Some may say that 2014 has seen a spectacular rise in the number of female business owners. If you don’t believe me, just take a quick browse through the internet to find examples galore of blogs, websites, and online magazines focused on the female entrepreneur. From This Girl Means Business to Just Fearless, increasingly, women are propelling themselves forward into the path of entrepreneurship and finding ways to support and encourage one another.
What is certain is that the last decade has witnessed a significant shift in the way people interact, exchange information, develop and grow a business. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the data shows that over the last 17 years, women-owned business increased 68% since 1997 and this represents more than 9.1 million women-owned businesses operating in 2014, which is up from 8.6 million in 2013. The growth in the U.S. has doubled in the last three years and has generated close to $1.5 trillion in revenues for female business owners.
Canadian data reflects similar findings. According to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, there are 950,00 self-employed women in Canada in 2012 which accounts for 35.6% of all self-employed persons. The report also indicates that the proportion of women-owned businesses that plan to expand their business is generally higher than their male counterparts.
In addition, 47% of small to medium enterprises were entirely or partly owned by women.
More and more women have been bitten by this entrepreneurial bug and they look to it as a realistic alternative to the confines of a traditional job. In Canada, the statistics are promising in that when a woman decides to start a business, she tends to stay in it longer and the survival rates of her business are higher. The greatest concentration of women-run enterprises tend to be in professional services and accommodation and food services.
On this week’s episode of Your Authentic Life, I’m honoured to be interviewing Natalie MacNeil. She is an Emmy Award-winning media producer, bestselling author of She Takes on the World: A Guide to Being Your Own Boss, Working Happy, and Living on Purpose, and the Creator of SheTakesOnTheWorld.com
She Takes On The World is one of the top sites on the planet for entrepreneurial women. It was recognized by Forbes on “Top 10 Websites for Entrepreneurial Women” and was featured by ForbesWoman on “Top 100 Websites for Women.” She Takes on the World is also the 2013 recipient of “Website of the Year” at the Stevie Awards for Women in Business.
Natalie has appeared in top media outlets like Glamour, People StyleWatch, Inc., Forbes, ForbesWoman, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Entrepreneur.com, Globe and Mail, Mashable, and more.
Natalie and I will explore the rise of women-owned businesses. In support of our interview, here are my tips for helping anyone on their entrepreneurial journey:
1) Celebrate even the smallest success. Being an entrepreneur involves a lot of heavy lifting. Some days revenue generating ideas and activities will flow easily and other days it may feel like you’re sinking in quicksand. Recognizing that every effort you take to move closer to your goals and to define a clear path for your success is worthy of celebration. Find ways to treat yourself even if it is with the tiniest gesture. In doing so, you are gently marking occasions that have paved your path to greatness.
2) Learn to say no. There will be many opportunities that come your way. Saying “no” to those that don’t drive you biggest goals forward is critical to ensuring you stay focused and use your time and energy wisely. Remember to evaluate your daily schedule with honesty and with the desire to make the most out of your day.
3) Don’t try to please everyone. Sometimes the decisions you need to make for your business will not always be popular. After doing your research and weighing the options, determine your path because of what you believe to be right and based on all the information you have available to you. Trying to please everyone will leave you in a state of indecision where nothing gets accomplished and no one is happy. If you find out later that it wasn’t an optimal decision, take accountability and tack quick to change course as necessary.
4) Listen to your body. Driving yourself too hard and not taking time to rest, reflect, and recharge will lead to increases in stress, emotional and physical toxicity, and inflammation in your body that may result in a chronic disease. When you listen to your body and do less than you feel you need to do, you’ll find yourself with enough energy in reserve. At the end of a busy day, having fuel in your tank will allow you to enjoy time with family, friends or a quiet evening alone.
5) Don’t let “should” rule you. Taking action about anything because you feel you should or out of a sense of expectation is not going to serve you well. It may leave you feeling resentful and regretting a decision because it wasn’t motivated by what you knew deep down was best for you and your business. Doing something because it feels right and aligns with your truest desires will move you in the direction of infinite potential.
6) Take time to reflect daily. How do you feel about your day and the work you are doing? Are you happy? Is the work still fulfilling even if you had a rocky day? If you answer “no” to these questions on a consistent basis, it is time to evaluate whether a change is necessary.
There is so much I wish I could cover in the time I have with Natalie, but suffice it to say, every moment will be rich with ideas as Natalie shares her experiences with tips to help you live your most authentic life. Tune in November 26 at 2pm ET or 11am PT to catch the show live or go to the VoiceAmerica site and listen to this episode on demand.
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher