Entrepreneurship is awesome! Along the way you will inevitably learn a plethora of things about yourself and what it takes to be successful in business.
While many business challenges are common, there are unique lessons that women entrepreneurs will learn in business. Here are several lessons I’ve learned as a successful female entrepreneur and what every Gen-Y woman entrepreneur should know along the way:
1. Own your success.
There are several things that, as a woman, you should never apologize for … at the top of that list is, your well-deserved success.
The apologetic undertone of some women entrepreneurs is subtle, laced with an excuse, chocked up to ‘luck’ or a dismissed congratulatory pat on the back. Many of us aren’t outright asserting, “I’m sorry that I am successful,” but a lack of confidence and all of the above are bedfellows of the same notion.
In fact, studies reveal what most of us already know – “If you think you hear women saying “I’m sorry” more than men, you’re right. Women apologize more often than men do… But it’s not that men are reluctant to admit wrongdoing, the study shows. It’s just that they have a higher threshold for what they think warrants reparation.”
It seems that young business women have two choices when it comes to their success: “they can appear spoiled and ungrateful, or apologetic and “aw, shucks”-like,” according to Lena Dunham, a young author that sold her self-help-y book proposal to Random House for $3.7 million dollars. “The savvier ones, like Dunham, often go with the latter. Women — particularly young women — are supposed to be respectful. They’re supposed to make Taylor Swift faces when they win awards…”
Women entrepreneurs already face an uphill battle in some cases … so don’t lug around even more unnecessary personal baggage on your rise to the top. When you earn a congratulatory remark from your peers, embrace it gracefully and confidently. And “If you can’t own this success for yourself, then own it for all the other women who look up to you and emulate you.”
2. Never sell yourself short.
We have all read the headlines that insist, women still earn less than men. “Women on average make only 77 cents to every dollar earned by men. Some of that wage gap is the result of women being more likely to work in certain industries or occupations, but about 40 percent of the difference in men’s and women’s wages cannot be explained by any measurable factor.”
As a woman this pay gap may have haunted you in corporate America but it should no longer hold court in your business.
Consider this: you are in complete control of your earning potential. In order to make this shift in your business you must be completely aware of your gifts and talents, understand what you have to offer within your industry and monetize your products and services to reflect what the market will bear coupled with your unique value creation.
Never deny yourself the credit that you deserve, underestimate yourself or fail to see the greatness that you possess. Take stock of your business strengths and own them. Leverage external resources to cancel out weaknesses. Develop pricing strategies that reflect industry benchmarks, customer feedback and market value, instead of revenue models based on what feels right. Your feelings are not an appropriate gauge in business, as they are muddled in emotion and always subject to change.
Tell yourself a correct (and positive) story about what you have to offer the world, instead of mirroring the words of others. No more excuses. “If you put a small value on yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price.”