Does the thought of marketing your business drive you to chocolate? If "getting the word out" makes you feel uncomfortable and overwhelmed, you're not alone. In my work coaching over 1,000 men and women during the last three years I've discovered big differences between men and women and how they handle the challenges that marketing throws at every small business.

WOMEN STILL NOT TAKEN SERIOUSLY IN THE BUSINESS WORLD

Did you know women are starting businesses at four times the rate of men and now employ more people than the Fortune 500 combined? But businesses owned by women are often still not taken seriously. In my forthcoming book, "Testosterone-Free Marketing: Secrets Why 'Old Boys' Marketing Doesn't Work for Women" I discuss why marketing makes many women uneasy and what to do about it. Many women don't market their businesses pro-actively resulting in less success and less financial freedom.

Did you dream of a life of ease when you started your home-based business only to struggle to cover your bills every month? It happens a lot. Women start a home-based business to have more time with their families and often their income drops dramatically. It doesn't have to be this way. Effective marketing that works with your style as a woman can help you put more cash in your pocket with less effort.

CAN'T RELATE TO "OLD-BOYS," "TESTOSTERONE-HEAVY" MARKETING?

One issue for many women is they can't relate to the guns, cannons and "scorched earth" marketing that are about killing the competition at any cost. Women don't want to kill anyone. We feel uncomfortable "nailing the sale" when the rest of our lives are about building relationships and extending a hand in friendship. We hate being pushy, manipulative or annoying. So we often wait for others to initiate a purchase from us. This is especially true for women raised to be "good girls" and not "toot their own horn."

TALENTED WOMEN WAITING AT THE CROSSROADS OF SUCCESS

Katherine has been struggling for two years getting her online business started. She offers a package of services and information to help other online entrepreneurs bring more traffic to their websites. Her digitally delivered information product provide an amazing array of time-saving tips, ideas, strategies, software and more that's easy to use and can help build website traffic fast. But her website is a confusing hodge-podge. There is no focal point. Nothing leads visitors to believe the information is provided by an expert or authority. Katherine feels uncomfortable calling herself an expert. Because her site is loaded with so many free items the only people who visit are people looking for freebies not serious shoppers who intend to buy. The result: she works hard and wonders when the floodgates will open.

Lana is a virtual assistant. She's bright, talented and computer-savvy. Her business is based on billable hours. Last week she got a new client, but he told her he couldn't afford her hourly rate. Lana cut her fees because she couldn't stop thinking about how she was going to pay the rent on her apartment. If Lana built up her value with marketing instead of cutting rates she would attract clients willing to pay her full price without discounting or devaluing her skills. Like many women, Lana is uncomfortable reaching out to others with her message. Consequently she works for less than what the market says her skills are worth.

NURTURING WOMEN CAN HAVE ABUNDANT CASH FLOW, TOO

What's going on? Women often bring to their home-based businesses the same nesting, nurturing characteristics they are used to at home. They also bring the skills and expertise they have around their product or service. Business has no gender but people do. Marketing is often out of their comfort zone. But it's the skill needed to create abundant cash flow even if we don't do it the same way as men.

Since a home-based business doesn't have a sign to draw people in like a retail store, other means must be used to attract customers or clients. Without this focus your business will be out of balance and unprofitable.

THE SECRETS OF ASKING AND RECEIVING IN THE BUSINESS WORLD

"It never hurts to ask!" goes a saying you're likely to hear from a man with a raised eyebrow and a grin. The masculine aggressor role of making the first move is taking place when a man says these words.

"I shouldn't have to ask!" a woman says with a sigh. Every man has shaken his head in frustration at these words. Expecting others to read your mind is risky especially in business. Consider the percentages of men and women who fit in the categories below:

According to a study by the American Association of University Women, girls get quieter in sixth grade and drop to minimum levels of class participation in seventh and eighth grades. It could be we pick up the message earlier; learning that saying, "I want" or "I need" seems unladylike and unattractive.

WAITING FOR BUSINESS TO COME TO YOU: YES OR NO?

Love it or hate it, marketing is about asking for what you want. And while in personal relationships it's still often wise counsel to wait for others to call you, in business it is silly. We can't wait for customers the way we waited for the cute boy who sat next to us in High School History Class to call for a date. Business will come to us, when we let the world know we are here, we are competent and we are ready.

GAINING THE TOOLS TO SUCCEED IN YOUR BUSINESS YOUR WAY

Happily, while writing my book, men have consistently been my greatest cheerleaders. Some industries are still testosterone-driven but many of the 'dinosaurs' holding women back have retired and moved on. I have seen the enemy and she is us.

Women entrepreneurs thrive when we are supported and offered solutions. My teleclasses will help you understand yourself as a woman and provide foundational marketing strategies to help you succeed in ways that are peaceful, friendly and allow you to relax and be yourself rather than dodge bullets. When you learn these keys your cash flow soars and your self-esteem grows, too.

About The Author Denise Michaels, "Marketing Maven" has over two decades successful experience in sales, advertising copy, public relations, market research, strategic planning and more. She's worked with top authors and seminar leaders and is the expert the experts hire for marketing guidance.