The 5 Essential Steps to being a Girl Boss.

With 125 women elected into office last November, what a wonderful time to be a strong, independent, and determined woman! 2019 is your year to [professionally] shine, sister!

Female-led businesses have increased 58 percent from 2007 to 2018: there’s no denying women’s impact on the business world. However, women still earn an average of 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. Even worse off, black and Hispanic women earn about 60 cents and 55 cents for every white man’s dollar, respectively.

These are both uplifting and sobering statistics. It’s great that women are taking on the small-business-challenge but the never-ending wage gap remains disheartening. What better way to change the tide than participating in the wave?

In my quest to uplift and empower you, the entrepren-her, I have combed the internet for quintessential and significant tips on how to excel at being a female entrepreneur.

But first, a little tip from yours truly: deep breath and don’t ever forget: girl power.

1) Know your passion and construct your brand.

I believe it goes without saying that the most successful CEOs are passionate ones, albeit male or female. In order to get your business on its feet and sprinting to success, you must have a clear and concise concept in mind. Stay committed to this image as you forge your brand. These are the days of social media, and you should be employing this formidable tool to your advantage. Create an Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook page all dedicated to your business. Get the word out and get your logo engrained into the mind of your prospective clients. You ARE passionate and you have a GREAT idea— now get it out there!

2) You don’t have to have hair on your chest to gain respect.

Society has led us to believe that being a business owner is intrinsically tied to a stereotypical “male” attitude: aggressive, harsh, competitive. In a word: macho. You do NOT have to adopt any or all of these qualities to find success. On the contrary, you should be unapologetically you. If we continue to associate these qualities with a successful entrepreneur, or worse, propagate these qualities whether or not they suit us, we will be contributing to the problem. A business owner can be approachable, non-confrontational, and supportive of her counterparts and still find success. And if you do possess some or all of these “male” qualities, then don’t be afraid to assume it. Male and female roles are social-constructs of the past, girl!

3) Your capacity to be a boss, a mother and a wife is your fortitude.

I’ve always found the cliché that women multitask better than men to be conspicuously true. A woman-run business is simply an extension of her already innate capabilities to multitask. Having a family should not be a hindrance but rather proof that you got this! As for the time consumption problem of the equation: I ask you to consider a man in a similar role. Do we patronize the busy businessman? No. Besides, what better a role model than a mama building and securing her future from scratch?

4) Know that you deserve respect then demand it.

I can talk about girl power until I’m blue in the face but talking about it and enacting it are two different things. As a female business owner, you need to exude confidence. Now, be careful not to confuse confidence with the stereotypical “male” attitude we talked about before (unless that is already a part of your personality, in which case, rock on). No, you are confident because you know your product or service inside out. You are confident because you know the brand you have created is exceptional. You are confident because you earned it. Your confidence is your tenacity. This is what will set you apart from your industry counterparts. You may fall victim to others’ ignorance or sexist remarks. But girl, you do not have time for ignorance. You have a prosperous business to run. Shrug it off as best you can because as an entrepren-her, you are constructing a better future for all of us. Don’t shy away from support groups either, we are our best ally. Check out Ewomennetwork or Ellevatenetwork for great advice and support during your path to success. Women supporting women! Disclaimer: Your self-assurance may cause men to shake in their boots.

5) No shame in seeking financing!

During my quest for pertinent information relating to this blog topic, one statistic in particular really shocked me. Just 25% of women seek financing for their business compared to 34% of men who seek funding for their businesses. Queen, there is nothing wrong with getting financial help to get the ball rolling. If you use cash as your main means of capital and shun your back to the lucrative aid of investors you may be cutting yourself short. Starting a business should not be synonymous with bankruptcy, honey. Bear in mind, men usually inflate their financial pitches and investors will, in turn, adjust their numbers right off the bat. It is important to know how to ask concisely for how much you want and adjust your number based on the “exaggeration-effect”.

Female representation in the business world is well overdue. We represent 50% of the population, and eventually…hopefully…50% of all businesses. It is a woman’s right to scoff at stereotypes, demand equal pay, and occupy leadership roles. We seem to be at a turning point in history, so what better time than now to pursue your entrepreneurial dream? Create your brand, be true to yourself, know that family and work DO mix, and command respect. Need more inspiration? Look no further: Leslie, the creator The Blurban Planner, is building her writing empire right before your eyes (and slaying to be perfectly honest). Sign up to this blog for regular inspiration to help construct your own empire and repeat after me: girl power!