Have you ever felt ignored, unheard and disregarded in a meeting that you had called for and were to lead in the first place?
I recall many instances where I would be the only woman in the room during meetings and also the most ignored. Now imagine, taking orders or working in an organization that is owned by a woman. What surprises me is that a woman has landed on the moon, yet here on earth she is barely acknowledged for her intelligence, work, and grit. Challenges faced by a women entrepreneur are quite different from those of our male counterparts. Let’s take a look at some of those.
Challenges faced by women entrepreneurs:
- Expect you to act like a man:
The first challenge that a women entrepreneur will face is that she will be dealing with a lot of men in her line of work. Men want to do business with other strong, aggressive and competitive men, where they feel like equals. But most men who are raised well will tend to be gentle, soft and understanding towards women. This may make them feel uncomfortable, less competitive and aggressive to do business with. Hence, most women entrepreneurs become someone they are not in order to meet the expectations of this upside down world.
Solution: Don’t change who you are. Your character and nature are your strengths. They have bought you this far, trust them to take you all the way to where success lies.
- Difficulty to find investors:
Most venture capitalist or investors actually invest in people more often than the business idea. Historically it is seen that most women entrepreneurs struggle to get any real funding until they have truly established themselves. They show little faith in them and their business proposition. There could be many factors like preconceived notions about women running businesses, their priority, and work-life balancing skills, or their sheer ability to sustain in a male-dominated world of business. Either way for a woman to find investor is as hard as finding a needle in a haystack.
Solution: One way to attract investors is to build a great team and a solid business plan. Even if they doubt your individual capabilities wrongly, when they see you have a strong team to back your efforts, new confidence is restored in them.
3. Not being taken seriously:
In a male governed industry for a woman leader to find a place and voice is a difficult task. To earn and gain respect from her male colleagues who find it hard to take orders from a woman or least of all trust her to know what she is doing here, will be the biggest challenge as a women entrepreneur. In a society wired this way, will take a long time to change perceptions and it will no doubt be hard work.
Solution: Let your work speak for itself. When your employees, colleagues, clients, and investors see your business grow and succeed, they will spontaneously respect and trust their career and livelihood into your hand. In order to achieve this one will have to learn to trust themselves first and build their confidence to deal with different kind of people and situations.
- Learning to own your accomplishments:
What men know to do well is to pat their own backs. They know how to show the smallest of their accomplishments as equal to winning a Presidency. But when it comes to us women, we tend to downplay our achievements and success. While acknowledging your team, people who helped to achieve it, is all very good, you should when due, give yourself some credit. Be it a new idea that will change the course of business or winning over a client who everyone thought had been lost. Again in a world gone wrong, being proud of your accomplishments is no longer considered bragging or brutish, in fact being humble is so passé.
Solution: Being humble and yet shouting out your accomplishments from the top of the roof, is an art you will need to acquire in business. Being able to communicate your achievements without making it sound like bragging is hard, but required for the job.
- Finding your work-life balance:
This is especially true for most married women with children. When both couples have high demanding jobs, it leads to neglecting their marriage, children and homes. Women, for the most part, need to slow down to keep the family together. This too I believe is her first calling and privilege. Now, how you balance the two is what will define your happiness and contentment. Most women consider becoming entrepreneurs, consultants or freelancers, due to the flexibility it allows. Once she has found the right scales to balance her home and business, she is unstoppable.
Solution: Being an entrepreneur allows you to work on your own terms and conditions. But also knowing that others livelihood are dependent on you is a responsibility you need to shoulder too. What should make it easier is that a woman is a wonder of multi-tasking? We are born with that innate ability to do multiple things with equal passion and attention to achieve results. That been said, we have to align our will and strength to achieve it.
Although the number of women entrepreneur around the world is less, that is changing slowly but surely. In today’s digital age any idea can be turned into a business and more and more women are coming up with non-traditional businesses and conquering areas that no man would dare to tread.
You may also want to read other article written by the same author ‘Career tracking while on a career break‘, ‘Career restarting for a woman on a career break‘, ‘Is returnship right for you?‘, ‘Five things to consider before a career break‘, ‘5 reasons why working moms are highly productive‘, ‘4 Questions to know yourself better and find a suitable career path‘ .
About the author:
The first time Susan Kutar (Tamang) realized that words could touch lives, she wanted to be a writer and blogger. She has 7 years of experience in Human Resources and Talent Acquisition. She likes to write about topics that impact people, which is educational and leaves the reader with something to mull over.
(The author is a guest blogger at Her Second Innings. The opinions expressed are those of the author.)
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