Support Women Entrepreneurs: Advice from Jana for the Female Entrepreneur

Mar 28, 2024



Women entrepreneurs in eCommerce need to stand up and be counted – and Jana has amazing advice for women business owners who are challenging bias and stereotypes. Imagine, in 2021, approximately 64% of Amazon sellers self-identified as male, whereas only 32% identify as female, and 6% identifying as “other.” It’s time that women founders and women solopreneurs get out there and build businesses, level the playing field, and prove that they are effective and influential business leaders as well.

Keep in mind, in spite of this disparity, women-led businesses have shown remarkable success in several different areas. However, one significant aspect influencing this landscape is the funding disparity between male and female entrepreneurs. Research indicates that women often encounter hurdles in accessing funding, leading to discrepancies in investment amounts compared to male-founded ventures. Despite these obstacles, female-led companies have demonstrated impressive performance metrics, including higher revenues, job growth, and returns on investment.

In this blog, we’ll go deep into women entrepreneurs in eCommerce and what female founders in the Amazon space can do to improve resilience and potential for growth.

…with Jana as the example, who has broken the glass ceiling in her field, again and again.

Challenges Faced by Women Entrepreneurs in eCommerce

 A. Funding Disadvantages for Women Entrepreneurs

Not all Amazon sellers head to venture capital investors in order to obtain external funding.  Common funding options include:

  • Merchant Cash Advance: Allows borrowing against credit card sales revenue with quick approval but may have high fees and repayment challenges.
  • Factoring: Involves selling accounts receivable to a financing company, providing quick cash flow but with potential high costs and loss of control over rates.
  • Payoneer Capital Advance: Offers working capital based on future marketplace earnings with transparent fees and quick access to funds.
  • Amazon Lending: Provides funding exclusively for Amazon inventory, utilizing AI analysis for qualification but limiting use to Amazon-related expenses.
  • Business Term Loan: Traditional lump-sum capital with fixed interest rates, suitable for established businesses with demonstrated success.
  • Line of Credit: Offers flexibility and quick access to funds but may have strict eligibility criteria.
  • Credit Card Financing: Provides quick access to funds but often comes with high-interest rates and potential long-term costs.
  • Peer-to-Peer Financing (P2P): Involves borrowing from investors via online platforms, offering diverse lending options but potentially lengthy approval processes.

Some women bootstrap their businesses from the get-go – a risky, bold, and entirely commendable move.

Nevertheless, the statistics tell a story of their own. According to Science Direct, in 2011, women-led ventures were 63% less likely to obtain external funding from VCs. The hypothesis for this disparity was that women were less likely to found ventures that signal growth potential to investors. In 2016, Funding Guru reported that only 16% of applications for startup funding were submitted by women. Which is a shame, because the same study showed that 13% of the approved applications were successful, vs. 11% for men-led businesses.

The lack of funding for women-owned firms can have tangible impacts on business performance and growth. Limited access to capital can hinder the scaling of operations, development of innovative products or services, and expansion into new markets. It’s difficult for female-owned businesses to achieve the same growth trajectories as their male counterparts. It’s a downright shame; when women get access to finance, it looks like they do it right. They just have to get funded so they can grow their businesses sooner than later.

In the first year of Jana’s entrepreneurship journey, she did not turn a profit. She pushed and pushed for speaking engagements as conferences, webinars, and podcasts. That first year, she probably had around 20 speaking engagements – all of which she paid for. Any profit she made went to travel expenses so she could network with Amazon greats and get herself known. Jana’s one of the women in business that bootstrapped her company from the ground up, and worked doubly hard to make an impact.

Now, look at where YLT Translations is. Ladies, if you feel that your ability to gain funding is influenced by gender differences or funding, remember that the data shows that women are just as poised to succeed as men. Go start businesses.

