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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

76 Challenges That Women Have to Overcome in Entrepreneurship

Written By: Carol Roth | 9 Comments

While women are making great strides in the business world, some of the statistics regarding women entrepreneurs are unfortunately still quite staggering. For example, the average women-owned business with one employee does $88,000 in sales, vs. $1.8 million for men (statistics from The Illusions of Entrepreneurship by Professor Scott A. Shane). But what really are the key challenges faced by women in business? My network of valued experts and entrepreneurs weighed in on what they think are the biggest challenges that women entrepreneurs have to overcome. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.

You may notice some similar concepts, but I kept the insights separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.

1. It's an Inside Job

The biggest challenge I believe woman have is not that they're not taken seriously out in the world, but that they don't take themselves seriously. Just because women wear many more hats than men doesn't mean that they are any less professional, efficient and effective in the business world. But, it's an inside job before it's an outside job! Women, take yourself seriously!
Thanks to: Rosanne Dausilio of Human Technologies Global Inc.

2. Passion Tree

The fear of going after something and being rejected seems stronger in women because we are taught to be safe, while men are taught to be risk takers. It's like there is a huge Passion Tree and we can pick anything we want off that tree, but we hold back and make excuses. The fruit looks the same, so how do I know what the best choice is or maybe I will get hurt climbing the tree. If we don't believe in ourselves, no choice seems safer than a possible bad choice.
Thanks to: Mary Francis of The Sisterhood of Widows.

3. Time 2 Earn What You Deserve!

99.9% of the women business owners (and before that, executives) I've met or worked with can (on two coasts) at the very minimum double their rates (yes, even in this economy) and will still will be underpaid. It's a challenge because women overall go into business to serve, doing what they're passionate about and to give back, but feel that serving means giving others a discount. What about being fair and serving yourself, your family and legacy, too?
Thanks to: Maria Marsala of Elevating Your Business.

4. Stop Listening and Do!

Women, especially entrepreneurs, constantly hear how they can't negotiate as well, they're juggling too many other priorities (relationships, children, etc.), they can't get funding, they can't dress like men, they shouldn't dress too sexy, they should do this and they can't that. Stop listening to all of these generalized "experts". Know your OWN personal strengths and weaknesses (not what everyone says they should be as a woman). Use your strengths, address your weaknesses and pursue your goals.
Thanks to: Stacy Robin of The Degania Group.

5. Am I Good Enough?

One of the most common comments I keep hearing is, "Why should I start a business; I don't know enough or I am not good enough". This is a challenging obstacle to overcome as an individual. You really need to build a support structure around you that can help you recognize your value.

Each of us has a unique gift to give the world and we bring much value to those lives we touch. Once you can embrace that thought pattern, you are unstoppable as an entrepreneur!
Thanks to: Robin Hardy of Integrity VA Services.

6. Do it Afraid!

The biggest challenge I had to overcome was FEAR! I was scared to strike out on my own and didn't have enough faith in my abilities to make it happen for myself like I had done for my employer. When I realized how much time I wasted waiting on the "right" time to strike out on my own, I knew it was now or never! It's been three years now and the only regret I have is that I should have done this sooner!
Thanks to: Bernice Dickey of My #1 Is Still My #1!.

7. Being Too Hard On Ourselves

Women tend to be very critical of themselves and sometimes less forgiving of themselves than they should be. Everyone makes mistakes in business. It is inevitable. Women (myself included) need to learn how to cut themselves a little more slack and roll with the punches.
Thanks to: Sara Morgan of Custom Solutions.

8. Barefoot & Pregnant

The ONE biggest challenge that women have to overcome in relation to entrepreneurship/business ownership is the responsibility that comes with the motherhood thing.

If only fathers could be trained to be mothers.
Thanks to: Julie Auslander of cSubs --Subscriptions Simplified.

9. I've Got it Covered...

Many of us tend to struggle with setting boundaries...with ourselves and those around us. Because we are naturally talented in a variety of areas, many times we step up when projects need to be completed or gaps filled. When we are able to delegate, share the tasks and clearly communicate the responsibilities involved, we empower others to shine as well. In addition to building stronger relationships, our end results are much richer and everyone is able to benefit from the experience.
Thanks to: Teresa Cleveland of Empowered Awareness.

