Research shows women CEOs falter at the $1 million threshold.
“What’s interesting is that these businesses match or exceed their peers in terms of numbers, employment, and revenue — until they hit the $1 million mark,” says Dr. Venus Opal Reese, CEO of Defy Impossible, Inc. , a coaching business that helps black women — and men and women of all ethnicities — break the seven-figure ceiling. “At $1 million, they start lagging behind.
Despite their bigger-than-average numbers, women’s businesses are still smaller than average.”In terms of growth in business ownership, women have been soaring past men, averaging increases 1.5 times the national average, according to the 2014 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report by American Express Open. There are nearly 9.1 million women-owned businesses providing jobs for nearly 7.9 million people and generating more than $1.4 trillion, according to the report. Leading the skyrocketing growth are women of color, who now own one of every three female-owned businesses — up from one in six in 1997. Black women alone generate $49.5 billion a year in revenue.
Reese, who went from living on the streets as a teen in Baltimore to earning her Ph.D. from Stanford, shares these tips to defy the impossible in business:
• Know your worth in dollars and cents. Most women tend to accept the unspoken expectation that people will notice and reward us. That’s a mistake. If you over-give or over-work, you actually train your environment to expect you to give without compensation. Start calculating the time, money, and resources you bring (or save) your clients or company. Write them down. When you are ready to up your rates or ask for a raise, you will not be depending on good will. You will have hard data to back up your hard work.
• Trust that you are more than enough. Too often we look outside of ourselves for validation. Sometimes we think a degree or a title will give us the “right” to be paid top dollar. You are brilliant. Start noticing that when you show up, things get better, things get done, and people soar. When you trust that you are enough, you stop backing down and you start standing for yourself — no credential needed.
• Heal your heart. Most women lead with their hearts. Whenever you are harboring resentment, regret, anger, resignation, or fear, you are blocking yourself from your seven-figure future. When your hearts are congested with negative energy, you block your wealth.
• Invest in yourself. As her business grew, there came a point when Reese realized she — and it — had outgrown many of the support staff that had been perfectly suitable when she was just starting out. To get the people she needed, she doubled and, in some cases, quadrupled salaries. “Now that I have a top-tier team, I have the mental space, creativity, and peace of mind to focus on high-level joint ventures,” says Reese.
• Learn how to monetize. The best investment Reese says she ever made in herself was learning how to package, position, and price her expertise. “When you learn how to monetize, you get freedom. You don’t have to depend on a man, or a job, or the government for security. And when you learn how to close sales with confidence, your money skyrockets!” HBM
Dr. Venus Opal Reese, CEO of Defy Impossible, Inc. (www.DefyImpossible.com) is an acclaimed international speaker; CEO Mindset, Messaging and Marketing Mentor; and entrepreneur coach.