 B. Psychological Factors

Entrepreneur Scan released an interesting article on entrepreneurship across men and women. They showcased similarities and differences between women and men entrepreneurs:

  • No Gender Differences in Expected Competencies:
    • Both genders show equal levels of risk-taking attitude, debunking the notion that men are inherently more inclined to take risks.
    • Self-belief is consistent across genders, although women may exhibit a greater tendency to be self-critical in the face of failure.
    • Creativity, an essential trait for innovation, is equally present among male and female entrepreneurs.
  • Gender Differences in Expected Competencies:
    • Male entrepreneurs demonstrate a stronger achievement orientation, possibly influenced by societal expectations and the perceived link between achievement and entrepreneurship.
    • Male entrepreneurs may exhibit more dominance and independence, while women are more inclined to seek help when needed.
    • Male entrepreneurs tend to display a stronger pioneer thinking style, generating multiple ideas and business opportunities.

What’s our takeaway from this? Women-owned businesses are poised to succeed just as much as men-owned businesses; women just need to believe in themselves, stick to their guns, and start new businesses!

A fantastic thesis by Hrefna Thórarinsdóttir for the Copenhagen Business School in 2017 goes into men vs. women entrepreneurship on a deeper level. Considerable research went into her findings, which showed that traditional gender stereotypes continued to influence perceptions of leadership styles. Women are perceived to be nurturing and collaborative, while men are seen as assertive and decisive. Female leaders prioritize equality in the workplace, and are more likely to support the development and promotion of their team. Women are more likely to adapt a leadership style that’s characterized by flexibility, democracy, and a focus on individual needs.

Meanwhile, men are often less involved in the day-to-day workings of their teams, and often address problems reactively than proactively. Men are supposed to show assertiveness and competitiveness, whereas women are expected to be supportive and humble. The thesis also notes that a combination of hard and soft skills is crucial in leadership roles. A good leader should be both aggressive as well as nurturing and focused on interpersonal skills.

In the uber-competitive world of Amazon, it’s not surprising then that many small and medium enterprises in eCommerce have a man as the founder and CEO. According to this research, male-owned businesses are more likely to succeed, thanks to that assertive go-getting attitude. If we go by the research, entrepreneurs are more likely male, with women managing the day-to-day operations – men lead, and women follow.

Folks, it’s 2024. These gender matters should have less footing now than ever. At the end of the day, there are certain qualities and characteristics that make a good entrepreneur – and gender shouldn’t be one of them.

All that means is that entrepreneurship among women should be encouraged, and women entrepreneurs shouldn’t feel at a disadvantage because of their genders. Sure, women face a certain amount of prejudice because of their chromosomes; we won’t deny that. But we will assure you that women have the qualities and characteristics that every entrepreneur needs to be successful. Perhaps the reason women don’t enter entrepreneurship as much as their male counterparts is because of the intimidation they feel; check the next section out, where we showcase why the woman entrepreneur is just as ready to make a killing as her brothers, friends, and fathers.

Why Is the Female Entrepreneur Poised for Success?

In the dynamic landscape of entrepreneurship, particularly for women, there are different factors that contribute to success in funding, collaboration, risk management, and motivation. Let’s take a look:

A. Higher Standards for Funding:

  1. Need for superior ideas and execution: Women who want funding often find themselves held to higher standards when seeking investments. Now, this isn’t necessarily a disadvantage. Rather, it’s a reflection of the demand for innovation and excellence in their business ideas and execution. Remember what we said earlier about venture capitalists and their search for businesses with growth potential? Investors expect a level of uniqueness and viability in female-led ventures, driving women to innovate and excel in their entrepreneurial pursuits. (And, after all, if you can’t find the funding, bootstrap your idea, just like Jana did. You just need a little faith and confidence in your ideas.)
  2. Focus on business fundamentals and efficiency: Women entrepreneurs understand the importance of solid business fundamentals and operational efficiency. They prioritize strategies that ensure sustainable growth and profitability, emphasizing the need for streamlined operations, cost-effectiveness, and scalability. By focusing on these fundamentals, female entrepreneurs enhance their attractiveness to investors and stakeholders. Ladies, it’s not just about managing the operations with the soft skills that you’re known for; it’s about taking your ability to run a business well and showing investors that you’re not just good at running a business, and that your motivations and aspirations aim for much higher than COO.

