success.
“You cannot do it all. Be prepared to outsource both in your business and at home. I’m on my third business and this is my best piece of advice.” –Robyn Epstein Parets, Pretzel Kids
“It’s okay to ask for help! In the beginning, I was more concerned with appearing like I had it all down, when I could have saved myself a lot of time by admitting I didn’t and asking for help. No matter what industry you’re in, there’s too much to know for any one person to know it all, so don’t feel like you are in any way less than for not having all the answers! Don’t be afraid to ask others to share their knowledge; rather than looking down on you for not knowing, they will be pleased you considered them enough of an expert to seek knowledge from.” –Megan Lower, Wanderlust Voyages
“Don’t think you can do everything on your own! We NEED support from like-minded women to cheer on our wins and pick us up after our losses. Community is the greatest asset you can have.” –Ashley Mason, Dash of Social
“Knowing when to ask for help and delegate rather than trying to re-invent the wheel and do it all alone!” –Shayna Mahoney, Emerald City LLC
Roll With The Punches
Even the most experienced business owners make mistakes, the important thing is learning from those errors. There’s no question you will make many when you first start out, but there’s no sense in beating yourself up over them. Adapt to the challenges and obstacles you face, and learn from your experiences in order to best grow your brand.
“When you begin it’s clear you need to be brave and take risks, but the truth is you need to continue to risk over and over again, failing and coming back for more. Don’t forget after you make that first leap to keep jumping—it’s the only way to learn how to fly.” –Julie Grimm, Ohmbaby
“You will always have problems, just try to only have new ones.” –Emily Isenberg, Isenberg Projects
“No matter how hard you plan and how organized you think you are, day-to-day challenges can throw you off balance. Instead, I’ve learned to use my plans as a guide to keep me on track and help me stay focused as I navigate the unexpected. Accepting the ‘interruptions’ as part of business, rather than getting frustrated with them, has made me more productive and given me a higher job satisfaction.” –Lauren Langevin, Home Instead
Stick With It
We know how exhausting being a small business owner can be, especially when your sales may be suffering. All businesses are bound to experience spurts of growth and stagnant periods, but remember that success takes time. Even many of the largest corporations in the world have faced challenges. The important thing to remember is to stick with it—even if it seems impossible.
“Don’t give up, success doesn’t happen overnight. Just because it hasn’t gone the way you wanted to, doesn’t mean you should quit. Stick with it, stay positive, keep working, and it will happen.” Laurel Ryan, Nautically Northern
Being a small business owner means putting yourself on the line to make your dream a reality. We hope that this article gave you some meaningful advice to guide you through the beginnings of your small business!
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