As a female entrepreneur, I’ve experienced some challenges in the startup community in getting recognized for the value I add and in establishing the credibility necessary to further my professional development.
The good news is that for every pushback I’ve gotten, there are twice as many resources now available that help me circumvent that negative environment. I thought I’d share some of my favorite resources, none of which I’m affiliated with, but all ones that I regularly use. Many of these resources involve women helping women succeed so that you can also rise above these roadblocks to your success:
This organization has a wide array of resources for female entrepreneurs. I regularly tap into their blog content and utilize their infographics for research that I’m doing. Their webinars and podcasts have also been a convenient resource for me that fits my schedule. I can watch them on the go or on a break. These types of resources provide information that helps with projects as well as provides inspiration through the success stories presented about other female entrepreneurs.
When looking for federal assistance like grants to start a business, a great resource is the Office of Women’s Business Ownership. Other organizations provide a way to bring women together in order to create a viable force that is working toward changes in regulations and even in just perceptions about women in business and leadership roles.
Two organizations that I have joined to tap into this “sisterhood of business” include the American Business Women’s Association and the Women’s Chamber of Commerce. Both of these organizations provide educational content on financial planning, retirement, benefits, current laws and regulatory reform, and various aspects of business like marketing tools, HR processes, and technology solutions for small business owners.
The following sites have their own extensive lists of articles, tool kits and resources that are definitely worth checking out. Some of my favorite content-based resources include Create Worth, Ladies Who Launch, Women Entrepreneur and Women 2.0.
The reason these resources are so beneficial to myself and other female entrepreneurs is that they deliver relevant, action-oriented and motivational content that addresses issues I’ve faced and given me viable solutions. It’s encouraging to have places where I can immediately search for topics that involve areas of struggle for me. This has included everything from getting over my nerves when doing a presentation and providing conversation starters for networking events, to handling discriminatory practices or negative attitudes.
While it’s great to have all these go-to resources, I’ve realized that it’s also on me to make a difference and proactively find other female entrepreneurs to join my tribe. There are many actions I’ve taken to develop my own resource circle:
- Reach out to other female entrepreneurs in LinkedIn groups and across other social media sites. I started with group discussions and got to know a few other female entrepreneurs this way before contacting and connecting with them outside of the groups. Now, we have each other to swap stories, provide advice, be a listening ear, and serve as cheerleaders. By creating these situations, I’ve been able to tap into personal resources who have offered good suggestions and even just commiserated on days where everything seemed to go wrong. They’ve provided the necessary attitude adjustments to help me refocus and keep going. Some have even connected me to more business opportunities.
- Plan regular social events with other female entrepreneurs. I’ve set up get-togethers for other female entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley area where we can catch up, exchange ideas, and brainstorm in a relaxed way that feels less like networking and more like an opportunity to just socialize, empathize, and encourage one another.
- Develop content that benefits others and provides learning opportunities for yourself. It’s easy to just think you have to get resources from other places, but, in reality, you can become your own resource through the research and reflection you do about your own experiences. By developing my own content, I’m assisting other female entrepreneurs and learning in the process from what I’ve gone through. These lessons are one of the best places to tap into: While you may think it is a little biased, when you develop that content into something shareable, that’s when you get further assistance from the feedback and reality check others can provide.
Resource by Resource Yields Change
The need for resources and support for female entrepreneurs is not a feminist movement; it’s a success movement driven to equalize the access to opportunities and support every entrepreneur needs to achieve their dreams and goals with their startup. The more information we can provide for each other, the more empowered we will all be to deliver the next set of disruptive products and services, regardless of our gender.