Rooting for Female Founders

I am often asked, “How is business?”

While I am very optimistic, the best answer comes to me in the memory of a turbulent flight I was on recently. As the plane shook and bucked in the air, we all fastened our seatbelts and tried to stay calm. When we finally (thankfully) touched down on solid ground, I could only think about what an awful flight it had been. Then I overheard a passenger say, “We landed, so this was a great flight.”

What a welcome mind shift that was. That is exactly how I feel about being an entrepreneur these days. It’s great to still be in business, in spite of the turbulence we are experiencing during these tough economic times.

To help those of you who are entrepreneurs—or aspiring entrepreneurs—navigate through this challenging economy, we’re excited to share with you a special Entrepreneurial Issue of Diversity Woman.

To be an entrepreneur, you must be fearless. When I started my business—against all odds and ignoring the naysayers—I wasn’t afraid of the word “no,” and that’s what kept me going, through the good times and the not so good. You would be surprised how many people have fantastic business ideas, but let fear of rejection stop them from following their vision.

Now more than ever, we need to celebrate entrepreneurship. After all, experts say that small businesses will provide 75 percent of all new jobs in the coming years. In this issue, we introduce you to four inspiring women entrepreneurs who have made it big—but not without facing challenges. People said their ideas wouldn’t work. A couple had to scramble for financing. But through it all, they followed their passion and didn’t allow themselves to get sidetracked by adversity. Today, they all helm powerhouse companies—and they love going to work every day. Meet these “Venturesome Visionaries” on page 18.

Thinking of following in their footsteps? We share some advice for getting started, from tips on pitching your idea to investors (page 13) to strategies for using Facebook and Twitter to build your customer base (page 23).

Meanwhile, if there’s one thing the recession has taught us, it’s that we all need to be financially prepared. If you have a 401(k), you’ll want to read about some new changes that will make it easier for you to stash away more savings for your golden years (page 53).

Whether you own a business or work in Corporate America, we hope that the tips and tools in this issue will help you achieve the goal that we all share—translating our passion into prosperity.

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