Female entrepreneurship is on the rise, with women making up 38 percent of business owners in the U.S. In fact, 1,072 women-owned firms are started each day, and nearly 85 percent of women reported starting their business because they saw an opportunity.
Those encouraging statistics will only continue to grow as more and more women strike out on their own. However, knowing which is the right opportunity and when to leave your day job behind isn't always obvious. So, we sought out some expert tips on how women can find their ideal business idea and take control of their careers.
Where to start
Carin Rockind, a happiness and life purpose expert, believes that every aspiring entrepreneur should start a business that's meaningful to them.
"I think it's an old model to tell [women] to go into a specific field," Rockind said. "I think that's got us to where we are today. What you're passionate about is way more important. Women need to tap into what they're good at and what makes them feel great."
"I don't think there are any guidelines to the type of companies women should begin," added Cologne Trude, co-founder and creative director of Show Me Your Mumu, a boho-chic clothing line. "Women's strengths are so diverse that opportunities are endless."
Melinda Emerson, an author and business coach known as "SmallBizLady" on Twitter, suggests starting a business you know something about. When you're ready to begin the business you're most passionate about, consider your limitations.
"I have seen people quit really good jobs to start businesses they hate," Emerson said. "There are fantasies of grandeur about running a business. It's really hard out there."
Emerson suggests saving 20 to 40 percent per paycheck before you quit your job to begin your business. But, most importantly, Emerson emphasized the importance of doing your research. Make sure you know who your paying customer is.
"You always have to check and make sure your business model makes sense in an industry that's growing and not sinking," Emerson said. "It needs to be relevant three to five years from now. You don't want [technological advances] taking your business."
As you get your business off the ground, surround yourself with people who will help you succeed, whether it's through support or lending a hand to get the business started, said Cammy Miller, co-founder and creative director of Show Me Your Mumu.
"Being a leader doesn't mean you have all of the answers, and the more open you are to learning from everyone around you, the more you can grow in your role," Miller said.
"One of the things that's been harder for me to learn is to bring other people with you," Rockind added. "It's very lonely to have your own business. There are so many important skills, and you can't be good at everything. It's OK to ask for help and collaborate with other people."
Love what you do
Building a business from the ground up is challenging no matter how you look at it. But, ultimately, you should love what you do.
"I always encourage female entrepreneurs to be strong and work hard at what they love. Starting and running a business is by no means easy, and there are going to be a lot of hardships and emotional setbacks," Trude said. "As a female, running Mumu has been very stressful and emotional at times, but every tear has been worth it and I am stronger because of it."
If Rockind had to go back in time to give herself advice, it would be to just do it.
"You have to put yourself out there," she said. "Believe in yourself and your purpose."
Be OK with being afraid
"If you wait until you don't feel scared to pursue the thing you love, you'll never pursue it," she added.
Feeling afraid is just part of the package, said Wright, who counsels female entrepreneurs to work with their fears.
"You just have to do it scared," she said. "Once you master that thing, you'll rise to another level, and that will come with another level of fear. You'll learn and adjust and keep moving forward. Before you know it, you'll be making money doing what you love."
Additional reporting by Shannon Gausepohl. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.