10. Develop a Laser Focus, Ladies!

Women are accomplished multi-taskers, but when you are running a business, multi-tasking can do you more harm than good. Developing a laser focus - concentrating on one important aspect of your business development at a time, can make you exponentially more productive. Splitting your focus only creates opportunity for becoming overwhelmed and missing details. Give the important aspects of your business your FULL attention for a designated period for greater productivity and phenomenal results.
Thanks to: Dianne Daniels of Image & Color Services.

11. Lack of Confidence

Working in only one industry – even if they have been a successful leader in an organization and worked their way up through the ranks, many woman still feel a lack of confidence because their knowledge does not span a broader scope of business.

Women also tend to sometimes doubt their ability to produce and deliver products and services that people would buy.
Thanks to: Dr. Madeline Lewis of Deline Institute.

12. Girl's Got What?

Having mentored and coached numerous men and women entrepreneurs, what I find to be one of the biggest challenges for women entrepreneurs to overcome is the emotional blocks that can show up for us. I find that women tend to get in their heads more often and can let themselves get stopped or stuck more easily. Not that those blocks don't show up for the men, but for us women, we often tend to need much more time to emotionally process and work through issues, rough spots or difficult decisions.
Thanks to: Darcy Volden Hoag of Secrets Of Her Success.

13. A Not So Little Project

One of the biggest challenges I see that relates specifically to women entrepreneurs is that of being taken seriously by friends, family and the community. A woman run business is often assumed to be a "side-project" or a hobby to do on the side of raising a family or running a household. While this may be true for some, it's not necessarily representative of this growing segment of entrepreneurs.
Thanks to: Crystal Coleman of Northern Edge Business Solutions.

14. Become Conscious of Self-Power

The most common challenge women have in business is to not be as powerful as we can be; not power in terms of domination, control, or manipulation of others, just self-power. This comes out as not speaking up at all or using passive language, deferring to men, or being apologetic in our demeanor. Regardless of how much we achieve, women are still operating within the structure/confines of patriarchy and it is revealed in all areas of our lives. We change this by raising our self-awareness.
Thanks to: Charlon Bobo of Stand In Your POWER.

15. Not Without the Man!

The challenge is the stigma that women will likely be unsuccessful as a business owner, especially in a male-dominated industry. Many still believe that you need a male presence for the business to be truly successful. History shows businesses are all run by men, or at least under their influence, which is why it relates to women more. However, business women of today show a vastly different view and are dominant in every corner of the business world.
Thanks to: Sherell Edwards of AGC Transport & Serv LLC.

16. It's Okay to Ask For Help

I think one of the biggest challenges women face as solo- and entrepreneurs is that we often think we need to go it alone. We feel that we need to prove to someone that we can do it ourselves and we don't need anyone's help. I've found though, that when you ask for help, the entire process (whatever it is you're working on) flows much more smoothly. Even just having someone to bounce ideas off of can make things easier. So, do yourself a favor and ask a friend for help or to share their thoughts.
Thanks to: Katy Tafoya of Success for Solopreneurs.

17. It's an Ancient Challenge!

Historically speaking, men, because of physical strength, were the ones who went out to hunt/ farm, trade & bring food to the table, while women played the gatherer role, where they stayed home, cooked, raised kids, & took care of the rest of the domestic chores. I believe breaking out of that ancient mold & managing a multi-life (wife, mother, worker) is still the biggest challenge for women entrepreneurs because we men kept doing the same, but women took on a whole lot more on their plates.
Thanks to: Devesh Dwivedi of Entrepreneur In Making.

18. Successful Women

What every successful Lady entrepreneur knows that others don't is the fact that 'I can do it!' Okay, all a woman needs to do is increase the level of her mental thermostat to high so that she will achieve her goal. She cannot do better than follow T Harv Ecker, the multi-millionaire author of 'Secrets of The Millionaire Mind' and attend one of his free "Would You Believe" seminars.
Thanks to: Rod Quentin of Quentin Publications Ltd.

