Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of mentoring and coaching women. A key theme was that many women lacked confidence advocating for themselves due to limiting beliefs — especially those from a minority background. The thought of self-promoting, asking for career opportunities, or higher pay held them back.
While women remain underrepresented in business, especially in startups, the good news is that female entrepreneurship is on the rise worldwide. At Osome, we have seen the number of female entrepreneurs increasing rapidly.
Despite facing various challenges daily, we believe female entrepreneurs boost innovation by bringing diverse perspectives, provide strong role models for girls, help close gender gaps, create social impact, and strengthen the economy.
For women especially, additional factors prevent them from starting a side business. In our recent Muscle Up Your Side Hustle campaign, people cited various reasons for not starting their own company; work-life balance, knowing very little about starting a company, and securing investment. Find out more here.
To help overcome these challenges, here are some tips for women entrepreneurs:
Limit the Belief and the Fear of Failure
As young girls, we learned, whether intentionally or not, that we weren't as strong or assertive as boys. We were taught to be polite, helpful, and accommodating. As a result, many women develop self-doubt and often question their own competence and self-worth.
This lack of confidence leads women to be underpaid and undervalued. Hence the gender pay gap and women's tendency to undercharge for their time and services.
Osome’s top tips:
- Hire yourself a coach. Hiring a business coach will help you define a clear business goal and vision. This will enable you to set realistic and achievable objectives, and hold yourself accountable. Your coach can support smarter business decisions and identify key challenges. Developing a strong strategy will take your business to the next level.
- Find yourself a mentor. While a coach helps build your self-confidence to execute a business strategy, a mentor is a field expert who advises you. They share experience and offer guidance based on their own experiences. A mentor could be someone you’ve come across during your professional career that you look up to or someone who inspires you from social media or professional networking events.
- Be confident. It can be difficult, especially for women, to overcome the fear of failure. Surrounding yourself with the right people helps remind you of your worth… But don’t hesitate to expand your network! Remembering to be true to yourself is also important; you don’t need to be loud, aggressive, or argumentative to be confident. Consider pursuing the activities you enjoy and focusing on your accomplishments rather than worrying about what others think of you.
- Research, research, research! Research the market to determine typical rates for similar work. Charge accordingly, as it's important to receive fair pay for the services you provide.
Balancing Work and Life
It's known that women often must choose between their careers and families. Due to a lack of support, women feel pressure to prioritise either their businesses or families.
While there are many examples of women who “have it all”, achieving this comes with countless sacrifices and challenges, including compromising their health and well-being.
So although women are driven and determined, balancing work and home life comes at a cost. Women typically handle most household duties, taking valuable time away from their businesses.
- Ask for help. You can only succeed if you have the support in place to help you, so be sure to request assistance and don’t feel guilty about it! Tell your support networks you may require extra support during your business’s initial stages.
- Set boundaries and take time for yourself. Do enjoyable activities that recharge you, like exercising, socialising, or pursuing hobbies. Self-care will renew your energy so you can be more effective and productive while avoiding burnout.
- Prioritise. Make schedules and to-do lists: Create schedules for work, home, and self-care to keep organised. Work with your coach to prioritise important tasks and break big projects into manageable steps.
- Say no. Don't feel guilty about saying "no." Make schedules and to-do lists to keep yourself organised and on track. If you’ve set aside time to complete a task, you’ll find it easier to say no to anything that eats away at this time.
Limited Financial Resources, Including Funding
The funding process can be challenging, especially for women entrepreneurs. This is largely due to individual, social, and cultural biases that lead many financial institutions to favour male-owned businesses over women-owned businesses.
- Find a finance expert. A financial mentor could guide you and help develop a solid business plan. Their advice will help you prepare to pitch to investors.
- Save. Save. Save. Save as much money as possible while planning your startup. An emergency fund will help cover unexpected costs so you can focus on growing your business.
- Bespoke groups. You can also look into investment groups that focus on women-owned businesses. LinkedIn is a great place to start!
- Small business loans. Apply for small business loans and grants. Check with your local governments as they often have lower interest rates and more lenient terms.
- Use Osome. We’re focused on empowering entrepreneurs and driving progress. We provide cost-effective, flexible solutions that work for every small business owner looking to fix society’s problems.
The Patriarchal System
Whether we choose to accept it or not, patriarchal systems have consciously built cultural, political, and economic structures that promote gender inequality against women, resulting in disproportionate barriers for women in business (and the workplace).
From birth, we're conditioned to believe men are natural leaders because they're more logical and competitive. So, women naturally don't see entrepreneurship as an option, thinking it requires these masculine traits.
- Power of networks. Actively build a strong support network of other female entrepreneurs. Join groups, networks, and communities that empower women in business. Moreover, connect with people you know, such as friends, family, and former colleagues.
- Be an expert through continuous learning. Do thorough research on your industry and know the data and statistics inside and out. The more deeply you understand your business, industry and customer, the more credibility you will build as a subject matter expert.
- Self belief. Don't hesitate to promote yourself and your business. While this can be more difficult for women, it's necessary to gain customers, partners, and investors. Focus on the value you provide. Believe in yourself!
- Women supporting women. You may initially want to target industries and sectors that are receptive to female entrepreneurs. In return, you can also attract more female customers.
A Note From Osome’s Founder, Victor Lysenko
Having watched successful entrepreneurs for many years, I see several common traits.
The first is the ability to spot problems and the willingness to solve them. A good business is someone’s problem solved. The bigger the problem and the better the solution, the more people are willing to pay for it.
The second is the ability to attract people, to unite them by one idea and to make a group of people into a coherent team. Business is often a team game.
The third is resilience and perseverance. In any business there will always be many moments when it will be very difficult. The winners are those who do not give up in situations that seem hopeless.
It's important to maintain confidence in yourself and your vision. Do not let discrimination or discouragement stop you from pursuing your side hustle and business!
Be bold, take the leap!
Let us handle your financial admin and, with Osome by your side, you’re all set to change the world.
Have a look at these articles if you’re ready to level up: