How Women Can Tap Into Passion, Power And Profitability In Business

women entrepreneurs
Source: pexels

Apr. 3 2023, Published 8:05 a.m. ET

Share to XShare to FacebookShare via EmailShare to LinkedIn

A call for economic empowerment was at the core of Betty Friedan’s landmark, earth-shattering book The Feminine Mystique, published in 1963. Friedan wrote, “Women are people, no more no less, and therefore demand our human right to participate in the mainstream of society, to equal opportunity to earn and be trained and have our voice in the big decisions of our destiny.”

Much of Friedan’s anger stemmed from the idea that American women were imprisoned in their roles as housewives and weren’t pursuing career opportunities.

Gail Collins, the first female editorial page editor for The New York Times, noted in the introduction of the 50th-anniversary edition of the book that Friedan was obsessed with women getting jobs. The Feminine Mystique, she writes, “is a very specific cry of rage about the way intelligent, well-educated women were kept out of the mainstream of American professional life.”

pexels andrea piacquadio
Source: pexels
Article continues below advertisement

Why was Friedan so angry? Partly because in 1963, women earned 59 percent of what men did. While those numbers have improved, today, women are making about 81% of what men earn—still nowhere near equal.

And as I noted several months ago, the COVID-19 pandemic has economically impacted women harder than men. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research reports more than 5.4 million women left the workforce in 2020.

And many women business owners have struggled as well. According to CNBC, “The disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women extends…to the venture capital funding of female entrepreneurs. During the past year, the amount of funding to women-led startups and startups led by co-ed teams declined, as the overall amount of venture dollars poured into startups inched higher.”

In 2019, startups with all-female founding teams drew a record-high 3.4 percent of all venture capital dollars in the U.S., according to Crunchbase. CNBC reports that investment declined to 2.4% in 2020, and that percentage has remained consistent through the first two months of 2021 (February numbers are subject to change as more data becomes available.) And PitchBook reports the average size of a VC deal for all-female teams was $6.8 million in 2020, compared to $18.7 million for all-male teams.

Article continues below advertisement
pexels pavel danilyuk
Source: pexels

And yet, we women continue to forge ahead. As we head toward economic recovery, try embracing the three Ps—passion, power, and profitability.

First comes passion because it’s something most women entrepreneurs already have in abundance. Many businesses are born from that passion—fueled by ideas for doing something differently or better. I know it’s been a challenging year, but you can’t let go of your passion because it’s what will get you through.

Article continues below advertisement

Owning Your Power

Power, on the other hand, is not something all women feel comfortable embracing. But if we’re to rebuild our businesses, we need to own our power. All too often, women use speech or body language that devalues who we really are. (Do you overuse the one word that undercuts your power? My guess is you do; I know I did. It’s time to stop.)

In her book Believe It, Jamie Kern Lima, the founder of IT Cosmetics, talks about how she, already filled with self-doubt, also had to overcome skepticism from others. She was told, “No one is going to buy makeup from someone who has your body.”

In a ForbesAsk the Expert interview, Lima, who made Forbes’richest self-made women list,said she was hesitant to embrace that title, because, “As women, so many of us [learned] to play it small, and call it being humble, and call it humility. We learned to dim our light to get along. I realized I was dimming my light and calling it being humble and thinking that was the right thing to do.”

Article continues below advertisement
pexels olia danilevich
Source: pexels

But Lima says one of the most critical parts of being successful is, “When you learn how to hear yourself and trust yourself. I had to go through the journey of learning to believe that my own success was real and was possible.” In other words, Lima learned to own her power.

If you don’t feel it at the moment, fake it. Research shows that when we act confident, it changes how others react to us, which actually builds our confidence.

And, of course, we cannot be successful unless our businesses are profitable.

Article continues below advertisement

The Path to Profitability

There are so many paths to attaining profitability, and revenues play a big part. That’s why it’s frustrating that, according to a survey released last year by Biz2Credit, the average annual revenues of women-owned businesses in 2019 was $384,359, compared to $752,154 for men.

One way to improve that—get a mentor. A report from SCORE shows working with a mentor at least five times greatly increases an entrepreneur’s likelihood of business success. If you don’t have one, you can find a SCORE mentor here.

Although the coronavirus pandemic particularly challenged women in business, we know we’ve accomplished a lot since Friedan first wrote The Feminine Mystique. In 1997, Friedan said, “It’s awesome to consider how women have changed the very possibilities of our lives and are changing the values of every part of our society.”

And we will continue to fight on.

This article was written by Rieva Lesonsky and originally appeared on Score.

Ambition Delivered.

Our weekly email newsletter is packed with stories that inspire, empower, and inform, all written by women for women. Sign up today and start your week off right with the insights and inspiration you need to succeed.

By: Score

Since 1964, SCORE has helped more than 10 million aspiring entrepreneurs. Each year, SCORE’s 10,000 volunteer business experts provide 350,000+ free small business mentoring sessions, workshops and educational services to clients in 300 chapters nationwide. In 2016, SCORE volunteers provided 2.2+ million hours to help create more than 55,000 small businesses and 130,000 jobs. For more information about starting or operating a small business, visit SCORE at Follow @SCOREMentors on Facebook and Twitter for the latest small business news and updates.

Latest The Main Agenda News and Updates

    Link to InstagramLink to FacebookLink to XLinkedIn IconContact us by Email

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    Black OwnedFemale Founder