Despite the odds, determined businesswoman Nicole Levine rose above every challenge. Today, she runs several successful companies and wants to lead other women to do the same.
There are over 12 million women-owned businesses in the US, and leading-edge entrepreneur Nicole Levine operates her fair share of them. But success did not come to her easily.
While today she is the founder and president of some of the most successful businesses in NYC – including Home Clean Home and Hygea Natural – there was a time when she felt like she had to scrape and claw her way to the top.
“Even though as women we can do the same work as men or better, many people do not give us a chance to do well,” says Levine.
“Instead of helping or just leaving us alone, they go out of their way to make things harder.”
But, despite these challenges, Levine urges all women to pursue their ambitions. There are more opportunities now than ever before. She hopes to see more women follow in her footsteps and take ownership of their success.
“It can be more difficult to start and maintain a business as a woman,” Levine notes.
“But if you let that stop you, nothing will ever change. You must do everything possible to give yourself a fighting chance at success, not just for you but all women.”
Levine understood that she needed to learn how to be her best support system immediately if she wanted to be a successful female entrepreneur. She now wants to encourage other women to succeed in business as well.
Challenges women entrepreneurs face
Contrary to popular belief, women entrepreneurs still face many disparities. While all entrepreneurs may face challenges, some are specific to women.
Levine had to learn to adapt to them all as she created her enterprises. While they are not impossible to overcome, she warns aspiring women business owners not to trick themselves into believing they are on a level playing field.
Raising seed funding, scaling up their business, and simply being taken seriously in a boardroom are all areas where women entrepreneurs will face more resistance than men.
It happens long after women have established their businesses, not just when they first launch them. Levine faced many of these struggles as she built her businesses from scratch.
In the business world, women are doubling the number of companies they operate compared to the number of men doing the same.
Yet, these women barely receive 7% of venture capital. In 1989, it was just under 5%. By just the numbers themselves, it becomes clear that not much has changed in women’s fight for equality as people or professionals.
Even though more women own twice as many businesses as men, they are twice as likely to cite a lack of support system as a hurdle to business ownership.
Fifty-six percent of men say they have good networking and resources for their business ownership goals – compared with the fifty-seven percent of women who say that they don’t.
But the challenges specific to women don’t stop when they leave the office.
Levine is all too familiar with the difficulties of navigating gender discrimination, caring for children, and juggling work and family obligations.
The single mother of three created her empire while juggling all of this and surviving the male-dominated competitive environment.
“I rarely slept in the beginning,” Levine recalls. “But I did whatever I had to do to make it work. You must find a way no matter what.”
Ways To Empower Women Entrepreneurs
Unfortunately, the conversations and programs that are currently in place are simply not enough to give women an equal chance at successful entrepreneurship.
If women want to see a real change anytime soon, Levine contends that “we must unite as a community and encourage one another toward success.”
Here, she shares her thoughts on what women can do to empower each other and themselves to ensure their success as leaders in the business world.
Having a vision is great, but you also need to know how you plan on achieving it. Sharing your journey will help other women formulate their own milestones. It is a great way to empower women entrepreneurs to measure their success and stay on track.
Levine stresses the importance of having a vision with ambitious goals. Too often, women sell themselves short and hold themselves back. But when there is something to strive for, women business owners are more likely to make plans and bring them to life.
Let go of fear.
As fierce as she is, even pioneering CEO Nicole Levine would agree that the fear of failure holds many women back.”
“It is the #1 factor in why many women give up before they even try,” she says.
“You must understand that not everything will go as you want it. Do it anyway.”
No one likes receiving negative feedback. But learning how to roll with it and use it constructively is the best way to overcome that challenge. Instead of getting frustrated or defensive, take it as an opportunity to improve.
Constructive criticism is one thing, but there are always people who just want to discourage you.
“You have to know who is who and remove anyone negative from your life,” Levine advises. “Don’t let them bring you down. Just keep moving forward.”
Build a community.
Networking is a big way that most professionals get ahead in their careers. But as women entrepreneurs, it is vital to the growth and survival of their business. Form meaningful relationships with one another that bring value to everyone.
Encourage each other.
Feedback can also be positive. As more women entrepreneurs start to build communities and support each other, it is crucial to keep this in mind. Public praise, testimonials, and strategic relationships are exponentially helpful in successful entrepreneurship.
Tell others your story.
Authenticity is vital for all business owners. It is how you build trust with your customers. But for women, it matters even more. Levine shares her story to be an example for aspiring women entrepreneurs and to help normalize seeing more women in leadership roles.
Offer your expertise.
“It won’t happen overnight, but you should work to become an expert in your field,” Levine states. “You will be more prepared for any challenges. But you can also help others by providing your knowledge to woman-owned businesses who need support.”
Support them with your dollars.
The most empowering thing for any woman entrepreneur is when someone does business with her. Investing capital in another woman’s business is a great help. Even simply buying her products and services contributes directly to that business and its ability to thrive.
Mentorship by Nicole Levine
With each generation of women entrepreneurs, there will be new challenges to overcome. At the same time, more resources are also available thanks to trailblazers like Nicole Levine.
Levine is always happy to assist female business owners looking to form partnerships and develop their enterprises. She offers her knowledge and experience as a mentor to future women CEOs like herself.
As a leader in her industry, she is happy to provide insight, encouragement, and even investments for the right missions.