Get over the fear of failure
The research is clear that we females take failure harder than men do. Maybe it's because, as Reshma Saujani noted in her Ted talk, girls are taught to be perfect, while boy are taught to be brave. But entrepreneurialism is all about repeated trial and error and failure. So we just have to find a way to let this go. (One way? Recognizing that very few people, besides yourself, really care. Believe me on this one.)
Don't forget that the "least expensive" form of capital is revenue
One of the reasons that businesses with women in leadership are more successful than men-only is because they don't fail as often. And that's in part because their path to revenue tends to be shorter.
Revenue reduces your risk in several ways. It proves out your business model in real time (ie, will someone actually pay real money for what you are selling?). Profitable revenue puts money in the bank, which you can then spend on growing your business. And – the great news – you don't have to dilute your ownership in order to access this money.
Play on the playgrounds on which being a woman is an advantage
This includes registering as a woman-owned business, which can give you a leg up in winning some types of business. Also, work to access women-focused funding sources, such as angel investing groups like Broadway Angels and Astia, or seed funds like BBG Ventures, or organizations that provide both support and funding, like the Tory Burch Foundation. There are more and more of these types of organizations these days. (Check out Mind the Gap – and Close It: The Ellevest Guide to Dominating Your Financial Future for more resources for closing the gender funding gap…and other gender money gaps.)
This is not to say that accessing these sources is easy by any means; they are competitive. But the playing field is at least tilted towards us women there, as opposed to away from us.
This may sound pretty obvious, but I've seen again and again that passion for an idea is the key to success. I didn't make the leap to being an entrepreneur until I found an idea I just couldn't stop thinking about.
For me, it is the intersection of women and money, because of the positive impact that women having more money can have on them, their families and on society. That led me to found Ellevest, a digital investment platform for women. I circled around a number of other ideas, most notably a marketplace in which women could work from their homes part-time on an as-needed basis for companies. I liked that idea, but I didn't LOVE it. And so I decided I wouldn't bring the edge that I needed to activate my network, raise money from my friends, and work the hours that were required without it.
This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.
Sallie Krawcheck is the CEO of Ellevest, a digital investment platform for women, chair of Ellevate Network, a global professional women's network, and the author of Own It: The Power of Women at Work.