Women are making better and better strides in entrepreneurship. The number of women entrepreneurs is rapidly growing, including in the online world. We own 36% of businesses worldwide.
Most women entrepreneurs I talk with and help started their businesses to create a lifestyle that fits their values (family, ethics, sustainability), creates time freedom, and provides schedule flexibility. Women do not want to compromise. They want to make their own rules and decisions, even if they’re shy and introverted. It’s not easy to be an entrepreneur, but having your own business can offer all this.
Below, I share with you five inspiring stories of fantastic service-based entrepreneurs who are redefining business rules for themselves.
You can be a stay-at-home mom and a successful business owner at the same time.
Kayla lives in Texas, US and graduated from college with a graphic design degree. She loved the design as a process and also the creativity that it requires. After graduation, she started working for a digital advertising agency.
Then unexpected happened. Kayla and her husband were expecting a baby. This was not part of the “life plan.” At least not for the next few years.
And yet, does anything ever go according to plan?
Kayla loves kids, and part of the plan was to stay at home with her kids but not at that time, not yet. When her first son was born (now 5), Kayla dove 100% into motherhood. After some time, she realized that with it, she lost part of herself. The part that loves drawing and painting. The one that loves figuring out the strategy for the website’s design to tell a story that converts a visitor into a paying client.
Doesn’t it happen to many of us, especially with the first child? It sure did to me.
After her second boy was born, the creative side started calling, making Kayla realize that she needed that in her life. That’s how she decided to start her own web design business. At first, she was a freelancer who tried to work with any small business needing help with branding and web design.
She quickly realized that wedding photographers are genuinely her niche. Creative herself, Kayla loves working with them, designing a website and brand that reflects the magic they create on one of the most important days of people’s lives. Once she niched down in March last year, her business, Kayla Sue Design, took off. Now she works only with clients of her choice on projects that excite her.
I want to help my clients thrive. I love helping them create a brand that gives them confidence and realize the value of their work.Kayla Sue
Beginnings are hard, but when you invest in yourself, you can progress so much faster.
Chané started her business for similar reasons to Kayla. She was 4-month pregnant with her second child, living in British Columbia, Canada, when COVID hit, and she lost her 9-5 in March 2020.
When Chané started thinking about how she could support her young family while still having time to spend the most precious moments with them in person, she realized entrepreneurship was a way to go. She grew up seeing her Dad running his own business as an immigrant since they moved to Canada from South Africa when Chané was 3.5 years old.
She was thinking of starting a VA business. She invested in an introductory course first to see if VA was something she would enjoy doing. Once she decided that, Chané invested in a program that taught her must-have VA skills, helped her sign the first couple of clients, and establish a foundation. Now she’s working with a coach to grow even further.
Chané helps podcast hosts to run and grow their podcasts. She takes away all the trouble of promotional graphic creations, show notes, publishing, and all the other technical aspects of running a podcast.
The accelerated growth she has been through over the past year has been tremendous. Chané believes in investing in yourself and one day wants to become a mentor herself.
Her advice? Do your research first. Understand what area you need to grow in and pick the right fit for yourself, whether it is an online course, group program, or one-on-one coaching. When the fit is correct, your investment will pay for itself ten-fold.
When you feel like you don’t fit somewhere, change it. As scary as entrepreneurship may be, investing in yourself and going back to your WHY will help you thrive.Chané Lowry
Your creativity is what makes your business successful.
Sarah lives in Wales, UK. She was always a shy child and, when at school, scared to do creative things. Why? Because she didn’t understand how one piece of creative work can be judged and given a “better” grade than the other.
Math is easy this way. You either get the right answer or not. But art?
Who is the right person to say that Picasso’s paintings are more beautiful than those of Van Gogh’s or that one of them was a better artist than the other?
Not wanting to be judged, Sarah has suppressed her creative side for most of her school years, even though she always loved to write. And she might have never gotten back to her passion if it wasn’t for the birth of her daughter. With the first baby being born, Sarah wanted to stay with her and not go back to her corporate job.
