By Sherry Lutz Herrington
I’m fascinated by the differences I see between male and female entrepreneurs and how they run their businesses. Some things about the differences one might expect, and other things might surprise you.
Generally speaking, I see men hide their fears, muscle their way through, and pretend everything is okay. Lots of bravado and ego. Typical and expected, even. What I find surprising is that this often works! They succeed, overcome the fears, and move on to the next issue at hand.
Women, on the other hand, tend to wear their fears on their sleeves, as they often do with their hearts. Most women are naturally emotional creatures who vocalize everything they are going through. In a lot of ways, this is positive and helps them build empathy with their clients. They understand and relate to the issues their clients are coming to them to fix.
Sometimes this vulnerability gets in the way of their success.
Many women entrepreneurs have a mindset that they are supposed to save everyone. A successful female business owner I know admitted to me recently how she’d had to fight to overcome this urge. And, every time she turned someone down, she felt bad. But what a difference it made in her business when she learned that she didn’t have to accept everyone as a client.
Women often fear that if they don’t take whatever comes to them, that they won’t succeed. In fact, the opposite is true.
Learn to identify your ideal client and then accept that there will be slight variations to either side of that ideal. Then you won’t need to bend over backward to get every lead to fit with your ideal. For example, let’s say your ideal client is a business earning between $200,000 and $750,000 per year. Then you get a lead from someone whose business makes $150,000 per year. Most likely, you can still find a way to assist them. However, if a lead comes to you and their business makes $35,000 per year, they probably aren’t a good fit.
Shoot for your ideal client, but be realistic about who you can successfully partner with and still stay focused on what your business does best. Learn to put up boundaries around the clients that you accept. Then you will attract more of the kind of clients you want, and you will become successful more quickly.
Letting go of the fear that there won’t be enough if you don’t take every lead, no matter if they are a good fit or not, will help your business thrive.
Another area in which I see a huge difference between how men and women face their fears is pricing.
Men are not afraid to charge what they’re worth. Or, if they are, they never let on. They state their prices confidently and expect to get them.
Women, on the other hand, tend to fear charging what they’re worth. They undervalue themselves so, whether they are selling services or products, they reflect that lack of confidence in their pricing. They waffle and hem and haw.
Underselling yourself just to get a client will cost you in the long run.
If you give in to their demands that you lower your prices, they will likely always try to get you to cut your fees and make you mad with constant demands or expectations to do more for less. This will lead to resentment and you will end up not wanting to work for them at all. Just avoid the whole thing by learning to charge what you’re worth. Stick to your guns when someone tries to negotiate you down.
Whether you tend to hide your fears and push through them or you let them show and allow them to control your business, we all have fears we face.
Figure out what your fears are and learning how to overcome them, so they don’t keep you from succeeding. Learning to push yourself to grow and change is what helps most entrepreneurs move to the next level in their businesses.
Sherry Lutz Herrington is the owner of Sherrington Financial Fitness, a business consulting and accounting firm specializing in strategic business planning and solid financial accounting for businesses. She is also the author of Strong Women Thriving (https://strongwomenthriving.com/), a blog which focuses on empowering women to be financially savvy, particularly after experiencing financial abuse. Sherry is currently writing a new book that both shares her personal story and addresses financial abuse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.