Entrepreneurship is a journey filled with ups and downs, twists, and turns. Nonetheless, it can be the most exciting and rewarding experience when you learn to navigate the entrepreneurial path with the right mindset. But, what happens when the road to success is paved with failures and mistakes? It is at this point that most women founders throw in the towel and abandon their dreams. As a witty writer, I’d like to share with you some valuable lessons learned from women founders who have tasted both the bitter and sweet fruits of entrepreneurship. These women made mistakes, faced failures, but refused to give up. They adapted, learned from their experiences, and turned their weaknesses into strengths.
Lesson 1: Do not shy away from criticism.
As a female founder, you are bound to face harsh criticism from people who do not share your vision. However, it would help if you never shy away from constructive criticism, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel. Take it positively as it will help you improve your product or service. Jaclyn Johnson, the founder of Create & Cultivate, a networking platform for women, learned this lesson the hard way. She launched her site in 2012 and promptly received a lot of critique. Nevertheless, she persevered and used the negative feedback received to refine her product, ultimately launching a successful community platform for female entrepreneurs.
Lesson 2: You cannot do it alone.
One common notion among young entrepreneurs is that they can do everything themselves. This kind of attitude can lead to burnout and a lack of progress. In her book, “The Myth of the Nice Girl,” Fran Hauser, the CEO of consulting firm Advancing Women’s Leadership, shares her experience of trying to do everything herself while running a startup. It only led to a loss of focus and burnout. She eventually learned to delegate tasks and hire a team to help her scale her business.
Lesson 3: Accept that failure is part of the journey.
Failure is not a destination. It is just a pit stop along the way. Accept it and move on. The sooner you get back on your feet, the better. Emily Weiss, the CEO of Glossier, faced rejection when she initially pitched her concept to investors. She took the feedback she received, worked hard, and within a few months, successfully raised $2 million from TechStars and other investors. She learned that rejection and failure taught her resilience and the importance of believing in her ideas.
Lesson 4: Network!
As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, it is crucial to network and build relationships with other business owners and entrepreneurs. These connections can be the stepping stones needed to propel your business forward. However, remember that networking is not just about what you can get from others. Support and reciprocation are essential elements of a successful partnership. Julie Wainwright Founder of The RealReal, an online luxury consignment store, learned this lesson from her employees. She developed a culture of open communication, trust, and support in her team, leading to better teamwork and business success.
Lesson 5: Never stop learning and improving.
As an entrepreneur, you must always seek knowledge and ways to enhance your business. Technology and customer behavior are constantly changing, and you must keep abreast of these changes to grow your business. Gayle Jennings O’Byrne is the co-founder of venture capital firm WOCstar Fund and learned this lesson. She recognized early on that investing in female and minority-led tech startups could be profitable. She saw a gap that needed to be filled, and with her knowledge, experience, and an ever-growing network, was able to excel in this field, becoming a dominant force among venture capitalists.
Being a female founder is no easy feat, but it is one of the most rewarding experiences one can ever have. When you fail, and believe me, you will, get back up, take the lessons learned, and become the epitome of resilience. Seek help when needed, network with others, embrace criticism, accept failure as part of the journey, and never stop learning and improving. Remember, entrepreneurship is a journey, and like all good adventures, it takes overcoming struggles to reach the end goal.