19. The Undervalued Woman

Women, more than men, tend to undervalue their offerings. It's understandable, given that many girls are not encouraged as readily as boys are. Studies have shown that, even in elementary school, female teachers offer preferential treatment to boys. The societal norm is that boys need the confidence to compete, while girls don't. This folly leads to greater nurturing of boys' confidence in their ability and their worth, while young girls are left to develop this ability on their own.
Thanks to: Dale Furtwengler of Furtwengler & Associates, P.C..

20. Permission Granted

I have been providing marketing consulting and training to women entrepreneurs for 8 years and I constantly see women struggling with a common challenge. Many women do not give themselves permission to be successful, if successful means making money and/or winning over a man. If you are going to stay in business, you must make money and you must be comfortable with someone, other than you, losing.
Thanks to: Janet Christy of Leverage & Development, LLC.

21. Think "World Domination"

All the girl power in the world has not yet propelled the majority of women entrepreneurs past deep-seated notions of how they should compete in business. While we have seen powerful examples of femme-preneur successes, respectfully, I argue that as a collective whole, women aren’t thinking big enough. It's smart to focus on realistic goals such as profit-loss margins, but female biz owners must think in terms of conquering their market. In the end, the bigger risk lies in thinking too small.
Thanks to: Sherrie A. Madia, Ph.D. of Author, S.E.R.I.A.L.PRENEURSHIP.

22. Finding the Balance

We, as women entrepreneurs, wear many hats. There are myriad responsibilities involved in running and growing a business, which are hard to balance alone. Then, add our additional tasks at home to our families and children, and you create one crazy schedule. And since we, as women, are often wired to feel guilty if we don't do it all perfectly, we are torn about what to do first and where to focus our time. Schedules, lists and time management are vitally important!
Thanks to: Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk of BBR Marketing.

23. She's on Her Way!

I think most women entrepreneurs struggle with the belief that they have to compete with men in the business world. Men still seem to be the predominant decision-makers and women often feel intimidated by that. Just being who we are can be a challenge. We don't have to be pushy and we don't have to be tough. We just need to be confident in our abilities and realize that it is indeed our difference that will help us to succeed!
Thanks to: Kellie Auld of Simply Communicating.

24. Sing it Out Sister!

To be successful in business and life, one must learn how to toot one's own horn. Traditionally, men are nurtured to be more boastful, self confident and outright loud. Women learn early that being seen and not heard is more expected of them. The fact is that if you don't sing your own praises, who will? Successful women in business know how to speak up and out, and share their accomplishments with the world around them.
Thanks to: Vicki Donlan of VickiDonlan.

25. Too Nice

Wanting clients to like you is human nature, but women entrepreneurs tend to go overboard by being TOO NICE and TOO GIVING of their valuable time and not saying NO. This happens to women more than men because it is in a woman's DNA to be caring and nurturing. But in business, this could make or break your company. Women entrepreneurs need to learn the fine art of saying NO to the freebies that eat up their precious time, and concentrate on the paying clients that VALUE your time and efforts.
Thanks to: Sandie Glass of Sandstorm inc..

26. Self Confidence Breeds Success

Let me start off by saying I am an equalist. I believe that we all start off with the same ability to make our own opportunities and those who succeed, DO. The number one challenge that women have is the over-analyzing factor- second guessing and planning too much and acting too little. Not that men cannot be accused of this, but I have found that those who are successful develop a plan, trust their gut and move forward. A wiser person than I once said "analysis leads to paralysis".
Thanks to: Ben Baker of CMYK Solutions Inc..

27. Show Me the Money

The biggest challenge is access to capital, unfortunately. I work with many women and help them into businesses of all kinds, but the ones who are well poised to start and succeed in their own business usually have a working spouse or a spouse who has worked and now has capital reserves. Very few unmarried women, in my experience, have the resources to start a business and support themselves financially during the ramp-up period. I wish I had better news.
Thanks to: Leslie Kuban of FranNet of Georgia.

28. Overcoming the Gender Battle

A man, tough in business dealings, is respected for being savvy and getting things done. A woman is dismissed as being a bitch or overcompensating for some unidentified and perhaps, nonexistent insecurity. Smiling more often can combat this stereotype. Sometimes we are so focused on the business that we forget to smile. It will go a long way. Also, being fair and consistent in all business dealings is key. People do value ethics and equity; they will remember you for it.
Thanks to: Patrice Perkins of My Lifestyle Zen.

