For my first blog post, I’m recycling a Facebook post I wrote and expanding on it a little because this is my battle-cry for female entrepreneurs.
Running a successful business as a female entrepreneur is a feminist issue. Bold statement of the day that will surprise literally none of us.
The gender pay gap is most definitely still a thing. Eight in 10 UK companies are still paying men more than women. So, maybe you think you’ll escape this by running your own business? Nope. There’s the gender funding gap too. “The Entrepreneurs Network has found that just 9% of funding for UK startups goes to women-run businesses in the UK annually.” Which is just shockingly low. It means women are generally alone in their businesses and working harder just to catch-up with men who have secured funding.
Oh and have you ever been to a business networking event? I have and let me tell you, while the majority of people are lovely, I have some serious anecdotal evidence of being dismissed by men in grey suits simply because I’m a woman/younger than them/not wearing a suit/chunky as hell.
This should serve as a stark reminder that as women running a business we have an uphill battle for…
- Funding and financial support
- To be taken seriously by our peers – both clients and the business community
- To show authenticity and vulnerability in our personal brands without being dismissed as “silly, over-emotional women”
- To have free reign over the industries we choose to work in (girls can’t do maths or science, right? 🙄)
- To be BIG – how many of you have felt small, or have felt pressure to be small, to diminish your achievements, the impact of your business or the fact you even have a business?
- To stop apologising for and justifying the way we run our business and the decisions we make
- To be treated as business owners not hobbyists
- To be judged on the quality of our work, not some wishy-washy crap about how we juggle our home and work life
- To have acknowledgement that the way we approach business may well be different to our male counterparts (maybe, I’m not saying it is), but that our way is not by default the lesser or wrong way
- To earn more than our partners if we want to without worrying they’re going to run off with someone less successful than us because we make them feel less than
Women – take this as a battle-cry – we are setting the scene for all the women to follow and there is NO reason to play it small. Get out there. Stand your ground. Take up space. LOTS of it. Make strong statements that you are a business owner, that you have massive goals that you know you are going to achieve. Go be the statistically anomaly. Be unstoppable.
But there is some good news. For starters, there are specific women’s business loans and grants, I love this list by GirlGeeks. Natwest have recently launched Back Her Business, a matched crowdfunding option for female entrepreneurs.
More importantly, we are all in a position to change this. Start playing big and start investing in the businesswomen around us. When we earn more money and succeed, we change the expectations of women in business and can fix the problems we see around us.
When I’m asked why I coach women exclusively, this is why. I’m creating my own community of powerful, inspiring and successful businesswomen, while helping them succeed. Go out and create your own, come join mine, ask for help and be unstoppable.