Every year on August 26, we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, which marks the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when women earned the right to vote.
The anniversary allows us to reflect on the continuing effort for gender equality in business and beyond. While women have shown what they can achieve with the right opportunities – 40 % of U.S. businesses today, inequalities still exist today. For example, in 2020, women earned 84% of what men did.
In honor of Women’s Equality Day, we offer some important lessons and tips from successful women entrepreneurs to help you excel – whether you’re thinking of starting a business or just need some extra inspiration to perform your job.
1. Find Your Sense of Purpose
One of your greatest assets is staying connected to your ‘why’ – your own personal “why are you doing this?” What is the purpose? The bigger your why and if it goes beyond just you, the more courage you will have.
- Sara Blakely, Founder & CEO, SPANX
To be successful in your work, you have to love what you do. Having a sense of purpose bigger than yourself keeps you focused and sustains you when you face challenges.
Blakely’s purpose is to elevate women and take advantage of opportunities her mother and grandmothers were not afforded.
Tips for finding your purpose:
- Make a list of things you love to do or hope to do. What excites you? What is your passion?
- Reflect on why you started your business. What were you hoping to achieve? Was there a problem you wanted to solve or a goal you wanted to reach?
2. Connect with Other Women Business Owners
Networking is the No. 1 unwritten rule of success in business.”
- Sallie Krawcheck, CEO & Co-Founder, Ellevest
Launching a business is difficult but being a woman makes it even more challenging. Entrepreneurship can feel lonely. It’s nice to have someone to call for advice. Having a support network made up of other female entrepreneurs can help make your journey smoother and it’s nice to have people cheering you on.
Tips for Connecting with Others
- Join an industry organization
- Reach out to other female entrepreneurs in your area
- Attend local chamber of commerce events
- Join a women’s business association
- Partner with other businesses on promotions and events
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
My best successes came on the heels of failures.
- Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and a Shark on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” and Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank
Many women avoid starting a business because they are afraid they will not succeed. While fear is natural, do not let it hold you back from going after what you want. Instead, realize failure is a part of life, and if you focus on avoiding it, you will miss out on great opportunities.
Every successful female entrepreneur has a story about not letting failure stop them. Could you imagine what would happen if Oprah Winfrey or Coco Chanel let one loss held them back from trying again?
Tips on Overcoming Failure:
- Frame your failure as a learning experience. Do not dwell on mistakes or failures. Instead, learn from it and move on.
- Know the risks upfront to minimize the impact
- Find a release for your stress, whether it’s walking, reading, meditating or something else.
4. Never Stop Learning
Just because you are CEO, don’t think you have landed. You must continually increase your learning, the way you think, and the way you approach the organization.
– Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo
Everyone has room for improvement – whether it’s mastering a new skill or building on existing talent. If you aren’t willing to learn, you will not succeed. As a business owner, you need to stay updated on new industry trends and customer needs. Learning opens you up to new opportunities and exposes you to new perspectives and ideas.
Tips for Continuing Your Learning:
- Find a mentor
- Attend industry conferences, seminars and events.
- Seek out business blogs, websites and podcasts
- Hire people with expertise in a skill you do not have
5. Be Courageous
Courage is a large part of the creative process. Fashion grew out of my need to express myself and challenge the status quo. – Vera Wang, Fashion Designer
Courage gives us the ability to make things happen. So tune out the doubters and naysayers and trust your choices and stick to your vision. Know what sets you apart from the other business owners. If you believe in yourself, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
Tips for Being Courageous in Business:
- Focus on your purpose and let it motivate you.
- Remember other times in your life when you were brave.
Hopefully, you can use the words of wisdom from these successful women entrepreneurs to inspire and motivate you in whatever you choose to do.