According to a Cox Business study, 61% of women entrepreneurs started a business to be their own boss, and more than 50% became entrepreneurs to have greater control over their future.So, what holds more women back from taking the plunge? Sometimes, a 'good enough' life is itself a deterrent. College, the corporate ladder, a family: often, these things feel comfortable.
But there's no magic formula for entrepreneurial success, of course. Stepping into the unknown is scary--and many women doubt their abilities, feeling like impostors. "I believe that no matter how thoroughly prepared a woman might be, she will feel unprepared, whereas a man will feel even more prepared than he really is," Shesto says. Unfortunately, research supports this notion.
Here, then, are five strategies to help you crush these types of entrepreneurial fears and succeed even as you step into the unknown:
1. Quit seeking validation and embrace your crazy.
This is your business. It's yours because no one else has had the vision you did to start it. Stop seeking validation before you launch a new product, program or idea. The most successful people are those who were once believed to be crazy.
2. Celebrate even the smallest of wins.
To maintain a go-getter attitude requires positive reinforcement. Have you worked up the courage to make that call you've been putting off? Finally gotten through that stack of paperwork? Kick up your heels and celebrate! That energy will carry you forward.
3. Get specific.
Now that you're trusting your own instincts and celebrating along the way, challenge yourself to break down your vision into smaller chunks. With the freedom to do what you want during the day comes the increased need to stick to a plan. What do you want to achieve this month -- and what do you need to do this week to reach your goals? As we know, writing your goals down significantly increases your chances of success.
4. Know that making money is like making broccoli.
A mentor once told me that making money is like making broccoli: You're not afraid of using up the broccoli in your fridge, are you? You know you can always get more.
Similarly, if you're committed to growing your business, you can't be afraid to invest in your growth or do the things that excite you. Rather than worry about the money you're spending, focus on making each investment worthwhile.
5. Decide to be grateful.
My dad used to say that no matter how good or bad you have it, there's always someone who has it better than you and someone who has it worse than you. Comparison is the root of despair. Every day, we get to choose to be grateful for what we have, regardless of where we want to be.
"At the end of the day, I work for myself, and you can't put a price tag on that," Sherwood tells me. "I also can't put a value on the lessons that I am teaching my children as they watch me build my company."
Like anything worthwhile, being an entrepreneur isn't easy. All of us, however, can be grateful for the opportunity to pursue meaningful work and build a life we love. What more could we ask for?
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor
Photos from Flickr (Sam Churchill and Tax Credits)