When I started my first service-based business in 2003, no one talked about reaching $1M in revenue.
Nor did anyone ever talk about “scaling.”
In the early to mid 2000s, entrepreneurship was extremely uncool. When I ran into acquaintances and told them I owned my own consulting business, they would avert their eyes and mention the “tough job market.” I suspect they felt sorry for me, assumed I peaked in high school, and was forced to turn to entrepreneurship because I “couldn’t get a job.”
Like I said, entrepreneurship was NOT cool back then. Which was unfortunate for me, as it was my true passion. But for the culture, entrepreneurship was something the “underemployed” did.
Today, being an entrepreneur is très cool, driven by the rise of world-shaping tech founders like Zuck and Elon, and the proliferation of the digital economy, which dramatically lowered the cost of entry into self-employment. If you have a computer, an Internet connection and a method of taking payment, you too can be an entrepreneur.
The Rise of Women Entrepreneurs
As entrepreneurship has become more commonplace – especially for women — and social media allows more women to share their success stories and experiences, it has become A LOT more common to talk about “scaling from 6 to 7 figures” and “reaching a million in annual revenue.”
This is a really good thing for two reasons. Firstly, research from the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH), a think tank, found that “recognizing how the socialization of women and stereotypes of entrepreneurs impact the entrepreneurial intent, aspirations, and confidence of women” is critical if we want to encourage growth.
In other words, the more we socialize and normalize the possibility of scaling your service business to 7 figures, the better.
Second, WEKH found that closing the entrepreneurial gender gap could add as much as $81B to Canadian GDP alone.
Thus, the dozens of social media posts you see each day promising you that it’s possible to scale your service business from 6 to 7 figures is a GOOD THING.
Why Women Entrepreneurs are Underserved in the “How to Do It” Depatment
But knowing something is possible and understanding how to do it are two very different things. Women founders are currently being well-served in the “Scaling to $1M is possible!” department.
But we are extremely UNDER-SERVED in the “how do I do it” department.
This is proven out by the evidence. Despite years of “I scaled from 6 to 7 figures and you can too” messaging, the needle hasn’t moved for women founders.
In Canada – where I’m from, women own just 15.6% of all SMEs, according to StatsCan. The median annual revenue of a woman-owned business in this country is $50K. Just 18% of all women-owned businesses generate over $100K per year in revenue. And only 2% of women-owned businesses in North America generate over $1M in revenue (and only a small proportion of these companies are women-founded).
In short: it is still rare to scale a company past 7 figures. Furthermore, there is precious little established research on HOW women entrepreneurs can accomplish this feat.
As the WEKH states in their 2022 State of Women’s Entrepreneurship Report, “widely-used definitions and means of measuring innovation and economic impact more often focus on the technology and manufacturing sectors, where women are largely absent, so the contributions of sectors where women are concentrated — services, health, beauty, food, and culture — get overlooked.”
Fact. Women Entrepreneurs are Under-Researched
Over the last year I have taken a deep dive into research released by nearly a dozen leading think tanks and NGOs focusing on women founders. They state OVER AND OVER that women entrepreneurs are under-researched, and that our understanding of how to support and grow companies is based on tech and manufacturing industries…which DO NOT reflect the realities of the vast majority of women founders.
How does this impact you? Because this bigger picture understanding of the unique needs of women founders isn’t in place, we so often resort to “tactics”…
Have a Facebook group!
Scale cold outreach on Linkedin!
Tactics like this are extremely attractive to an overworked and overwhelmed entrepreneur. They promise a short term fix – and often deliver that! But tactics generally offer at best a short term solution to scaling your service business. I believe women founders deserve more comprehensive, strategic and evidence-based approach to scaling.
Compiling Our Research for Women Entrepreneurs
Over the next 10 days, I will release a free, 3-part evidence-based email course that reveals the 3 critical factors in scaling a service based business from 6 to 7 figures in revenue.
The core elements of this free email course are rooted in research that I have been gathering loosely for about 5 years, but stringently for the last 3 years.
This research includes 2000+ individual reports, all of which contain anywhere from 3-12 data points. I then dive deeper into these data points with carefully conducted interviews and debriefs.
I merge our data with macro research conducted by reputable think tanks like the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub and used the overall findings to inform:
- HOW we coach our clients;
- The SEQUENCE in which we advise our clients to work on specific aspects of their businesses
- The MILESTONES we encourage them to pursue
- The STRUCTURES we support them to put in place in their companies.
This is why, while 2% of all women-owned businesses in North America generate over $1M in annual revenue…13.5% of our clients scale past $1M within 24 months of working with us. (This is based on a 3-year sample of our coaching clients.)
In other words, if you work with me and my team, you are 6.5 times more likely to scale past $1M in annual revenue than the North American average.