Olivia Jaras is the CEO of The EmpowHER Society, specializing in salary coaching for women.
Okay, ladies… so you don’t have a job. Or you’ve been “furloughed.” Maybe your past employer will open back up soon. You don’t know. You can’t get a definitive answer. Probably because they don’t have one.
Some economic news sounds optimistic. But then you hear about people facing evictions from homes and apartments because of mortgage delinquencies or nonpayment of rent.
You’re frustrated and maybe scared. You have some money so you won’t be evicted — maybe! — but you need to do something.
Or maybe you’re not unemployed. But reading this, it dawns on you, you’re just unfulfilled where you are. You know, deep inside, you were meant for more. To do more, to be more.
The idea’s been percolating in your head and your heart for a while now… since before the pandemic, actually.
Entrepreneurship. Striking out on your own.
You have an idea. Something that’ll solve a problem. You’ve kept it in your back pocket. Maybe it’s time to move it to your front pocket. Maybe it’s time to act. To take the plunge. Start your own business.
But are you ready? It seems scary. Do you have what it takes? It’s a big job, maybe a bigger challenge than anything you were doing.
Are you entrepreneur material?
I hope this article helps you find out. Especially if you’ve not struck out on your own before.
The most important traits entrepreneurs need are so well-known that we don’t need to spend time on them here. Yes, you have to be a self-starter, self-motivated. No lying around in bed till noon. Self-discipline is critical. You have to manage your time wisely, not spend hours reading emails or scrolling through your Twitter feed.
And you need a big idea: a product or service in some niche, something some group of people wants and can pay for. Some market.
And a way to reach out to them.
A sense of adventure is helpful. In my experience, a lot of men become business owners to make more money and to do things their way. A lot of women, though, want personal fulfillment. While earning money is important, obviously, you have something that’ll touch people’s lives.
Finally, you need stick-to-it-ness. Consistency may be the most important trait associated with success. A lack of it is why many would-be entrepreneurs fall off the cart. What you’re doing may not pay off right away, after all. You have to keep doing it. You might have to keep on keeping on for a couple of years or more.
There are no guarantees, even then. The real test to see if you have what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur is what happens when your first idea goes bust. Will you run with the next one, or will you quit?
I like to say there aren’t any failures, just quitters.
The good news for you is that most people do quit. What that means is that the closer you get to success, the less competition there is. Think about that!
You’ll stick it out, therefore, right? You’ll do the work. You have what it takes. Never stop telling yourself that.
If you’re a woman, moreover, you likely have something that many men may not have, or don’t do as well as you do. You empathize better. Many studies show that men are socialized to tend to think abstractly while women tend to think relationally.
What does this mean for women in business? Easy. If you take the time to really study your niche and then find out what the pain points are, you can empathize with your market better than anyone else.
You can learn people’s wants, get inside their heads (and, more importantly, their hearts), and promise to relieve those pain points.
They have a problem and you have the solution. Or they’re missing something. You can supply it.
All it takes is one or maybe two ideas. Research and learn what you need to know. Become an expert.
And then prepare for the ride.
Prepare with courage, since you’re taking a risk. We all are.
Prepare with vision. Where others see problems, you see solutions.
Prepare with passion, to keep you motivated through the tough spots at the start, and because passion is catching. Those you market to will pick up on it.
Be persistent, for as long as it takes.
And balance your work with your life, to keep it all in perspective.
You’re ready. Keep in mind, too: When you become a woman entrepreneur, you’re joining a growing global community of key players rising to visibility in every advanced economy in the world. We’re still a little behind, and we have some issues receiving the fair salaries we deserve, but we’re catching up fast.
Think it through. If you decide entrepreneurship is right for you, take the plunge. You’ll learn a tremendous amount even if your first idea doesn’t succeed.
When you finally make it, you can sit back with that glass of vino at night and rest content that you’ve made this world a little bit better — and not just for business.
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