This week we’re celebrating National Business Women’s Week. It’s the perfect opportunity to highlight our amazing female entrepreneurs and raise awareness of the resources available to all women (and men) in order to grow a successful business.
Although taking the leap can be terrifying, it’s never been easier to start your own business. Women in particular are taking advantage of the reduced barrier. In fact, over the last twenty years, women-owned businesses have increased in number by 68% compared to the national average of 47%.¹
We interviewed five inspirational Weebly entrepreneurs to gain insights into their journeys as women in business.
Being Your Own Boss
When asked what the most fulfilling aspect of being a female entrepreneur is, we noticed a common theme - freedom.
Ashlee from Texas Sweet Tees explains, “I love the independence I feel. I've always worked for and with men. Being on a sales team of men, and you're the only women is really hard. The glass ceiling is real, even in this day and age.”
Aside from the glass ceiling that these women are breaking, they appreciate the autonomy of running their own business. Being a solopreneur is hard work, but owning the outcome makes it worthwhile.
Sherrie, owner of the Cultured Pearl of Charleston, shares the sentiment, “I truly enjoy feeling like I am ‘doing my own thing’ and seeing the good results from my efforts.” Jeri, founder of Rock It Racing, concurs “ I enjoy the freedom to make decisions quickly, with input from outside subject matter experts, friends, and family as needed.”
Success to Tassia, with Beautiful Bride Events, goes beyond financial gains. “My favorite thing about being a woman solopreneur/entrepreneur is the freedom. Setting up my own schedule and rules gives me the flexibility to be more active with my family, getting my kids on or off the bus and see their smiles is what true wealth is to me.”
The flexibility to be creative is what’s important to Nora, founder of Step-by-Step Presentations. Her favorite aspect of being a female entrepreneur is “the creative freedom, the flexibility, and the ability to help other authors and business people succeed all align with my independent and self-directed nature as a creative entrepreneur.”
Overcoming the Hurdles
Based on survey of Weebly eCommerce users, 62% of women think starting a business is harder than giving birth. We turned to our Weebly women to see how difficult growing a business really is.
Ashlee’s advice, just do it. “Honestly the biggest obstacle was quitting my job and getting through my two weeks. As soon as I left to start my dream I felt so free and a huge weight lifted off my shoulders!”
Others did not think it was quite so simple. Sherrie warns, “the biggest hurdle has been discovering all the bookwork involved and still trying hard to keep up with it!”.
Like many solopreneurs, Nora’s biggest hurdle was “the household activity, schedules and distractions forged obstacles that don’t exist in the typical workplace environment.” Now that her business has grown, she rents a studio close by to separate her home and work life. Most entrepreneurs starting out don’t have the option of renting an office right off the bat, but there are techniques to make your home office a productive one.
Women all over the country are taking the plunge. As of 2014, an estimated nearly 9.1 million women-owned businesses were recorded in the United States, generating over $1.4 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.9 million people².
With a website there’s little to no capital required to start up a business and you can grow your business from anywhere.
Tassia testifies, “Weebly has helped me tremendously. I enjoy watching the inspirational successful stories, learning from the tips in how to succeed as a business owner. My clients and community always ask me who developed my website and how nice it looks. It is so easy to design a beautiful website with such easy tools to use.
Jeri agrees that having an online presence is vital, “the site gave credibility to my business, and even at its simplest, it looked great.“
Nora also explains how she chose her website building platform, “I found Weebly to be the most generous, helpful and the best fit for me.”
Not all entrepreneurs are tech savvy, so the concept of creating your own website may seems daunting. Sherrie enjoyed how user friendly Weebly was and that no coding was necessary, “Weebly has made their website building tools pretty much self-learning and intuitive which allows people (i.e. me) who aren’t trained in tech skills to develop a site that is up to date with today’s modern business world.”
Ashlee reiterates, “Weebly took me to a professional level. I finally had something more ‘put together’. A clean, modern look to my site, great visuals of my products and the production/logistics was so much smoother too! I honestly feel invincible with Weebly and I love that I've been able to grow with it!”
Words of Wisdom
Nora encourages other women looking to start or grow their business to “know yourself and trust yourself. Seek a few good people whom you can trust with your ideas, and guard the elements of your ‘secret sauce’ from everyone else.”
Jeri offers advice on the importance of a unique product, “think about what you are passionate about and what you are really good at. Think about how you’d differentiate what you do or offer (whatever it is) to stand out. And then, have the courage and confidence to proceed. You won’t fail if you have a product or service that is missing in the market, and the grit to make something of it.”
Ashlee states, “be yourself. What is your vision!? I think it's great to have another entrepreneur to look up to, but don't be like everyone else.”
Sherrie gives practical advice, “do it! If you have an idea or a dream, give it a chance to grow. Don’t give up...there are a lot of small business support incubators out there. Take advantage of services and opportunities that are local to you. I also recommend using a good CPA for guidance on taxes, licensure, etc. from the very beginning of your venture.”
Finally, Tassia encourages any women thinking about setting out on their own to “just go for it! Believe in your idea and in yourself. Surround yourself with positive people who will support you and encourage you to keep moving forward. Be prepared to work harder than you ever imagined but always remember what inspired you in the first place.”
Join the race and start doing what you love today.