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Life as an entrepreneur is challenging. To succeed takes tremendous drive and dedication—not to mention a significant investment of time and, often, money—and the path is crossed with obstacles and complications. The rewards can be great, but the prize is hard-earned.
From both a practical and morale-boosting standpoint, it helps female entrepreneurs to tap into knowledge and support from other women in the same situation. We asked female members of Young Entrepreneur Council to offer their top tips for finding and utilizing resources and support from other women along the path to success.
1. Find A Group of Women And Give Support First
The first step is to find a group of female entrepreneurs whom you really resonate with, whether it’s local or virtual. You might need to pull people together into a group if you don’t know of an existing one that meets your needs. You can also look for masterminds or other networking groups to get started. Once you find a tribe of supportive women, the best advice is to give support first. How can you help the others in the group and be generous with your time, connections and empathetic ear? I’ve found that when you give support first, when it’s your turn to ask for help or share something vulnerable it feels a lot safer and you get a better response. The first step is to reach out and know that everyone is experiencing very similar issues as you might be! – Nathalie Lussier, AccessAlly
2. Join The Female Founders Alliance
I’d really recommend finding a local chapter or joining the online community of the Female Founders Alliance (FFA)—there’s a very active digital group on Facebook, in addition to Twitter and their newsletters. They have some really great events and a healthy accelerator boot camp program too for entrepreneurs. Outside of that, Seattle also has a strong female entrepreneur community called the FBomb Breakfast Club. They meet here in Seattle the first Friday of every month in the wee hours of the morning. It’s a great community. Personally, I also think having one to two like-minded startup executives whom you can just freely vent to, go drinking or to dinner with, and trade tips and tricks with is absolutely a must too. – Arry Yu, Yellow Umbrella Ventures
3. Capitalize On Virtual And Digital Support
When tackling the ever-elusive “work-life balance,” sometimes it can seem like an extra “task” to join a female founder meetup, attend that dinner or show up to an event. Capitalize on virtual and digital support, whether it is a text chain, Facebook group or Facetime session with fellow female founders to provide support. Helaine Knapp, the founder of CityRow, and I have a text chain where we check in every week with one another. While we might be in different time zones, states or abilities to answer, we know that the other will always write back with an encouraging word or piece of advice. The fact it’s not in-person support doesn’t make it less valuable or necessary to help build you up! – Kim Kaupe, The Superfan Company
4. Ask For Help And Offer Help
Women often feel they need to have all the answers or figure things out themselves to be respected. But no one has all the answers, and no one does this alone. Leverage your network and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most people like helping others and do so willingly. Asking someone for their expertise is a form of flattery. You just have to ask. Remember that you have something to offer as well—a connection, an insight, a skill. Make a trade. Offer to help someone else before asking them for help, if that feels like a more comfortable approach. The more generous you are in connecting people, opening up your network of introductions, and giving advice and resources, then the more help, resources and connections will come back to you. – Frances Dewing, Rubica Inc.
5. Seek Out Non-Entrepreneurs
Often it is the women out there who aren’t running a business who can help you come to those “Aha” moments when you’re grappling with a challenge. What unique issues do women entrepreneurs grapple with (that perhaps male counterparts don’t)? In my experience, they are related to achieving life balance, finding the confidence to say “no,” asserting themselves with their team, trusting their intuition and eliminating the temptation to prove their worth by presenting themselves as superwomen. The wisdom I’ve gotten on these topics from stay-at-home moms, educators, consultants, artists and doctors is more eye-opening than from other business owners. Build a diverse circle of female friends and see all of them as a resource with a unique perspective. – Saloni Doshi, Eco Enclose, LLC
6. Follow Your Mentors’ Social Media Accounts
One of my biggest inspirations, Sara Blakely, is a huge Instagram poster, and I follow her account. As the founder of the incredibly successful company Spanx, she often posts stories about her entrepreneurial journey as well as how she manages running such a wildly successful company while also being a mom and wife. Her honesty about the successes and failures she experiences in each role are refreshing and incredibly encouraging to me. Whether her post is about when she was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show or how she was embarrassingly late to carpool, I often get a quick laugh and feel supported knowing she not only understands, but also is willing to be transparent about the ups and downs. It isn’t time-consuming, and it’s a lighthearted way to get a quick jolt of inspiration during hectic days. – Amanda Elms, Metis Genetics, LLC
7. Listen To Podcasts
Life as a female entrepreneur can be challenging, especially if you don’t have the free time to go to networking events or to speak to other female entrepreneurs in online support groups. But one thing you can do while you work out, on your commute, during chores—even while you work—is listen to podcasts. Listening to a podcast will not only save you time, but it will also give you access to valuable advice from women who have been where you are and help you feel connected to them. There are a number of great podcasts for female entrepreneurs out there like GirlBoss Radio and So Money, just to name a couple. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
8. Compete In A Pageant
I know it sounds a little crazy, but hear me out. Pageantry exposed me to an incredible group of women! We share similar traits: We are goal-oriented, involved in the community and care about making an impact, whichever industry we’re in. Yes, the pageant itself contains inherent competition, but I and the girlfriends I have made from pageantry thrive on the healthy competition and realize that we all push each other to win and pursue goals! You’ll find that the ladies who really bring their A-game are generally open to sharing tips and knowledge and supporting others. I have met some of my best and lifelong friends through the modeling and pageant industries. – Lisa Song Sutton, Sin City Cupcakes
April 16, 2019 at 09:07AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs