Some women decide to start a business because they have an innovative product idea that fills a gap in the market or a service they can offer that is in high demand. We love it when women choose the entrepreneurial path because we know the power of feminine business leadership to change the world at large.
Regardless of the motivation, if you’re a woman considering entrepreneurship, here are a few reasons to get excited about taking the proverbial plunge:
Women are likely to be well-armed when it comes to the determination necessary to succeed at starting a business. Rutgers University includes determination in a list of necessary traits in prospective and burgeoning entrepreneurs, along with perseverance, curiosity, innovation, and fearlessness. They offer the example of Airbnb, which for many months apparently only made about $200 a week; the founders are now estimated to be worth over a billion dollars each.
There is a great deal of interest and momentum behind what’s known as “cause marketing,” at the moment. Forbes cites Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Research in noting that “Women are 1.17 times more likely than men to create social ventures rather than only economic ventures, and 1.23 times more likely to pursue environmental ventures than economic-focused ventures.” Considering the current popularity of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability issues, women would be well-advised to pursue a business putting environmental conservation, energy efficiency, or social justice causes front and center.
There is now the existence of Certified B Corporations, certified by B Lab—who define B corporations as “for profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.” A new interest in the triple bottom line of “profit-people-planet” is making B Corps especially appealing to a younger generation interested in supporting causes that value sustainability and economic equity. The new prominence of B corps should be especially motivating to women interested in starting forward-thinking businesses concerned with contributing to the social good.
There are better support networks in place in 2016 than ever before. SAP mentions a few noteworthy organizations like the National Association of Women Business Owners, Entrepreneurial Winning Women, and Aspect Ventures as examples of organizations or companies interested in fostering and supporting female-run companies. There are even more resources accessible online that offer a number of tools, words of advice, and support services to women looking to start their own business. And of course, Emerging Women and Emerging Women Live offer stellar opportunities to get inspired and connect with like-minded entrepreneurs and investors.
It doesn’t cost as much money as you might think, at first. In fact, according to Intuit, “The majority (64%) of small business owners start with less than $10,000.” That’s great news to those of us on a budget—which, let’s face it, is most of us. One way to make the process more painful is to start your business on the side, rather than quitting your job and hoping for the best. That way, you have a bit more breathing room to settle in and figure out which aspects of the business need adjustment or revision before full-launch. Entrepreneur offers a list of affordable business ideas to get you started, in case you’re at a loss for reliable options that are also on the frugal side.
However, if you are willing to shoot for more capital with which to start your business—especially if your business happens to be tech-based—Mackenzie Burnett put together a list of female angel and early-stage investors in tech. It helps immensely to tap into female-run investment firms, since for whatever reason many male investors are still biased against female entrepreneurs. Look into Broadway Angels, whose founder, Sonja Perkins, was recently interviewed by Fortune.
The last and perhaps most significant reason to start your own business is because of more independence and greater money-making potential. Many women want to start a family or would simply prefer to be their own boss than be forced to put up with traditional male-dominated hierarchies in a more traditional office setting. There is a great deal of marketing and business-based interaction that can take place online, now, as well—as opposed to in person or with the luxury of a brick-and-mortar office location. The traditional overhead costs simply don’t exist, when you work remotely or from a home-based office. And being in charge of your own business means you get to set your own rates or prices, which can feel empowering!
Make no mistake: setting out on your own can feel intimidating, and it probably won’t be easy. Set goals for yourself, and don’t be afraid to share your idea with the world. You have most of the resources you need, and you can find the ones you're missing with the support and collaboration of your fellow females.
Forming a concrete image of your future entrepreurial success can keep you motivated when the going gets tough. Try this guided visualization from Right-Brain Business Plan author Jennifer Lee to connect with your future success: