What it's like being a female entrepreneur
“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.”
~ Estee Lauder ~
At Infiniti Touch™, we fell into entrepreneurialism out of need. We saw a problem in the maternity lingerie world and decided to solve it. Even when some people told us it was hopeless; we believed and continued working relentlessly to make our ideas come to life. So, what does it really mean to be a female entrepreneur?
Learning and enriching your mind
Being an entrepreneur is exciting and rewarding!
When we decided to start our own business, we had to be honest with ourselves and determine what our individual and combined strengths and weaknesses were. With my partner Francesca’s marketing background and my legal one, we already had a foot in the door, but we were missing some essential business knowledge. We had to learn a lot of new skills very quickly!
Today, we are wearing several hats. From writers of our rock-solid business plan, researchers into our market, design illustrators of our bra, testers and prototype makers, students of the lingerie industry, content planners of our social media and blog, to paralegals of our intellectual property, we are constantly learning new skills and reinforcing the foundation of our company.
An entrepreneur learns something new every day and relentlessly consumes relevant information. But you don’t have to do it alone!
Building a support network
Being an entrepreneur is a long, arduous and sometimes lonely road, and even those of us with a great business partner find ourselves struggling with these adversities. In those tough moments of doubt not only do you need self-belief, but you also need a solid professional support system to overcome the isolation of female entrepreneurship.
From the beginning, we decided to get support from professionals whose goal is to help start-ups build their businesses. We are partnering with an adviser from the Women’s Business Development Center, and financial and marketing mentors from SCORE. We also recently started meeting with another businesswoman who has successfully faced the challenges of entrepreneurship, so that we can learn from her experiences.
All these knowledgeable counselors give us advice, motivation, contacts, and support as we get our project off the ground. We set up regular meetings, set accountability and mutual understanding of what needs to be done with our mentors.
Team up with the right people to gain confidence and knowledge and watch your business grow!
Balancing your business and family life
As female entrepreneurs, our businesses shouldn’t stop because we want to start a family. At Infiniti Touch™, we are wives, moms and business owners. But as women, we often hold ourselves to impossible standards of perfection that make life difficult. A screaming toddler in the background of a Zoom call, the financial concern of hiring a nanny, or the guilt of not spending more time with our kids are always present in our minds.
Finding ways to devote time to our company and family is key to achieving that elusive work-life balance. It’s important to drop the unrealistic expectations and work smarter. We also need to set priorities and organize our days. Our children should be our drive to be more efficient and telling them what we are doing and why they need to play on their own for a couple hours is key.
By multitasking and committing to our goals, we are also teaching our children to work hard in order to obtain what they want, we are leading by example and showing them that they can be whoever they want to be.
Asking for and finding funding
Though female-led companies have doubled within the last 5 years, female-run businesses still attract only 2% of all venture funding in the U.S. So it’s not only hard for female business owners to fully realize our visions, but it’s also a very stressful and difficult journey to go through without the appropriate financial support.
Finding funding is tough, mainly because there is significant gender disparity in investment and decision-making and in access to financial capital, but also because women are scared of asking for money and showing vulnerability. We must stop being apologetic! As women entrepreneurs, we need to be less modest and learn to make ourselves visible and sell our ideas without embarrassment. Melinda Gates once said that “when people invest in women, they are investing in the people who invest in everyone else”, and that’s when the opportunities become endless!
Coping with the fear of failure
As women, we’re not expected to be masters of the business world. Whether that insecurity comes from experience or general societal bias, it pervades our lives and manifests itself through overthinking and missed opportunity. If we want to become successful entrepreneurs, we have to overcome our constant self-doubt and address our fears, including the fear of failure. Everyone encounters struggles to reach success, but at the end of the day, our only real limit is ourselves.
Entrepreneurship comes with its set of difficulties and gratifications. It is a challenging and lonely road, more so for women, but it is achievable. The joy of being able to solve a problem in an innovative way is worth all the risk. When we lower our own unrealistic expectations, incredible opportunities arise. Ultimately, the choice is ours and ours alone. Are we going to take our rightful place in the business world or are we going to let the chance pass?
Keep it up, ladies! And let’s continue paving the entrepreneurial road for the next generations!