29. We're Too Much Like Sponges

Even when we know better, women entrepreneurs allow ourselves to absorb the guilt and unrealistic expectations of others. We may say we are discovering the power of saying "no", but many of us are still working marathon days and neglecting our own health and well-being. Over the years, I've noticed that male students and clients do a better job of saying "screw you" to criticism and taking their ventures live. We need to become more like mirrors--reflecting the negative back to the source.
Thanks to: Karen Southall Watts of Karen Southall Watts.

30. Looks Do Not Equal Brainless

In relation to entrepreneurship/business ownership, if you are attractive, sometimes your appearance can be detrimental. People don't take you seriously and fail to recognize your intellect because they are too busy looking at your...curves or your face. Just because someone is pretty or has a nice shape doesn't preclude them from being the best candidate for the job. Women suffer this discrimination not only from men, but from other women as well.
Thanks to: Amber Cleveland of Sterling Hope, LLC.

31. Entrepreneurial Women

The single biggest thing women entrepreneurs face is time management, prioritization or life balance (whatever you want to call it). They get too involved in other people's lives and problems, take on more than their fair share of family responsibilities and say yes more times than not. Men don't face this, as they are usually less emotional and more task oriented and focused. First comes their job or business and second comes everything else.
Thanks to: Gayle Carson of Carson Research Center.

32. I Don't Act Like a Man

Women business owners often feel pushed to adopt traditional male behavior, because more than likely, decision makers are male. We should not. The softness, intuitiveness and emotional intelligence, among others, that we demonstrate benefit our businesses. Such characteristics are never signs of weakness. Conversely, they complement our business smarts and acumen. Femininity is an asset that catches so many off guard and I love it!
Thanks to: Heather Fraser of Success Pathways LLC.

33. What Would a MAN Do?

As women, especially those of us over 35, we're used to "giving it away" -- that is, giving more than the job description or fee requires. Is it because we're women, trying to please men? I think so. When faced with these situations, I ask myself, "What would a MAN do?" It helps.
Thanks to: Flo Selfman of Words à la Mode.

34. Search for Meaning

Women need to find variety and meaning in their life and work every day to a higher degree than men. For this very reason, women excel at entrepreneurship. However, this can also become a challenge when, after the first honeymoon phase of a new business set up, there may be times when setting up a new business brings more worries than meaning and fulfillment. This is very easily overcome by focusing on the long term vision and by being part of networks of entrepreneurs who can give support.
Thanks to: Stefania Lucchetti of Stefania Lucchetti.

35. Spinning Too Many Plates

Women are great entrepreneurs because we can do three things at once. But we can get carried away and do three HUNDRED things at once. Because so much of what we do is important to other people (taking care of kids and husbands, inspiring each other, comforting girlfriends, etc) we often shy away from what is important to US. Sometimes, that's OK. But when it's our business that gets pushed aside, it's not OK. Sometimes, everyone else just has to wait... and our business has to come first!
Thanks to: Elura Nanos of Lawyer Up.

36. Delegate! Delegate!

Delegation doesn’t come easy. Women want to do it all. Asking others for help does not come naturally. Saying the word 'no' to requests, to all the tasks that need to be done, to opportunities that might take us outside of our business plan seems impossible to say. I get better at delegating each year. It does not come easy. Every day, I deal with "but I can do it better, faster". I have realized that I will not be able to reach the milestones in my business UNLESS I delegate!
Thanks to: Carol Margolis of Smart Women Travelers, Inc..

37. Selling is Evil-Purchasing Fun

Through the years, I have witnessed many women preferring to stop business vs. asking for money/the sale or paying for coaching help. Women traditionally are not schooled in business and enter entrepreneurship without the basics. Very quickly they go out of business. I teach women in particular how to remove fear by using the friendship model to be highly successful in business.
Thanks to: Elinor Stutz of Smooth Sale, LLC.

38. Social Butterflies

Women by nature are social butterflies and can use that to their advantage. I think that women sometimes get emotional when making decisions and that can sometimes work against them. Some women also take too long to make a decision; we over-analyze everything. Use that social graciousness to make decisions and move your business upward and onward.
Thanks to: Eula M. Young of Griot's Roll Film Production .

