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An Open Letter To Female Entrepreneurs: What I Wish I Knew Before I Started a Business

July 18, 2014

Last updated on June 14, 2018

Dear entrepreneur in the making,

I am writing this post to help you during your journey. It contains everything I wish I had known when I first started running a business. I hope this advice helps you achieve your dreams and desires.

1. Don’t be too hard on yourself

I can’t stress this enough, you are good at what you do, don’t doubt yourself or compare yourself to others. You are fabulous. You are on this path because you are more than worthy and you will succeed. So don’t doubt yourself, self doubt is one of the main reasons why businesses fail – if you don’t believe in yourself how can you expect others to?

2. Work hard

If you want to run a successful business you will need to work hard. There will be days when it will be the last thing you want to do, but you have to do it. Think late nights, early starts, working for peanuts to get your name out there. Is it worth it? Yes, it might be hard but the sense of satisfaction you get from knowing you are the creator of your own universe, is amazing. Working hard is important and if you aren’t up for it – think long before you go down the path of creating your own business. Some people may become an overnight success but for the majority this isn’t the case, it involves a lot of hard work.

3. Don’t forget about play

This is one aspect I really struggled with, I wish someone told me that it’s okay to take time out. You are your own worst critic so make sure you allow time to do things you want. Your only identity shouldn’t be your business, you are much more than that. I’ve actually found that my best ideas come when I’m doing something unrelated to the business, so make sure you schedule fun time for yourself. All work and no play is boring (trust me, I know).

4. You’ll lose friends but gain new friends

This learning experience was particularly hard to deal with. As my business grew I lost friends, but at the same I gained new friends. Yes it was sad saying goodbye , but in the long run it was the best thing. I’ve been told by friends that I don’t know or understand the real world, because I work from home. Yes it hurt but you move on. You grow and become stronger and find people who like you for who you are and what you want to become. After all like attracts like!

5. Working at home has its advantages and disadvantages

Sorry to break it to you, but when I started my business, I thought I was going to have this amazing lifestyle full of freedom where I got to choose my hours. It might work in the movies, but that’s not reality, since I’ve been in business for myself I’ve been the busiest I’ve ever been. Late nights? Yep. Early morning? Yep done those too.

There are advantages of course, not having a daily commute rocks, not having to deal with sick co-workers or waiting in line for a coffee from the local cafe also rocks. But it can be isolating so be prepared for that.

6. Don’t take things personally

I’m very lucky I have amazing clients and haven’t really had any issues with them. Of course from time to time you get a tense email from a client, but you deal with it. You have to remember that if a client isn’t happy with something it isn’t necessarily your fault. I’ve had disagreements with clients only the next day to have a laugh with them. We are human after all – so don’t take it personally if a client doesn’t like something, chin up, move on and learn from it.

7. It’s okay to ask for help

I’m a perfectionist and like most business owners I have trouble letting go – my business is my baby and having aspects of it being completed by others scared me. However, I’ve now learnt that I am not productive if I’m working non-stop, so outsource if you can. If conducted well, it will change your life. It’s definitely changed mine for the better.

8. Your business will evolve

My business has evolved so much, I’ve rebranded twice , rewritten my business plan and altered my services offerings numerous times. As your business grows you will learn what you love doing and what direction you should be heading in. Often it won’t evolve in the way you initially planned, but don’t be afraid. Each day I get more certain that I’m heading in the right direction and I love it.

9. Celebrate the small wins

Generally business owners celebrate the big wins, but each day you probably have a small win that you don’t even think twice about. The small wins are the ones that are allowing you grow as a business owner – so cherish them. These wins will be the thing that keeps you going when it be easier to give up.

10. Finally, you are in for an amazing ride

I hope I haven’t scared you from wanting to start your own business, because that wasn’t my intention. Running your own business will be at times the best decision you made and at other times the worst decision you made. The one thing I can honestly say is through it all I’ve had the most amazing ride. The day I realised I was finally making a profit from the business was in some ways one of the most exciting days of my life.

I wish you success with your business. Remember there are people out there who want you to succeed so harness that energy and believe in yourself.

Do you have a social enterprise idea that will be either lead by or provide women active leadership and development opportunities? You are invited to attend the Social Traders Women-Led Warm-up event on Thursday 20 September in Melbourne to:

  • gain individual feedback on your social enterprise idea or business model (with feedback from an experienced business expert with experience in women-led organisations);
  • network with members of the social enterprise sector including investors, business professionals other social enterprises and Social Traders staff, and;
  • find out where to from here.

to attend a general or specific Warm-up event for Women-led enterprises.


about Social Traders’ Warm-ups events, and The Crunch and THRIVE programs for start-up or existing social enterprises.
Social Enterprise Initiative for Women: As part of the Victorian Government’s Women’s Economic Participation Action Agenda, Social Traders is providing support to increase the numbers of women founding and leading social enterprises. Read more.

Article originally posted by: Julia Makin at:

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