Women and non-binary entrepreneurs have long gone underrepresented in businesses. This chasm only finds itself widened when it comes to people of color, people of varying sexual orientations, and anyone with an identity that defies regressive societal norms.

In recent years, as these groups of people have increasingly begun clawing their way to the top, the participation of women in businesses has seen a 144% growth. This marks a significant shift in perspectives in entrepreneurial workplaces but there is no disguising the fact that we still have a long, long way to go. The disgraceful gender pay gap, harassment in the workplace, obstinate discrimination, microaggressions and so much more, the list of challenges ‘unconventional’ identities have to face in office settings just goes on and on. Our advice? Read ahead.

Seek Out a Dependable Network

Group of female founders working together and using tablet.
Group of female founders working together and using tablet.

There is no denying the fact that if you are a woman or a non-binary entrepreneur, you will face constant roadblocks in your path to success. But a sure-shot way of combating these is to form a reliable and extensive network with people who share the same set of ideals, identities, and experiences as you. Not only will this help you find mentors and colleagues who can propel your career to greater heights, but this will also give you a space to just be yourself. At the end of a difficult day, you will be able to rely on these individuals to gain career advice, find solutions to business problems, and even rant. You can bounce ideas off each other, learn from each other’s successes and mistakes, and hold each other accountable and responsible. Thus, your network will become your escape from the structural exclusion inherent in conventional workplaces.

Moreover, with the rapid rise of social media, finding online groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and more, specifically created to connect female entrepreneurs will be a piece of cake!

Establish Healthy Habits

Woman entrepreneur drinking healthy smoothie
Woman entrepreneur drinking healthy smoothie

Not being a man in a ‘man’s world’ will pose immense difficulties not only to your professional advancement but also to both your mental and physical well-being. The world of entrepreneurs can be stressful enough without having the added strain of dealing with workplace discrimination. Thus, ensuring a healthy lifestyle and a healthy mind-space are essential for you to flourish as an entrepreneur.

Not paying enough attention to your physical and mental state will leave you with lower levels of energy and productivity, hindering your professional progress. Even small shifts in daily practices can help you gain greater joy and pleasure from your life and amplify your quality of work.

Trust Yourself and Value Your Voice

Female founder giving presentation to group of women entrepreneurs
Female founder giving presentation to group of women entrepreneurs

Impostor syndrome disproportionately plagues more female entrepreneurs and “is the single biggest block to success” according to Clara Josa, author and leadership consultant. “It holds so many people back, the second-guessing, the fear.” Katie Pryce, CEO and founder of DanceBody emphasized. But she asserts that “If you know what you’re doing is worthy, absolutely no one can stop you, not even yourself.” Trusting your capabilities and understanding the value of your voice in your workplace will help you battle all your self-doubt. No matter how much someone else tells you that you don’t belong, you must remember and respect the skill and expertise your perspective brings to the entrepreneurial world, because you, matter.

While researching for this article, statements that constantly jumped out at me often went along the lines of “women are more affected by failure.” My issue with such assertions is the lack of context they provide into why female entrepreneurs are actually more hesitant and fearful. Their losses are held against them by society as proof that they are not meant to be in the workplace. Women are more harshly judged for their professional shortcomings and very often have a lot more riding on their ability to succeed.

So, our advice for female and non-binary entrepreneurs: Be fearful of failure, be scared to take the plunge, but understand that these fears find root in what society has taught you, not in who you are and what you are capable of doing. So be fearful of failure, be scared to take the plunge, but do not ever let that stop the entrepreneur in you.

What advice do you have for women and non-binary entrepreneurs? Let us know down in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.