B. Communal Tendencies and Collaboration:

  1. Importance of openness and collaboration in success: Collaboration and openness are integral to the success of women entrepreneurs. They recognize the value of networking, mentorship, and partnerships in expanding their reach, accessing resources, and gaining valuable insights. By fostering a collaborative mindset, female entrepreneurs create a supportive ecosystem that fuels growth and innovation in their ventures. Jana believes in this very strongly; in this blog on eCommerce success, she speaks on how vital networking is for sellers in the eCommerce industry. “Networking goes beyond receiving sales pitches from service providers; it allows you to form meaningful relationships…the true value lies in the people you meet, the connections you make, and the opportunities that may arise in the future.” Ladies, think about it this way: in 2013, Ready to Manage published an interesting article by Dr. Jon Warner on the differences in communications styles from men and women. Research generalizes that men tend to be energetic, businesslike, concise, and externally oriented, whereas women are more sociable, diplomatic, empathetic, and internally oriented (though do understand that this doesn’t apply to all males and females across the board). What does that mean for the woman entrepreneur? Build – or join – an entrepreneurial ecosystem that nurtures and values women entrepreneurs. Women are natural collaborators, and when it comes to business leadership, connections are key.

C. Risk Management and Loss Aversion:

  1. Risk is part of any undertaking, and self-employment in eCommerce is not exempt. This begs the question: do men and women perceive risk and opportunity differently? Do they subsequently act in different ways? Naturally, a balance of genders within teams is likely to lead to more success, recognizing the inherent qualities that each brings. Stereotypes dictate that men are better at risk management than women, but women are naturally adept at multitasking, resilience, and unique thinking – qualities conducive to effective risk management. Women may have different personal priorities (such as childcare responsibilities and a vested interest in taking care of the house and home), which may lead to challenges in maintaining work-life balance. In spite of this, women’s contributions to risk management, as delineated in this article from People Matters, are invaluable and underscore the importance of closing the gender gap in Risk Management. As for the world of eCommerce, understanding risk and weighing the possible outcomes is part of any business, and learning how to manage those risks with grace, creative thinking, and dedication is a skill that’s not specific to women, but seems to be something women can excel in.

D. Intrinsic Motivation and Social Impact:

  1. Motivations beyond financial gains: Women entrepreneurs are often driven by intrinsic motivations beyond financial gains. They are passionate about making a meaningful difference in their communities, industries, or the world at large. Whether it’s addressing social issues, advancing environmental sustainability, or empowering marginalized groups, female entrepreneurs are motivated by a sense of purpose and impact.
  2. Desire to contribute to society: The desire to contribute positively to society motivates many women entrepreneurs. They seek to create value beyond profits, striving to build businesses that address pressing societal needs and create lasting change. By aligning their ventures with social impact goals, female entrepreneurs not only drive business success but also contribute to building a more equitable and sustainable future.

In essence, women entrepreneurs bring a unique blend of innovation, collaboration, risk management, and social consciousness to the entrepreneurial landscape. By embracing these distinctive characteristics, female entrepreneurs drive not only business growth but also meaningful societal impact, reshaping the narrative of entrepreneurship in the process.

Advice for Pushing Female Entrepreneurship and Women-Owned Businesses

A. Advice for Women Entrepreneurs

So much of the research here shows that business ownership isn’t suited more to one gender than the other. Vive la difference; women make a difference in the workplace by just being true to themselves.

Let’s take a look at some of the trends that the Harvard Business Review predicts will shape work in 2024 and beyond:

  1. Organizations embrace creative benefits for remote work:
    1. Housing subsidies (to benefit those that are amenable to returning to face-to-face work)
    2. Caregiver benefits (this will allow women to multitask like goddesses)
    3. Financial well-being programs
    4. Student loan repayment
  2. Adoption of AI – to create workforce opportunity, not replace it
  3. Four-day workweeks will soon become de rigeur
  4. Employee conflict resolution will soon become a must-have skill for managers – and women are pretty good at interpersonal skills
  5. The removal of degrees as a prerequisite for job hiring
  6. Climate change protection will become a new employee benefit – and mental health support will be a part of a company’s offerings to its employees
  7. Traditional stereotypes of career paths – such as rising up the ranks and retiring at a certain age – will disappear

Women have a big contribution to make – as employees, managers, directors, and as female entrepreneurs. In this article from Forbes, Kathleen Griffith, founder and CEO of Grayce & Co., shares how Diane von Furstenberg’s quote shaped her future:  “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be.” When she finally did meet the icon, she was struck by Diane’s grace, generosity, directness, and toughness: ” She taught me as women we can be multifaceted, profound contradictions and that is not only okay – it is fundamentally, absolutely necessary.”

