When it comes to business, women are everywhere. They work at a variety of jobs from entry level to upper management and they do so with the odds stacked against them. In addition to facing the struggles of owning and managing their own business, they also take care of their families on a daily basis. While the impact that female-owned businesses have on the economy is close to $3 trillion, the impact that their business has on them can be much more costly. In fact, it can lead to depression, addiction, and in some cases suicide.(1) Many women are huge successes, but there are others who are not so lucky.
Female Entrepreneurship Statistics
The number of female entrepreneurs is on the rise. Over the last two decades, the rise in numbers has been substantial.(2) Women of all ages are getting into the game, opening up new businesses at various stages of their lives. Young women who are just leaving college all the way to retired women who looking for ways to remain productive members of society. In 2017, there were over 11 million businesses that were owned and managed by women. (3)
The Entrepreneurship Journey
Women who choose to embark on an entrepreneurship journey need to be fully prepared for what lies ahead of them. There are several steps that must be taken along the entrepreneurship journey. Identifying each one and taking the time to carefully evaluate your progress is important if you want your journey to be a successful one.
- The Basic Concept - You need to have an idea to work with. What is your mission?
- Plan of Action - Formulate a plan of action that includes your goals, your best practices and various options for how to handle obstacles that may arise.
- Funding - Every new venture needs money and plenty of it if you plan on succeeding. What are your funding resources?
- Identify Obstacles - Identify potential obstacles and make sure you have a contingency plan in place if something does go wrong. Always better to be safe than sorry.
- Goals - Start with small goals and use them as milestones to get to the bigger ones. Set up a 1- year, 5-year, and 10-year plan so you have a road map to follow.
Part of the female entrepreneur journey is looking for support and resources in areas where they may not normally be found. They are out there. In some cases, it may mean looking a little harder to find the person or professional who will go the extra mile to get their business. (4) While some women become overwhelmed, the key is to continue to strive for the goals that are on the horizon. Many, on the other hand, fall prey to the stress and frustration that often accompanies a successful career and start to fall victim to unhealthy coping mechanisms like drugs and alcohol.
Challenges Many Female Entrepreneurship Face
One of the biggest stressors for female entrepreneurs is funding. In 2017, of all the venture capital distributed to new businesses, less than 10% of given to firms that were led by women. With almost half of the new entrepreneurs being women, only one out of ten will receive funding. (5) The dramatic increase in the number of female entrepreneurs over the last twenty years makes you wonder how they are accomplishing their goals when most of the venture capital available is going to men.
The answer is simple. Hard work and determination are key factors. This often amounts to missing important events with their families and children, lack of sleep, less time to care for themselves, and the constant struggle of having to continually strive to maintain their emotional footing. When trying to compete in a man's world, showing emotion can be taken as a sign of weakness. In many cases, it takes pure faith in one's self to get through many of the toughest situations and keep moving forward through challenge after challenge.
Taking the Entrepreneurship Journey As A Female
Taking the entrepreneurship journey as a female can be daunting. Some go into it with steadfastness and resolve and succeed out of sheer grit and determination. Others start the journey just to find themselves floundering in an ocean of self-doubt and confusion when certain doors begin to shut on them. In an attempt to keep their bearings, many women turn to the community for support. A few ways to keep yourself on track include:
- Take a break - Don't let yourself get overwhelmed
- Talk to a mentor - They can provide you with advice and support
- Seek help - If depression or anxiety starts to overtake you, there is nothing wrong with talking to a counselor. Embrace the option!
As they continue to struggle, however, the pull of drugs and alcohol can be too much. Women tend to use drugs differently than men (smaller doses & more frequently). They also tend to respond to them in different ways as well. Some may have a stronger physical reaction while others may be mentally impaired for a longer period of time. (6)
It's important to remember that even if a woman's journey is derailed for a short period of time, they can still get themselves back on track. By seeking treatment as early as possible, they can begin to turn themselves around and resume their journey. Armed with these new experiences and the tools to overcome substance abuse challenges in the future, they can continue on their journey with renewed strength and determination.
Learning to Cope with the Stress
Coping with stress through the use of drugs and alcohol only provides a short-term escape. Their problems will still be front and center when the effects begin to wear off. Learning to cope with stressful situations is a must for every female entrepreneur. Many women today are more willing to look for assistance when it comes to the overwhelming feelings they often face when dealing with stressful situations.
When the situation is beyond what can be handled on their own, seeking treatment at a facility should be considered as a priority instead of stigmatized. Women have started to learn that seeking treatment is just one step on their journey to success. In fact, it can be one of the best resources they have for moving forward and learning to cope effectively with many of the adverse situations they often face.
Symptoms of Addiction
The symptoms of addiction can take many forms. As good as some women are at covering up their weaknesses, they will eventually begin to appear in the form of poor performance and the inability to concentrate on the task at hand. Other signs include:
- Deep depression
- A lack of self-confidence
- Loss of concentration or inability to maintain focus
- Fluctuations in weight
- Dramatic changes in their appearance
Changes may be subtle in the beginning and worsen over time. Women may seek out others to talk to who they feel are worthy of their trust. Identifying these signs and behaviors may allow her to regain the confidence she needs to seek help.
Female entrepreneurs don't have to walk their journey alone. If you know of someone who needs help or is seeking help for yourself, contact the Ho Tai Way drug rehab center. Visit their website at www.thehotaiway.com or make a phone call to their office. They can help you find the answers you need to get back on track with your journey to female entrepreneurship.