Hi, this is Caitlin guest posting today. The world of business can often seem quite a daunting place, especially to a young female entrepreneur about to take her first unaided steps toward her dreams. It doesn’t help that most of the big shots in business are men, and have been men since Wall Street first started trading. Thankfully, modern-day girl bosses have access to some incredible female entrepreneurs, mostly thanks to the internet, who can teach you valuable financial lessons.
They’re examples of role models who help make our own business paths a little bit less thorny than theirs have been.
Here are the five financial lessons we can learn from five female entrepreneurs:
1. Financial lessons: Stay in the loop
The founder of Farmgirl Flowers, Christina Stembel, may not have a degree in business, but what she has learned over the past ten years is certainly an equivalent of at least an MA in the field.
Although she has made many mistakes over the years, some that have cost the company significant amounts of money, she has learned a valuable lesson from the experience: research as much as you can about everything.
Before signing a contract, explore all the options, read it carefully more than three times, and ask as many questions as come to mind. Read up on every aspect of funding you are looking into, and learn as much about the finances of your business as you can. Never take your eye off the ball.
2. Know what is due, and when
Annie Tevelin, the owner of SkinOwl, was once forced to reach into her personal savings to pay her company’s taxes. While certainly not a pleasant experience, it has taught her always to look ahead, and know what her expenses are at all times.
To avoid a similar setback, make sure you have a trusted accountant on your side, who will keep track of everything that’s not as familiar to you. Have regular meetings with them to ensure you stay up to speed.
3. More financial lessons: Don’t fear making a lot of money
Our society still tends to see women as caregivers, as mothers, as “the weaker sex.” And when they go after the kinds of careers men would be applauded for, they are called power-hungry, and something much nastier as well.
As a woman and an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t be afraid to earn money or to want to earn money. Or to want to earn a lot of it.
Jessica Knoll delivers the point nicely in her New York Times piece. She delves into the security money can provide, and the options it can open up and, most importantly, the fact that there is nothing wrong with earning a lot of it.
As long as you don’t walk over others to get it, earning a six (or seven) figure salary should not be frowned upon. Instead, it should be applauded.
4. Be prepared to fight for necessary funding
Madeleine Shaw, social entrepreneur and co-founder of Lunapads and Nestworks, has spoken out about the bias that women face when lookig for funding. Even when the business model presented by a females is better and promises a better return on investment, a male-presented business can be awarded the funding they were competing for.
However, what this has meant is that ladies have learned to fund their ideas from different sources, and female-led organizations today have a higher ROI than male-led companies.
As a woman looking to finance your venture, you need to educate yourself about all the different funding options available to you and find the avenue that is best suited to the business model you have in mind.
5. Protect your worth
One of the most important lessons on this list comes from Shonda Rhimes herself, who has signed a deal with Netflix that may put her ABC empire to shame.
However, as she herself says, none of it was handed to her. She had to walk into negotiations knowing what she brings to the table and how much she is worth, while at the same time balancing how she presents this: as it would come off differently from a man than it does from her.
As an entrepreneur, you may come across potential clients who want to take advantage of your work, ask you for countless tweaks and revisions, pay you less than you ask for and that you are worth, and get away with it.
Protect yourself by defining a price and a value you are not willing to go below and stick to it at all costs. Make sure it is clearly reflected in the contracts you sign, and in all of the negotiations.
Be very aware of what you bring to the table, and don’t keep agreeing to be paid less just because a job seems like a good option. You can do it once to prove yourself and get some experience under your belt, but constantly underselling your worth is the worst decision for your business.
Also don’t be scared to self-promote to bring in more business opportunities. Know your worth and tell it to others; be proud of who you are.
Final thoughts on financial lessons
As a female entrepreneur, you may have to fight a bit harder, work a bit longer, and be ready for more of a challenge. But with the financial lessons above, you will hopefully avoid a major setback and keep working towards your ultimate goal.
About today’s writer
Caitlin is a bookworm and recreational dancer. She is also a medical student in love with science in all its forms. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and Universe, Caitlin is researching and writing about various health-related and well-being related topics.
She is happily addicted to art in all its forms, grilled tofu, and hiking. To see what Caitlin is up to next, find her on Twitter.