Entrepreneurship takes skills, grit, and determination. Successfully branching out on your own is difficult no matter the industry, but it is possible, even if you have to break glass ceilings.
A few years ago one of the GetFive coaches was invited to moderate a panel of speakers featuring three women who made the transition from the corporate sector to starting their own businesses. What’s more, the businesses were involved in managing hedge funds, a sector overwhelmingly dominated by men.
In this industry, statistics show that women manage only 10 percent of the capital that men manage even though the women who do manage funds have demonstrated greater investment returns. Also, 100 Women in Hedge Funds, which is a global educational, philanthropic, and networking group, stated that only about 12 percent of their members work in trading or portfolio management, with the largest number, 26 percent, working in sales and marketing.
So how did these three women break out of the traditional mold and succeed in becoming traders and portfolio managers in the highly competitive hedge fund industry, as well as leverage those experiences into starting their own businesses?
These important themes emerged from the panel and serve as inspiration and guidance for anyone thinking of starting their own business:
- Get a mentor. All three panelists spoke of the importance of having a good role model.
- Build a strong network of advisers. Each panelist noted the importance of establishing lifelong relationships with key players in the hedge fund industry, and how to use those connections to move into the male bastion of trading.
- Volunteer work is important for experience, reputation building, and networking.
- Attending relevant industry conferences is essential to keep current on trends.
- Understand industry lingo (for them, knowing the “language” used by traders and portfolio managers).
- Have an appetite for risk and embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.
- Have unwavering passion and commitment for causes that you truly believe in.
Building on the skills, experiences, and accomplishments from periods earlier in their careers, these women set the wheels in motion. With hard work and focus, they were able to see their dreams of owning their own businesses become a reality.
If you are thinking of making a shift from the corporate world to one of entrepreneurship, working with a GetFive coach can help you determine the right methods for a successful transition. With deep thought and planning, you too can break glass ceilings.