27 Encouraging Lessons from Women Entrepreneurs

Woman holding "Like a Boss" mug.

Did you know that the number of women-owned businesses has grown 114% in the past 20 years? And that number only continues to rise. Starting a business may seem daunting, but just remember that you’re not alone.

Although everyone’s journey is unique, many women entrepreneurs share similar dreams and fears; it’s important to learn from others and build a solid support system.

Below is a curated list of 27 lessons from women entrepreneurs we’ve interviewed. We hope you’ll find advice and comfort so you can continue your business journey with even more strength and confidence.

1. “I don’t like the word “failure” – since it feels so final. I call it falling down. When something doesn’t go the way you planned or expected, it’s like falling down. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start over again.” -Dawn R. Dugle, CEO of Dugle Media

2. “Clarify your thoughts around what it is you want to do. Go ahead and do it because there is never a perfect time nor a perfect place. You must create the time and place and let it work to your advantage.” -Tatiana J Whytelord, Founder of Intelligent Brand Extension

3. “I'm a big believer in keeping a positive outlook as the #1 trait that makes any entrepreneur successful. There will be challenges, difficult times, unanswered questions that are unnerving and so much more - so, keeping positive is key to staying on course, and finding the right solutions.” -Sandra Lewis, Founder of Boldly

4. “Vision, determination, and the ability to say no – I believe these are the three characteristics that make any entrepreneur successful.” -Erica Swallow, Founder of Souther Swallow

5. “Never stop learning. No matter how many successful businesses you’ve started or how seasoned of an entrepreneur you are, everyone has room to learn from each other. We also cannot keep looking to the top for guidance, we can learn from everyone we come in contact with, no matter his or her status.” -Jess Ekstrom, CEO of Headbands of Hope

6. “If you want to succeed over the long haul as a startup or an entrepreneur, it is vital to be adaptable. The adaptable entrepreneur stays relevant.” -Ariel Hyatt, Founder of CyberPR

7. “Taking that first step to transform your idea into a business can feel scary. With any large task, you need to break it down into manageable pieces and tackle them one by one. Don’t give yourself excuses and let yourself procrastinate.” -Stefanie Botelho, CEO of Fitzroy Toys

8. “Your mindset is key. Believe in yourself, and transform challenges into opportunities. Everything is a learning opportunity and you will be stronger for overcoming your challenges. Also, take time to celebrate small successes or discoveries.” Sophia Hyder, CEO of Papilia

9. “Start with your why and map out where you are vs. where you want to be. Look at your resources and see how you can leverage them to meet your goals.” -Diamond Greer, Co-Founder of Let’s Vibe

10. “Get the foundation of your business together: name, logo, website, tagline, etc. It may not seem important to have core values, a mission, or a vision upfront but it really helps shape your business as you grow.” -Jackie Steinmetz, Founder of Accelity Marketing

11. “At multiple points in your journey, you will come to the realization that you just can't do everything all at once. Smart people have great ideas, but what can be the difference between success and failure is how you focus.” -Nicky Jackson, Founder of RangeMe

12. “Consistent determination, passion realistic optimism, hope, and creativity. It’s almost like a jar-mix of these ingredients that constantly flows, grows and moves.” -Monica Kang, Founder of InnovatorsBox

13. “I worked hard. Endlessly looking for opportunities to improve, partnerships to make, blog posts to write, ways to engage with customers. I didn’t wish for success, I looked for and connected the dots to achieve it.” -Danielle Tate, CEO of MissNowMrs.com

14. “When you’re running your own business, it can be difficult to keep your head up at times. For me, I have adopted the mantra, “Something is better than nothing.” If I just do one thing every day to progress towards my goals, then I know I’m on the right track.” -Mandy Davis, Founder of Ingrain Social Media

15. “I remind myself that every business goes through challenges and that keeping the big picture in perspective is my primary focus. Surrounding myself with an amazing group of like-minded women keeps me moving forward every day.” -Felena Hanson, Founder of Hera Hub

16. “Google, start, make mistakes, and move on. Nothing simplifies a process like good old fashioned hard work." -Julie Fredrickson, CEO of Stowaway Cosmetics

17. “The best piece of advice? One step at a time. Be patient and keep going. The rest will fall into place.” -Donna Cavanagh, Founder of Humor Outcasts

18. “Stop talking and start doing. Build a scalable business that can grow and thrive beyond your personal efforts.” -Adrienne Garland, Founder of She Leads Media

19. “Be persistent. Be creative and resourceful. Ask for help. Find like-minded people. Put your idea out before several trusted people in your circle and see what everyone can do to help you.” -Amy Bethea, Founder of The Research Masters

20. “Dare to dream and think big! Find people, or business partners, that believe in your vision and have complementary skills to you. Remember that lots of little steps taken every day that will help you to succeed.” -Fiona Blades, Founder of MESH Experience

21. “In life, you will constantly be given more than you can handle and if you hold on, hold out, one more day, hour, minute - the good will come! We keep each other encouraged.” -Kerry Schrader and Ashlee Ammons, Founders of Mixtroz

22. “Do it your way. Never let yourself be constrained by ‘this is the way we do it’ thinking.” -Terri Zwierzynski, Founder of Solo-E

23. “Speak with friends and family members who are entrepreneurs and small business owners to get insight on what it’s like to start a business. Connect with the SBA, which offers free training, online resources, counseling, and even loan programs.” -Ericka Lozano-Buhl, Founder of Mixto Communications

24. “I NEVER take anything “personal,” especially criticism. I learned to be flexible, adaptable and willing to change things up.” -Ann Clarke, Founder of Colorado Women of Influence Foundation

25. “If you are going to succeed, you need to be brave. You need to have the courage to do things 99% of people won’t do. You also need to be compassionate. Not just for others, but for yourself.” -Amy Gavartin, Business Strategist

26. “Surround yourself with people smarter than you, think differently than you do and are willing to provide honest feedback. The more diverse your network the better.” -Kelly Meerbott, Leadership Coach

27. “Starting a business begins with having a good idea: needed, profitable and applicable.” -Ciler Ay Tek, CEO of Smart Moderation

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