Women are half as likely to start a business as men. However, over 11 million U.S. businesses are owned by females.
As an entrepreneur who entered business in the 1990s, I often get asked how I got through decades of
male-dominated environments. Here are three tips from my experience as Founder and CEO of a successful business:
1. Follow Projects and Develop a Business that Reflects Your Passions
Sandy Lerner, working at Stanford Business School in the 1980s, had a passion to develop a communications system connecting all faculty and students. The company she started is called Cisco!
Drs. Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields were frustrated that there was no medication to prevent acne
breakouts. The medicine they developed is Proactive. It sold for $1 billion.
Ruth Fertel had a passion to start a great New Orleans restaurant. It burned down and she started all
over to create Ruth’s Chris Steak House!
Establishing a business is a difficult feat, and it takes much more than the standardized 40 hours a
week. There will always be hardships in business, so you must be passionate to overcome obstacles. Regardless of what your business is – if you don’t have a passion for the project, it will become ordinary.
2. Be Your Own Advocate and Stand up for What You Believe In
Forbes has said, “self-advocacy is a learned skill,” and it is! Most women don’t wake up one day and
magically say “today is the day I fight for me! ” Championing for you or your business can be especially
challenging in a world full of naysayers, but a strong, determined voice should be appreciated.
In my business, I looked at numerous houses in very old run-down areas and was advised by real estate agents to tear them down. I followed my instincts, purchased them, and have seen the neighborhoods and the houses realize 1000% appreciation while regaining their original grandeur and magnificence.
I cannot count the number of times I’ve encountered contractors that have attempted to steer my
restoration projects in their own directions. However, advocacy is a marathon, not a sprint – I stuck to my guns – every meeting or interaction is an opportunity for you to properly communicate your dreams and goals.
3. Patience is a Learned Discipline
Warren Buffet became a multi-billionaire by buying and holding large company stocks for decades at a time. Patience is a learned discipline – the more we practice at it, the more patient we become. To become truly successful in business, remain calm in negotiations, communications, and even with the goals you’ve set.
Historical restorations don’t happen overnight, and a multitude of things can go awry in the span of six to 12 months it can take to complete a project. My calm demeanor towards setbacks may not come naturally, but I know that this skill gives way to remarkable results
My colleagues often ask why I don’t sell when a property price appreciates, but I tell them, “Wait and you will see.” And they do!
The road to success is inevitably paved with potholes, but it will lead you to great results if you stay
focused on your destination. Take note of feedback and filter out the noise, and whatever you do – don’t
About the Author
Dr. Carmen Schaye is President and CEO of Historic Home Restorations, a unique company that restores historic homes throughout the United States to their original grandeur.