Top 3 Obstacles Entrepreneurial Women Must Overcome

Hurdles still remain before females gain true parity in business.

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!
Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy
Top 3 Obstacles Entrepreneurial Women Must Overcome
Image credit: MoMo Productions | Getty Images
Guest Writer
CEO of Energent Media
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There's plenty of reason to believe 2020 is going to be the year of the female entrepreneur. The workforce is becoming increasingly diverse as more women, including women of color, seek to make their visions a reality and capitalize on it. A study commissioned by American Express reported that, as of January 2017, an estimated 11.6 million female-owned businesses generated more than $1.7 trillion collectively in revenue. 

However, it's worth noting that while startup life is obviously never easy, tackling it head-on as a female entrepreneur presents its own unique set of challenges. Thankfully, we are at the cusp of a shift, and these obstacles should soon be a thing of the past. But until then, here are three hurdles worth looking out for, and how to leap over them.

Related: Challenges of Being a Woman Entrepreneur

Concerns Over Inclusion

Discourse on social identity has taken the internet by storm. It’s no secret that women in the workforce often fall victim to gender discrimination, thinly veiled or otherwise. Whether during the hiring process or when it comes to payroll, equality is often an uphill battle. Female entrepreneurs, particularly novices, are faced with additional pressures, like being judged as "too bossy" when exhibiting confident traits more commonly -- and admiringly -- associated with male leadership.

With concerns over inclusion in mind, female entrepreneurs typically operate with a heightened sense of social responsibility, as they create a culture that invites people from all walks of life. Without social responsibility at the forefront of her decision making, the female entrepreneur could face undesired consequences, such as backlash on social media.

Lack of a Support Network

Just as it takes a whole village to raise a child, it also takes a strong network to build a successful company. It's important for female entrepreneurs to build a professional network that consists of other female entrepreneurs, all of whom will cheer each other on. Oftentimes, they are left out in the wilderness, without much of a network or resources they can turn to.

Having resources to count on obviously plays a key role in the growth of a startup. Whether it’s drafting a strong strategy, looking for actionable advice or making sense of legal paperwork, businesspeople need a wide net of connections. 

Having seen the importance of such elements, Stephanie Burns, founder of Chic CEO, made it her mission to empower women with the knowledge they need to hit the ground running. As Burns writes on Chic's website, “I just figured if 15 of my super smart, totally rad girlfriends were confused by the startup process, more women probably were too.” She went onto create a series of how-to guides to help novice entrepreneurs get in-depth strategy insights on all sorts of business topics, full of actionable content to help other entrepreneurs achieve success far sooner. Fostering this sense of camaraderie is important, as it allows female business owners to lean on each other to reach new heights. It can also knock out plenty of hurdles, including low self-confidence, ideas on execution and coping with failure.

Work-Life Balance and Time Management

It’s impossible to discuss entrepreneurial success without bringing up the topic of time management. Working women seeking to start a business often have other immediate needs to tend to, thereby putting their professional dreams on hold. A mother looking to spend more time meeting company goals may first have to worry about child care. University students may find themselves stretched thin between studying and working on their product. When starting a business, budgeting one’s time is as crucial as budgeting finances.

Some of the simplest time-management strategies -- and quickest to execute -- would be sleep management, task management and health management.

Related: Get to Know the Female Entrepreneurs Who Are Reshaping the Business World

It's only natural for novice female entrepreneurs to worry about the things that can't be controlled. However, success can come easier by meeting new people, building strong connections and managing time efficiently. All along the entrepreneurial journey, it’s important to pay it forward and help other female entrepreneurs who are on the same path.

More From Women Entrepreneur


Cosmetics With a Cause: Why Gregg Renfrew Is Fighting to Reform the Beauty Industry

For Beautycounter, doing well by doing good is the future of commerce.
Career Advice

Building Your Street Cred to Get the Salary You Deserve

Once you know how to earn credibility in a job environment, you can ask for - and earn - the money you deserve.

How the Founder of MAKERS Is Inspiring Change Around the Globe

Jessica Abo sits down with Dyllan McGee to discuss her new documentary and tips to get out of a creative funk.

5 Beauty Products Every Traveling Entrepreneur Needs in Her Suitcase

Start or even keep your skincare routine while on the road.

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Create your business plan in half the time with twice the impact using Entrepreneur's BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan. Try risk free for 60 days.

Latest on Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur Media, Inc. values your privacy. In order to understand how people use our site generally, and to create more valuable experiences for you, we may collect data about your use of this site (both directly and through our partners). By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the use of that data. For more information on our data policies, please visit our Privacy Policy.