Women in business face many common challenges: negative stereotypes, gender bias and family demands are just a few of the hurdles they must jump. Kimberly Porazzo, an award-winning journalist and editor, has been reporting the stories of female entrepreneurs for several years now, a beat that’s become a lifelong passion. “I have met and learned so much about success and failure from so many women. I want to continue to tell their stories, but in a way that inspires and informs other women.” Porrazzo recently initiated a Kickstarter campaign for Woman-owned, a digital magazine that aims to engage business-minded women. With strong writing, photography and embedded videos, the magazine will encourage readers to share the content and educate other women on starting and running a successful business.
Today, there are many more opportunities and support systems to give women a leg up in business. The majority of states in the US, for example, provide training and resources to woman business owners. Technology has made it easier to launch a business and increase awareness among potential customers. But to truly get a business off the ground, it’s all about taking things seriously. “For small business owners, such as Etsy sellers, you have to remember that, no matter how small your store is, you are building a brand,” advises Porrazzo. “Beyond designing and creating a product — often the most fun part of being an Etsy seller — there are all the details of running a business, from inventory management to customer service.”
Even if your shop is a fulfilling hobby, paying attention to small business details is essential for reaching the next level. “One of the most common habits among women who are successfully running their own businesses is that they look at the numbers every single day,” says Porrazzo. When Jacquelyn Tran, CEO of BeautyEncounter.com, took over the fragrance business her parents were running out of their garage, she followed such a mantra. “She told her parents that if they were going to grow the company, they had to make decisions as if they were a big company, not a garage operation,” says Porrazzo. “She now is at the helm of one of the largest online fragrance and cosmetics retailers in the world.”
Unfortunately, women are still falling short to their male counterparts. Over the last decade, only two percent of women-owned businesses have reached the one million dollar mark in annual revenue. But that statistic is steadily changing for the better. “I really sense more confidence among the women that I talk to. They don’t feel they have pie-in-the-sky ideas,” says Porrazzo. “I think, deep down, many of us want to run our own show. And today, women are making that choice like never before.”
Chappell Ellison is a designer, writer and design writer. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York where she serves as a contributor for The Etsy Blog and design columnist for GOOD.