In a year that’s been fraught with bad news and political divisiveness, it’s nice to find a glimmer of hope: Women business owners are crushing it. As of 2015, there are more than 9.4 million women-owned businesses in the United States, employing nearly 7.9 million people and contributing $1.4 trillion into the economy, according to the National Association of Women Business Owners.
Those statistics haven’t come without quite a bit of hard work, though. Historically, women start businesses with significantly less capital than many other entrepreneurs, but that doesn’t seem to slow anyone's roll. Even when female entrepreneurs talk about mistakes they made, the story usually ends with them picking themselves back up, ready to share even more advice for women business owners. Between our willingness to talk about our challenges with one another and our hardworking mentality, it’s no wonder that the number of female-owned businesses is on the rise.
If there’s anything that defines women entrepreneurs, it’s their ability to figure out everything from how to write a business plan to launching an app with no tech experience without losing their cool. When you’re ready to launch your business, keep these battle tips in your back pocket from women who’ve done it before.
Build A Network Early
"I wish I could go back and talk to my peers and experts about the ins and outs of the hot sauce business. I would pick their brains on how they broke into the market, find out what marketing tactics they used to gain recognition, and ask how they got picked up by store chains or distributors." —Michelle Ervin, Co-founder of 9 Lazy Kidz
Hire Help Early
"I would have waited to have a more clear concept before launching. I started [Aquarian Soul] with literally nothing — no money, just an idea. Beauty brands today have more inspiration to look back and see what has worked and what hasn’t worked for other brands. I grew organically, and my labels have changed four times now. If I could do it all over, I would have started with a really strong branding concept and hired a graphic designer from the get-go." —Ally Sands, founder of plant-based luxury wellness brand Aquarian Soul
Listen To Advice, But Make Your Own Decisions
"When I was starting [Good Good Pins], sometimes I would allow other people’s advice to mold my decision making. I should have listened to and trusted myself more. I would have asked for advice, but not let the advice I received deter me. I would have trusted myself and my own gut instincts. It's important to believe in what you're doing and build upon your brand, as much as it is important to continue to grow and learn everyday while your brand evolves." —Kimberly Yount, founder of Good Good Pins
Go For It!
"I wish I started sooner! I am a planner by nature, but in retrospect I would have benefited from taking the leap into my entrepreneurial career a lot earlier. I'd be doing what I love much longer, plus there is something to be said about living and breathing your business as early in the development process as possible." —Ashley Viola, Founder/CEO of Meridian
Above All, Be Confident
"With how amazing things have been at this point after all the struggle, I wouldn't change a thing. If I had the chance to go back and tell my younger self something, I would just tell myself to keep going and don't give up, everything will pay off. If I'd done one thing differently, I might not be sitting here with a feature in Oprah. I might not have met the Dalai Lama. I might not be as secure in my career as I am now. Nothing is a sure fix. I'd say get a good accountant, but going through the bad ones got me to the great one!" —Amy Black, owner of Amy Black Tattoos