“Never underestimate the power of women supporting other women.”
“We can accomplish more together than we ever could alone.”
As female entrepreneurs, we already know the power of women in business. Women own over 40% of U.S. businesses, generating over $1.8 trillion every year. In the last 20 years, the number of businesses owned by women in the U.S. has increased by 114%, and last year, we started 1,821 new business ventures every. single. day.
So with so many of us in the arena, why is it that we feel so isolated on our journey?
Here at Athena Legal Solutions, one of our mottos is “you don’t have to hustle alone” and there's a good reason for that. We truly believe that partnering with each other makes us and our businesses stronger.
But full disclosure, I didn’t know this in the beginning. I remember stepping into my own business, sitting at my dining room table, and having the realization that for the first time in my career, the success of my business was on me. There’s no built-in social life, no learning and connecting from daily conversations in the office, and no brainstorming at a corporate table to fall back on. It was overwhelming.
What I wish I knew back then was that being an entrepreneur in solitude is unnecessary, and there is an immense amount of value and power in learning from and leaning on other female business owners through the journey.
“It’s not just me…”
We’ve all had those days when things are just not going your way. Maybe you’re a working mom and struggling to find the right balance or maybe you’re losing your first client and facing rejection. Whatever the challenge, when we go it alone, these experiences can be the source of both shame and guilt. This is especially the case for women, as we often feel we have to live up to impossible conflicting expectations in multiple areas of our lives.
The magic in connecting and partnering with other business owners is that, while it may feel like you operate in a vacuum, you’ll discover that there are others who are facing the same trials and challenges as you are. In the book “I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t)”, Brene Brown explains that empathy helps us to move away from shame towards resilience. In hearing the experiences of others, we can reframe our challenges as “part of the journey” instead of judging ourselves. This is a skill that’s so important to build as we ride the waves of entrepreneurship, helping us to pivot and bounce back much more quickly.
Now, of course, we don’t have to take other entrepreneurs’ experiences and advice as hard rules. There isn’t a ready-made yellow-brick road to take you to the emerald city of business success. But there is an ecosystem of shared understanding, and within it are threads of wisdom that can help change your mindset when it comes to how you approach different challenges in the business world.
A new era of networking….
In the corporate world, there is a long-standing culture of scarcity, that one person’s success makes our success impossible due to limited roles and positions, and that “cut-throat culture” keeps us on the defensive, inhibiting our ability to develop a circle of trust. Pair that with the traditional concept of “networking”, and it’s no wonder that the idea of connecting with other business owners can feel sticky.
However, if you go into the process of building a community with intention and an abundance mindset that all of us can be successful together, you can develop truly meaningful relationships by meeting people based on values rather than just their industry. Long gone are the days when networking was sipping a drink over small talk at one of the local hang-outs. With the emergence of the virtual space (exacerbated by COVID-19), there are now more places to connect than ever before.
For example, you could attend a virtual conference, attend a virtual workshop where you get to connect in break-out rooms, meet growth-minded individuals by joining a group coaching program, or take part in a non-profit event to connect with people who have a similar sense of purpose.
Not only will this lead to authentic connection, but it will also be more fulfilling and fun in the process!
“I know who could help…”
Another benefit of connecting and partnering with other business owners is that as other people in your network learn about your values and what you do, they are more likely to refer you to others they meet along the way. This is even the case with businesses in the same industry. For example, there might be a client who isn’t a good fit for another business owner, but would be the perfect fit for you and vice versa.
Building connections based on intention and values not only saves you time, but also leads to more authentic connections, potential feel-good collaborations, and a general increase of awareness that you exist among people who are more likely to invest in your business.
That is the power of partnerships.
Where to start...
If you’re in the world of entrepreneurship and would like a way to connect with other female-owned business owners, apply to be featured in Women-for-Women Power Partners, our directory of women-owned businesses that support women business owners! This is an online resource for all entrepreneurs with bonuses for those involved, including cross-promotion. Apply at www.athenalegalsolutionsllc.com/women-power-partners-application
“There’s a new girls’ club that we didn’t have before, because the workplace was largely male-dominated. Now that so many more women are entering the workplace, we’re finding our voice. We’re also building circles of trust with one another because we may be experiencing similar hurdles, and have each other’s backs.”
“Partner with other amazing businesses and entrepreneurs whenever you can. Build a community.”
“Oftentimes, the only ones that can truly empathize with what you’re going through as an entrepreneur or creator are other entrepreneurs or creators. So, build that network and you will find that they will be an enormous resource as you build your business.”
“I make networking events part of my job. Girlboss, LinkedIn, and Facebook help me meet new friends and others who I can bounce ideas off of. These are very powerful tools and help with isolation.”