For more than two decades, women have been starting businesses at a rate faster than men. The Center for Women’s Business Research reports than upwards of 20 percent of all U.S.-based businesses earning at least $1 million annually are owned and operated by women. It goes without saying that women today have incredible opportunities to blaze their own trail in life – Here’s to the women changing the world.
If you’re a woman thinking of starting your own business, you probably want to know what sets successful female entrepreneurs apart. What traits or personal habits do they share? What exactly are you getting yourself into? Sit back and read on – We’ve got the goods for you.
Most successful female entrepreneurs agree, these five characteristics make a huge difference in determining your path to achievement – or world domination, depending on what you’re going for.
This one might seem obvious, but accomplishing things like starting your own company takes years of persistent focus and determination. To be a successful, you have to be determined.
Author Rania Habiby Anderson spent more than four years traveling the globe to developing countries, and interviewing 250+ female entrepreneurs and businesswomen to find out their secret to success. In 2015 she published her findings in a book, Undeterred: The Six Success Habits of Women in Emerging Economies. What was the number one trait these women shared compared to peers who failed? Determination. Successful women were undeterred by failure and persevered despite setbacks.
Investor shoot you down? Hurdles with your business license or patent? Tenacity and resilience make you unstoppable. Don’t. Ever. Stop.
Set high goals
Set the bar high. If you’re going to succeed at anything, you have to want it. Aim for the top by setting high goals. And when you achieve those goals, raise the bar higher.
Don’t forget to make a series of small goals to serve as milestones along your journey. These achievements ensure you’re on the right track. Celebrate accomplishments, even the small ones. You can’t hit a target you can’t see. So make sure to have a plan.
Work hard, wisely
Margaret Thatcher once said: “I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. That is the recipe.” You can be highly intelligent and have great connections, but in the end those that put in the work, win. Working long hours and sacrificing time is to be expected when building a business.
However, always keep in mind that your time and energy are not infinite. The more successful you become, the more others will seek your advice and assistance. These requests will often come from worthy groups, such as nonprofits, community leaders, business colleagues, and customers. It’s flattering, and you’ll likely believe in the goals of many causes and organizations. That makes it hard to turn down multiple requests.
The most successful businesswomen set priorities for working hard on their professional priorities, which are based on their goals and values. That means saying “yes” sometimes, and “no” at the right times. Treat your time and energy as scarce resources.
If you don’t believe in yourself, you probably won’t get far. Talk to any successful businesswoman and you will discover how much confidence has enabled her success. Self-belief is one of the single most important traits of any entrepreneur.
Not only does confidence ensure that you persevere despite criticism and setbacks, it also wins people’s respect and trust. Your reputation is based on perceptions. It’s all about walking into a room with your head high, a wide smile, a strong handshake, and being able to hold eye contact with others. Confidence is about being brave even when you’re standing alone.
Looking to build your confidence? Do things that scare you. That doesn’t have to mean skydiving, either. If you’re petrified of cold calling, make it a goal to start making 20 calls per day to your prospects. Hate networking? Attend events weekly and don’t leave until you’ve met 5 different people. Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself. The more you succeed at conquering your fears, the sooner you’ll realize how strong you already are.
Pursue your passions
Highly successful women entrepreneurs tend to create businesses around activities they enjoy. Just think about Anita Roddick who started The Body Shop. She was passionate about environmental issues and, as a result, founded the first company to prohibit the use of products tested on animals. Another good example is dermatologist partners Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields. Both were passionate about skin health, so they invented Proactiv and then launched Rodan + Fields.
Whatever you decide to pursue, just realize that most entrepreneurs aren’t 100 percent confident they’re starting in something they’re born to do. Instead, the point is to commit to it—100 percent. If you later discover you were born to do something else, change directions. The worst thing you can do is nothing.
To find your passion, invest time in the things you enjoy. Take a class at a local vo-tech, start an online blog, join a group interested in the same thing. Ask yourself, “What would you do if it was impossible to fail?”.
The biggest takeaway
If you possess all of these traits does this mean you’re ensured to be a successful female entrepreneur? Well, as we all know there are no silver bullets in the game of life. However, a combination of these traits will definitely help you along the way. They don’t need to be distributed equally. You shouldn’t worry if you’re not self-assured 100% of the time or deeply passionate about your project.
Never forget that even the most difficult obstacles can be overcome, and entrepreneurial success is possible in any environment. Achieving small daily goals will eventually lead to big results. Women around the world are succeeding every day, and there are new and expanding opportunities to do business with them.