5 Female Business Owners Who Inspire Me

female business owners
For a long time I believed I couldn’t (and probably shouldn’t) start my own business.  I don’t have any interesting ideas!  Other people are out there who do it way better than I could ever hope to!  I could never make enough money to support myself!

Then I started working at CreativeLive.

In my time here, I’ve had the privilege to meet some amazing women who are helping people just like me to get out of this negative, destructive mindset and start on the path to fulfilling their dreams.  These women have helped me realize that not only could I start my own business, I could make it as big a success as I might hope for.

Tara Gentile

Tara is, quite simply, amazing.  An author, teacher, and business coach, she has worked with all kind of creative business owners for years, helping them to succeed despite a ton of challenges.  One of the biggest?  Noise.  Tara said, “There’s just a ton of noise in the market today: lots of information on how to start a business, lots of information on how to hone your craft, and lots of information on marketing. Of course, customers face a deluge of noise, as well. Anyone who is going to start a successful business needs to learn to cut through the noise and lead themselves.”  This is powerful advice, requiring the confidence to take the research you’ve done and then filter it to determine what is best for you and your business.

Sometimes businesses that start out with some success see a slowdown or significant lull in their business.  Tara calls this the Microbusiness Earning Plateau.  “Even when things get off to a great start, it’s almost inevitable that things will reach a point where the going gets tough. When my clients reach this point, I most often have them edit,” she said.  “Even when things get off to a great start, it’s almost inevitable that things will reach a point where the going gets tough. When my clients reach this point, I most often have them edit.  Editing is a great way to jumpstart a business but it also gives you the mental space you need to recalculate and see if there is an opportunity to create something new and needed.”

Jennifer Lee

Jennifer is the author of The Right Brain Business Plan and has spent years helping creative people figure out how to turn their dreams into a way to make money.  Knowing that many right-brain thinkers feel that a business plan is beyond them, she’s made the process fun and creative. Her work helps you create a unique and colorful visual plan that can be just as effective as the boring old traditional ones.

Jennifer echoes Tara’s advice above – you don’t have to do things the way they are “traditionally” done.  Plan and build your business the way that’s right for YOU.  It’s ok and even a huge benefit to celebrate your creative way of approaching the world and look at it as both a strength and a powerful asset.

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April Bowles

April knows that often we can get in our own way when trying to start our business.  She said “We’re living in a time where it’s possible for any one of us to create practically any business we can dream up, but often I’ll talk with a talented creative entrepreneur who has exciting ideas but she comes up with excuses or reasons why she can’t start now or why she can’t take the next steps. Our inner critics can be our own worst enemies.”

Those inner critics can also make us feel that talking about ourselves or our work is a bad idea.  April helps women feel more comfortable marketing themselves and their product.  She says “When you sell something that you believe in and you’re selling it to the right people, marketing becomes easier. You’ve got to be confident in your products or services and know that they make a difference whether that be adding joy to people’s daily routines through your art or making women feel more beautiful through your jewelry. Whenever I’m feeling nervous about something (like pitching a guest post or doing an interview), I remind myself of how much my work helps people. That gives me the courage I need to keep going.”

Abby Glassenberg

In addition to being an experienced sewer and pattern-maker, Abby also runs the blog and podcast While She Naps.  She regularly talks with designers and makers about what it really takes to build a creative business.  She says “A podcast is a great excuse to call all the people you admire and talk to them. It’s a terrific way to build your audience, too. When people hear your voice they immediately get to know you better. A podcast is a way to build relationships with people and when it comes down to it, business is all about relationships.”

Abby’s patterns, animals, and tutorials are available through her site as well as in a wide variety of books and magazines.  She believes that if you feel “what you have to offer is valuable and interesting to people it’s easy to stand up and say so in a loud voice. If you’re worried that your product isn’t great, there’s a tendency to want to hide it or not bother people with it. Marketing starts with the product itself. When you love it, you’ll love telling people about it and they’ll love hearing about it and telling their friends.”

Kari Chapin

Kari Chapin rose to fame in 2010 with the publication of her book The Handmade Marketplace.  The book has inspired crafters around the world to help sell their crafts both locally and online.  The book is in it’s 2nd edition now, and has a companion in Grow Your Handmade Business.

Kari believes that everyone who starts a business needs regular boosts of confidence and encouragement to keep at it.  She’s a remarkable coach who wants everyone to be living a life that they love doing work that fulfills them. She feels like a good friend who will occasionally tell you when you are making a big mistake but otherwise is 100% in your corner, supporting you and cheering you on.  In her new podcast, AIM (which stands for Action-Inspiration-Mindset), she talks with a variety of makers and artists to find out their secrets to success and how you can put them to use in your own business.

Are you looking for ways to help start or grow your own handmade business? We’re putting all of our business classes on sale starting today through March 31st.


Elizabeth Madariaga FOLLOW >

Elizabeth is the head of CreativeLive's Craft Channel. Unofficially, Elizabeth is responsible for the development of CreativeLive’s employee karaoke skills — a job she takes very seriously.