Jana knows too well about the challenges that woman entrepreneurs face – a big one being, the Imposter Syndrome. “I think women are more prone to the imposter syndrome,” Jana says. “We think we’re not good enough to have our own businesses.” But Jana knew who she wanted to become. She knew she wasn’t destined for the path that well-meaning friends and family had set out for her.  “Not everyone will understand you, and that’s okay,” she muses.

Part one: know who you want to be.

Part two: don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be that woman. Least of all, the nagging voice inside your head that says you can’t do it.

Because you can, and you will.

B. Advice for Investors: Overcome Gender Bias

Investing in woman-owned businesses presents a unique opportunity to address gender bias in investment decisions while tapping into the potential benefits of supporting female-founded startups.

  1. Overcoming Gender Bias in Investment Decisions:
    Gender bias has long been prevalent in investment decisions, with female entrepreneurs facing disproportionate challenges in accessing funding compared to their male counterparts. By actively investing in woman-owned businesses, investors can challenge and overcome these biases, promoting a more inclusive and equitable investment landscape.
  2. Potential Benefits of Investing in Female-Founded Startups:
    Investing in female-founded startups offers a range of potential benefits, including:
    Diverse Perspectives: Women entrepreneurs often bring diverse perspectives and innovative solutions to the table, leading to unique business opportunities and growth potential.
    Strong Returns: Research indicates that female-founded companies can deliver strong financial returns, with some studies suggesting that they outperform male-founded counterparts.
    Market Opportunities: Investing in woman-owned businesses allows investors to tap into underserved markets and consumer segments, unlocking new opportunities for growth and profitability.
    Social Impact: Supporting female entrepreneurs not only drives economic growth but also has broader social impact, empowering women, creating jobs, and fostering inclusive economic development.

In summary, investing in woman-owned businesses is not only a strategic investment decision but also a step towards promoting gender equality and driving positive social change. By recognizing and leveraging the potential of female entrepreneurs, investors can contribute to building a more diverse, resilient, and prosperous economy for all.

Now, go show this to the next VC you encounter.

Initiatives Supporting Entrepreneurship Among Women

Let’s take a look at the 5 most successful women entrepreneurs of the world:

  1. Autumn Weimann, Ambassador for the Endometriosis Foundation of America, naturapathic doctor (this 2025), and head of Bangin Hair LLC, which produces natural and vegan hair care products
  2. Mary Kavukchyan, founder of MK Loan Consulting, which has assisted in discharging over millions of student loan debt, and the co-founder of Satik’s Home in Armenia
  3. Tara Fischer, Australia’s leading tantra and intimacy expert
  4. Quanice Shearin, Founder of Bodied Partner, which offers noninvasive body contouring
  5. Nikki Evans, recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award two years in a row in the UK and an Lifetime Achievement Award, and multi-award winning educator and entrepreneur in the UK

Of course, we’ve also got notables like Oprah, Rihanna, JK Rowling, Sarah Blakely of Spanx, and Cher Wang, co-founder of HTC Corporation. The list goes on. Women continue to make waves as they establish high-growth and high-potential companies – while honoring what makes them uniquely female.

Let’s take a look at some of the programs that are encouraging female entrepreneurship.

Female Entrepreneur Association

Founded by entrepreneur and author Carrie Green, the association aims to help women build businesses, and turn their ideas and dreams into reality. They have podcasts and YouTube shows where they feature female entrepreneurs. They also have a Members’ Club filled with industry leaders, mentors, and experts to help women overcome self-doubt and achieve incredible success.

