Women entrepreneurs often face more challenges getting started with their ventures, from difficulties in securing funding and navigating cultural and gender stereotypes to lack of resources and access to mentors.
These obstacles can make achieving success harder, and the journeys for women entrepreneurs—especially women minorities—are often longer.
Luckily, many of the women entrepreneurs in our circle here at Latinas in Business are here to share their insights and success stories. These women have built their own businesses from the ground up, many starting from nothing more than a dream and the drive to make it a reality.
Today we’re sharing some obstacles these entrepreneurs have faced and how they overcame them. Let their journeys be inspirations to guide you along your entrepreneurial path!
Learning to embrace agility and resilience
Dr. Liia Ramachandra is the founder of skincare brand, EpiLynx by Dr. Liia. When she started her business one of her greatest obstacles was simply being new to everything. There was so much to learn about running a business and growing her brand.
One of these lessons learned was the importance of embracing agility and resilience as a business owner.
“There are so many facets to an entrepreneur’s journey that I really was naïve about so every time we did something that didn’t have the desired outcome, I had to learn and pivot my approach,” she says.
Without learning and embracing this agility she believes she would have failed to launch and grow her business.
“To grow, there is the need to continuously reinvent and transform around the core purpose of the business. In listening to customers, we get a lot of insights and ideas.”
Fundraising and finding mentors
For Juliette Technologies Founder, Rechelle Balanzat, one of her greatest challenges was fundraising and finding role models like herself in the tech industry.
Growing up, Rechelle wanted to accomplish great things, do good work, and give back to her community. She looked for role models, but few looked like her or represented where she came from—her gender, socioeconomic background, or diaspora.
“It’s hard to be something you can’t see. But I didn’t let that stop me.” says Rechelle.
As a female technology entrepreneur, another one of her biggest challenges was fundraising.
“Even though I had customers from day one, a profitable business model, and a scalable solution – I failed to fundraise. As a result I fell into a depression. I questioned my skill set and my abilities. Perhaps I am a failure?” Rechelle shares.
“Then I learned that the systems and paths to success thus far were made for people who do not share my background. For example, of all VC funding only 2% go to women. Of that, less than 0.2% go to women of color.”
While money does not always equal success, it does take money to make money and for Rechelle and her story not raising capital meant her path to success was longer and more difficult.
For other minority women starting their own entrepreneurial journeys, Rechelle says, “It’s not about the challenges or the setbacks. It’s about never losing faith in yourself. It’s about believing in yourself when no one else will; believing in your dreams when no one else will. All the challenges, all the obstacles, they refine you—they make you stronger, wiser, sharper.”
Navigating many roles of a new entrepreneur and being the first
Amber Chaney, founder of Chaney Communications, launched her business during the start of the pandemic. That itself created many challenges. But one challenge that many new entrepreneurs struggle with is having to adapt to the many roles of being a business owner.
“I went from working a full-time job earning a paycheck, to being a manager, accountant, hr. director, and many more roles, working 10–12-hour days, 7 days a week!” says Amber.
As she learned to navigate these many roles she also struggled with being one of the first and few in her community. Amber is used to being the first of many. As the middle of seven children, she was the first and only to attend college.
Being the first business owner in her family and in her neighborhood meant that Amber often felt like advice, resources, and overall help were limited. She did not always have someone she could lean on and ask for advice. She learned to navigate these obstacles by being vocal, transparent, and looking for businesswomen mentors to ask for help.
“You cannot be afraid to say my business is struggling, saying I am not managing money well or I am looking for grants so I can hire more staff. Being vocal is a part of this journey, asking for help shows you there are so many with stories like mine willing to help and give advice.”
“There are so many resources, grants, and fantastic mentors here to help you. I live by the quote ‘Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.’”
Overcoming limiting beliefs to achieve success
Like many women and minority entrepreneurs, Latina Executive Coach Elena Armijo struggled with limiting beliefs about herself and her abilities.
Many of her struggles stemmed from this “core wound” of feeling not good enough. Many with similar limiting beliefs may question their success or doubt their abilities to do a good job and succeed in their profession.
“This has been something I have struggled with my entire life and have done a lot of healing work around,” Elena says. “It showed up for me like questioning whether I could follow through on a contract I just landed, getting a new rockstar client and being in disbelief that I could support them, or worrying that when my team and company grows, that it could all come falling down.”
After working with a coach, therapist, and healers in the world, as well as sharing what she learned with her family, she has been able to release these limiting beliefs around her self worth and continues to do so today.
“I now have the tools and support system to know that when those feelings come up it simply needs some loving care and compassion. This is something I wouldn’t have known in the beginning of my career.”
To other women entrepreneurs looking to start shifting their limiting beliefs and opening those doorways to success, Elena advises that you start by surrounding yourself with support.
“There are so many women that want to mentor, coach, and be by your side to help you rise. No one does this alone and support changes everything. Hire a coach, therapist, healer, or mentor that will help you see more possibilities than you might currently know exists. This is how we achieve success and growth together!”
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