For women, starting a business isn’t as straightforward as it is for men — for better or worse. Here are 4 things to think about.
Starting a business can be daunting. I’ve often said that if you want to know what you’re made of, there are 3 ways to find out: have a child, write a book or start a business.
For women in particular, there are special issues to consider before taking the plunge. Here are 4 key things that every woman should do and consider before she starts a business.
Define Success for Yourself
The comparison trap presents massive temptation in business. With social media, press and events, you may find yourself jealous of the traction and attention other people are getting in business. You have to define what success looks like for you. Maybe you want to be able to pick your kids up from school every day or maybe your business idea is massive and will take many years to build.
Remember that your business should fit into your vision for your life, not the other way around. Before you begin your company, think about whether you’re truly interested in living the life of an entrepreneur and what fits into your vision of success.
Consider Family and Kids
Women are usually the primary caregivers to children and ill family members. If you’re starting a business, think about what the time commitment and uncertainty may mean for those around you. You might have to delay having another baby or you may decide to move to a city where you have more support for your existing family structure. Some of the stress that comes with being a working woman and working mother can be alleviated with careful planning and forethought.
Prepare Your Mind for Battle
Starting a business is trial by fire. You’ll be tested, stretched and challenged in unimaginable ways, but the reward is very much worth it. Taking proper care of your mind, body and spirit becomes increasingly important when you’re responsible for the direction and success of a company and team.
Choose Your Team Carefully
When I started working on my latest venture, I sat down and made a list of things I wanted in a partner. Having worked with a wide range of personalities throughout my career, I learned the hard way that teams have to be complementary in order to be functional. As a woman, I don’t want to be perceived as difficult to work with, but there sometimes just isn’t a way to set a boundary without making someone upset. Be prepared to make decisions that other people may not like. Most importantly, I wanted a partner who had a great attitude, a strong work ethic and a flexible approach to problem solving. These are traits I share, and they’re traits that make for strong co-founders.
The more clear you are about what’s important to you personally and professionally, the easier it will be to start and run a successful company. Make the tough decisions now so you can have peace of mind later.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Image Credit: CC by Sam Churchill.