The statistics on failed businesses are shocking, but certainly no secret to most. It’s estimated that roughly 90% of businesses will fail within just 120 days! To aid you in not becoming another statistic, there’s an entire onslaught of services, info products and targeted advertisement designed to serve up every strategy and tactic under the sun. In fact, online businesses that market services online have probably seen more service-oriented content than they can physically recall. In other words, we’ve all “been there and done that.”

Without a doubt, strong marketing and sales are fundamental to your chances of overall success. But before you get sucked into another pitch promising to give you the magic bullet that will provide unending revenue growth, here’s another take that you probably don’t see in your daily feed.

Before you tackle another sales or marketing problem, there’s most likely another underlying issue that isn’t directly linked to algorithms, applications or even copy writing. Even before my time as a leading Success Coach helping women build and elevate their businesses and income, I witnessed such challenges while mentoring females in some of the world’s largest Fortune 500 companies. So it turns out, this isn’t an issue reserved for those who can actually stomach the journey of entrepreneurship.

Here are the top things that I see standing in the way of women and their empire-building success. When these foundational pieces are broken, the results range from generally being “stuck” to falling into the frustrating trap of lackluster results and even failing in countless attempts to get to that “next level.” Do you have any of these?

Clarity ain’t so clear

This is the #1 thing that I see holding up the potential growth and progress in women owned businesses. One of the reasons why it can be so hard to spot this in yourself is that these concepts seem so simple (almost too simple) and have even become trite buzzwords to many of us. Hello, ICA anyone?

Sometimes the biggest transformations can occur by “going back to basics” and revisiting these key fundamentals with a fresh lens. As you grow and evolve in your business and skillset, often times your bigger vision or overall message will shift as well. The problem is that we neglect to step back and master our business basics such as: Your “big why,” your bigger vision or message, your story, the transformation you’re offering and who you’re serving. As you evolve, so do these pieces.

Mindset obstacles

I know… Another buzzword, but this one is the make-it-or-break-it kind. The biggest mindset culprits include our dear friend fear, an overall lack of confidence and the general inability to play at the level at which you’re aspiring to reach. By all means, they’re not limited to these, but these bad boys are the main issues that I see over and over again across the board.

Fear can rear it’s ugly head in many derailing ways: resistance to doing what needs to be done, procrastination and failure put yourself out there to the masses. It can be debilitating to the best of us and it can take us out of our game before we even get started.

When confidence is dwindling or even absent, entrepreneurs will find themselves especially vulnerable to those pushing just about any strategy or coaching package, even if it’s not a good fit or there isn’t time or room to properly implement. It can leave you second guessing yourself and living under the illusion that you’re just not good enough yet. Symptoms include lack of decisiveness, feeling unsure most of the time and taking on ill-fitting clients while lowering your prices.

Some of the biggest mindset obstacles are those dwelling within your subconscious, which makes up about 95% of your mind. Conflicting and limiting belief systems and negative thoughts can manifest in ways such as self-sabotage, self-imposed limitations and destructive behaviors.

Before you roll your eyes and think, “I don’t have a mindset issue,” think again. A quick Ted Talk or video view with any of the top CEO’s and gurus will clue you in to just how powerful (and just how limiting) the health of your mindset can be on your bottom line.

Weird money issues

Along the same lines as #2, these types of mindset-related issues deal specifically with money and truly deserve a category of their own. And rightfully so, considering money is the #1 reason for divorce and, most could conclude, the #1 reason for business failure.

Money money money. Not only is it heavily tied up with our general sense of security and survival as human beings, it’s the main reason most of us don’t have free reign to do as we please in all areas of our lives or businesses. For most of us, it’s emotional, critical and very triggering. A hot button of entrepreneurial landmines, our money mindsets are deeply ingrained with conflicting beliefs about money, with our parents’ experiences with money and with a ton of societal pressures, myths and meaning around money. It’s no wonder that building wealth consciousness is some of the most powerful work you can do in your path to success.

Now What?

So what can you do about it? For starters, take a look at and assess where you are in terms of each of these categories.


Are you crystal clear on what your big vision is, what your greater purpose is, why you’re even in business in the first place, what fulfills you, who you’re meant to serve, how you can uniquely and best serve them and what your personal message and story is? Each of these is often overlooked in this rapidly burgeoning world of online business, but like any good bumper sticker slogan, they deserve a closer look from a fresh perspective.


As for your mindset, I could work with you every day for months and not repeat the same exercise twice. But if I could impart one major theme, it would be to seriously consider the nature of your thoughts. Your results are absolutely tied to the nature of your thinking. What you think about and how you phrase your words directly leads to the way you feel, which then influences your behaviors and actions. It is your actions (of failure to act) that produces 100% the results you see today.


When it comes to money, one simple shift you can make today would be to start recognize your thoughts and feelings when it comes to money. Every time you pay for something, view your bank statements or even think about money, notice how you feel. If it’s anything but positive, your relationship with money could use a makeover. Even tiny changes like focusing on how grateful you are that your basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter are always met can have a powerful effect.

Swati Davidson is a serial entrepreneur and success coach. As a success coach, Swati supports women in breaking through to the next level in their lives, businesses and revenues. Her methods involve helping them identify what’s holding them back, completely overhauling their mindsets around money and restructuring the way they approach their daily lives and business operations. She currently operates multiple businesses in Denver, CO, where she lives happily with her 2 small children and husband.

