“While the numbers are growing, there are still too few female investors and startup entrepreneurs, making it more challenging to raise capital and find mentors,” says Megan Smyth, CEO and co-founder of FitReserve. Although more women are embracing entrepreneurship, the female entrepreneur often faces challenges not typically shared by her male counterparts.

In this blog, I will first list 7 challenges that female entrepreneurs face. Then, I will list 5 actions you can take to break that glass ceiling. At the end of this blog, you will find inspiration as I will list 15 female entrepreneurs for whom we should watch out in 2017, according to Inc.com, as they are at the top of their field. I hope this blog helps you to continue to rock your business or to start the business you have always wanted.

‘Female Entrepreneur, how to be the Best Version of Yourself’ Although more women are embracing entrepreneurship, the female entrepreneur often faces challenges not typically shared by her male counterparts. In this blog, I list 7 challenges that female entrepreneurs face. Then, I list 5 actions you can take to break that glass ceiling. At the end of this blog, you will find 15 female entrepreneurs to watch out for in 2017. Read the blog here: http://bit.ly/FemEnBest

7 challenges the female entrepreneur faces

According to Paula Fernandes, these are the key challenges that the female entrepreneur faces. In her article, you can read how other female entrepreneurs and CEOs have struggled with these challenges and how they have overcome them.

1. Defying social expectations

When women entrepreneurs talk business with primarily male executives, it can be unnerving. Women may feel as though they need to adopt a stereotypically “male” attitude toward business: competitive, aggressive, and sometimes overly harsh. However, successful female CEOs believe that remaining true to yourself and finding your own voice are the keys to rising above preconceived expectations.

2. Limited access to funding

Those who look for investors to help get their businesses off the ground know how difficult the pitching process can be. Raising capital is even more difficult for women-owned firms. A 2014 Babson College report has found that less than 3 percent of venture-capital-funded companies had female CEOs.

3. Playing with the boys

Most would consider any given field to be male-dominated. It is even more of a challenge when you are coming in as a female having to give direction to males that may not want any direction.

4. Owning your accomplishments

The communal, consensus-building qualities encouraged in young girls can leave women unintentionally downplaying their own worth.

5. Building a support network

Forty-eight percent of US female founders report that a lack of available advisors and mentors limits their professional growth.

6. Balancing business and family life

Work-life balance is a goal of many entrepreneurs regardless of their gender, but mothers who start businesses have to simultaneously run their families and their companies. And in this area, traditional gender expectations often still prevail.

7. Coping with a fear of failure

According to Babson College’s 2012 Global Entrepreneur Monitor, the fear of failure is the top concern of women who launch startups.

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Break the glass ceiling with these 5 strategies

According to Catalyst, women only make up 15.4 percent of CEO positions and 33 percent of senior management roles. It is time to break that glass ceiling!

There are many ways to build confidence and power as a female entrepreneur. Unfortunately, some women still feel like they have to prove themselves to peers and clients, but with these strategies from Stephanie Chung, you will feel empowered to take risks and create a competitive business that outshines those of others.

1. Be bold

Women business owners are often seen as too nice or too cold. It can be difficult to find the perfect balance. You want to be taken seriously but you also want to be friendly and approachable. That means you must always be yourself yet find ways to express your boldness, such as giving your expert opinion in meetings, making executive decisions, and trying risky strategies.

2. Network with other women

Talking to other successful women can be a very constructive experience. Meeting other leaders like yourself inspires creativity, builds knowledge, and makes your future business goals seem attainable. Attending panels, having group discussions, and interacting with influential women can boost your confidence, help you discover several ways to improve your business, and build motivation.

I am always happy to connect with other female entrepreneurs. I feel that we can learn a lot from each other. Feel free to connect with me on Twitter: @GdenHolder.

3. Show passion for your work

Your business is most likely your passion in life. Do not be afraid to show that passion. When talking about your business and team, your excitement will make people want to learn more and see what you are doing to make such a fulfilling company and workplace.

