Get All Access for $5/mo

Leadership Lessons from Young Female Entrepreneurs Millennial women business owners are charting their own path. Here are some ways to follow in their footsteps.

By Rebekah Epstein Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Andi Atteberry, founder of blingsting

Watch out world, there is a new breed of entrepreneur.

Millennial female entrepreneurs are disrupting industries, creating innovative products and ultimately, changing the world. The thing that I admire most about my fellow female entrepreneurs is that they are really doing it by their own rules. In the past, women have felt like they have to embody masculine characteristics to be successful. This isn't the case anymore.

Instead, lady entrepreneurs of Gen Y are embracing who they are, and aren't apologizing for it. There are a lot of leadership lessons to be learned from these 20-something-year-old business owners. Here are a few of the most important:

Humanize your business. The why in business is just as important as the what. Especially with social media, the story and reasoning behind your business decisions are important to not only your customers, but your employees too. The extra explanation creates a culture of loyalty.

Related: How Today's Young Female Entrepreneurs Embrace Their Feminine Mystique

"Not being straightforward is a huge mistake," said Andi Atteberry, founder of blingsting. "Any time I have worked for a boss who has been vague about issues that affected me personally, it has created a lot of resentment and instantly jeopardizes trust."

Embrace your inexperience. Ignorance is bliss. Zoe Barry, founder and CEO of ZappRx, a healthcare startup that gives consumers more control over the prescription process, was able to raise $1 million in funding with no real track record.

"I actually didn't know how hard it was going to be to raise the initial capital, and I went 18 months without salary or any guarantees," she said. "Not realizing the size of the challenge in front of me, I just assumed I could do it. I relied on my intuition and persistence and bet on myself over my track record."

Being new to an industry gives you the advantage of a fresh perspective; you can sometimes see the flaws that others can't because they have been stuck in the status quo for too long. That being said, female Gen Y entrepreneurs usually understand that they don't know it all either. To be successful, they have to ask for help, and bring in experts when needed.

Related: 9 Women in Tech Building Apps That Make a Difference

Be yourself. Being an entrepreneur is hard work; getting a business off the ground is a long, torturous process. You might as well enjoy the journey by having fun and being authentic. It is a lot less work if you start a business that embodies your personality and things that you are passionate about.

Blingsting's line of bedazzled pepper spray is not only sold in more than 250 small boutiques, the products are also sold in larger stores, such as Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops, Ace Hardware, Peninsula Beauty and Bealls. The success of the brand has proven that business shouldn't be so serious.

"We have a product that girls love, we are making good business decisions, and we are getting it out there," blingsting's Atteberry said. "And I personally believe that there is no one better suited to run a sparkly pepper spray company than a petite blonde who uses the words 'seriously' and 'totally' probably way too much."

Try having fun with it! If you don't, chances are you will be a miserable business owner.

Own your success. Women are notorious for not taking ownership of their success. This new generation of entrepreneurs is working hard, and they aren't afraid of their accomplishments.

"Women sometimes feel that they don't deserve success and are apologetic about it," said Sheena Sujan, founder and creative director of her self-titled line of luxury leather handbags with an impressive celebrity following. "Women should never apologize for being successful! We should be confident about our success and not chock it up to luck."

As an entrepreneur, you are your biggest cheerleader, so you must be confident and proud of your success. This attitude will be infectious, and continue to propel you forward.

Related: What This Female CEO Learned About Gender Bias After Pitching 200 VCs

Rebekah Epstein

Founder and Publicist, Fifteen Media

Rebekah Epstein is the founder of fifteen media, an agency that works exclusively with PR firms to streamline media relations in a digital era. She specializes in representing technology, health care, business and lifestyle companies.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Side Hustle

She Grew Her Side Hustle Sales From $0 to Over $6 Million in Just 6 Months — and an 'Old-School' Mindset Helped Her Do It

Cynthia Sakai, designer and founder of the luxury personal care company evolvetogether, felt compelled to help people during the pandemic.

Business Ideas

Free Webinar | July 18: How to Design, Manufacture and Sell Your Product Idea

Join us for our webinar with Jordan Nathan, founder of the kitchenware brand Caraway. Jordan will share the strategies he used to develop, manufacture and sell his products that grew Caraway's annual revenue by over 500% in just 4 years. Register now!

Business News

A Microsoft-Partnered AI Startup Is Being Sued By the Biggest Record Labels in the World

The company is allegedly profiting from AI without compensating the human work that fed the technology, the lawsuit says.

Business News

Costco's CEO Says This Product Is the 'Most Important Item We Sell'

Ron Vachris stepped into the CEO role at Costco after more than 40 years at the company. He began as a forklift driver.

Growing a Business

Take This Radical Approach to Customer Retention to Boost Employee Morale — And Your Profit

Customer retention has never been more important to an organization's bottom line, but achieving it means doubling down on the connection between employees and customers. Here's why it works, and how to get there.

Business News

This Airline Is Now Ranked Best in the World, According to a New Report

Skytrax released its ranking of the world's best airlines for 2024.