Special offer: If you’re a woman who feels stuck in her business growth and knows you’re made for so much more, I’d love to support you in getting to your next level with ease. Schedule a complimentary assessment and receive an action plan to get you there:

There are many things to consider when setting up an online retail business – the amount is mind-boggling! If products are being sourced overseas, decisions also need to be made early on around standards including ethical work practices and the fair treatment of employees in the factories supplying your goods.

Unlike other business decisions, there are no right or wrong answers in this area – ethical trade. For most business owners the choice is more a moral one, and distinct from financial realities.

Ethical Trade – what is it?

Simply put ethical trade is ‘supply chain with a heart’. The Ethical Trading Initiative offers a more thorough definition. Ethical trade means retailers, brands and their suppliers take responsibility for improving the working conditions of the people who make the products they sell.

Companies with a commitment to ethical trade adopt a code of labor practice that they expect all their suppliers to work towards. These codes address issues like:

  • Wages
  • Hours of work
  • Health and safety
  • Right to join free trade unions

While Fair Trade applies to products, and is focused on pricing and trading conditions for primary producers, ethical trade is concerned with the working conditions throughout the supply chain, and can relate to the manufacture, sourcing and supply of any product.

Be true to yourself

When I set up my fashion label James&Co, employing an ethical supply chain and producing goods that were cruelty free was of upmost importance. I am personally very passionate about these issues, and it meant that in any business venture I undertook, I had to remain true to my beliefs.

When I was setting up my business five years ago, the one bit of advice that stuck was to do something I was passionate about. I have always liked a good jacket. In my previous profession as a lawyer, I always wore jackets. I actually bought a leather jacket every year for many years. Then the fiasco that is live exports came to prominence, and I found myself thinking, “I just can’t do leather”.

Fundamentally this is what led me down the path of creating a business that employs an ethical supply chain.

Ethical trade means retailers, brands and their suppliers take responsibility for improving the working conditions of the people who make the products they sell

I chose to produce faux leather jackets produced via an ethical and cruelty free supply chain. I try to ensure human rights are also upheld at the factories I have used in Pakistan and India. This includes no exploitation of labor, no underpaying and no substandard conditions.

Be clear about your Code of Conduct

I am very transparent about the guiding principles at James&Co – they are on our website. At the moment I produce our jackets at one factory in Pakistan. I expect the company to adhere to our supplier code of conduct.

While government laws for labor and labor regulations are a strong starting point, you will always find businesses that flout the law. To lessen this risk, I am careful about the countries I manufacture in. For example, Bangladesh has a really bad reputation for exploiting its labor. Whilst I would love to support people earning a living there, I choose not to manufacture in these sorts of places because I can’t guarantee my Code of Conduct will be respected.

When I began manufacturing the jackets, I initially started in India as I had done a lot of work there in a previous career. While you have to rely on instinct and word of mouth, I also used an agent to give me confidence in my decisions.

The agent I used has a large export business, so her reputation would not be worth anything if she introduced me to the wrong kind of supplier. Social media is a really strong force for ensuring transparency and honesty in business dealings. You can have all the fair trading laws in the world, but the most powerful deterrent I find is the prospect that you could be named and shamed on any kind of social media website.

Press the flesh

Whilst you cannot be present at the factory 100 percent of the time, you have to be able to accept a fair bit of trust that your ideals will be upheld.

I satisfy myself by visiting my factory on a regular basis. When I was there a few weeks ago I was constantly at the factory. I met all the workers. I saw how they worked with the families. I felt satisfied within myself about the people I deal with.

Social media is a really strong force for ensuring transparency and honesty in business dealings

Information flow to consumers

From my client base, I am not seeing an active demand for supply side transparency, as yet. The majority of positive feedback I receive about my jackets is that they are cruelty free.

James&Co is also accredited by PETA, so a large proportion of our customers are vegan. They are very much driven by what they wear and what they eat. They don’t want to eat or wear parts of animals.

Profit vs. ethics

It’s probably fair to say that you could always source a product cheaper if an ethical supply chain was not important. You just have to go into the large shopping chains to see examples of this strategy.

My products at James&Co are not high end but we are focused on quality. If you compare the faux leather wallets and bags at large discount retailers, the quality there is nowhere near as good. We’re trying to price at a point where you can be ethical in your choices. You shouldn’t let budget be the controlling aspect of whether you can make an ethical choice or not.

Finding your own path

I have found on my journey with James&Co that I am growing more and more passionate about way I build ethical standards into the business. I did not start out with a goal for supply side transparency, but as I have matured my business and my understanding of the industry, I am seeing alternative ways of doing things.

You shouldn’t let budget be the controlling aspect of whether you can make an ethical choice or not.

You are never going to be all things to all people. For example, some people would say faux leather was not very ethical when you consider the chemicals used to produce it.

You need to find a way to remain true to your values whilst building a viable business.

To me, the Ethical Fashion Forum, the industry body for sustainable fashion, and representing over 6000 members in more than 100 countries, has been a very helpful organisation. They offer a sourcing and business database, online network, business intelligence platform, and global program of events. You can also access their sustainability tool kit for the fashion sector.

We are a members of the Source and have found it helpful in gaining access and locating suppliers who meet our standards.


Featured image via Pixabay under Creative Commons CC0