39. Have Help? Get More.

First Assumption: Women are caretakers of kids, parents, lovers, etc.
Second Assumption: The buck stops with us.

You kidding? How can women think about starting a business or if they do, follow through? A new business is like giving birth and raising a child. Just add another thing to that first assumption and the buck still stops with us- any time of day. If the people in our lives come first, the business can only make it with tremendous support from others.
Thanks to: Haleh Rabizadeh Resnick of Little Patient Big Doctor.

40. Children First

If both parents work, it still seems as though women are responsible for the children. My issue in starting my business was, "Who was going to take care of the children?" My husband and his company do not worry about this. I do. I refuse to put my kids in daycare and I had to come up with a plan to have a business that worked around my children's schedule, not my children's schedule working around my business.
Thanks to: Audrey Klein of Klein's Classes.

41. Women in POWER

The biggest challenge women face is confidence. Women are self-conscious about the way that they look, how hard they are working, and are they balancing work/life, which can come off as weaknesses in their ability to get the job done. Men also feel more comfortable talking about work and how good they are doing versus women. Women need to step it up and believe in themselves. As women, we need to show that we know what we are talking about, assert authority and get the job done one step at a time.
Thanks to: Megan Hilts of In10sity.

42. Take Women Seriously...Or Else

The biggest challenge women have to overcome is to be taken seriously. Throughout my career, I have had men ask me a question about something I had experience with and they didn't, only to find out that my advice, tip, or direction was completely ignored. For example, I told a client not to put his press release up on his website until we had issued the press release over the wire. He ignored me and when we did issue it, the press thought it was old news (which was what I told him).
Thanks to: Becky Boyd of MediaFirst PR.

43. The Challenge of Balance

One of the biggest challenges women entrepreneurs face is finding balance with being a business owner & being a mom. As a "mompreneur" myself, I can tell you first hand that the pull of being a mom is one of the most powerful influences in my life. Balancing that with my vision for creating impact with my business is tough. We need to take a stand for developing strong boundaries and saying NO to over-committing. Let's under-promise and over-deliver for our kids, partners and clients.
Thanks to: Amy Ahlers of Wake-Up Call Coaching.

44. Guys Love Confidence- Not...

The biggest downfall of women - they're always looking for approval from others to feel validated.
Thanks to: Kerri Hopkins of Namezook.com.

45. Confidence Trumps Competence

Confidence trumps competence almost every time. Women underestimate their competence because of a lack of confidence. True confidence that works for successful entrepreneurs is a belief that you can figure out what you need to do in order to be successful. Entrepreneurship by definition has no clear well trod path.
Women tend to be less confident than men. It would be a different world if women were more confident.
Thanks to: Karissa Thacker of SPS Inc. .

46. Recipe for Disaster

The ONE biggest challenge that women have to overcome is this: if we are married, we are usually the ones to put our lives and businesses on hold or even move when our spouses' career opportunities come. Because of this, we often run our businesses without long-term planning. Women should have long-term goals because divorce or spouse death could leave them in a bad position, now having to provide insurance, overhead, mortgage payments, etc. that their old business model did not have to supply.
Thanks to: Angela K. Durden of WRITER for HIRE!.

47. Family vs. Business

Regardless as to how enlightened your relationship is, the chores of family life still fall to women. Whether it's getting the kids to soccer, making sure dinner is cooked or helping with aging parents, women tend to have to balance the work/family life more so then men. This pulls us away from business-building activities.

Being in business for 10 years, I have experienced grade school through college challenges. While they do ease up, my focus is still divided.
Thanks to: Melissa Ward of NewWard Development, LLC.

48. Women don't golf enough

Men in the business world know how to play golf and entertain. They've mastered casual, neutral ground communications. Men have this easy communication style that is universally understood. For example, if a man meets another man on a golf course, he might say..."hey big guy." Women, of course, would never say..."hey big girl!" Women (especially entrepreneurs) are a little skeptical about spending hard earned money on entertainment. Golf allows you to spend 4 hours with a client. FORE!
Thanks to: Jessica Selasky of Confidence Builders.

49. "Barbie" for President!