4. Promote yourself

There is always a way to promote yourself and your brand. Having an active social media account and a marketing team is one way to promote your company. However, do not forget to give yourself attention by handing out business cards at networking events, by being open to interviews with reporters seeking expert advice, and by being nominated for business awards. This will help you and your company gain recognition and give you a chance to leverage such honors when competing against other companies.

5. Cultivate a variety of mentors

Remind yourself that you are not alone in your business venture. It is extremely beneficial to have a network of people you can rely on for different advice. Whether it is a current or former boss, your college professors or even an executive coach, there will always be people ready to help you grow your business. Connecting with other experienced people or experts will be hugely helpful for future reference and will also help you make smarter business decisions.

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15 female entrepreneurs to watch out for in 2017

Are you ready to be inspired? These 15 entrepreneurs are at the top of their field according to Inc.com, blazing the way for the many generations of female startup founders to follow. If you are a female entrepreneur that needs a few people to look up to, these are great suggestions!

1. Kimberli Cheung Wright

Kimberli Cheung Wright stands to change travel planning forever with Trepic. Her app helps consumers plan trips by browsing images, with selections customized to each user’s personal preferences.

2. Kristi Grigsby

Kristi Grigsby founded STEM out of a need to encourage learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Her picture book series is geared specifically toward encouraging young girls to pursue these areas through fun storytelling.

3. Sabrina Mutukisna

The Town Kitchen delivers chef-crafted meals to San Francisco Bay-area businesses. Sabrina Mutukisna hires low-income youth and trains them to prepare the meals, helping them prepare for successful careers.

4. Whitney Wolfe

Online dating services struggle to attract female users, but Whitney Wolfe hopes to change all of that with her app Bumble. It was created with women in mind, requiring male members to wait for females to make the first move.

5. Julia Taylor Cheek

Lab testing is an important part of diagnosing and treating patients. Yet most lab tests remain unreadable to the average person. Julia Taylor Cheek eliminates medical visits from the equation with EverlyWell, letting patients provide their own samples and read results online in easy-to-understand language.

6. Lana Hopkins

The online marketplace is perfect for build-your-own products, and Lana Hopkins has capitalized on the market with Mon Purse. The four-year-old company landed a deal with Bloomingdale’s that has boosted its worth considerably.

7. Amanda Signorelli

Techweek’s multi-day conference brings tech startups together to network and learn. Amanda Signorelli is Techweek’s CEO and has made diversity a top goal, working hard to ensure more women excel in tech.

8. Anna Auerbach

With Werk, Anna Auerbach helps women find jobs that advance their careers while still meeting their work-life balance needs.

9. Natalia Oberti Noguera

Natalia Oberti Noguera’s Pipeline Angels seeks to change the face of investing by helping women and non-binary entrepreneurs with boot camps and investment opportunities.

10. Miki Agrawal

Miki Agrawal is redefining feminine hygiene with her leak-proof underwear. She plans to expand her line to include products for women with bladder control issues.

11. Jewel Burks

Automotive repair shops waste much time tracking down part numbers so that they can order replacement items. Jewel Burks’ startup, Partpic, simplifies the process by matching images snapped by users to the exact replacement part.

12. Tyler Haney

Tyler Haney’s Outdoor Voices workout apparel is designed to keep wearers dry and cool while working out. She hopes to grow her apparel brand to the size of a company like Nike.

13. Marcela Sapone

Small tasks like grocery shopping and laundry can easily become burdensome as homeowners get busy. Marcela Sapone’s Hello Alfred sends a personal assistant who can clean, shop, organize, and handle other errands as requested.

14. Ida Tin

Ida Tin’s app Clue not only lets women track their monthly cycles but over time it uses built-in machine learning to become more accurate in predicting ovulation.

15. Amy Chang

Amy Chang’s Accompany is a digital personal assistant that provides busy professionals with in-depth information on business contacts, company research, and the latest news.

Experts at doing more with less

I hope that this blog makes you realize that you are not alone in this male-dominated business world. You are not the only one facing these challenges. Together, we are stronger. So, find some local network groups or online, and start making your business dreams come true!

Did you know that simply being a female entrepreneur already gives you a competitive advantage? Yes! Apparently, women entrepreneurs are experts at doing more with less. Make sure to use that advantage!