In 1972, over five decades ago, the number of US-based businesses owned by women was about 400,000. By 1980, the United States was already undergoing a groundbreaking gender bias revolution and the number of female-owned businesses exponentially increased to 2.5 million.
Today, in 2023, there are nearly 13 million businesses run by women in the US, accounting for 40% of all large, medium, and small businesses in the country. The decades’ worth of progress in female entrepreneurship has been consistent, and on the surface, it appears as though the gender gap is finally closing. Emphasis on ‘surface’.
A closer observation would reveal that the scales are still far from equal. The gap between male and female access to venture capital is disproportionately wide, where women are still less likely to be considered for funding than men. It morphs into a hugely demoralizing factor for female entrepreneurs when coupled with home-front responsibilities, an overall lack of resources, and systemic marginalization.
However, an impressive number of female entrepreneurs have managed to scale to outstanding heights of success in their businesses, and when asked to share helpful hacks, they encourage one factor in common: mentorship. The scales tip further against women in business when they are flying blind, making uninformed decisions, and navigating the business world without direction. Being mentored by other successful businesspersons who have paid their dues in full is not a fancy luxury but a top necessity in any entrepreneurial journey.
Mentorship: Re-defining an entrepreneur’s perspective
Entrepreneurship in theory can seem enticingly straightforward. When you sit in those online courses listening to generic advice and cliché business processes, it might come off as simple science – innovate or modify, create or produce, market, sell, and make profits. In reality, the outcomes are often so different from these expectations that a lot of businesspersons burn out before they get started. Having a confident mentor with real-life valuable insights, genuine experiences, and proven methods can eliminate the trauma of enduring these drawbacks.
“I get a lot of amazing messages from other women who look up to me and because I am always an open book for advice or knowledge, they respect and identify parts of themselves in me,” says American Forbes-featured entrepreneur Taylor Ping, founder and CEO of Hierarchy Media, and advocate for women in entrepreneurship. “I am so blessed to be able to connect with these other women. Many other successful business owners also can relate to my story of building something from nothing and it is something we share and can understand about one another and also celebrate each other for.”
Another solid benefit of mentorship is access to trustworthy connections and great networking. Networking is an invaluable ingredient to success that helps you establish effective relationships with people who can provide life-changing experiences. A successful mentor would certainly have a progressive circle of other seasoned entrepreneurs, from investors and advisors to service providers and suppliers within your niche and beyond. Depending on the level of formality and involvement of your mentor, and how much you prove yourself to be passionate and committed to excelling, you might get access to this inner circle of high-quality people that can help you build a credible and well-rounded business.
Accessing successful people for mentorship – Be bold, humble, and passionate
This is where problems often arise. The difficulty in securing a mentor that’s willing to bare their success secrets and genuinely provide guidance is a discouraging factor for young entrepreneurs, especially the females. However, bold people who actually try often get lucky. The first step is thorough research – identifying people in your field and niche with legitimate success stories. This person’s story must instantly motivate you and spark a craving for similar achievements, otherwise, they won’t be of much help if you eventually get through to them.
According to Ping, one of the most fulfilling side passions for successful businesspersons is guiding aspiring entrepreneurs through the hurdles they probably endured at some point in their own journeys.
“Consultation, providing actionable knowledge, and connecting others to a multitude of assets, not just those within my media company, is another spectrum of things I have found myself on in recent times,” says Ping, who is also the founder and CEO of The Risen Group, a business empowerment and consultation brand. “I service and mentor young entrepreneurs with strategies to get their own businesses started, how to begin with no capital in the most cost-effective way, as well as consult businesses who are looking for capital partners, funding, and global brand expansion into other countries. It is my passion and mission to speak to and reach more young women and men who are looking for real advice on how to expand their business into a realistic, impactful, and unique experience for the consumer.”
In conclusion, Ping reiterates how the right tutelage can help young female entrepreneurs overcome unique challenges and make their marks in business. “Mentorship is invaluable and indispensable. It is hard for young women to find mentors in business because they are vastly overlooked. But with the right dedication and guidance, I truly believe more women will start to feel confident enough and able enough to start their own businesses and make more impacts in all industries.”
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