Crisis As Catalyst: How Women Entrepreneurs Can Turn Challenge Into Opportunity

Written by: Kiran Mann on behalf of Forbes

While women entrepreneurs are burgeoning—they started almost 50% of the new businesses in the U.S. in 2022, for the third year in a row—they also grapple with a disproportionate array of obstacles.

How can women entrepreneurs, in this era of constant change, leverage challenges as catalysts for unprecedented success in 2024? As a woman entrepreneur who has had her fair share of obstacles over the years, here’s what I think.

Challenge No. 1: Access To Funding

Women-founded startups only received 2% of VC funding in the U.S. in 2022.

Access to funding has been a long-standing challenge for women entrepreneurs. Several factors contribute to this disparity, including gender bias, underrepresentation in certain industries such as finance and tech, stereotypes about industry fit and limited networking opportunities.

If you are a women entrepreneur looking to secure funding in 2024, these tips can help:

• Build a strong business plan that clearly articulates your business idea, market opportunities and financial projections.

• Attend industry events, join business networks and connect with potential investors.

• Explore options like online fundraising and crowdfunding.

• Take advantage of gender-smart investing opportunities.

Challenge No. 2: Work-Life Balance

Three in 10 women entrepreneurs agree they’re struggling to maintain a work-life balance. As a mother to three kids, I know we face societal and familial expectations, so our lives become a complex juggle of managing priorities, navigating uncertainties and adapting to dynamic business demands.

What adds to the conundrum is that balance requires perfection. In my experience, it is not sustainable in the long run. So how about you don’t try to balance at all? How about you try juggling?

Juggling is much more forgiving. Juggling is okay with chaos, imperfections, mistakes and missed appointments. Most importantly, it allows you to have joy in your life.

As I’ve written about on LinkedIn, maybe it’s better to be a perfect juggler than an imperfect balancer.

Here are some tips I recommend:

• Don’t aim to create a structured routine. Instead, allow for flexibility in your life.

• Fill your cup first. You can’t give from an empty cup.

• Master the art of prioritizing.

• Let go of the guilt you’ve been holding on to. You will miss appointments sometimes, or not be able to give enough time to family, and that’s okay.

Challenge No. 3: Gender Bias And Stereotypes

The global share of women in senior leadership roles has only increased from 31.1% in 2016 to 32.2% in 2023.

Even though strides have been made, gender bias and stereotypes persist as a formidable challenge for women entrepreneurs. Preconceived notions about gender roles often cast a shadow over our capabilities and potential, affecting how we are perceived in the business world.

And the repercussions extend beyond financial constraints. For instance, a study shows that “workers are 7% less likely to work for female founders.” This can impede the ability of women-led companies to attract and retain top talent. Here’s how I believe we can tackle this challenge:

• Consistently showcase your competency by highlighting your achievements, skills and expertise.

• Advocate for gender equality in your organization by actively engaging in conversations around diversity and inclusion.

• Connect with other women entrepreneurs to build a strong support system.

Challenge No. 4: Limited Access To Mentorship

Female entrepreneurs who are mentored by other women witnessed a 34% rise in their sales and 29% higher profits.

The experience and learnings of a mentor who has been through similar challenges can prove highly valuable for women entrepreneurs. However, the lack of female leaders, especially in certain industries, makes it difficult for women entrepreneurs to find mentors capable of providing this guidance.

Here’s how women entrepreneurs can navigate this challenge:

• Engage in peer mentorship initiatives, where women entrepreneurs support and guide each other.

• Leverage online platforms that facilitate virtual mentorship.

• Consider becoming a mentor yourself, contributing to the development of the next generation of women entrepreneurs.

Challenge No. 5: Fear Of Failure

One recent study found that over 40% of potential entrepreneurs who see good business opportunities do not pursue them due to their fear of failure.

Amid conditions that aren’t in their favor, the incessant fear of potential failure is more common in women. But while failure is a real possibility, we as women must not allow insecurities to dictate the trajectory of our journey.

Here are some tips that have helped me conquer my own fear of failure:

• Cultivate a mindset that sees setbacks as a natural part of the entrepreneurial journey

• Acknowledge and celebrate every achievement, no matter how small

• Practice mindfulness and engage in regular self-reflection to understand and address insecurities

2024 And Beyond, Here We Come

Encountering my fellow women entrepreneurs not only inspires me but also kindles the motivation to persist and work even harder. These stories fuel my determination to enhance my skills, broaden my perspectives and contribute to the ever-evolving landscape of women in business.

As I forge ahead in 2024, I am committed to connecting with many such inspiring women and assisting them in any capacity I can. Together, we can amplify our impact and build a future where the achievements of one pave the way for the success of many. Cheers to a prosperous and triumphant 2024 and beyond!


Ashley Huegi