Many people find themselves stuck in jobs that are neither productive nor fulfilling. For some, this is a good sign it’s time to consider running your own business. This is a phenomenal way to put your career in your own hands and spend your time working toward goals you can be truly proud of. However, many potential entrepreneurs let fear - of the unknown, failure, or even success - hold them back.
If you’re in this boat, Women Connect would like to help. We’re dedicated to helping women, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people access the resources they need to reach their goals. Because of how we’re socialised, many gender minorities struggle to believe they have what it takes to run a business. We’ve created this guide to help you address some of your concerns so you can more clearly see your entrepreneurial potential - and, if it’s the right fit for you, get started on working toward your dreams.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
Gender minorities often hold themselves to a far higher standard than their cis male counterparts. As a result, we’re far more likely to fall victim to imposter syndrome, convincing ourselves that our successes are the result of chance or happenstance rather than hard work. We hone in on the skills we don’t have and use those gaps to justify the idea that we haven’t truly earned our achievements. This is especially common for women and non-binary people of colour.
However, this simply doesn’t reflect reality. In truth, every entrepreneur - no matter how confident - has skill gaps they have to fill in order to keep their business running. They close these gaps with careful hiring choices, strategic solutions, and tools that make parts of the work easier and more intuitive.
For example, if you’re worried about inventory tracking, you might decide to invest in an automated inventory management system. Finding a tool that tracks everything from the cost of materials to accurate delivery dates makes your business more efficient and less stressful. Remember, you do not have to be all things - you simply need to find the people or tools that make up for what you lack.
Another major issue holding gender minorities back is a lack of networking resources. Cis women have a hard enough time getting into business networking spaces and making connections. For gender-nonconforming people, the challenge is even greater. Many business-focused spaces are relatively conservative, so anyone who stands outside the gender binary can feel judged and out of place.
Fortunately, there are communities out there that are dedicated to helping people outside the stereotypical businessperson mold connect with one another. Look for networking groups, events, and opportunities focused on gender minorities in business. If you live in or near a large city, you may have a better chance of finding an in-person group. Otherwise, there are many thriving online communities that can still give you the chance to meet people who can help you reach your goals.
Finding and Managing Funding
Finally, being implicitly excluded from traditional business spaces can leave many hopeful entrepreneurs uncertain about how they’ll find funding for their business. Although the networking mentioned above can help you find additional options, here’s a look at a few approachable forms of funding you may be able to use:
The government has many small business loan and grant programs designed to boost the economy after COVID-19 you can apply for.
There are groups and organisations dedicated to boosting LGBTQ+ business owners that may be able to help fund you.
If you have family members who may be interested in and able to support your startup, here’s a guide to how to gracefully handle family investors.
Creating a small business puts you in control of your career and future. It’s a big responsibility, but for the right person, it’s also a chance at a far more fulfilling life. We hope this guide gives you the tools you need to figure out if this is the right move for you.
Looking for more resources? Explore the Women Connect site and blog today!
Photo Credit: Pexels