It was then when she rediscovered her passion for writing and came up with her first business ideas. She started a brick and mortar business teaching kids how to write books. They would first focus on the story, not worrying about spelling, grammar, or punctuation. That strategy simply unleashed children’s imaginations, confidence, and willingness to write. Once they finished the story, then editing and illustrations would come next. Kids were able to take home a real printed book written by themselves.
The business took off and was successful until the COVID pandemic started. Since it was in person and Sarah loves this interaction, she decided not to move it online. She self-published a book, “The Ultimate Guide to Writing Fantastic Stories,” that kids can now use to write their own stories.
With COVID, Sarah pivoted her business to become a writing coach. With her degree in marketing and writing experience, she decided to teach entrepreneurs how to write their own stories. Through her S.J. Design business and free Facebook group, she helps her clients to write compelling social media, website, and email content that converts.
Even if you’re shy, you can help people through your business and genius zone. Every time you’re scared, remind yourself: I’m letting people down if I don’t get out there and do it.Sarah Jenkins
Even when you’re shy, you can run a successful business.
Sonya started her VA business in 2020 from Alabama, US. Like many others, she felt the uncertainty and fear because of COVID.
She is still in her 9-5, but she thought of starting her own business to give her flexibility and allow for freedom of time and location.
Since she’s acquired strong technical skills and loves that side of the business, as a VA, Sonya specializes in automation, putting lead magnets together, online course set-up, and many other techy things.
Sonya doesn’t like to be at the forefront of attention. She loves to help others from the background. In the next few years, her vision for her business is to have an agency specializing in assisting entrepreneurs with anything tech.
The advice she has for any shy woman thinking of starting her own business but feels scared?
Even when you’re shy, you can be brave. Don’t shy away from challenges, be resourceful and go for it!Sonya Lee
Your business is the extension of you – align it with your personal values.
As I was listening to Claire’s story, I realized that entrepreneurship was meant for her in the long run.
Born in the US with a French Mom and American Dad, she went to an international school in Houston, Texas, with kids from all over the world whose expat parents worked in the oil and gas industry.
That school represented the world in a condensed, child-friendly version. No wonder it shaped Claire’s values, outlook on life, and love for travel.
She studied international business and marketing in Canada and France. That’s how the traveling started. Claire worked in many positions in the marketing field, from government institutions to start-ups and consulting firms, international corporations, and design agencies. She traveled a lot.
However, such roles are very demanding. Long hours, busy schedule, and tonnes of stress. Claire’s health started suffering. She developed an auto-immune disorder, and her body started shutting down. She knew she couldn’t continue working like this.
Claire realized that the only way she could fully control her schedule and prioritize her health was by starting her own social media strategy and management business, The Social Palm. By doing that, she could help other businesses whose values aligned with hers: health and wellness, sustainability, and ethics.
Even though COVID put a halt to her travel plans, Claire is growing The Social Palm from her house in Toulouse, France.
She still marvels a the growth opportunities entrepreneurship brings.
Even though she grew a lot over the years in her corporate roles, it is nothing compared to how much she has learned since she started her business. The opportunities and freedom of choice it offers are mindboggling as well. She can choose to work on meaningful projects that make a REAL difference in people’s lives.
Don’t fear putting yourself out there and connect with real people. When you do that, you can figure out your own strategy and approach to attracting clients.Claire Matz
If you’re reading these stories on a tough day when the entrepreneurial roller coaster is real and you feel like giving up, I hope these stories are inspiring you to keep going.
Or maybe deep down, you want to start your business but don’t believe you can do it. We all of us say to you – you can 100%! There are many business models to choose from.
Take all the advice from this article, and when ready, look for help.
I offer 30 mins free consults to look at your current situation, challenges, and goals, and I will give you advice that will help you move forward. If you’re ready for it, click here.
MEET MY GUESTS
Kayla Sue, Kayla Sue Design
Graphic Designer for Wedding Photographers
Chané Lowry, Chane Virtual Assistant
Sarah Jenkins, SJ Designs
Content Writing Coach for Entrepreneurs
Sonya Leigh, VA Sonya’s Way
Tech Virtual Assistant
Claire Matz, The Social Palm
Social Media Strategy and Content Management