Top 10 mistakes female entrepreneurs make that men don’t (Part I)

This is Part One of a Two part Article. You can read Part Two HERE

Women are on the rise. No matter what you hear otherwise, female entrepreneurship has been climbing steadily. In fact, female entrepreneur leaders increased 30% between 2007-2019.

Of course, the pandemic made it more difficult to continue that climb, but there are signs that this is turning around. As businesses large and small re-open and people find their way out of lockdowns, now is a good time to address the elephant in the room.

While it’s easy to point fingers at a male-dominated industry as a reason that women leaders are under-represented, the truth of the matter is that we often sabotage ourselves, and sometimes we don’t even know that we’re doing it.

I’m going to put a disclaimer here and state that I realize some of this may sound sexist, and certainly doesn’t apply to every woman (or every man for that matter). Each human is truly individual. So take these as very general statements.

But if we are really honest with ourselves, we can all admit to making at least one of these mistakes at some point. And that’s why I think they’re worth examining. I also want to give each one proper attention, so I’m going to break them in half.

Here (in no particular order) are the first five mistakes that female entrepreneurs make, how they contrast with mindsets of male business leaders, and how to realign your mindset for success.

Mistake 1: Overthinking

Beautiful african american woman wearing business dress and glasses serious face thinking about question with hand on chin, thoughtful about confusing idea

This is probably the umbrella mistake that all others can converge under. Women have a tendency to get stuck in their heads, analyzing and gameplaying every scenario.

Men, on the other hand, tend to think in a more straightforward manner. They see a problem and draw a direct line to a solution. A woman’s solution can sometimes look like a kid’s crayon scribbles, going every direction at the same time.

How to solve it

Think simply. Take the heart of the problem at hand and find the solution to it. Don’t get caught up in the details. If the solution is viable, everything else will get solved along the way.

Mistake 2: Not thinking big enough.

businesswoman and plan business strategy

Because our minds try to solve everything at once, our vision can get lost. And because we are distracted by the smaller things, that vision could be leaving out vital goals.

Men think big. Now, that doesn’t mean they always achieve their great goal. How many times have you seen your significant other take on a project that either takes months to complete or never gets completed at all, and a professional has to be called in?

The end result doesn’t always matter. They think big. The successful ones strive to reach that greatness.

How to solve it

Think bigger. Allow yourself to aim higher. Just like with overthinking, the details can get worked out in the process, they don’t have to narrow your vision or goals.

Mistake 3: Fear of failure/avoiding risks

sad desperate woman with worried stressed face expression looking down

Why do women make mistake number two? Usually because of this one. It doesn’t matter if you have a competitive nature or prefer to go with the flow, there’s still a little part of you somewhere that doesn’t want to fail. To protect against that, any potential risk is avoided.

Men don’t seem to have that concern. The phrase “Hold my beer?” is a common refrain for a reason. Some men even take pride in failing, as if that’s a success in itself.

How to solve it

Accept that anything worth striving for will probably have some risks attached to it, and don’t let that stop you from aiming at that greater vision. As Dave Ramsey said, “Success is a pile of failure that you are standing on.”

Mistake 4: Comparing to others

Model in studio isolated on white background

We’ve been told from an early age that we’re unique, and we’ve been warned to not let anyone dull our shine. So why, when we approach a position of power, do we start to compare ourselves to other women?

Men don’t seem to have that issue. Sure, they’ll get into contests about who can do something better (or go bigger – see mistake #3). But they usually don’t constantly compare themselves to other guys.

How to solve it

Be confident. If you’re reaching for a certain goal, be certain that you are going to get there. Your demeanor, your attitude, and your actions can show that you mean business and that you don’t care what others are doing. You’re blazing your own path.

Mistake 5: Doing it all yourself

Say it with me: “If I want something done right, I have to do it myself.” That may be the case, but it’s an error in judgment when it comes to entrepreneurship. Good leaders know how and when to involve others.

Men often don’t think twice about passing something off to someone else (see mistake #2). Sometimes it is intentional, other times it’s accidental. But they realize that there might be something that someone else can bring to the table that will enhance the end product.

How to solve it

Delegate and do so confidently. If you are in charge of a project or running your own team, take the time to get to know the other members. Learn their strengths and then assign tasks accordingly. You’ll be surprised at how simple delegation can produce such big results.

So, there are the first five. Take a look at them, think about how you can apply them, and then come back next week when we’ll take a look at the other half.

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