What we all can learn from female entrepreneur success stories
By Lela Cruz, Guest Writer
The number of female Entrepreneurs is constantly growing, and the balance between men and women is evening out. If you look online for female Entrepreneur success stories, you will find a couple of familiar themes. Resilience and perseverance often come up, as does budgeting.
With any small business, the budget is very delicately balanced at the beginning. Whether you raised investment, or are starting alone from zero, there isn’t much room for overspending. Of course, getting investment or even a bank loan can be an exercise in perseverance too.
Let’s look at a few core lessons we can learn from female Entrepreneurs and their success stories.
Make your budget stretch further
From stories in the press to the rising trend of money saving Instagram accounts, we can see the nation’s appetite for budgeting and savings advice. Especially since the start of the pandemic and the ensuing recession, everybody is extra cautious with their spending.
In the small business world this is no different. So before we get into a few individual stories of successful female Entrepreneurs, let’s just talk about budgeting for a moment. You can’t look online these days without seeing adverts for business bank accounts with overdrafts, or business credit cards available with minimal checks.
Credit is easy to come by, but unfortunately the right advice on using credit is less readily available. You will hear a few stories here about knowing your numbers. But it’s also worth touching on budgeting and saving.
Since the Entrepreneur world is heavily catered to by SAAS (software as a service) and other costly online business products, there are many shiny objects we may be tempted to spend our business budget on.
Familiarise yourself with free online tools like Canva and Logo Creator for your branding and social media graphics. Look at offers from website building and hosting services such as Wix. If you are looking for email marketing or ecourse software, do a price comparison before you buy.
Now let's move on to some real life anecdotes.
Arianna Huffington – Avoiding burnout
Of all the famous female Entrepreneurs, Arianna is one of the most admired. From being a successful author, TV personality and the Founder of The Huffington Post, her focus has shifted in recent years.
Her early days of Entrepreneurship were highly focused on hustling and smashing the glass ceiling, all while raising a family. However, today she is focused more on health and wellness.
In the Entrepreneur world, women typically feel the pressure to prove themselves more than men do. As a result, many women over-work, lose precious family time and ultimately burn out. Today, Arianna shares the valuable lessons she learnt when she lost her health and resilience to burn out.
What we can learn from this is the importance of balancing work and life, and of listening to the warning signs when our body tells us we need to rest or hire some help. The early days of a new business do require a big push, but that level of output is rarely sustainable in the long-term.
Melissa Galt – Do whatever it takes, then find your balance
When Melissa Galt requested time off work to study interior design, she was refused it, and decided to quit. After becoming unemployed and finding herself deeply in debt, she launched her new design business 6 months before she had planned to, and took on side-jobs to pay the bills.
After just 18 months of hustling, she was debt-free and her business was thriving. Along with the theme of clearing debts and budgeting, is a clear display of the power of true passion for your work.
Inside of 5 years, Melissa was turning over 7 figures in her business, without working weekends anymore. She teaches her clients that success isn’t just earning money, but having balance in your life. It is about doing what's needed to get started in that business that lights you up. But then to work on balancing that with a good lifestyle too.
This resonates with what Arianna Huffington talks about with prioritising balance over burnout.
Barbara Findlay Schenck- Know your ‘funding runway’
Looping back to the topic of finance and budget, Barbara Findlay Schenck’s story of founding her own business and marketing agency has a simple message.
Barbara and her husband created the agency as a response to the lack of good jobs for them in their area. With just 6 months’ worth of budget, they had a small window of opportunity for their venture to take flight.
The 6 months they gave themselves was based on their financial projections, and this shows the importance of knowing your profit and loss accounting.
Without knowing their own deadline, they could easily have run out of budget. In truth, this happens to far too many startups, and could be avoided by spending more time in the profit and loss spreadsheet.
The lesson here is to project ahead, then count backward how many months you have to turn a profit. Don’t run out of funding just before you start to make it.
The lesson for us all
As I’m sure you can see, the core theme is balance. A balance between working hard and living well is essential for your happiness and health, but also for the sustainability of the work you are doing. If you burn yourself out, then you can’t run your business effectively.
Within that theme of balance, also sits finance and planning. Depending on your type of business, you many need credit or investment to get you started. But keeping a close eye on your profit and loss projection will allow you to balance income with expense. This will keep your head above water and see you past the toughest part, which is the start.
Finding your own balance will be essential, and that’s a great lesson for us all.