Are millennial women more likely to start a business?
There is no doubt that millennial women have a different attitude and outlook than previous generations.
According to a study done by PR firm Zeno Group, only 15 percent of Gen Y or millennial women aspire to become the No. 1 leader of a large corporation. One of the biggest reasons is an unwillingness to make the personal sacrifices they believe are required to reach such level of success. According to the same study, close to 50 percent believe the sacrifices required aren’t worth it, and 9 out of 10 share that they have to make more sacrifices than men.
Less than 7% of startups launched in 2013 were female led according to Startup Weekend.
Millennial women want a sense of purpose more than the corner office. They are more interested in becoming influencers while making an impact.
The sad reality of women startup founders is that we don’t even know how many there are or what percentage of startups are founded by women.
There is no comprehensive study on women startup founders. The best estimate has been done by CrunchBase. It states that between 2009 and 2014, of US based startups that received funding, 15.5 percent or 2,226 have at least one female founder.
The good news is that there is an interesting shift. In 2009 only 9.5 percent of startups had at least one woman founder, but by 2014 that number grew to 18%. It’s a 100 percent increase. So, there is hope, as long as the trend continues. According to the above, there has been a steady rise in the number of women founders in the past few years. New York has produced the largest number of female startup founders.
The challenges women entrepreneurs face:
- Lack of confidence in their own pitching skills. The ability to pitch effectively is a must when it comes to attracting venture capital.
- Shaky confidence due to lack of previous entrepreneurial experience.
- Potential investors are mostly men.
- Lack of respect, especially in highly technical fields.
- Some feel that they have to embody masculine characteristics to be successful.
What can millennial women do to maximize their chance for success in business?
- Research, plan and prepare as much as you can. Take your time, talk to successful entrepreneurs, influencers, and experts in the niche you are targeting.
- You are more likely to succeed with the right cofounder. (Check out how to find the right business partner or cofounder.) The key here is to find the “right” business partner. Your best friend is not necessarily your best cofounder. There is no secret formula, but the best cofounder relationships are built on a mixture of professional trust and personal respect.
- Think of inexperience as an opportunity instead of a deficiency.
- Be comfortable with building your business by your own rules.
- It’s OK to humanize business. Don’t apologize for your own management style.
- Ask for help. There are experienced entrepreneurs both male and female who are willing and able to help you.
- Incorporate your own personality. Don’t try to be someone else. Business is hard enough as it is, bring your passion into your business.
- Give yourself credit. Take ownership of your own success. As an entrepreneur, you have to be your biggest cheerleader.
- Build a strong team to support your business. Don’t just hire the first people you find.
- Network with the right people. Use your network to get funded, business advice, potential cofounders, and hire talent.
- Believe. This is perhaps the most important of all. You must believe that you can succeed.
There is much good news about millennial women that should help them become successful entrepreneurs. Millennial women are much more self-confident than previous generations. Some confuse self-confident with self-entitled. The millennials are the first generation where women are just as confident as men. Even with the increased confidence women entrepreneurs are still facing gender discrimination.
Before you start a business ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do you want to become an entrepreneur? – It will be a constant battle to succeed as a business owner. If you are unsure about your “why”, it is unlikely that you’ll have the power to succeed. Be very clear about the real reason you want to become an entrepreneur.
- What does your ideal business look like? – Do you want to be a solopreneur or is it important for you to have a staff? It is important to build the kind of business that fits your personal goals. You might want a business that makes enough money to support your lifestyle. Someone else might be more interested in building a large team. Build the business you want, not what others expect of you.
- What problem are you trying to solve? – Forget what you assume. Go out there and seek out your future customers. The entrepreneurs who succeed involve their customers from the very beginning.
- Who is your customer? – Before you build anything, you must know your customer. You have to be very specific here. If you have done your job right, you will know exactly how many potential customers there are.
- Are they willing to pay for it? – To reduce your risk, pre-sell. Most entrepreneurs avoid this key aspect of starting a business. Test the market about your idea by pre-selling. If people are not buying there are problems. You might have the wrong product, price, or market. Either way, it is a good sign to get back to the drawing board.
- How much risk can you live with? – You can’t start a business without risk, but there is a lot that you can do to minimize it. For example, you might start your business part-time while keeping your day job.
- Do you have any mentors? – There are many successful entrepreneurs who would be eager to help you. Your job is to seek them out and ask.
The most important aspect of millennial women entrepreneurship is the “can do” attitude. Coupled with proper preparation your chances for success are greater than ever. Entrepreneurship will test your will, perseverance, and courage.
Develop the right game plan, and be comfortable knowing that you don’t know what you don’t know. Build a network of fellow entrepreneurs, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.