When it comes to economic impact, women are all business. They are the primary or sole breadwinner in 40 percent of U.S. households with children, according to the Pew Research Center.[i] And they're increasingly striking out on their own. Roughly 36 percent of all businesses are women-owned (51 percent or more), and another 9 percent are equally owned by women and men, according to U.S. Census data.[ii]

Whether they're embracing entrepreneurship because of a grand vision or to have greater control over their lives, women business owners still face obstacles. For instance, a February 2018 report by Biz2Credit found that the average funding for women-owned businesses was 45 percent lower than companies owned by men.[iii] Such lack of access to capital can be a challenge for these companies. But, women business owners are resourceful. Here, two successful women entrepreneurs share how they faced and overcame their own roadblocks.

1. Find funding.

A late-night vision of bringing her Argentine grandmother's dulce de leche recipe to grocery stores nationwide led to a new business for Josephine Oria. As a former CFO, she knew that her Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania-based company, La Dorita, had to show detailed financial reports and projections to be attractive to lenders.

She also aimed to make a good impression: She used her professional accomplishments and an exemplary business plan to bolster the relationship with her bank. Oria counsels women business owners to market not only their businesses but also themselves.

While banks look at your financials, "they also bank on the person," she says.

2. Make a smart first hire.

If you want to grow your business, you need the right people. For that reason, Jamie King wanted to be selective with the first hire for her Portland, Oregon yoga studio, Flex & Flow.

She ultimately chose an experienced yoga instructor who had a desire to hone her social media prowess. The combination of teaching experience and a desire to stretch her skills and help grow the business was exactly what she was seeking.

There are plenty of skills King can teach someone, so she looks for employees with skills she can't teach-chiefly the ability to connect with people.

"I want to hire people who are also leaders, who are hungry in the same way I am for an opportunity," she says.

3. Face down the fear.

King says there were things about running a business she couldn't have prepared for--including the ice storm during the first winter she owned her studio. It was up to her to turn this unexpected setback into an opportunity. Instead of losing money and letting down customers by taking a "snow day," she braved the elements and headed to the studio to generate a full day's revenue from the customers who came to classes.

Being the ultimate leader and decision-maker in your business can be daunting, especially early on. For better or worse, this position can challenge you and test your nerves. For King, the experience has been richly rewarding.

"Don't let that first failure or big opportunity steer you off your path," she says. "There's a lot of resilience that goes into this. Don't let that fear be the thing that stops you."


This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. PNC urges its customers to do independent research and to consult with financial and legal professionals before making any financial decisions.


[i] "Breadwinner Moms," by W.Wang et al. Pew Research Center, May 2013.

[ii] "Women's Business Ownership: Data from the 2012 Survey of Business Owners," by M. McManus. U.S. Small Business Administration, May 2017.