There are 13 million women owned businesses in the US that employ nearly 9 million people.
That’s just ladies on ladies, creating jobs, making money, and leaving their mark on the world of entrepreneurship. Be still my heart!
As a woman currently running a business, I feel strongly there are business lessons for women that are best learned BEFORE starting a business.
So many of the business lessons, or business tools and events directed towards women are solely focused on mental aspects. Things like mastering mindset, or finding your why, or getting past fear.
And those things are important, of course! All entrepreneurs are aided by a strong mindset.
But we can’t let that be the totality of how we talk to women in business ABOUT business. We need to discuss the tactical, the practical, the financial side of things as well.
Get your legal and financial back end set up
If you Google women in business, or if you look up the #womeninbusiness hashtag on Instagram, you will find example after example of successful female business owners. It’s inspiring!
But rarely is there hands on advice. Business lessons for women often fall short of actually *setting up* a business.
The legal and financial side of starting a business is often the most intimidating side. A lot of people don’t know where to start, and even a Google search of “first thing to do to start a business” can yield an overwhelming amount of answers pushing you in a lot of different directions.
Here’s a short and sweet checklist:
Determine a legal designation for your business (AKA do you want to be a sole proprietor or an LLC?)
Find out what you need to do re: business registration for your chosen designation in YOUR state by visiting your state’s secretary of state website (AKA Google “California secretary of state website” or “Iowa secretary of state website”)
Separate any start up cash from your personal finances (AKA open either a new savings account or a business bank account)
Hire a lawyer for website terms of service if you have a blog or a portfolio*
This brings me to business lesson number two…
Everything is negotiable
Let me repeat that: everything is negotiable.
Need to hire that lawyer but a little low on cash? Get them on the phone and see if you have something else to offer them in exchange for a discount. Promotion? Connections? Design skills for their website?
If you have something of value to offer someone else in exchange for a discount you should feel no fear or shame in doing so!
read every line in a contract
Contracts are critical to your business success, and if you start working with brands or on collabs with other business owners, you’ll start reading a lot of them.
Make sure to actually read your contracts! Don’t let the legal language scare you or bore you.
Short term project contracts often have long term impacts. For example, a contract with a brand might have a line that says they can sell any images of you that you submit for the campaign to a third party company at any point in the future.
This truly a business lesson for women everywhere; protect yourself by reading every line in a contract and don’t be afraid to ask for changes if you want any.
There is so much opportunity
Before starting a business, a lot of people, especially women, tend to think: is there even room for me here? Can I help anyone or add anything to the conversation already happening?
There is so much space for growth! There are so many people that need more tools, more education, more skills from someone like yourself!
Success is not a cake; there is not a limited amount of supply.
Starting a business takes a lot of work, without a doubt.
But there is a limitless supply of success and money to be made when you work for yourself. Squash the voice in your head that says someone else has already won the race.
There is no race. There is no competition. There is only endless opportunity for someone who can deliver a helpful product or service.
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