SOURCE: ENTREPRENEUR

In 2015, the num­ber of women-owned firms increased again. Women now own about 30 per­cent of U.S. busi­ness­es and employ near­ly 8 mil­lion work­ers. Busi­ness­es owned by women pro­vide one in sev­en jobs in pri­vate­ly-owned busi­ness­es, reports Womenable.com.

It’s not uncom­mon for women to face unique chal­lenges, espe­cial­ly when try­ing to jug­gle tra­di­tion­al roles of wife and moth­er with the demands of start­ing and run­ning a busi­ness. Over the years as a busi­ness own­er myself, and through train­ing women to run their own eti­quette busi­ness­es, I have learned a few tips that may help women look­ing to start a busi­ness.

1. Find your passion.

You are going to spend many long hours work­ing in and on your busi­ness, so pick an indus­try that you don’t just like, but are pas­sion­ate about. When you are pas­sion­ate, it shows, and your enthu­si­asm and belief in what you are doing trans­lates to your cus­tomers, spark­ing their enthu­si­asm about what you are offer­ing.

6 Startup Tips for Women Entrepreneurs

2. Fit your business to your personal goals.

Are you look­ing to work part-time to sup­ple­ment the fam­i­ly income or work around the children’s sched­ules or are you focused on build­ing a full-time busi­ness? Is mon­ey or free­dom the goal, or both? There’s no rule that you have to work a full-time sched­ule when you run a busi­ness — start a bou­tique busi­ness or work as a con­sul­tant. Choose a busi­ness and busi­ness style that suits your pic­ture of a ful­fill­ing life.

3. Keep your home and work life separate.

It is impor­tant to set aside time for both per­son­al and work lives, in order to give each the atten­tion it deserves. Set spe­cif­ic office hours and unless there is an emer­gency, stick to them. Train your­self to work dur­ing office hours and do not accept calls or check emails after hours. Your cus­tomers and clients will also con­form to your sched­ule as long as you stick to it. That means not call­ing or email­ing oth­ers after hours. Cre­ate a sep­a­rate work area, whether inside the home or in out­side office space, and shut the door to the office after hours.

4. Embrace technology.

Don’t let the lure of an incom­ing mes­sage get you off track, whether you are con­cen­trat­ing on a project or spend­ing qual­i­ty time with your loved ones. Let emails wait until morn­ing or check them at cer­tain times of the day only, allow your voice­mail to take calls, and employ autore­spon­ders. Let tech­nol­o­gy work for you.

5. Form genuine connections.

It can be dif­fi­cult to work alone, so the con­nec­tions you make will prove invalu­able, and not only for busi­ness. Find a men­tor or cre­ate a women’s sup­port group and share your ideas, goals and frus­tra­tions. Use the “vil­lage” to help you nav­i­gate the busi­ness land­scape. Join a women’s busi­ness asso­ci­a­tion such as the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Busi­ness Own­ers (NAWBO) or the Amer­i­can Busi­ness Women’s Asso­ci­a­tion (ABWA) for pro­fes­sion­al sup­port and resources.

6. Define your brand.

Care­ful­ly define your brand: what does it look like and what does it stand for? And stick to it. Make every­thing you do and offer con­form to the brand, from col­or schemes, logo design, pack­ag­ing, cor­re­spon­dence, and pre­sen­ta­tions, to cus­tomer ser­vice, and the com­pa­ny cul­ture and mis­sion. Do not devi­ate from your brand. It is the mes­sage and con­sis­ten­cy by which your clients know, remem­ber and trust you.

Hav­ing your own busi­ness is an adven­ture, so embrace the chal­lenges and rewards it offers.