Women start their businesses for a variety of reasons. According to research by SCORE, millennial women are often driven by market opportunity while baby boomers are driven by necessity.
But regardless of the age group or primary driver, there are some universal considerations that apply to all potential woman entrepreneurs as they prepare to start a business.
1. Honestly assess yourself and your entrepreneurial drive
Entrepreneurship isn’t right for everyone, so it’s important to determine if it might be a good fit—and before spending significant amounts of time, money, sweat, and tears launching a business.
Business owners need to be self-starters who don’t wait for others to call all the shots. Are you self-motivated? Are you decisive? They also have to be comfortable with assuming some degree of risk. Success in business is never a 100% sure thing. Can you deal with risk and uncertainty? Can you handle setbacks and rejection without falling into deep despair?
Entrepreneurs must also have a knack for managing time and setting priorities effectively. Are you organized and able to recognize tasks that require urgent attention versus those that can wait?
2. Anticipate how entrepreneurship may affect your interpersonal relationships
Starting a business requires time and focus—often large quantities of both. Realize that this will have an impact to some degree on your relationships with your partner, kids, other relatives, and friends. Some people might feel offended by the time and attention you’re devoting to your startup and won’t always understand why you can’t carve out an hour to meet them for lunch or happy hour. Your partner and children may feel resentment at needing to do more around the house than they did before.
It’s critical to communicate and set expectations from the beginning so that you can help prevent hard feelings and maintain healthy relationships.
3. Anticipate how it may affect your livelihood in the beginning
Starting a business often comes with cutting back on some of life’s luxuries. And by luxuries, I don’t necessarily mean caviar, exotic trips, and designer handbags—you may need to temporarily forgo some of the modest perks you regularly enjoy. Whether it’s daily stops for a grande mocha latte at the Starbucks downtown, subscriptions to premium cable television channels, dinner at the local steakhouse every Saturday night, or some other indulgence, you might need to put them on hold as you wait for your business to ramp up. Can you accept that? Can your family accept that?
4. Learn what you need to learn
Entrepreneurship is a journey and an educational experience. As you traverse the process of starting and running a business, you will discover deficits in your knowledge and capabilities that you weren’t aware of before. Be self-aware and accept that you’re imperfect and will make mistakes. What matters is how you react to and overcome those challenges. Put your ego aside and be willing to learn and improve.
5. Believe in yourself
My final words of advice: Believe in yourself and your abilities.
Celebrate and capitalize on your personal strengths. Moreover, learn to differentiate between constructive criticism and mean-spirited input when you receive feedback from others. The first will help you become a stronger, more effective entrepreneur, and the latter will deflate your motivation and self-confidence if you take it to heart.
“All women are forces of nature, and I believe in their power.” —Stephanie McMahon
Starting a business will not be easy, but if you do your due diligence, channel your strengths, prepare for challenges, and leverage resources wisely, you can and will succeed.