The number of entrepreneurs is on a rise globally. More and more youngsters are moving towards entrepreneurship. “Following the passion” is a very trending phrase among the young generation. Nobody wants to get stuck in a job, that’s not interesting.
Millennials want to explore, take risks and move on. Women are not behind in this too. As of 2017, over 11 million companies in the U.S. are run by women entrepreneurs. This looks like a good number, but it’s not easy for women to run businesses. There are various challenges which they face, making it difficult to achieve business goals.
If you’re a woman entrepreneur/leader or any successful working woman, we have something for you. We’ve listed down a few challenges often encountered by you and ways to overcome them. Hope this will be helpful.
1. Family responsibilities
Globally, women are entitled to more responsibilities in the family. Be it taking care of the kids or cleaning the house, women play a major part at home. Men may help sometimes, but their role is mostly secondary.
For women running a business, it is a dual responsibility. Plus, they want to excel in both, being a successful businesswoman as well as a good wife/mother/daughter-in-law.
Business demands more time and attention as compared to an office job, which many women are unable to give, due to their family responsibilities.
Solution: Build a support system within your family. It’s perfectly alright to ask in-laws for help. Not every family need to have a cold war. Be near to your mother/father in law or your own parents, so that they can support you in managing the house or kids.
2. Too many expectations from one-self
A lot of women entrepreneurs are seen expecting too much from themselves. They want to be as successful as Oprah Winfrey or Indra Nooyi. Even want to give a three-course meal to their family, read, develop skills, go to the gym, spend time with family and the list goes on…
Solution: Don’t overburden yourself. Success will eventually come to you, with continuous efforts. But, don’t stretch yourself too much. Its ok to skip gym once/twice a week, or read whenever you have little time. Work towards achieving your goals in small steps every day. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
3. Scarcity of finance
Generally, women do not have properties in their name, which can be used to fund the business at the initial stage. Banks also consider women as less credit-worthy and hesitate in giving loans to aspiring women entrepreneurs. So, they rely mainly on their own savings or loans from personal sources.
Solution: As soon as you start earning, start saving from your own paycheques. Buy a property in your name, it will serve you as a collateral for the loan.
4. Mobility issue
As compared to men, women do not travel alone much. Moving across cities/countries and staying alone are also looked upon suspiciously for women.
Solution: Be independent. Learn to drive, so that you don’t have to depend on public transport every time. It will save you a lot of time. Travel alone. People will think what they want to. Face everything with confidence.
5. Male-dominated society
Be it a developed country like America or an emerging economy like India, the society is generally male-dominated. A number of women become lesser as the hierarchy moves upwards. In entrepreneurship, the number of women is very less, as compared to men. It creates a little bit of inconvenience.
Solution: No matter how less you’re in numbers, make sure that your presence is felt. You won’t get a space in the industry easily, create a space for yourself.
6. Low risk-bearing capacity
Women entrepreneurs are generally reluctant to take big risks in business. Building a business is not easy, and for a woman, it is even more difficult. Therefore, they are very concerned about their business and afraid to take big risks.
Solution: Big opportunities come along with big risks. However, if you’re not comfortable taking big risks, take calculated risks. Do not risk everything for a small project. Analyse if the returns are worth the risks, before taking a decision.
7. Social expectations
There are some set expectations in the society as to how a woman should behave. In business, sometimes woman entrepreneurs have to adopt the aggressive behavior, which is often looked upon to be male like. Some people even think that a woman should adopt a male like behavior in order to be a successful entrepreneur.
Solution: Be yourself! Your behavior should not be controlled by social expectations. Don’t worry about being too aggressive or male like. Just be who you are.
8. Balancing business and family life
This is the biggest challenge faced by woman entrepreneurs, aka “mompreneurs”. Running a business and raising a family are both full-time jobs. Doing both at the same time can be physically and mentally draining.
Solution: Learn to delegate/outsource some of your responsibilities. Hiring a house help or nanny can be a great thing when you’re an entrepreneur. As mentioned above, it’s also good to take help from other family members. Remember, entrepreneurship is a tiring job, but it gives you flexibility too.
Being a woman entrepreneur is not easy. But, the joy of winning a tough battle is great. Just be persistent in your efforts, success will follow you.