Being an entrepreneur isn't easy. From cash flow problems to marketing woes, business owners have to overcome a lot of obstacles to become successful. This is especially true for female entrepreneurs.
Women have made great strides in the business world, but they still face problems their male counterparts don't. Business News Daily talked to female entrepreneurs about challenges they encounter and how they overcome them.
1. Making authoritative first impressions
"One of the biggest challenges women entrepreneurs face is creating an authoritative first impression. We are often stereotyped by our looks and not immediately recognized as a serious entrepreneur."
The solution: "To overcome this challenge, I've started to introduce myself, first and last name, and my business as I shake hands. 'Hi there. Sarah Pendley, Sarah Theresa Communications.' This establishes authority and immediately clears up any confusion as to my role. I've found that conversations go further and I'm taken more seriously as an entrepreneur."
– Sarah Pendley, CEO of Sarah Theresa Communications
2. Achieving work-life balance
"As a mom of two and owner of three businesses, my greatest challenge as a female entrepreneur is finding balance. It can feel like your heart and your time are being tugged a million different directions at once."
The solution: "However, one thing that has helped me achieve the balance I've been craving is by creating schedules and systems."
– McKinzie Bean, founder of Moms Make Cents
3. Finding a support system
"As a mother, most of our personal friends have kids, and a large percentage stay at home – or, if they do work, they don't have the same business risks and demands as an entrepreneur has. It is easy to feel like nobody feels like you do or has your struggles."
The solution: "In this day and age, it is helpful to listen to podcasts, read books, connect outside the geographic confines that may make you feel isolated. There are stories out there that can inspire you, and we all have days we need inspiration."
– Tara Youngblood, co-founder and chief scientist at Kryo Inc.
4. Getting unsolicited advice
"Everyone and their cat wants to give you advice on what to do, especially men and people who are not even remotely in the pit with you. I have been talked down to, not taken seriously, and even ridiculed."
The solution: "The kindest way I have learnt to tackle this is to be graceful and repeat a silent mantra in my head: 'I am not here to prove anything to anyone. I release this thought from sticking to me or having the need to react to the comment. The people meant for you will understand and find you.' And I smile and get on with my work, because my energy is limited and I need to show up every day."
– Neelam Tewar, CEO at Neelam Tewar
5. Being lonely
"The big thing I didn't realize was that going from an office of 30, and a position where it was my job to build community, to being a solopreneur would result in feeling really lonely in my professional world. Even though I was meeting with clients and hosting one-on-one meetings, I couldn't unload my concerns, questions, fears and doubts on existing or potential clients."
The solution: "I started by reaching out to those I had met in the community through the local Chamber of Commerce Women in Business group, then went online to start scouring for other women in business-focused events, meetings, conferences, book clubs, etc."
– Christine Flynn, MSW, founder and owner of Fás trí comhar
6. Battling unrealistic expectations
"My crazy expectations were mostly from myself. I expected to be Super Mom, wife of the year, and build a successful business all in the same year. Even though I was (and am) doing great in all the key areas of life, I often felt inadequate, which is exhausting."
The solution: "I overcame this by starting a 'what got done' list and gauging my success by that, rather than looking at the items still on my to-do list. This one little shift has made a huge difference, and I let the guilt of not getting every single thing done go."
– Brie Sodano, personal financial strategist at From Sheep to Shark
7. Overcoming self-doubt
"I believe the biggest challenge female entrepreneurs face is their own self-doubt stemming from a past negative experience or relationship ... Insecurity can get the best of some and lead to a less-than-supportive community of women. It is only when women support each other can we squash our self-doubt, take a risk and breathe 100 percent confidence into our new endeavor."
The solution: "The first step to overcoming this challenge is to dig deep and identify the source of any insecurities. Why do you doubt yourself? These are the barriers to our success and cannot be overcome unless they are recognized, validated and released."
– Marissa S. Costonis, H.C., certified health coach and author of Change Bites: 5 Change Management Strategies to Transform Your Health