Unless you are a Silicon Valley tech giant, the odds are that 2020 was a challenging year for your business. If you are a woman, the odds are even worse. While female business ownership has skyrocketed over recent years, a suitable support infrastructure has not grown in tandem with this progress. Of the myriad obstacles encumbering women business leaders, three have proven especially difficult to overcome.
Belief = Capital. That simple equation illustrates the intimate relationship between an entrepreneur’s ability to express their vision and their potential to acquire capital.
Many women find it difficult to concoct the same vivid imagery of a distant goal – however reachable – as effectively as their male counterparts. The unfortunate reality is that excellent ideas get passed over by investors simply because of an underwhelming pitch.
Revisit that equation. The “belief” refers as much to your conviction in your own idea as it is in the conviction that you wish to inspire in others. Remember, enthusiasm is infectious. Relegate any doubts about your concept to the back of your mind and vocalize your vision with the faith it deserves.
Pursue every avenue, government and private. Apply for every grant for which you qualify. Covid-19 relief measures will continue to flow in 2021 – structure your business to qualify for and obtain them.
Perhaps the greatest differentiator between male and female work responsibilities is how child care falls so disproportionately in the lap of the latter. Many effective women business leaders find a balance between quality time with their young ones and adequate time for their professional obligations.
There are no defined rules here and you should be apprehensive about imposing any on yourself. Factors such as the age of your children, their individual needs, and school arrangements affect the balance and are in constant flux, as is your business. Speak to your partner about their contributions. If you opt for childcare, check if you qualify for relevant government initiatives.
Mental health is less an issue on its own than an amalgamation of all the challenges that women face. It incorporates personal hurdles as well as professional ones, including the two on which we touched above.
Beware of being taken in by one of the most harmful ideas among women entrepreneurs: that a woman venturing into the male-dominated business world must don a Teflon coat of strength. Don’t internalize your emotions at the expense of your mental health.
Human beings are innately social and one of the most onerous repercussions of the coronavirus lockdowns is the mental health impact of depression and loneliness. Don’t wait for them to affect you. Use the variety of simple and sophisticated social interaction tools at your disposal to not just stay in touch with your current circle but actively expand it. Take advantage of the various mental health initiatives at the local, state, and federal level to keep your mind clear and productive.
Read more about what has been called the “pink collar recession” in my recent article.