A big obstacle to entrepreneurship and business ownership for women today is "Stereotyping." Until it becomes the norm for women to achieve these positions, women will have a harder time than men. How many times have you looked at a company photo that includes men and women, and automatically thought the woman was the CEO? Women are working hard to bring about a change in this mindset. Soon, it will be easier for them to be accepted in all fields, especially those that are stacked against them.
Thanks to: Tina V. Savas of Women of True Grit.

50. Believe in Yourself!

To be successful in entrepreneurship, women must overcome low self esteem and feelings of not being worthy.

Whilst women are quick to compliment others around them, they often shy away from believing in themselves and their own ideas.

Without a strong sense of self-belief and internal self-confidence, it will be challenging for any women to take action on the entrepreneurial path, as it may result in procrastination, paralysis and stagnation.
Thanks to: Katrina Senn of Transform With Katrina.

51. Master Juggler

Juggling motherhood while staying focused on running a professional business is a major challenge. Neglecting either is not an option, so prioritizing is key. I make painful choices: spend time with the kids or tackle the pile of work that must be finished to keep a roof over our heads? Sometimes, I bring them with me on appointments or let them watch TV while I type up contracts. Why? My children would rather be with me at work than with a sitter. And my clients respect me all the more for it.
Thanks to: Allison Marklein of Prudential CA Realty.

52. Still Waiting to Be Asked?

Lose the traditional mindset (that we all grew up with to some degree) that nice girls wait to be asked. Ladies - this went out with button up boots!
We now choose to drive our own businesses - a choice that carries the responsibility of owning all of our own decisions and resulting actions. Many of us struggle with this, as we are by nature collaborative and seek to please more than men. Men know that your decisions = your actions = your results, so get your foot on the pedal and drive!
Thanks to: Debra Jacobs of Jacobs Ladder.

53. We are Our Own Worst Enemy

The biggest challenge women entrepreneurs face today is our own mindset. Times have changed from the last decade. Today, we have limitless opportunities. We bring our intuition and creative strength - blended with analytical skills - to business success. Instead of focusing on our Value, some cry "Woe is me, women aren't equal." While there may still be some chauvinistic dinosaurs - it's not the broader reality.

The new economy doesn't discriminate or limit us - we do it to ourselves.
Thanks to: Rebel Brown of Zero Gravity Inc..

54. Unfair Disadvantage

Generally speaking, all business owners and entrepreneurs face challenges, but women specifically have additional challenges and obstacles that their male counterparts may never experience, or may never clearly understand. The one biggest challenge that women business owners and entrepreneurs have is most likely that they are raising children and have huge demands on time, energy and resources. They must be able to meet the demands of their family and the demands of their career, not an easy task.
Thanks to: Kereakos Zuras of Kereakos Inc..

55. Take Women Seriously

The biggest challenge that women have to overcome in relation to business ownership is the misperceptions of others. Many women entrepreneurs are not being taken seriously. Some people look at a woman's business as a "project" or even worse, a "hobby". Women are not viewed as being strategic or capable of making decisions without having to consult someone for their approval. These traits, which many women entrepreneurs in fact do have, are required for successful business ownership.
Thanks to: Aneshia Smith of ITATI - Is That All There Is??.

56. Waiting for Superwoman

I think one of our biggest challenges is that we tend to set everyone else before our professional goals and dreams. After a certain age, we even watch over the welfare of our parents. We make excuses for not moving toward our goals, when we are the ones allowing the distraction. We have to be willing to find alternatives, understand technology, automate processes, prioritize, delegate, and accept help from others, while still seeking special moments for our own physical and mental health.
Thanks to: Angela Russ-Ayon of Abridge Club Entertainment.

57. Sexy or Simple in Business

Men are used to the buddy-handshake deal at the golf club, sports club or legion. We businesswomen try looking sexy or looking simple or both, but there is no template for us to match the old boys' club. We can't do handshake deals because our handshake with a man does not mean the same thing; we're not in the club. We don't have men's automatic trust.
Thanks to: Johanna Sophia of Sophia's Center / SILC.

58. Lines in the Sand

Women take on too much. The fact is - WE DO - ALWAYS without even recognizing it.
As a Mom-preneur, my challenge (and the universal challenge of my "Mom-Preneur" client base) is to quickly determine what to involve myself in. My time is money. With all of the tasks necessary to run my business, I consider the BEST USE of ME. I always go back to my core values (what's important) and goals (what's success). If tasks don't support those, I draw the line in the sand... my boundary. It works!
Thanks to: Cena Block of Sane Spaces Organizing & Consulting.

