by Kim Eickhoff

“Women will change the world,” I remember hearing Oprah say many years ago on her network TV program. This has always stuck in my mind. This rings even more true today and it is starting to happen. However, there are some key challenges I see that most women experience in creating a successful business.

I have worked with and helped support many women entrepreneurs over the past 20 years of my career, first as a business manager for a variety of small businesses, and also for the last 8 years as a business coach.

I have noticed some big differences between men and women entrepreneurs. As women, we see the world differently, we see life differently, we see our businesses differently, and as a result we do things differently.

When we can SHIFT and work from the core of who we are, this is how we create real change, real success, and true happiness for ourselves as well as for those around us.

Here are the three things that women entrepreneurs, in particular, need to get clear about in order to be fully authentic and fully successful.

  1. Unleash your dreams = DREAM BIG!
  2. Transform your fears = BUILD CONFIDENCE!
  3. Get serious about being a professional business owner = BECOME A PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS OWNER

Unleash Your Dreams

At the center of why you are creating a business is the idea that you can create a better life for yourself. Whether that is about making more money, creating more time, or doing more good in the world (or a combination of all three), this is why we go through the pain of creating a business. However, when I ask women to tell me their dreams of what they want to create with their life and business, most of the time their dreams are very small. I have heard this statement from many women…”I don’t need a LOT of money….” And when we say this, this is EXACTLY what we get.

Unleashing our dreams is first about dreaming and being creative. The other piece is about mindset. In order to create my biggest dreams, I have to be willing to grow as an entrepreneur, a business owner, and as a human being. I need a growth mindset, versus a fixed one. You can’t dream if you have a fixed mindset. Therefore, learning to SHIFT this is important.

Transform Your Fears

What stops us more then anything is our fear. This is nothing new. Fear stands for False, Expectations Appearing Real or Face Everything And Rise.

We can get “stuck” in our fears. Learning to see our fears, however, as an area of challenge and growth, is how we move through them. To overcome our fears, we have to have a VERY strong vision of where it is we want to go and what we want to create. We also have to be very dissatisfied with our current situation. Usually, the clearer we get about our vision, the more dissatisfied we become with where we are now. This is actually good thing because when both of these are high, we will take the first steps we need to overcome the fear.

As you overcome your fears, you also build more confidence. Building confidence is all about practicing. The more you practice it, the more confidence you gain. Just make sure you are practicing the right things! Practice makes permanent.

Get Serious About Being A Business Owner

If you are an entrepreneur, if you have a small business, this is your vehicle to not only become more professionally, but also emotionally and spiritually.  Being a small business owner will push you to grow, so you need to get serious about the fact that this is what you are. You need to OWN it. I had a client who never told people that she actually owned the business where she worked. It made her uncomfortable. She said it sounded arrogant to say she was the owner.

It isn’t arrogant at all! It is confidence. If you own the fact that you are a business owner, and you actually have your own business, it can be scary because this means you actually have to step into that power.

Most women I start working with are sort of just dabbling in it, not super serious about the work they need to do to actually make it a viable and thriving business. One of the easiest tests to give yourself to see if you are doing this, is to first decide if you actually have a business at all. My definition of a business is a commercial, profitable enterprise that works without you. If you have a “business” where you have to be there all the time to make any money, this is actually NOT a business. You have actually just created a job for yourself.

The bottom line is, it takes a lot of hard work to become a successful business owner. I believe that women are more comfortable supporting their partners, children, even their employees before taking care of themselves. I have seen women business owners bend over backwards for employees who are mediocre at best, just to make them happy. It is usually at a huge cost to them.

As women, we have to learn first the skills to actually running a successful business, and two, we have to recognize where we as individuals need to up level our own lives in order to do this. Get serious about who you want to be, figure out what you want to learn, and find a way to learn it. Surround yourself with people who are doing the same. This is really important as women…we like support, collaboration and community. So go find it and work it.



Kim Eickhoff, MS, MBA, is a Certified Business Coach through ActionCOACH and has been helping small business owners build inspired businesses for the past 15 years. An inspired business is a place where all who work there can step into their full potential. As a result, it attracts the top talent for your team, the ideal customers for your products or services, and is incredibly profitable. It is also a pretty cool place to work every day because people are happy.