I’ll be the first one to tell you that being an entrepreneur isn’t for the faint of heart! I actually had no intention of becoming an entrepreneur until it just kind of happened. See, I went to school to become a nurse which is literally the farthest thing from being your own boss! A nurse’s sole job is to carry out tasks that the doctor has set. Sure you also assess the patient and use your judgement to provide the best care possible but a big part of the job is doing what you’re told. And you know what? I was great at it! Even with my entrepreneurial spirit that was buried deep inside, I was great at following direction. And I’m here to tell you, you can have both personality types and still be a successful business owner!
But one thing you can’t be, is scared of failure. They say, on average, 20% of small businesses fail in the first year and over 50% shut down within 5 years. That is pretty scary for someone who is putting their entire livelihood into their new startup! Fortunately for you I have done my research and compiled 10 of the top habits of successful female entrepreneurs and if you follow their advice, you are way more likely to pass the 5 year mark!
1. BELIEVING IN YOURSELF
In my opinion, you can’t be a successful entrepreneur if you are doubting your abilities throughout the day. Sis, we ain’t got time for that!! It’s so incredibly nice to get affirmation from a spouse, friend, or parent, but if YOU don’t fully believe in yourself, your gifts, and most importantly, your capabilities, then everyone else’s confidence in you won’t matter at all.
And on that same note, you have to be prepared to be your own cheerleader more times than not. A true entrepreneur will have a few failures along the way and unfortunately, there are people who will start to hate on your “failures”. But LISTEN TO ME: You have to block them out… or as my kids say… “dab on the haters!” (honestly not sure what that means but they seem very confident in this “dabbing” so lets go with it!) You have to be prepared to stumble and possibly even fail but that can not take away from your confidence in yourself! The true test comes after your stumble. Pick yourself up and continue the grind with grace, babe! BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!
2. MAINTAINING POSITIVITY
Life can be hard, y’all. But I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that. The attitude we try to keep as we work through life’s ups and downs impacts everyone and everything around us.
Approaching the less-than-good occurrences with a “poor me” attitude will just keep you in a victim state of mind. Even when life gets really tough, which I promise it will, approaching it with can-do, optimistic energy makes it so much more bearable and makes solving problems immensely more approachable. After all, everything does work out in time — just remind yourself of that when things get difficult!
3. KEEPING A MORNING ROUTINE
Bah, morning routine… as a working mom of 3, my morning routine looks a little different than it used to but it still exists and for good reason. Morning routines are so powerful for kicking off your day on a good note. Fill your morning routine with things that bring you joy, because we could ALL use a little more joy in our lives, especially first thing in the morning.
Successful women often avoid looking at their phone or email right away in the morning because it puts us in a place of reactivity rather than empowering proactivity. Whether you get a sweat in, enjoy a slow breakfast and cup of coffee with the fam, or spend some time meditating or reading, create a routine you enjoy and that you’ll want to stick to every day.
4. BECOMING A VISIONARY
The most influential entrepreneurs spend a significant amount of time in their heads thinking and visioning. They are naturally innovative and crave being in the constant process of discovery. You have to dare to dream, and dare to turn those dreams into a reality.
This visionary quality sets successful entrepreneurs apart from others who do not dare to dream as big or as vast. Those who stand out from the pack see no end-date to their creativity, their success, their ability to make money, involve themselves in new ventures, and to do what they believe they can still envision and achieve. And at the end of the day, if you have an idea, brand, or company fail, you have to be able look look forward and keep. pushing. on.
5. COMMUNICATING CONFIDENTLY
Confident communication is key, whether it’s via email, in person, or even your body language. By speaking with clarity and resolve, you’ll let others know that you believe in your capabilities, which better equips them to trust you thoroughly. I think confidence is such a major attribute that leads to success, and even if you don’t feel all that confident all the time, this is an area where it’s definitely okay to fake it ’til you make it.
A few ways to appear more confident include making eye contact during conversation, standing up straight with your shoulders pulled back, and enunciating your words when you speak. Avoid mumbling, slouching, or fidgeting too much.
6. SETTING BOUNDARIES
Listen, it’s hard to shut off work at the end of a crazy day when people still need answers from you or when your computer is sitting on the nightstand taunting you to open it. It’s also hard to be the person who doesn’t partake in chatty gossip with girlfriends. But creating boundaries around our work, relationships, and other lifestyle habits is vital for our success and mental wellbeing.
Even if you have to shift your boundaries over time, be clear with your colleagues, family, and friends about what you are and aren’t okay with from the start. Maybe you have a strict no-email policy on the weekends, or a promise to not look at social media for the first hour of the day. Whatever your boundaries are, stick with them because they determine a whole lot of your mental and emotional bandwidth.
The most successful entrepreneurs I have ever met have all given me the same advice. You have to be flexible enough to pivot on demand in response to unforeseen circumstances. Being flexible enough to change direction greatly increases your chances of success because you won’t be stuck trying to fix an un-fixable situation. You have to learn when it’s time to pivot and try something new.
8. FOCUS ON THE HIGHEST VALUE TASKS, FIRST
We all have the same number of hours in the day. The difference is that the most successful founders refuse to work on anything but the most high-value tasks. If you are just starting out, you might not have employees to delegate small tasks to, but you must always remember to get the high-value tasks done FIRST.
I like to take a moment each evening to write out my to-do list for the next day. (this helps me shut my brain off and relax!) And then when I wake up, I prioritize those tasks and start with the most important, first. That way if something comes up during your day, you know you already got your most important tasks completed.
9. ALWAYS SEEK TO FAIL
Huh????? Yes, go re-read that and come back. By always seeking to fail you will constantly be pushing the boundaries and thus, potentially doing something GREAT! If you aren’t ahead of your time, you are behind the times. If you aren’t getting no’s from potential investors then you aren’t asking for enough or from the best investors. If you aren’t sometimes having to apologize to users, then you aren’t pushing the boundaries of what you can do for them. If you are landing all your shots, you aren’t shooting high enough.
Is that enough analogies? I’m trying to say that failing isn’t a BAD THING. It means you are pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Just remember tip #7 and be flexible enough to pivot when your big ideas don’t work out the way you were hoping they would.
10. GOING THE EXTRA MILE
A lot of times it might be tempting to call it quits when a project is done but just “okay.” It might look done, but we always know when it could use another once-over or a little more refinement. Successful women always push themselves to complete their tasks to the very best of their abilities, even if it means more time and resources being used.
By going that extra mile, you’re letting other people know you are dedicated and trustworthy. Your efforts won’t go unnoticed, I can promise you that! And you’ll feel so much better and more fulfilled knowing you put your all into your work and consistently delivered projects you can feel proud of.