Regardless of your gender, it's a good idea to hear what these female leaders have to say. After all, women have more obstacles to overcome than men in the world of entrepreneurship. From dealing with the Old Boys Club mentality to being at a financial disadvantage when coming from corporate America, here are 15 quotes by famous female CEOs and entrepreneurs to keep you motivated.
1. Melinda Gates on voice and strength
"A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult." This "voice" is your best tool in the board room, when talking to investors, when finding partners and when pitching to clients. Once you find your voice, hone it and practice.
2. Barbara Corcoran on the benefits of failure
"My best successes came on the heels of failures," says famous the Shark Tank investor. However, failures have no silver linings if you don't learn from them. Find the lesson in each stumble when creating a new business or coming up with a marketing plan.
3. Debbi Fields on following your passion
"What I wanted was to be allowed to do the thing in the world that I did best--which I believed then and believe now is the greatest privilege there is. When I did that, success found me." The creator of Mrs. Fields stuck by her guns, and passion for cooking, from day one. That's what gets you through the tough times.
4. Jenny Craig on commitment
"My husband always tells me that I'm the most unrelenting person he's ever met, and it's true. If I make a commitment to something, I will stick to it no matter what." This is sage advice for both weight management and entrepreneurial or business success. Nothing is more important than dedication.
5. Estee Lauder on selling
"I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard." The famous makeup entrepreneur knows that no matter what product or service you have, it needs to be sold. There is no such thing as an entrepreneur with no selling skills.
6. Amanda Cookson on empowerment
"Running my own business is empowering. I get to set my own hours, call the shots, and contribute to my family." The founder of Be My Guest keeps all the upsides of many entrepreneurial details in mind to keep her motivated. There are downsides, too, but they shouldn't be the details that linger.
7. Indra Nooyi on making plans
"There is nothing like a concrete life plan to weigh you down. Because if you always have one eye on some future goal, you stop paying attention to the job at hand, miss opportunities that might arise, and stay fixedly on one path, even when a better, newer course might have opened up." The CEO of PepsiCo adamantly lives in the present--because there's no other way to live.
8. Irene Rosenfield on employee outlook
"Our emerging workforce is not interested in command and control leadership. They don't want to do things because I said so, they want to do things because they want to do them." The CEO of Mondelez International knows that worker morale is an evolving entity, and that great businesses start with great employees.
9. Sheryl Sandberg on leadership
Facebook's COO says, "Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence." You want to make the company better, and leave it that way for your successor. That should be the goal of any executive.
10. Robin Chase on money
"I have never been motivated by money," says Zipcar founder Robin Chase. That might not sound quite right given the immense and lucrative nature of Zipcar, but Chase maintains that passion comes first and the money naturally follows.
11. Candice Carpenter on obstacles
"If you are committed to creating value and if you aren't afraid of hard times, obstacles become utterly unimportant. A nuisance perhaps, but with no real power. The world respects creation; people will get out of your way." The CEO of iVillage sees obstacles as a natural occurrence, but not something to be feared. It's simply the ebb and flow of life and business.
12. Sophia Amoruso on inclusion
The founder of NastyGirl says, "It's not about being included. It's about creating your own space and including yourself and then finding other people that are like, 'okay.' " This is about hiring for company culture, which is a major perk of being a founder. There's a reason this approach is trending.
13. Angela Braly on gender
"The most important factor in determining whether you will succeed isn't your gender, it's you. Be open to opportunity and take risks. In fact, take the worst, the messiest, the most challenging assignment that you can find, and then take control." The CEO of WellPoint doesn't believe in not getting your hands dirty--in fact, she says, that's what breeds success.
14. Maggie Wilderotter on gender bias
"Men selectively listen. When that happened, I'd stop the conversation and say, 'Do you realize I said that 10 minutes ago?' Women have to take responsibility for the dynamic around them. You can't just say, 'Woe is me.'" The CEO of Frontier Communications knows she can't change other people, but she can change how she responds to them.
15. Irene Chang Britt on making mistakes
"Not that I would have listened, but I wish I'd known that it was okay to make mistakes earlier in my career. I went on to make some real doozies but I wish that rather than being embarrassed, which I was, I appreciated it was all part of learning and developing on the job." The CSO of Campbell Soup Company has that sorted out now, but the grief she could have avoided is immense.
The best thing any woman can do is try and learn from the mistakes of others. It saves you time, headaches and money. However, just like Britt, it's likely that the "best" lessons will be learned the hard way.