Women as entrepreneurs in a male domain [+ checklist]

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Women found a different way. Even if you are self-employed in a male domain. What motivates founders? The fact is, the road to becoming a successful entrepreneur is no picnic.berufebilder

Here writes for you:


Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


Women found a different way

“So much has been written about it; Women simply do it differently, ”answers Bundestag member Antje Lezius, slightly annoyed when asked what women entrepreneurs do better or worse than men. Lezius himself was managing director of Frühauf Tanken und Rasten GmbH in Idar-Oberstein for 10 years, a real male domain. Later she passed on her experience to small and medium-sized companies, mainly at petrol stations: she worked as a management consultant. After all, today she sits for the CDU in the Bundestag.

Her experience: “Women are more likely to recognize difficulties, address things and seek help when things are not going well. They also see relationships and act with more foresight. ” Just like in 1997, when the federal road on which her family business had existed for 40 years was relocated. With his brother and mother, Lezius decided without further ado to build a new tank and rest area with bistro and shop elsewhere “bigger, more modern and technically up to date.” Her motto: If you invest, then do it right! Cost: 4,5 million marks. The credit for this was not easy to get: "Some banks did not trust us - not because the boss was female, but because we had simply been much smaller before," reports the entrepreneur. She was finally able to convince with a sophisticated business plan, which also included co-financing from an oil company and a fast food chain.

Acceptance problems are rare

In any case, she rarely had serious acceptance problems with men. "Although suppliers and customers often asked for the boss - and were then amazed that it was me, it was OK," she reports. The mother of two daughters is more likely to see the problem with the women themselves: "Many perfectionist believe that they have to throw the company, children and household alone instead of delegating tasks," explains Lezius, who also had to learn how to work out shift plans and childcare to care. Another disadvantage is the lack of female self-confidence:

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"We often think that we still lack specialist knowledge instead of looking at our successes and simply getting started with the money," says the management consultant, who sees the reasons for the lower earnings of many women: "Men simply have more experience and are very focused on making sales, while women often ask less for the same performance. ” Above all, it can help that women also support each other - said Lezius, who campaigns among other things for Business and Professional Woman Germany eV, a network for working women.

Self-confidence: Women have to be more confident

For Julika Bleil, too, success as an entrepreneur depends above all on self-confidence. “I have mostly achieved my goals. Because if I believe that something will work out, I am very convincing, ”explains the managing partner of the Hamburg start-up allyve.com. Bleil was so convinced of the success of the idea, a home page for various internet services with an integrated password manager, that you and your business partner quit their well-paid consultant jobs at a large consulting company almost a year ago: “Self-employment was my dream. I wanted to design something myself and make my own decisions instead of just pushing other people's projects forward, ”Bleil explains the decision. The money for the implementation came from an investor.

The young entrepreneur sees no difficulties in asserting herself in the IT male domain: "Of course there are men who are not used to a boss, but the slogans have to be taken lightly or show limits," she reports. Snapping around snapped, however, have little Sense “And over time, competence wins.” This is the plus point of the industrial engineering graduate anyway: “People notice straight away that I'm involved in the topic. It shows how important good training is. ”

Female strengths

In addition, she can also show off her typically feminine strengths in everyday business: “When I negotiate, I listen first and try to find the right point at the crucial moment. And in the office I often smell problems in time, ”says Bleil, but makes it clear:“ Even as a boss, you have to accept that not everyone likes you. ” If anything, it was the female weakness: "For women, whoever likes them is important, for men it is more important how successful they are - and everyone sets their priorities here."

The twenty-seven-year-old had already noticed this in the founding phase: “While my business partner tried to bring in a broad professional network of contacts who helped us a lot with information and experience, my network was more closely and personally knitted and gave me the necessary emotional support Support. ”

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Cliché or reality? Women as entrepreneurs - research results

Only a third of all entrepreneurs are female, 70% of them as a self-employed. 56% of women are based in the services sector, only 10% in the technology sector. Although founders have a high level of education - academics are the most common - comparatively few women still study mathematical and technical subjects. However, these degree programs in particular produce proportionally more female entrepreneurs.

Women start one size down: 86% of partnerships are female start-ups with one to two employees, while men have six to ten employees. Female entrepreneurs use lower capital requirements (20% started 1997 with less than 2600 €) and invest on average less than half the men (2685 € per year) in the current company. However, a third of men also start with more than 50.000 € equity - only one in ten women. Instead of loans, these usually prefer informal sources of money (eg family members). The ladies are also more modest when it comes to the fee - for example, the IT sector: according to the GULP database, women demand almost two euros less per hour. This is the only way to explain the income differences: only 35% of female entrepreneurs earn 2001 at least 1.534 € net per month. One reason for the modesty could be that women like to become self-employed part-time and prefer to start a business if they are already financially secured by a partner anyway.

Checklist for self-employed women

Women as entrepreneurs in a male domain usually ask themselves many questions. We have put together the most important in a checklist.

  • Why did you become self-employed?
  • Would you do it again?
  • Would you do it differently and if so what?
  • According to DIHK, women generate less turnover than men: What makes women worse?
  • What makes women better than men?
  • What makes women harder, where are the personal weaknesses of women at the start-up?
  • What are the personal strengths of women?
  • Do women face the difficulties that arise during business start-ups and business days?
  • What are the obstacles to women who want to start a business?
  • Do women have other problems than men?
  • Only about a third of all founders are female: What is your opinion?
  • What does it look like with the acceptance of women in the men-dominated IT industry? What positive and negative experiences have you had with business partners, banks, etc.?
  • According to the BMBF, only 10 to 15 percent of technology-oriented women's start-ups are founded: What do you think women are finding that many women are still based in classic women's industries?
  • Are women with employees, business partners, investments or risks different from men?
  • Does family planning play a role in starting a business, or did family planning somehow affect self-employment or vice versa?
  • If so, what difficulties exist here?
  • What would you advise women who want to become self-employed?


Being self-employed as a woman in a male domain is still no picnic - that's impressively proven by my research.

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