59. Nurturing as the Achilles Heel

Women have a natural tendency to be more nurturing (this is one of their greatest assets) yet, as with any strength, it is also a weakness. Too often, I see women in leadership trying to nurture/mentor people in the wrong seat, on the wrong bus and helping neither. They need to be aware that the nurturing may potentially blind them to situations that need to be terminated. This can help them to deal with issues more directly and eliminate "fires" that hold back growth and eat up assets. I see the same in some men.
Thanks to: Harlan Goeger of AskHG.com.

60. Evolution is a Slow Process!

For generations, it has been our cultural belief that women are mainly responsible for their families, so they often start companies later, if at all. Or many take management positions, clinging to old beliefs, as they are reluctant to risk their family’s security. It takes a few generations for ideas to permeate popular thinking and we still have a long way to go. When the business community addresses issues like child care, I believe we'll see more women taking the entrepreneurial leap.
Thanks to: Tami Bonnell of EXIT Realty Corp. International.

61. New Girl on the Block Syndrome

Indignities happen in male dominated cultures when a woman shows up to do the job. Women tend to want to please everyone, but quickly realize that's not reality in this harrowing world. When a woman is ambitious, there are bound to be people ready to tear her down and that's where self-belief comes in.
Thanks to: Jackie O'Nea; of O'Neal Media Group.

62. Sisterhood in Business

With an increase in women-owned businesses, there is still the lack of peer mentoring among women. Men have the “good old boys’ club” so mentorship is a given. By contrast, women feel that "if you want things done right, you must do them yourself". If she could do it all, why can't the next woman? With men, after a round of golf, the new guy comes away with fresh business tips. Women are powerful networkers and need to apply that toward mentoring other female-preneurs.
Thanks to: Donina Ifurung of On High Heels.

63. Grow a Set of Balls

Dealing with men is different than dealing with women. In a lot of situations, you absolutely cannot show your soft side. You have to be ultra confident, possibly a little cocky or maybe even pushy - traits that we are most accustomed to seeing men exhibit. I've owned my own business for 12 years. That doesn't mean that I can't use my female anatomy to my advantage when I'm networking, pursuing business or entertaining clients, it just means I have to switch gears when the situation calls for it.
Thanks to: Shelley Ellis of Shelley Ellis Consulting.

64. Women Supporting Women?

Why are women not supportive of women in business? Men get business support; women often aren’t there for friends. When we raise someone else up, we raise ourselves up. Here is a call to action for women. If you haven’t been there for a friend in business, take a step. If financial help isn’t an option, be a kind ear, help organize her office, do what you can and give what you can. We as women have incredible power and when we do good for each other, many lives are touched and changed.
Thanks to: Margaux Jordan of Footprints International.

65. Not Charging What We're Worth

Many women have trouble asking for what they want, particularly when it comes to money. They would rather be judged as “too nice” than “too pushy” and fear damaging relationships, especially when it comes time to raise rates with an existing client. Consequently, women entrepreneurs often undercharge for their services, thinking it will make them more competitive, when it really just sends a message that their services are less valuable than those of a person charging the market rate.
Thanks to: Eileen Flanagan of The Wisdom to Know the Difference.

66. Tips to Get the Deal Done!

A "boys club" still exists on the business side of the entertainment world. In the radio and music industries, there are numerous challenges I've had to overcome as a female entrepreneur. Sometimes, I have to work harder than my male counterparts to justify why my clients deserve to be paid at a certain compensation level. To overcome this challenge, I make it a point to not get emotional or take it personal if negotiations get a bit intense, and I balance things out with a good sense of humor.
Thanks to: Amber Noble-Garland of I For Talent Management .

67. You CAN Be Successful

One of the biggest challenges a woman entrepreneur has is to learn how to juggle raising her family, while putting in the necessary hours in order to make her business venture a success. You may find yourself working a few hours in the early AM, and then not again until late in the evening - sometimes not allowing you to reach contacts. In the end, women need to know that they too can be successful business owners, even with a wacky schedule. They just have to work at it and stay positive.
Thanks to: Robin McCoy-Ramirez of SoothEaze.

