It’s no secret that women in the workplace face a multitude of challenges. From the gender pay gap and inadequate maternity leave policies to everyday sexism—whether hostile or benevolent—it can be difficult to excel in a career.
These challenges can also make it intimidating for women to pursue entrepreneurship because we might fear losing any occupational progress we have managed to make, but sometimes change is what’s best for us: whether it’s to follow our passion, gain flexibility during our day, or increase earning potential.
So while there are cultural and structural barriers affecting career women that we will take time to change, there are barriers we can overcome to help us succeed when pursuing entrepreneurship; here are two of them.
Barrier One: Lack of Time
Building a business takes time. The problem? Women can find it difficult to create extra time to dedicate to their professional pursuits due to everything else on our plates—from child-rearing, chores, and other caretaking tasks, women continue to handle the majority of the domestic workload. There are several ways to tackle this issue.
1. Reclaim some of your time. If you have a partner, have an honest conversation about your needs and work with them to redistribute the physical, emotional, and mental load that running a household demands.
If you’re struggling with how to approach this topic in your relationship, relationship counseling can help. The book FairPlay by Eve Rodsky also offers excellent advice on navigating this tricky subject.
2. Outsource what you can. If you have the means, ditching any guilt and getting help with household or business-related tasks can free up your time to work on the parts of your business ventures that are most fulfilling to you. Building up your social media presence to generate interest in your product or message is one such business-related task that can be easily outsourced to companies that specialize in supporting busy entrepreneurs.
For example, Smarcomms provides social media content creation and marketing services that can increase the organic reach of your business.
And FemForce is a photoshoot subscription service available in select cities such as Denver, CO that helps female entrepreneurs create social media content from low-cost photo shoots. Use promo code MEAGANC10 for $10 off your first photo shoot for $99!)
The bottom line is, you shouldn’t have to do everything yourself to make your entrepreneurship dreams come true. It is ok to as for help, use resources, and allocate pockets of time to your goals.
Barrier Two: Feeling Like an Imposter
“Imposter syndrome” is a term originated by psychologists Suzanna Imes and Pauline Rose Clance in the 1970s when studying high-achieving women. It represents the feelings of inadequacy and persistent questioning of your abilities despite evidence of accomplishments and competency.
It can make you feel like a fraud and that at any moment, someone might find out you don’t deserve own success. Sound familiar?
Imposter syndrome can manifest in many different ways, such as overworking to compensate for perceived shortcomings, excessively ruminating on your “failures,” and resisting recognition for well-earned achievements. It can even be associated with increased anxiety. So what can you do about it?
First, recognize it’s not your fault. Although anyone can encounter imposter syndrome, women—and particularly women of color—experience imposter syndrome at higher rates due to gender and racial imbalances in the workplace.
Next, notice the thoughts you have about yourself that can feed into imposter syndrome—then challenge them. When you have a thought such as, “I don’t think I can do this,” investigate further: is it true that you can’t? Or is that an imposter feeling? Mentally list evidence that supports your capabilities and try to reframe the thought with a positive affirmation: “I’m feeling unsure that I can do this, but I’m a smart, skilled, and qualified woman who can figure it out.”
Finally, cultivate a learning mindset instead of a performance mindset. Especially in the case of starting a business, viewing mistakes as part of a valuable learning process instead of evidence of your inadequacy will help shield you from feeding into imposter syndrome.
Work with a Therapist
Women have unique issues when it comes to building their careers and overcoming imposter syndrome. It can be difficult to navigate situations and successfully advocate for ourselves at the level required for us and our businesses to thrive.
Her Time Therapy, LLC is a group private practice created and led by women, so we get the challenges you're facing as a woman in the workforce. If you’re feeling inadequate in the workplace or stressed about your career, our therapists can help by partnering with you to process difficult situations and help you recognize your strengths.
Call or text us at (720) 255-1667, email email@example.com, or visit our website at www.hertimetherapy.com.
About the Author
Lauren Veazey, MA, is a graduate student in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and the Intake Coordinator for Her Time Therapy, LLC, a group therapy practice specializing in teletherapy for women. As a therapist in training under the supervision of Her Time Therapy founder Meagan Clark, she believes in the healing power of therapy for women to love themselves, trust themselves, and know themselves.
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