Thanks to women’s movements like #MeToo, today women entrepreneurs aren’t threatened by someone climbing the ladder behind them and instead are ready to offer a hand to the next rung.
The U.S. has over 12 million woman-owned businesses and female entrepreneurship has risen 114 percent in the last 20 years. Yet, women-owned businesses only receive seven percent of venture capital, and women are twice as likely to cite a lack of support system as a hurdle to business ownership.
Throughout my life I was told, “It’s a man’s world.” I was made to feel like I was weaker, simply because I was female. Instead of allowing that to break me, it was fuel to my fire. Early in my career I fought to rise in the entertainment world garnering record deals, acting gigs and modeling assignments.
While I worked hard, my success didn’t happen in a vacuum. Many successful women helped me on the journey. I’m a big believer that women entrepreneurs have a responsibility to help mentor and lift each other up. That belief was part of my drive to create Eye-AM Conchita, a new beauty brand designed to make women’s lives easier.
I’ve learned that helping another woman doesn’t take away something from your own success. There is enough abundance in the universe to go around. Just recently Kris Jenner posted our Lash App and Curl product on her Instagram. It wasn’t a sponsored post and it was a surprise to me. Kris simply posted it because she loved the product, and she knew the power of her brand can help propel another female entrepreneur forward. I try and empower the women in my network by buying their products and shouting it from the social media rooftops when I love something, too.
In honor of International Women’s Day – I’ve put together five ways we can all lift each other up and empower female entrepreneurs:
Share Your Story
We all learn from others. When you share your journey, others can learn both from your successes and your failures. Too often we read about a successful entrepreneur and believe it happened overnight. It’s only when we dig deeper that we learn that the “overnight success” was actually ten years in the making, or that the successful business is the result of lessons learned during three prior failed ventures.
Give Positive Reinforcement
Being an entrepreneur is hard work. There is a lot of rejection and self-doubt. When I see a fellow entrepreneur doing a great job, I tell her. Or when I encounter a business owner struggling, I let her know that all entrepreneurs have days where it doesn’t go our way or we question why we’re doing this at all. It’s important to have a circle that builds you up and keeps your spirits up when you need it most.
While it’s important to be a cheerleader, it’s equally important to offer constructive criticism too. As an entrepreneur, our business is our baby and sometimes we’re too close to it to recognize when something isn’t working.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is
One of the best ways to empower female entrepreneurs is to simply buy their product or service.
In today’s social media and peer-reviewed world, word-of-mouth advertising is gold for an entrepreneur. If you love a product or a service, tell your friends and put it out there to your network. You never know when something will go viral and help propel that female entrepreneur to another level. My sales skyrocketed when Kris Jenner sung the praises of our eyelash applicator and curler.
I firmly believe that when we elevate each other, we also elevate ourselves. While female entrepreneurship is growing, by working together to build each other up, I believe we can grow not only just in numbers, but improve our access to funding and grow female small business ownership into female driven Fortune 500 companies.