68. Business Women Overcome

Now is the time for women to think outside the box of traditional business that held many women & minorities back. Women & minorities should embrace the changes of our time by using the internet to promote their business & message!
Traditionally, media has favored men over women & minorities, but now, thanks to the internet; people have a fair chance to promote their business & message. Change is good, so go for it everyone, including women & minorities!
Thanks to: Evangelist John Dye of Heart Ministries Online.com.

69. No Need to Cry!

The biggest challenge that women face in achieving success as an entrepreneur is having a killer instinct. Women are designed to be nurturing, caring and giving. The game of business requires you to make decisions based on facts without emotion. This can be challenging for most women. I struggled early in my career & I was accused of wearing my heart on my sleeve. I learned to focus on the facts and to be as objective as possible. My business sky rocketed once I eliminated the emotions!
Thanks to: Dr. Donna Thomas-Rodgers of The Power Starters.

70. It is Business, not Personal

Personalizing things that are not personal and holding grudges is a waste of time and energy. Although having a caring persona is an advantage for women in many business cases, those same savvy women know that in business, there is actually less personal conflict than people imagine. So, the next time an isolated comment or missed connection enters the picture - consider giving that person the benefit of the doubt, move forward, and take the high road. That road leads to the fast track.
Thanks to: Kelly Isley of Corcoran Associates.

71. The Good Old Girls' Network

Between Gloria Steinem and now, the challenge was lack of the good old boys' network for women.

We seem to be in a bit of a time warp. While grateful for the steps that put a million little cracks in the glass ceiling, in the 25 years of my career life, the progress has been incremental.

As my stepdaughter enters college next year, I can’t help but wonder if she’ll enter a landscape little changed, or whether that glass ceiling will be chiseled into a million crystal shards.
Thanks to: Barbara Iaquinto.

72. Girls with Big Ideas

In the 1980s, I tried to bring a different idea to my business practice; one that engaged socially responsible & ecologically conscious goals, but I think that my corporate clients through the years would have been more influenced by these ideas if I had been a man. I have come to see these ideas play an important role today in how we view the health & sustainability of business. I'm convinced that if I was a guy & said the same things back then, someone in the boardroom would've paid attention.
Thanks to: Clare Ultimo of Clare Ultimo Inc..

73. Barriers Are Self-Made

The only significant "barriers" that women face as entrepreneurs today are self-made. What do I mean by this? Certainly there are external barriers that face women entrepreneurs --- lack of capital, for example --- but these are the same as for all entrepreneurs. If there are barriers that confront women who wish to be entrepreneurs that are unique to women, it is because they tend to make these barriers for themselves --- for example, lack of confidence that they can succeed. Go for it!
Thanks to: Dave Ramacitti of Marketing Over Easy.

74. Not Negotiating Powerfully

Put on your negotiation power panties and negotiate a deal that works for you, too! The back and forth that comes with deal-making can get a little raw, yet that’s just business…it doesn’t mean that the other party doesn’t like you. Rather than worrying about your likability, focus instead on being tactful, professional and firm in hammering out a deal that works for both parties. Understand your bottom line, as well as where you can, and can’t, flex; then go for it!
Thanks to: Jane Perdue of Braithwaite Innovation Group.

75. It's About Positive Qualities

One of the biggest challenges for women entrepreneurs/business owners is establishing their credibility. Women are often accepted as experts in their field only after they prove their excellence at what they do. One way for women entrepreneurs to establish credibility is to achieve excellence by developing their positive qualities such as courage, integrity, and empathy. These assist women to excel and gain credibility in their work.
Thanks to: Oshana Himot of Oshana Himot Consulting, LLC.

76. The Next Step

Women dominate small business ownership - the question is why small? Why are we still so unlikely to take it to the next level? Women tend to start their companies out of need or passion, rather than the desire to progress through the time honored [typically male dominated] path of venture capital that ends in an IPO. So as women, we may be missing out on a whole level of resources beyond the local banker, services that could improve our companies and our impact.
Thanks to: Kay Whitaker of Sterling Hope.

Do you know another challenge that women face in entrepreneurship that wasn’t mentioned above? If you have one, please share it below. As always, many thanks to everyone who contributed to this article!

Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth