Every new woman entrepreneur who takes the leap to start her own business or takes the helm of a business is creating a more diverse and inclusive economy.1 In the U.S., women have been starting businesses at a rate that’s 1.5 times higher than men.2 That’s added up to some big numbers: by 2015, 46% of the privately held companies were owned or co-owned by women.3 Women-owned businesses now employ over 7.9 million workers in the U.S.4
To celebrate women entrepreneurs this International Women’s Day, we chatted with some women entrepreneurs who’ve inspired us with their boldness. Here are some highlights.
What was the biggest hurdle you faced when starting your business? How did you overcome it?
“The biggest hurdle when starting a business [was] not knowing what I didn’t know! Running a business is totally different…and completely different skills are required. I learned a lot by reading business and legal books, and making tons of mistakes.” — Limor Fried, Founder & Lead Engineer of Adafruit
“I probably should have started a business five years before I did. However, I let my fears hold me back from going after what I wanted. One day I just decided to go for it. I knew if I didn’t, I would regret not starting this business for the rest of my life.” — Kathryn Jackson, Founder of Protect Your Pumps
“I think our biggest hurdle was handling growth. Once we got too big to do everything ourselves, we had to hire the right people to represent us and keep our customers happy, while preserving the culture of our small family business.” — Jenny Doan, Founder of Missouri Star Quilt Co.
What’s the best piece of advice you received when starting your business?
“Make sure you have your happiest, most cheerful people working in the front of your store. Those are the people your customers will remember.” — Jenny Doan (Read more from Jenny here.)
“Invest in protecting your business. Once you’re on your way, invest in a proper accountant, legal counsel, continuing education and training, copyrights and trademarks and other legal protections, website design, R&D, etc.” — Limor Fried (Read more from Limor here.)
“Get started. Take that initial step, even if it is a small one. Don’t let let the big picture overwhelm you so much that you don’t even take the first step.” — Kathryn Jackson (Read more from Kathryn here.)
We hope Jenny, Kathryn, and Limor’s voices and experiences will inspire budding women entrepreneurs everywhere. #IWD2017 #BeBoldforChange
1 World Economic Forum “The Importance of a Diverse Workforce.” May 2015.
2 Calhoun, Lisa. “30 Surprising Facts About Female Founders.” 06 July 2015.
3 Calhoun, Lisa. “30 Surprising Facts About Female Founders.” 06 July 2015.
4 American Express Open. “The State of Women-Owned Businesses in the U.S. 2015.” May 2015.