by Diana Adams | Featured Contributor
My mother was a single mom with three daughters. She became a successful entrepreneur out of necessity. I remember the bathroom in the back of her retail store. She converted it into a “homework room” so we could be with her after school and finish our homework at the same time.
She inspired me to become an entrepreneur, and I began my own business in 2001. Although by most standards I’m considered successful now, it wasn’t always like that.
Looking back, I wish someone had warned me about the challenges I would face as a woman entrepreneur. I’m talking about the things that are hush-hush (the things nobody talks about). I can think of about 20 of those things, but for the purpose of this article, I’ll share my top 5.
1. Once you start a business, you will be faced with criticism from your friends and neighbors about your parenting style, your work ethic and your personal decisions.
I’m not a feminist, but I know that when a woman with a family starts a business, she faces all kinds of unexpected criticism. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. If you aren’t careful, you may start to second-guess your decision to become a business owner. Your mind can become consumed with doubt and guilt.
In my humble opinion, instead of using your family as the reason why you can’t start a business, try turning it around and using your family as your motivation and inspiration to become a successful entrepreneur.
You can’t make everyone happy. When you become a seasoned entrepreneur, you won’t even attempt to make everyone happy. Just be yourself and be confident. As the saying goes, “Never take advice from someone you wouldn’t trade places with.”
2. It’s smart to use the “Women-Owned Small Business” perks to your advantage.
If you’re like me, you’re thinking, “I don’t need those.” If someone sent you an email with an attachment full of tools that would help you become more successful, would you use them? Of course you would.
These perks can only help you, so why wouldn’t you use them to your advantage? You can start on the Women-Owned Small Business Program page on the U.S. Small Business Administration website.
3. Women entrepreneurs have to work harder than their male counterparts to earn the same amount of money (or less).
Several years ago Gary Vaynerchuk said something that always stuck with me. He said that as Americans, we have the privilege of staying up all night to build our businesses and then stumble into our day jobs half asleep in the morning. He’s right.
If you live in the United States, you have the privilege of pursuing your passion and living your dream. Many people around the world don’t have that freedom.
As a woman entrepreneur, you will get paid less than your male counterparts. That’s a statistical fact, at least until you get more entrepreneurial experience under your belt.
I don’t look at that as a disadvantage. Instead, I look at that as an opportunity to work harder doing what I love. If you want to read more about why women get paid less, I suggest you read an article on Forbes titled Why Women Entrepreneurs Make Less Than Men.
4. Women entrepreneurs have a harder time qualifying for small business loans than male entrepreneurs.
It’s tough to get a small business loan, but for a woman, it’s even more difficult. There are a few things you can do to combat this detail.
First of all, keep your credit score high. Next, it’s very important that you are able to compile, understand and explain all the information on basic financial statements.
When I attended USC, I knew I was going to be an entrepreneur. I double majored in business and accounting. I did that because I wanted to understand financial reports, and I knew those accounting classes would help me.
You don’t have to get a college degree like I did in order to learn this skill. You can learn what you need to know by studying Quickbooks (and the online forums) for a month. I can’t stress how important this is.
If you’d like some tips for how to get a small business loan, I suggest you read this article called How To Get A Small Business Loan: Tips For Female Entrepreneurs.
5. Women who become entrepreneurs really can have it all. It just takes impeccable time management and creativity.
To be honest with you, I hate the phrase “have it all.” It shouldn’t be a struggle to be happy and fulfilled, which is what I think “have it all” means. You have to define what success means to you, and when you achieve that, you will smile a never-ending smile.
I only have one child, and he’s 13 years old. He has already started his own online business, and he works on it every moment he’s not busy with schoolwork.
When I started my business, he was only 1 year old. I can’t tell you how many deals I closed while I was making him a grilled cheese sandwich or coloring with crayons at the same time.
I think as women, success is in our DNA. Define success in your own way, and then fight like hell to make it happen. When you’ve made it, you’ll look around and realize that anything (and I mean anything) is possible.
Diana is the founder and CEO of Adams Consulting Group, Inc. in Atlanta. Established in 2001, her company is now an esteemed member of the Apple Consultants Network and is rated one of the top independent Apple consulting firms in the southeast.
She’s written 4,000+ blog posts about technology, social media and geeky innovations. She loves new technology, Java Chips with extra drizzle, and any form of creativity. She’s also one of the biggest Star Wars fans in the world and is a frequent user of the force.
Diana graduated from USC, and she spends most of her time on the east coast. She is a social media addict, and you can find her on Twitter (@adamsconsulting), Instagram, G+ or Facebook almost anytime of the day or night. Send her a tweet and say hello!