Female Resource Point

The Female Resource Point is a unit within the World Bank that focuses on promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment through various programs, initiatives, and projects. The FRP works to mainstream gender considerations into the World Bank’s policies, operations, and research, aiming to address the unique challenges faced by women and girls worldwide. Its objectives include enhancing women’s access to economic opportunities, education, healthcare, and decision-making roles while advocating for gender-responsive policies and investments. The FRP plays a crucial role in advancing the World Bank’s commitment to gender equality and ensuring that women’s voices are heard and their needs are prioritized in development efforts.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Development

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Development Programme (ILO-WED) by the International Labour Organization (ILO) aims to address the persistent gender inequalities faced by women entrepreneurs worldwide. Despite the success of many female-run enterprises, women still encounter significant barriers such as limited access to resources, unfavorable institutional environments, and gender-based constraints. Through a holistic approach, ILO-WED focuses on creating an enabling environment for women’s entrepreneurship, improving access to financial and business development services, and providing tailored training and post-training support. Additionally, the program emphasizes collaboration and partnerships with various stakeholders to promote women’s entrepreneurship development globally.

Academy for Women Entrepreneurs

The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) empowers ambitious women with the essential knowledge, networks, and opportunities necessary to establish and expand thriving businesses. Aligned with the U.S. National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, AWE advances women’s economic empowerment by equipping them with the skills and resources vital for active participation in the economy. Through collaboration with public-private sponsors, local partnerships, and U.S. Exchange Alumni networks, AWE fosters the growth of women-led enterprises, contributing to community-level prosperity across over 100 countries globally.

The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women

The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women online course offers a comprehensive business education program at no cost, accessible to women worldwide. Key features include ten essential business courses covering leadership, negotiations, marketing, and sales, facilitated by educators from top business schools. With a flexible online learning platform tailored to individual needs, participants also gain access to a global alumni network upon completion. Additionally, the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility (WEOF) provides vital financial support, addressing the $1.5 trillion credit gap for women-led small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets. WEOF aims to expand financing, empower women entrepreneurs, and demonstrate the viability of investing in women. Graduates benefit from networking opportunities, ongoing support, and access to resources for business growth. Since 2008, the program has reached over 200,000 women entrepreneurs in 150+ countries, fostering empowerment and economic advancement.

This article by the Women Tech Network provides a list of 21 accelerators, incubators, programs, and way more for aspiring female entrepreneurs.

Ladies, there’s help out there. There are a ton of resources that can help you overcome your fears, move forward, and make your dreams a reality.

Jana’s Journey: Female Entrepreneurship at its Best

It’s time to talk a little bit about our favorite female entrepreneur – our fearless and fabulous founder, Jana Krekic.

Born in Serbia, Jana was told that she should settle down after college and have a family, but she knew that this wasn’t the path she wanted for herself. A gifted polyglot and translator herself, Jana quickly saw that Amazon listings weren’t translated properly, and felt that this was a service she could provide. “I saw the state that the content was in at that time,” Jana remembers. “I thought it could be done better, better than hiring freelancers to translate the content as-is.” She understood that Amazon Sellers often lack knowledge of proper translations and localization in order to make their listings shine in various marketplaces, and so YLT Translations began.

Jana started small, with just 5 people, doing most of the work herself. Now, there are more than 80 people working full time for YLT Translations, and many of those people have been with YLT Translations from the start. What’s the secret to Jana’s success? Making her team understand how valued they all are.

But Jana has faced many challenges in this 5-year-long journey.

