Being a woman in business means sometimes having to overcome things that men don’t have to deal with. For some reason, I’ve found it to be sometimes harder to speak up when I think something and feel confident when asking what what I want — something that men don’t often stress about. But there are lots of other obstacles that are unique to being a woman in business.
1. Juggling Family
Women struggle with this more than men because women are most often the caretakers of their children and households. From managing children’s activities to dealing with laundry, or trying to pack lunches and keep the house clean, looking after your family can be extremely demanding. So how do you reconcile being an entrepreneur when you know it will take time away from your family? Both take lots of work, but both are also extremely rewarding.
For me, I knew that me working would ultimately benefit my family, and I wanted my daughter to see her mom work hard for something she loves to do. Remind yourself that you are setting a good example for your family and it will be a little easier to be away from them more. Also, both work and family benefit from structure and pattern. Develop a daily routine so both you and your kids know what to expect, and so you can plan ahead to schedule when you will have to be away. When you build a predictable schedule for when is work time and when is play time, it becomes less stressful and easier to manage. Additionally, learn to take breaks and ask for help. Take some time to yourself occasionally and know it’s okay to recharge.
2. Being Taken Seriously
Gender inequality has been existent for centuries even if it feels like things are slowly moving in the other direction. Yet as a result, female entrepreneurs are are often not taken as seriously as their male counterparts, so it can be difficult for your word to carry as much weight or for people to take you as seriously. You know this if you’ve ever walked into a business networking event or corporate workplace, where you can barely count the number of women in the room on one hand. However, it’s all about teaching people how to respect you and know that you deserve to be in the room.
3. Self Doubt
All too often women do not give themselves the credit they rightfully deserve. For some reason, it’s honorable or brave of men to boast about their accomplishments, but braggy and conceited if women do it. And because it’s so hard for women to talk about their accomplishments or pursue their dreams, many of us don’t even recognize what we are passionate about. But know that it’s 100% okay to be proud of yourself and to own it, even if it makes you uncomfortable at first.
Also use powerful language — words like “we”, “sorry”, or “just” (i.e. “I just started my business” or “we did this”) are not powerful female words. Yes, it’s important to be inclusive, but give yourself credit where credit is due! Be assertive with the people you speak to, and don’t try to justify or play down your business or accomplishments. Make supporting yourself a priority, and support other women who are also successful and proud. It becomes easier to feel worthy when you’re surrounded by a bunch of other people who practice the same attitude. Furthermore, don’t disregard your passions as mindless or trivial pastimes and instead, tap into your goals and aspirations in order to identify what it is you love to do. Just own it, girl!
4. Fear of Failure
Being an entrepreneur will undoubtedly involve failure at some point or another, because it’s always risky and sometimes entails unforeseen circumstances. But, when you really think about it, nothing in life is guaranteed.
As a first step, try to figure out what specifically makes you stressed about failing. Do worry you’re going to fail in one specific realm? Is there something that has happened to you that makes you feel not good enough? Too many of us are afflicted with these negative failure beliefs. But if you identify what makes you feel that way, you can over time learn to overcome them. Recognize, validate, and release of these fears because it is the only way to defeat these feelings and become a more confident woman.
5. Finding Support
Finding a supportive female tribe is the best way to overcome entrepreneurial obstacles, because other women know our struggle and can validate all of our different stressors, opinions, and worries. It’s important to sometimes lean on the other women in our life for support — whether through advice, time spent with them, or actually letting others help us physically in some way. It can also be very helpful to listen to podcasts, read other books, or connect to like-minded women online. We all need inspiration sometimes, and it can be super important to find people who just get it. We can’t all do it alone, so don’t expect that you can tough it out every single day. Know the power of a bit of support.