The term “Mompreneurs” has firmly established itself in the online entrepreneur community to describe the badass, inspirational women building businesses while also raising children. I admire these women wholeheartedly (and would love to be among them one day–I’d just like to find a man first), but sometimes it feels difficult to connect with other women like me–those who are single (or simply unmarried) and building businesses without the support of a spouse or the motivation of a mother’s love for her children.
I began researching other single, millennial women like me, lurking around the various Facebook groups and Google, finding they often experienced the same struggles. Some of the most common struggles I found were fear of financial instability and breaking through the stereotypes of what it means to be a woman entrepreneur. I used to dread explaining my business to others, feeling like I needed to prove my worth–particularly on dates with men who didn’t understand online entrepreneurship.
I decided to dig deeper into the shared experiences of those of us who are single, millennial entrepreneur women.
Taking the Leap
Starting out in entrepreneurship as a young woman can feel difficult. I had less than three years of work experience in the “real world,” and no shortage of people telling me I was making a mistake by leaving the “safety” of the corporate world.
A few things that helped me take that leap (in less than 6 months) included:
- Finding inspiration in like-minded women. As I was gathering courage to leave my 9-5, hearing the experiences of other young women who had found success was incredibly encouraging. No matter what stage of the entrepreneur journey they were at, their stories were so relatable, and I felt that I could be like them in a few months time if I just took the leap. I would spend about an hour each day in the beginning simply reading their stories in Facebook groups to boost my own confidence and belief in myself.
- Have an emergency fund, not a Plan B. They say you should never have a Plan B for your business, and I completely agree! However, depending on the level of risk you’re comfortable with, it may be a good idea to start out with some money saved up. There are those who jump into business without a dime in savings, and others who stash away a year’s worth of income before taking the leap. Personally, I had about 6 months of living expenses saved up when I left my 9-5. I didn’t calculate business investments though, so technically I had saved up about 4 months of living expenses on top of my business expenses. (Can you tell I wasn’t thinking like an entrepreneur yet?)
- Realize your WHY. You need to know your reason why if you’re going to stick it out. This is where mompreneurs often get inspiration from their children, but what if–like myself–you don’t have a family of your own yet? Building a life for a family you haven’t met and/or created yet can be very different from building a life for a family that surrounds you ever day. I found that staying connected to my why has helped me stay the course throughout this roller coaster of a journey.
- Be afraid, but do it anyway. I read this on Facebook the other day and it immediately struck a chord with me when I realized how true this is. Sure we are going to be scared, being brave and courageous is not lacking fear but giving your all even though you’re scared.
Life After the Leap
What’s a single girl to do once she’s started her own business? Here are some of my biggest takeaways from my first year as a full-time entrepreneur:
- Dating. I understood before taking the leap into entrepreneurship that the man I’d end up with as an entrepreneur was going to be different than the man I would have ended up with had I stayed in the 9-5 world. As I was starting out on my journey, I realized that what I sought in a life partner as an entrepreneur was very different than what I sought as an employee. However, it took me a few months to realize that I needed to put “Entrepreneur” in the first line of my bio on all the dating apps in order to attract the right sort of men. I have experienced several first dates with guys who became extremely uncomfortable when I started talking about my business. Think of how intimidated some (insecure/chauvinistic) guys get when they meet a strong, independent woman. It’s even worse when she owns her own business.
- Success is not determined by age. Unfortunately, I have come across several women older than me who have tried to discourage me from pursuing my dreams because of my “youth and inexperience.” Having a 20+ year career and accolades to go with it does not make one more deserving of success than one just starting out in the world. Focus on women who’ve reached the heights of success at a young age; not those who are projecting their own regret of not starting out younger onto you.
- Celebrate Yourself. Seriously, I probably struggled with this the most. Celebrate everything about yourself! Make time for yourself! Invest in yourself! Your journey is your own, so don’t look to others for “evidence” of what should be celebrated. Nothing is too big or too small to celebrate. Oh, and forgive yourself too. No matter what you do, you get closer to your ultimate success each and every day!
Finding Your Tribe
If you’re a millennial entrepreneur (or aspiring entrepreneur) who’s looking to connect with other like-minded young women, I have some amazing resources for you coming in 2019! My new podcast, “Millennial Success Stories,” will be premiering in mid-March–along with my new Facebook Group, “The Millennial Success Society!”
In your first year of entrepreneurship? The Millennial Women’s Mastermind provides a high-level entrepreneurial community with women who get you, plus the support of a 1:1 coach! (That coach would be me 😉) Click here to learn more and access the application!