People are always very intrigued to know what I think about the difficulties women face as entrepreneurs.
There are a number of common themes you will hear people talk about on this topic, such as how much harder it is for women to secure funding (Women founders accounted for 112 out of 672 NYC startup financings) or how difficult it is often being the only woman in the room, and how women typically are less inclined to ask for more (from advisors, peers, investors etc.).
However, I sometimes feel that we (Women) focus on this so much that we get caught up proving how difficult it is to be a female entrepreneur/ founder/CEO and lose sight of other more important things. While I certainly don’t think we should ignore the disparities that exist, my top 3 learnings (there are MANY more) from my first 6 months as an entrepreneur are focused on just being an entrepreneur, minus the female factor.
Just do it! Your biggest risk is inaction.
You will never be 100% sure whether or not you will be successful, but you can be 100% sure that you will NOT be successful if you don’t just get started and do something.
Don’t be reckless, but if you are waiting for exactly the right time and for everything to be in place, with all the right resources and perfect product/app/service before you start…you will never start. I believe you should always start before you feel ‘ready’, because you will never actually be completely ready.
At times, it WILL be soul-crushing.
Us humans are emotional beings, and we get emotionally invested in what we are building, it’s ours, and we feel that it represents part of us. Unfortunately failure in one way or another will happen, it’s how we learn and improve. Whether it’s an email from a seriously unhappy customer, rejection from a potential employee, a big ‘no’ from an investor, a partner who isn’t interested…it will happen, and you may regret putting yourself out there. The key is to take a minute to feel sorry for yourself, (if you must) realize what the learning from the situation is, and keep moving. Done.
We are as successful as the hours we put in
Yes, it’s great to be able to arrange my life around my work when I need to, there are very real benefits to this, but all in, I work much more than I did before, and I love it.
You put everything you have into making your start up work. It consumes you most of the time mentally and physically. I realized very quickly that the amount of work I do and my actions directly correlate with how well my startup is doing, and that can be exhausting. There is no finance, marketing, admin person to get stuff done, the buck starts and stops with me.
For now, I’m looking forward to what the next 6 months and more will bring, and what I’m sure will be an even longer list of lessons learned.