This is an incredible time in history to launch your own small business. I've personally experienced the wave of excitement for new, industry disrupting brands, and have learned so much through the process of co-founding and running my content marketing company, Masthead Media.
As we head into 2020, there is an abundance of resources available to entrepreneurs--particularly women--who want to launch their own companies.
While there's no one recipe for entrepreneurial success, there are several ways to access invaluable advice, support, and motivation to guide you on your way to creating a thriving business. Here are five invaluable resources that can get you big idea off the ground--and keep you moving forward on the path to unicorn status.
1. Capital to kickstart your growth
There are so many grants available to women entrepreneurs, and they're a helpful option to kickstart the process of launching a business. Grants.gov is a smart place to start to understand the landscape of federal grants available to small business owners.
If your business is up and running and you're ready to take it to the next level with more funding, the Female Founders Fund is an excellent resource. The fund has a strong track record of investing in successful women-led startups like Rent the Runway, Thrive Global, Zola, and many more.
And plenty of programs offer more than just money! In addition to providing grants to female entrepreneurs, the Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program gives fellows a chance to participate in workshops, a pitch day, and an online network of women founders. Check out more other funding and mentorship opportunities launched by successful female founders.
2. Legal resources
It's so important to have the right legal resources to help set your business up for success. You may have questions around choosing the right legal structure, protecting your intellectual property, and more. Check out your city or town's online resources to see if they have a directory of legal clinics to get you started.
As an example, in New York City, the NYC Department of Small Business Services hosts clinics for women business owners to connect them to free legal consultations. (My co-founder and I used this service when we were first getting started).
The Office of Women's Business Ownership within the U.S. Small Business Administration also offers a training curriculum and lots of other tools for setting up your business with the legal structure and guidelines that are right for you.
3. A community to support you
There's no shortage of women's professional organizations to offer advice and support as you build your business. As a marketer, editor, and writer, I've found a wonderful community within industry-specific organizations like New York Women in Communications.
There are similar organizations in many major cities across the country, and groups like Ladies Get Paid connect women entrepreneurs all over the world through virtual events and a members-only online network. The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) provides resources and referrals to over 10 million women-owned businesses across nearly every industry in the United States.
And because black women are reported to be the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs, Black Women Talk Tech was developed to offer support to founders as they work toward creating billion-dollar tech companies.
4. A collaborative space to work
As your business gets off the ground, you may find that you're looking for a change of scenery and some real office space. My company is based out of a co-working space, and the flexibility has been so helpful for our team as we've grown.
Many co-working spaces are tailored specifically for women. You might be familiar with The Wing, one of the most popular options for women-only co-working, which counts WeWork among its investors. Beyond simply offering a place to work, spaces like this can provide a sense of community and a natural, built-in network of professionals that can be integral to growing your business.
5. Endless inspiration
Seeing and hearing other women's entrepreneurial success stories is something that always inspires me as I work on my business.
And there's nothing like an inspiring TED Talk to provide a little extra motivation, especially when dealing with the inevitable setbacks and struggles that come with starting a company. Here are some of my favorite talks that are geared specifically toward female entrepreneurs, and feature visionaries like Shonda Rhimes and Sheryl Sandberg.