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What is it like to be a woman entrepreneur

What is it like to be a woman entrepreneur

So you want to know what it’s like to be a woman entrepreneur?

To answer that question, we interviewed female entrepreneurs and female founders to hear from them the feelings they get from running a woman-owned small business.

While the responses varied, there were two strong common themes.

1. Some of the responses we got were centered on female leadership:

“When women choose to become entrepreneurs, to be a successful business woman, we feel empowered and in control of our lives in a way that nothing else can make us feel this way.”

One female entrepreneur we interviewed described it as: “Women are more entrepreneurial by nature and using strong women leadership I was able to succeed in business where others in my industry have failed.”

“Women can both be strong and nurturing at the same time. Able to take care of and look after people and still run a successful business. Women are not afraid of show empathy or work hard, we just choose to do things differently.”

2. Women feel proud of being part of a growing female entrepreneurship community:

“It is so awesome being a female entrepreneur as you get better opportunities as well as freedom,” said one female entrepreneur. “This is because women are very strong and they deserve to be,” said another female entrepreneur.

And “The one thing I would tell other women is to put your mind to something and make it happen. There are no limits to what you can do”.

And finally, “Many women are afraid at first, but women entrepreneurs are strong women who do not give up easily. Women should not be afraid to take the risks that will push other women to become more influential in society.”

So, what is it that sets women apart, and how can they use their skills and capabilities to achieve greatness in their lives?

In this blog post we’ll take a deep dive to understand what this question and explore what it feels like to be able to use your uniqueness when deciding to become an entrepreneur.

If you’re interested in knowing how to start an entrepreneurial business, we have an introduction to entrepreneurship course that you might find helpful.

Why a women entrepreneur is better

Entrepreneurship is about leadership. Leadership of yourself and being an inspiring leader for others.

Harvard Business Review published research on leadership and how this differed between men and women.[1] They found that women outperformed men in seventeen of the nineteen Leadership Skills they reviewed.

Harvard Business Review - Diagram showing 19 leadership skills

The top three Leadership Skills where women showed the highest level of performance are:

Takes initiative
Practices self-development

This was closely followed with “Drives for results” and “Displays high integrity and honesty”.

The only two Leadership Skills where men outperformed women was in “Technical or professional expertise” and “Develops strategic perspective”.

In the next sections we’re taking a closer look at these top five Leadership Skills.

Women entrepreneurs take more initiative, are more ambitious and drive for results

Taking initiative is the Leadership Skill where the difference between men and women is by far the highest, with women taking the lead role.

Similar statistics from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor point to the same conclusion regarding the importance of women leaders.[2]

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor - Proportion self-employed entrepreneurs

It found that globally women have a higher share of single-owner businesses than men (37.6% vs 27.8%), and (except for North America) this is the same for all other continents.

Women are doers, multitaskers, able to do multiple things at once without feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. They understand how short time is and know that every second counts, and therefore never waste it.

Women have a different mindset and don’t expect anything to be handed to them. Instead, they go for their goals because when women want something they focus on what they desire and never give up.

Women don’t let others tell them what they can or can’t do. They don’t tell other women to sit down and shut up. Instead, women talk about their feelings, so they can work through them and use this to strengthen themselves.

Women have the drive to succeed, work harder, smarter and more efficiently, and are not afraid of making sacrifices. They will fight for what they want and are willing to put in the work to achieve it.

Women entrepreneurs are more resilient

Resilience is the second highest Leadership Skill where women score significantly higher than men.

It is inevitable that both men and women will encounter discrimination at some point in their lives. However, it’s a well-known fact that women experience it much more often, and more severely.

The hardships they experience in society start at an early age. Women often face gender stereotypes, unfair treatment, and discrimination throughout their working lives, including lower wages than men in the same position.

Women understand the reality that sits underneath Lauren Bacall’s quote, knowing full well that kites can only take off against the wind, not with it:

“Imagination is the highest kite one can fly”

Lauren Bacall

Through these experiences women have learned how to build their resilience, and how bounce back from hardships.

Female entrepreneurs aren’t so much motivated by money, but because they have a passion for starting a business, they want the freedom of making their own decisions, and they want to do something meaningful.

Some other reasons women entrepreneurs pursue having their own business is because they want life balance (eg fitness and wellness, family and friends, travel and leisure) and the flexibility to time-shift.

Women practice self-development

Self-development is the third highest Leadership Skill where women score significantly higher than men, and this is intricately linked to inspiring and motivating others, and empathy to help them to be their best.

Because of this, women are much more focused on developing themselves, to challenge themselves to be and do better, and are therefore emotionally intelligent about the human side of business.

They know that their own personal growth is fundamental to the success of their business. It’s an attitude that can be learned and can be practiced by women of any age or experience levels.

They understand the importance of the emotional aspects of doing business which is important for their customers who want someone to listen to them and show them they will take care of them.

This is especially valuable in this era where customers are attuned to the benefits of collaboration, cooperation, connecting and engaging, and in fact customers increasingly demand it.

Women want to make the world a better place, to take care of those around them, sincerely treat people with respect and expect to be treated with respect themselves.

Women in business display high integrity and honesty

One of the main advantages women in business have is their distinct perspective on crucial concepts such as leadership and exceedingly high levels of integrity and honesty.

Women are more talkative than men and are less restrained when it comes to verbalizing their thoughts. They are not afraid to express their feelings, making it easier for them to communicate with their peers.

Women look at problems from new and different angles with an emphasis on how it will affect others. And work hard to build relationships based on trust and rapport before getting any business done.

Women’s honesty also makes it easier for them to ask for help when they need it. While men think asking for help can be a sign of weakness, for women it is a crucial way of effective communication and problem solving.

Women are not afraid to talk about their fears and failures, partly because they have less ego attached to their business and prefer to address issues rather than ignore them.

Women rarely lose their temper or get annoyed, have a better disposition to trouble shooting and for thinking outside the box. Women know how to create win-win situations, and view customers as people, not numbers.

This attention to detail also applies to customer service skills where women are great listeners and capable of dealing with any issue a customer might have.

Why you should join other women entrepreneurs

Women are well suited to becoming successful entrepreneurs and the feelings this gives them are a heightened level of self-worth, community, collaboration and respect.

Entrepreneurship gives women opportunities to be themselves and to actually have control of their financial futures.

A McKinsey Global Institute report finds that US $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025, provided that “the public, private, and social sectors … act to close gender gaps in work and society”.[3]

But why would anyone wait for “someone” to do “something” about gender equality. Instead, act now and give some serious thought to becoming an entrepreneur.

While some people are born entrepreneurs, most of us need some help to get started. If that sounds like you, our Inner Entrepreneur Course will give you a very comprehensive introduction to entrepreneurship.


[1] Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, Research: Women Score higher than men in most leadership skills, Harvard Business Review

[2] Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, GEM Women’s Entrepreneurship Report 2018/2019

[3] McKinsey Global Institute, How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth

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