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Do you stop just before “the ask?”

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Do you stop just before “the ask?”

Do you stop just before “the ask?”

Women entrepreneurs are hard working, creative, and savvy. Yet, they often stop short of asking for capital to get their business off the ground and into the stratosphere of success.

Do you find yourself holding back right about the time you should be asking for money?

Currently, I’m working on a project that requires more capital than I can fund myself. I am pitching the deal to investors across the country. I am so very excited about this business idea — it’s innovative, marketable, creates a great social good and has high profit potential. I talk exuberantly about my new business, until I have to ask for money. It’s like a trap door appears when I have to ask the question, “Will you write the check?”

Asking for money can be terrifying. And it can also be the life or death of a business idea; or at least the difference between struggle and success.

So I have been pondering what makes women shy away from this ask; even more than men. Because let’s face it, asking for money can be difficult for both men and women.

Here are some old experiences many women carry around in their unconscious psyche.

  • Women often were not taught about money as girls, while boys usually were; leaving money skills to be developed (or not) solely on our own.
  • Women often are still not expected to make an equal or greater share of a family’s income and therefore are also not expected to be equally involved in the family finances; making topics like stocks, bonds, debt, equity, compound interest, and convertible notes a little less familiar.
  • Women often have allowed partners to “handle” the money becoming less and less comfortable with discussing it and evaluating alternatives — especially in big decisions.
  • Women frequently learned to play down their brilliance because it intimidated others and hence dimished feeling connected with those they held dear. This is especially true in middle and high school when girls start to move away from subjects like higher math and economics that would make them more comfortable with money discussions.

Overcoming these and other obstacles to asking for money is easy. Recognizing you have unconscious beliefs holding you back is not so easy. I specifically put exercises to help you overcome your fear around asking for money in my Wealth Development program because this so often stops women from pursuing their dreams.

Here are a few indicators you might need some help feeling more empowered around money.

  • When was the last time you made a major purchase decision without anyone else’s input (house, car, something most people get loans to purchase)?
  • Have you negotiated a bank loan in person with a banker, on your own?
  • Do you directly manage more than half of your assets, investments, or retirement funds?
  • Are you comfortable asking family or friends to help fund a business idea of yours –with large amounts of money?

As for me, I noticed my hesitation, breathed a few deep breaths, and asked anyway.

The first time was the hardest. It’s been getting easier and easier as I proceed. Most of the time, when I notice I am holding back out of fear I simply act as if I am not uncomfortable, until I am really not afraid. In those moments, I remind myself that courage is not being fearless, courage is feeling my fear and acting anyway.

Is one of the things that keeps you from asking for money worrying you will not be taken seriously because you are a woman? It is time to start busting the myth that women are not as good at managing money as men. Look for information that helps you create a new belief. Here are a few:

  • Working women in the U.S. generate $4.3 trillion in earned income.
  • 8 million women-owned businesses genrate $3 trillion in revenue.
  • 45% of all millionaires are women.
  • Women in the U.S. own 60% of all personal wealth and 51% of stocks.
  • Women in the U.S. control $7 trillion in consumer and business spending.
  • Women own 40% of all private U.S. businesses.
  • Women 50 years and older have a combined net worth of $19 trillion.

Many women are very competent around money. The more you believe this about women in general the easier it will be for you to believe it about yourself. And until you believe it about yourself, no one else will either.

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