The Struggle Is Real: Challenges Faced By Women in BusinessApr 01, 2022
Female entrepreneurship is on the rise! Women-owned businesses have been steadily increasing, even within the last few years. According to recent statistics, female entrepreneurs made up just over 19% of privately owned businesses in 2018. But now, that number is double: women now own 40% of private businesses in the United States. There are over 12 million women-owned businesses around the country that bring in almost $2 trillion a year. In fact, over 1,000 new businesses being formed every day are by women!
Women are making headway in the business realm and the numbers are showing that. Beyond the United States, approximately 36% of all private businesses around the world are helmed by females. Additionally, more women are taking the entrepreneurial plunge than men - 47% of women versus 44% of men have started a business in the last year.
That is the good news. But the great numbers and positive statistics don’t tell the whole story. Female entrepreneurs still face a number of challenges related to starting and growing a business. Some challenges are common for all new business owners; however, there are still other issues that are unique to female entrepreneurs:
Getting the Money
Barely 60 years ago, women were not allowed to open bank accounts or apply for loans without a male co-signer - just ask Mary Kay Ash (founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics). Times have changed, but only slightly. Men are still the top recipients of investors' funds and are more likely to be approved for bank loans. Recent statistics show that barely 2% of venture funding is granted to women-owned businesses. Female entrepreneurs often use their own savings, and sometimes help from family/friends, to start their businesses.
Women have been a major part of the American workforce since World War II, but the “fight” to be in the business realm AND be the owner is still a major struggle. Society still largely sees owning and running a business as a male role. And some female business owners relate that they feel pressured to act more like men in business in order to be taken seriously.
It should not be surprising that female entrepreneurs struggle to find a solid support network to help them grow their business. In fact, almost 50% of polled female business owners confess to not having good mentorship to allow them to be more successful. Good professional support is an important key to growing professionally. The professional business realm is still mostly monopolized by men, so women entrepreneurs and professionals are even more hindered without the right support and guidance.
Maintaining Work/Life Balance
Women are expected to take care of the home - it’s kind of an unspoken expectation. Even women with careers and professional lives are still presumed to be the home manager. What happens to that role when the woman starts her own business? It doesn’t go anywhere - home and work are both on the same plate with their own demands. And now, the business owner must also figure out how to care for both/all parts of her life in the same day/week/month/year.
How do female entrepreneurs succeed in the face of these challenges?
Even though money seems like the more important issue, support is probably the key to successfully working through the other struggles. Organizations like WIN (Women’s International Networking), eWomen Network, and BizWomen hold networking events specifically for female entrepreneurs and business owners. Other great means of support are business coaches like myself, Livia Jenvey.
I have already dealt with many of these struggles (and others) in starting my first business and I know how to lead other female entrepreneurs away from the same pitfalls. Don’t let challenges keep you from being the #GirlBoss you were meant to be!
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