  • Shyness and the Imposter Syndrome
    • Jana admits that she’s actually pretty shy. But she knew that this shyness wouldn’t help her grow. That’s why she advises women entrepreneurs to put themselves in the position of feeling uncomfortable. “Either you’ll get a reward, or you’ll fail and you’ll feel embarrassed,” she states. “Soon you’ll realize it’s not that bad, and you’re probably just overthinking.”
    • As for the imposter syndrome – Jana channels Nike to Just. Do. It. A few years ago, a Danish firm asked Jana to speak – and deliver the speech in Danish. She’s proficient in the language, but the more she thought about it, the more scared she got. Nevertheless, she accepted the offer, and delivered a fantastic speech to resounding success. That’s why Jana learned to get out of her head, and take action. She says yes to opportunities as they arise, and figure it out as she goes along.
  • Perfectionism
    • Jana is a chronic overthinker! “When the company grew, it became impossible for me to check everything every month,” Jana recalls. “I felt very anxious about it. I’m a perfectionist.” But the company started to grow, and it became clear that Jana couldn’t do everything on her own. That’s when she placed a monetary value on her time. “Let’s say, my hour costs $500. When I think of the work I want to do, I just think, is this worth $500 of my time? Usually it’s not worth my time. I made it easy for me to decide what to do as a business owner by setting the price of an hour or two.” This – plus a vacation to Japan where she forced herself to trust that her team would keep the company running following guidelines she’d set – showed her that she’d begun a successful enterprise that didn’t need perfectionism, overthinking, or micromanagement. She’d done it; she’d built a company, and it was running successfully.
  • Hiring the Right People
    • At YLT, ensuring a cultural fit is paramount in the hiring process, particularly during business expansion phases. Given the remote nature of the workforce, fostering a sense of belonging becomes crucial, achieved through regular Zoom meetings and effective communication channels to create a cohesive team environment despite physical distances. Personal connections are nurtured by remembering significant details about team members, showcasing genuine care and appreciation. The hiring process is streamlined and time-efficient at YLT, guaranteeing a seamless onboarding journey and access to essential resources, thereby facilitating the scaling process. Jana, emphasizing the importance of personal touch, maintains a Google Sheet with key information about her translators, ensuring that they feel valued and cared for. YLT’s recruitment approach is highly efficient, employing a knowledge database and a systematic hiring system to streamline the process, contributing to low attrition rates. The company’s success in scaling rapidly is attributed to its combination of efficient recruitment practices, thorough onboarding processes, and a positive company culture that fosters a sense of belonging among team members.
  • Working Hard Towards Growth
    • YLT distinguishes itself by comprehensively understanding Amazon’s intricacies, including SEO strategies for ranking and conversion, and optimizing product listings for global audiences. Jana plans to expand the team further after significant growth from 5 to 83 employees, aiming to align with Amazon’s evolving landscape and offer services that ensure profitability across diverse markets. With a focus on aiding sellers in international expansion, YLT introduces innovative tools like the Amazon Product Opportunity Report (AMOR), simplifying market suitability assessments for products. Additionally, Jana envisions enhancing YLT’s platform for enterprise-level clients, addressing the challenges of localizing large brands while remaining agile to seize new opportunities swiftly, demonstrating her proactive approach in driving YLT’s future success.

So, what can we learn from Jana’s journey, a journey that echoes the challenges faced by many female entrepreneurs all over the world?

  1. Overcome shyness and imposter syndrome. Embrace discomfort, take risks, and seize opportunities as they rise. Push past your fear and self-doubt.
  2. Manage perfectionism: delegate tasks, set boundaries, and value your own time. Avoid burnout and micromanagement.
  3. Prioritize culture fit in hiring. We’ve talked about how great women are at interpersonal skills and handling the day to day of things; implement that same skill in nurturing your employees and client base.
  4. Understand market dynamics. Stay informed, adapt to new market trends, and innovate to meet client needs.
  5. Pursue growth with agility and courage: Seize new opportunities swiftly, and continually strive for growth and improvement.

Conclusion: Let’s Support Female Entrepreneurs in ECommerce!

How timely it is, that this blog pops up during Christian Easter, a time for growth and renewal. Let this be your sign to get out there, renew yourself, and achieve your dreams.

To conclude this piece, Jana’s journey as a female entrepreneur exemplifies resilience, determination, and the ability to overcome obstacles in the competitive world of eCommerce. Her experiences offer valuable lessons for women entrepreneurs globally, highlighting the importance of pushing past self-doubt, managing perfectionism, prioritizing cultural fit in hiring, understanding market dynamics, and pursuing growth with agility and courage.

Jana’s story underscores the significance of embracing discomfort, taking risks, and seizing opportunities as they arise, despite facing shyness and imposter syndrome. Her journey also emphasizes the need to delegate tasks, set boundaries, and value one’s time effectively to avoid burnout and micromanagement.

Furthermore, Jana’s approach to hiring, focusing on cultural fit and nurturing personal connections, illustrates the importance of fostering a cohesive team environment and client relationships. By understanding market dynamics and staying informed, Jana has been able to adapt to evolving trends and innovate to meet client needs, driving the success of YLT Translations.

Ultimately, Jana’s entrepreneurial journey serves as an inspiration for women entrepreneurs worldwide, demonstrating the potential for growth and success in eCommerce. By following her example and embracing resilience, determination, and agility, women entrepreneurs can overcome challenges and thrive in the competitive business landscape.