Thirty, Entrepreneur(y), and Thriving: 5 Lessons I’ve Learned About Being a Female Entrepreneur

I started a successful business before the age of 30,” is not a sentence I ever thought I’d say.

Being an entrepreneur wasn’t my lifelong dream, it wasn’t what kept me going through school and college, and it certainly wasn’t the plan when I picked up my life from a small town in Maine and moved to Florida 5 years ago.

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But somewhere along the way – like many entrepreneurs, I’d guess – owning my own business became my dream.

Growing a small business from nothing isn’t easy. Not even close. It’s grueling, it’s exhausting, and it’s downright terrifying most of the time. But even on the hardest of days, it’s well worth it.

And as I come upon my 3oth birthday in just a few months, I wanted to share what I’ve learned thus far.

Here are 5 lessons I’ve learned as a female entrepreneur.

1. A powerful network of women is the most important one you can build.

I’ve officially been in business for over three years. Over that time, I’ve built an incredible network of collaborators, mentors, and awesome people. But it wasn’t until the last year that I’ve made some important and beneficial contacts. Over the course of that year, I’ve connected with a ton of different entrepreneurs, business people, and just local people to learn more about what they’re working on and what they’re doing with their lives.

Sometimes, the relationship bodes in work for one – or both – of us. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes simply having a “meeting of the minds” inspires you enough to get more done than you ever thought possible. Sometimes it doesn’t.

But no matter what, the relationships I’ve started – and built – have been valuable. Specially, those with other business women.

You see, for women, knowing other women that have your back is crucial. Knowing (and seeing) that other women are going through what you’re going through is even more crucial. And sometimes just building the relationship itself is powerful.

2. You’ll get exactly out of your work what you put into it.

Another lesson I’ve learned by being an entrepreneur is (most of the time) you’ll get exactly the same level of result out of the work you put into something. In other words, you work hard and bust your butt, you’ll see wonderful return. If you maybe don’t work as hard (and ahem, half ass it), then you’ll get a product you’re probably not happy with.

The lesson? Work your ass off.

Very rarely will you ever hear someone say “I worked too hard today.” Sure, “it was a long day” or “I’m exhausted” are common phrases business owners will say, but rarely that too much effort was put in.

Spend the time to do good, quality work and it will always pay off in the end.

3. Failure always comes with an important lesson attached.

We all fail at things; it’s apart of life.

I’ve always thought failure is just important – if not more – than succeeding. Why? Because you always learn something from it.

Without failing, you’ll never know the true ecstasy of success. Without failing, you won’t learn how to problem solve and get yourself out of the situation. Without failing, you may not have been pushed to make – what ended up being – the right decision.

If you’ve failed at something, take a moment to feel the pain of it…but then put on your big girl pants and learn from it.

4. Being strong and powerful female role models to the next generation is not a right, it’s a privilege.

I recently met a Generation X woman who’s extremely passionate about helping the next generation – my generation. Her passion really made me think about the weight of that responsibility.

Then I realized…through coaching college girls, I’m also trying to do that very thing. I often think how I’m learning just as much – maybe more – from them as they are from me (as documented herehere, and here). But at the end of the day – and as I tell them – my goal is really to help them be the best people they can be. That means helping to mold strong, powerful, and confident women that can go out into the world and make a real difference.

It’s important to remember – and I often have to remind myself – that the responsibility of being a female role model is not a right, it’s an absolute privilege.

5. Above all, pursue balance.

Last, but what I would say most importantly, is that you pursue balance in your life as an entrepreneur.

All too often, I see business owners working themselves to the bone day and night to make their business work. While I 100% believe that hard work is apart of the equation, it doesn’t mean that you should be all work all the time.

I often imagine what I want my life to look like when I’m old and gray. Working myself to the bone and never having time for family, friends, and travel is not what I imagine.

So strike a balance: work hard at your business, but always leave room for yourself and the things that are important to you.

I’d love to hear about the lessons you’ve learned if you’re a female entrepreneur (or even a male one!). Let me know in the comment section below.