Conventional wisdom about female entrepreneurship is that women start businesses for women, often around fashion or beauty, and that those businesses operate on a small scale, often out of the home. But today’s women entrepreneurs are building diverse businesses in areas ranging from personal finance to technology — and they’re going big.
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“The old perception is that women-led and -owned businesses are micro-enterprises; companies run out of the home with fewer than five employees. But most women outgrew the ‘cookies and crafts’ stereotype a long time ago, and have their sights set on bigger goals. Many have found success in industries like technology, mining, and construction,” writes Dr. Marsha Firestone at HBR Blogs Network. Firestone is the founder and president of the Women Presidents’ Organization, which connects women who own multimillion dollar businesses.
Firestone says that today’s multimillion dollar, women-owned businesses are highly concentrated in non-beauty-related fields like transportation, finance, and wholesale trade.
One challenge facing female entrepreneurs is finding the money to get the ball rolling. RocksBox founder and CEO Meaghan Rose writes:
“Fundraising for your startup is going to be harder for you than a male counterpart with the same business … Women founders are always being told to be more confident — even the most confident ones! It makes me cringe to hear that because it sounds so condescending, but the truth is I often hear from investor friends of mine (men and woman) that women don’t promote themselves as much as men in a pitch — and this is a mistake. When looking at a business, the founder is one of the most important things that an investor needs to understand.”
So, budding entrepreneurs, remember: the road to a million-dollar company is not paved with excessive modesty. Toot your own horn, or no one else will.
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