We have a lot of options available to us as young women living in the United States. Some of us are full-time home managers and child caretakers. Some of us are business professionals, teachers, students, scientists and artists. There’s a percentage of women attempting to be all these things at one time: the nurturing mother, loving wife and successful business woman.
Despite our differences, there are a few things we have in common. We want to be able to help ourselves, our loved ones and the world.
Yet, it’s easy to get caught up in other people’s dreams, and to be influenced by others’ ideas of who we should and shouldn’t be. The problem with this is that it often takes away from what could be.
Shouldn’t we embrace our freedom to be exactly who we want to be — who we were meant to be?
This is a letter to young women considering entrepreneurship.
This is for those of you who want to provide a solution. This is for those of you who have discovered something to improve the way we live. This is for those of you who want to make a difference, not only in her own life but the lives of those around her.
Perhaps the idea of entrepreneurship or self-employment is foreign to you. Perhaps you’ve thought about it, but never seriously because of the perceived risks. You feel you’re out of time, resources, support and energy. You believe business ownership is out of reach.
How often do young women dismiss entrepreneurship as a viable option? Self-employment brings numerous benefits, especially given the current state of the economy. Whether you’re looking to bring in extra income as a freelancer or consultant, start a new company or launch an innovative solution, it’s time you gave entrepreneurship real consideration.
You’re Stronger Than You Think
Entrepreneurship will teach you many things, but most of all it will reveal how strong you really are.
Emotionally, psychologically, and even physically you have the capability to make your dreams a reality. Entrepreneurship requires vulnerability, strength and passion that most people never realize exists within themselves. It demands gumption, patience, and resilience. Unexpected disasters and nuances of dealing with people, technology, and our own limitations can seem never-ending. But you will discover that the things that at one time caused inconceivable amounts of stress no longer do. There’s a moment you decide (or realize) that nothing breaks your spirit. You can achieve anything.
People Want You To Succeed
A lot of people want to see women entrepreneurs succeed. Investors, governments, accelerators and incubators as well as high networth individuals will provide mentorship, funding and other support to women. There are even grants available for women entrepreneurs.
Take for example the Dallas Entrepreneur Center (DEC). It provides funding, networking and business programs specific to women entrepreneurs. Numerous organizations, including the government, provide incentives for women to launch new businesses. Make a quick search in Google and you may be surprised how many opportunities you qualify for.
Accept help. Apply for grants. Request meetings with mentors and others willing to provide strategic insight. Be online. Today you can learn almost anything and contact nearly anyone through the Internet.
The world needs and craves uniqueness. Don’t deprive the world of the beautiful gifts you have to offer by confining yourself to the status-quo, the normal and the mundane. There is only one you, so please be you.
Every time you put energy into being something you’re not, you’re taking energy away from reaching goals that actually matter. Whoever you are, own it and put your resources into the right places.
Respect Yourself First
We are too often concerned with how much others respect us and how/if we can make them respect us more. What we should really be focused on is how much we respect ourselves.
When we respect ourselves we change the way we interact with the world. It’s a cause and effect phenomenon. Respect yourself and people naturally follow suit.
My recommendation is to continually work on becoming the type of person you respect. Look at yourself from a third-person perspective and ask yourself: Do I respect that woman? Do I respect her character? Her work ethic? Her discipline to improve herself and the world around her?
If you don’t respect yourself, how can you expect others to respect you? We must demand it from ourselves before we may receive it freely from others. You will eventually find you’re surrounded by people who want to support you. They want you to succeed not only because they think you have a great service or product, or because they like you, but because they respect you and your vision.
Never Pause For Perfection
Life is anything but perfect. The few perfect moments we get to experience are fleeting. Yes, timing matters, but there will never be an absolute perfect week, month or year to begin your initiative. Never pause for perfection. If you feel yourself holding back, realize it may just be your insecurities speaking. There’s a difference between fear and intuition. Learn to discern between the two.
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence,” said Vince Lombardi
What are you waiting for? Start now. Give yourself the time to fail, learn, grow and succeed. This is what really matters. Because even if in the end you decide you want to sell your business, return to a previous job or whatever life you choose to pursue, you will grow from this experience. You will progress as an innovator, educator, student, and most of all as a person. You become things you didn’t even know you wanted to become, but are so glad you did.
It’s a beautiful process that — while it burns — is like that of coal to diamonds.
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