Running your own business has some appealing draws. It provides freedom and flexibility that you don’t normally get working for a corporate employer and allows you to make the best of your skills, experience and work ethic, all while doing something you love. According to a 2013 study by Cox, 61 percent of women entrepreneurs started a business to be their own boss, and more than 50 percent became entrepreneurs to have greater control over their future. More encouraging is the stat that nearly 92 percent of women business owners would do it all over again if given the choice, and would encourage more women to join them.
So if you have a business idea and are ready to take the next step, what’s stopping you?
First things first
So you have that niggling thought in the back of your head and despite shooing it away it keeps returning. Maybe you’ve had a revolutionary lightbulb moment and don’t know where to start. How do you take your idea to market? How do you get investors? How do you write a business plan?
Let’s take it to the experts. A self-described serial entrepreneur, Tiina Zilliacus, says starting your own business requires trust, ideas and a lot of self-confidence. According to her interview in CoFounder magazine, Tiina thinks self-confidence is the single most important factor determining whether or not you will be able to execute on your dreams.
“People need to believe in themselves more,” She says
“Entrepreneurship is much more difficult than an employment relationship because you need far more competence in all aspects of the business. But the passion for personal achievement has to surmount the difficulties.”
Another tip from Zilliacus, if you’re thinking about founding your own company, it’s worthwhile to go and work in a startup environment as you will gain valuable experience you can then leverage when starting your own business.
In a world that is growing more aware of the gender imbalance in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics women around the world are banding together to support one another and achieve the unexpected.
Global organizations like Girls in Tech have chapters located across six continents; from cities like Cameroon, to Orange County, to Melbourne, to Milwaukee, just to name a few. Girls in Tech offers a number of programs to support tech education and interest like boot camps and hackathons, as well as a support network for likeminded women interested in tech careers and entrepreneurialism.
Another great organization for female entrepreneurs is Bringing out Successful Sisters, or BOSS Network, which is an online community of professional and entrepreneurial women supporting each other through conversation boards, online networking and event-based opportunities.
There’s also the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), which boasts over 7000 members and 70 chapters across the US, and has been representing the interests of women entrepreneurs since 1975. NAWBO offers a number of resources for women entrepreneurs from online education programs to virtual networking.
As Sheryl Sandberg says in her book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead “We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in.”
So get yourself out there, meet other women, share your knowledge and absorb theirs.
The final touch
It has never been more important to have an online presence, and if you’re thinking of venturing into entrepreneurialism then you don’t need to be told your website is going to be one of the most important tools you have to grow your business.
Jenny Servis, VP of Marketing for SnapRetail advises, “Ten years ago it may have been a choice to jump on the online bandwagon, but now it’s an absolute must to survive and thrive as a small business.”
The same goes for global ideas.
“For niche businesses, the Web presents an opportunity to reach the nationwide or global community, where geographic limitations might otherwise force you out of business,” says Sadie Peterson, president of SDMarCom Inc., a San Diego marketing firm.
Whether your strategy is focused on blogging, email marketing or social media efforts to reach your audience you will need a branded web address to send traffic to, and you should be selective when deciding what your online domain will be. Your website is how you present your brand to the world. Make sure you make it memorable.
With a .CO domain, you get more than just a web address. You get a community at your fingertips. A network of entrepreneurs and innovators building their ideas on a .CO. As a .CO’er, you get access to a membership program with free perks designed to support you every step of the way and help your idea take off.
What are you waiting for? Be courageous and come and feel what it’s like to build your idea on a .CO