I started my first company when I was 19 years old, from the bedroom of military based housing with a monstrous Gateway computer (which was the coolest thing on the market at the time). I performed transcription, web design and home office solutions for busy professionals on the cusp of the tech bubble. Ever since then, the entrepreneurial bug has bitten me, and I am ravenously infected by it. However, it can be challenging as a woman in business to set the right value on your cost menu, or charge appropriately for the services you provide – we gals often undervalue ourselves. Here are three tricks I have learned over the past 16 years that have helped me increase my entrepreneurial profitability.
1. Calculate How Much You Actually Need In Profit
I have often quoted the phrase, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” And I believe this with all of my heart. For every venture I have begun, I set clear, concise income goals. From there, I sit down and draft a plan to meet those goals using a methodical approach and a lot of spreadsheets. I plan for cancellation rates and deals falling through, so that my numbers remain conservative and realistic, avoiding the pie in the sky syndrome most other female entrepreneurs struggle with when they don’t meet profitability goals.
I remain passionate about profitability, and don’t cut my fees because someone else doesn’t see my value. When they don’t, I simply move on to the next in line. Over the years, this has helped me master and perfect the skills it takes to stay on top of marketing trends in order to be a lead generating machine – most small businesses number one problem. This mindset has led to my opening my own business consulting service, and tying that into several other entrepreneurial ventures, providing me a substantial profitability increase.
2. Practice Leverage
Your greatest asset is the people who work for you, work with you and who believe in your company as much as you do. It is of the utmost importance to treat these people with respect, to know how to inspire them and to be able to demonstrate a system they can use in order to be successful in your industry – and to do this better than anyone else. When you subscribe to this mindset, you find the right people to put in the right positions that will help your woman owned company become a smashing success. With the right partners, anything is possible.
3. Be Confident
For me, this was a tough one to master, especially when starting out at 19, I struggled quite a bit in my first business, and had more confidence crises than I care to admit to. However, every time I fell down, I made the commitment to myself (and to my business) that I would learn from each setback, and then take that knowledge and apply it to my company. This took several years to master (success is a journey, not a destination), but at 35 years old, it is something I have become supremely skilled at. It is much easier for your team, your employees and yourself to believe in a business you are passionate and confident about.
All in, I have managed to boost my income steadily from the time I was 19 years old until today. And while I continue to learn from my mistakes, continue to leverage the right people and devote part of my day (everyday) to personal and business development, the road to getting what I want out of my career, and what I want financially has become far less rocky. In fact, retiring by the time I am 40 years old, with $500,000 a year in residual profit is no longer a pipedream and much closer to a reality.
Having recently quit a job where I had a vested interest in company profit and moved on to my latest entrepreneurial venture, I can say that the raise I gave myself (and the time I have back that I did not have before) are worth nothing less than hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. So go forth female entrepreneurs. Practice, believe, teach and then pay it forward to the next generation of powerful, income producing women.
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