In honor of International Women’s Day, we’d like to recognize the remarkable achievements, resilience and contributions of women everywhere. Here at iTAN, we stand behind female entrepreneurship and encourage women in business to strive for limitless success.

Today, we sat down with our very own iTAN Franchisor Irina Kharsa and iTAN Franchisee Erin Naanee about their path to entrepreneurship and what it takes to be a true boss babe. Here’s what they had to say.

1.What encouraged you to pursue entrepreneurship?

Irina: One of the main reasons for starting our own business was the independence it provides. As a business owner, you have the freedom to make decisions, set your own schedule and pursue your vision for what you want your work-life balance to be like. Another significant reason was the potential for financial success. While there are risks involved, successful entrepreneurs have the opportunity to build wealth and create a sustainable income stream for themselves and their families. What I value most is that entrepreneurship is a catalyst for personal growth and development. As you navigate the challenges of starting and growing a business, you’ll acquire new skills, knowledge and experiences that can help you grow both personally and professionally.

Erin: For as long as I can remember, I always had a feeling that I was meant for something greater. I knew I wanted to make an impact in other people’s lives but wasn’t exactly sure how. Once I discovered my passion for the tanning industry, I knew I wanted to pursue opening my own salon. By providing beauty and wellness services, I’m able to have an impact on each and every client’s daily life by helping them look and feel their best! I’m also able to have an impact on each and every employee’s life by inspiring them to realize their potential, work hard and chase their dreams!

2. What unique challenges did you experience as a female entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?

Erin: I think one of the biggest challenges women entrepreneurs face is motherhood. It can feel impossible to meet the societal expectations of being a perfect mother, wife and business owner all at the same time. I quickly learned the importance of finding balance and different ways you can show up as your best in all areas. 

Irina: Team building is a significant challenge. Luckily, mentoring my team members, coaching and growing them has always been the number one most rewarding experience for me. Providing opportunities for growth and advancement motivated my best employees to stay long-term. Creating a positive work environment where employees feel valued and supported increases retention rates. When you see your most talented and dedicated team members growing into their new leadership roles, you forget all about some of the hardships that can come with team building. One more challenge that I faced came with the growth from one location to multiple. As businesses grow, they often face challenges related to scaling their operations, including managing increased complexity and maintaining quality control. This left me feeling overwhelmed, but as I followed the structure and clear expectations that the franchise provides, I was able to maintain consistency across all locations and hold my teams accountable. 

3. How do female entrepreneurs balance the demands of running a business like iTAN with other personal and professional responsibilities?

Erin: Often times, we feel like we need to be “superwomen” and do everything ourselves. In order to find balance, it’s important to ask for help from those around you! You don’t have to do it all on your own! It takes support from others to accomplish goals in both your personal and professional life.

Irina: First, they determine what is most important to them in their personal and professional life and allocate their time and energy accordingly. I find it extremely helpful to have some structure in my life. This can include a scheduled two-hour window to pick up your kids from school, a massage every other Friday or a recurring weekly sales review with your team. If it’s on the schedule, it’s getting done. I can’t stress enough how important it is to prioritize and to “choose your battles!” Identify tasks that can be delegated to others, both at work and at home. I pay close attention to my team and know what each team member’s talent is, and this allows me to delegate wisely and free up my time and mental energy for the things that matter most. It’s important to be able to let go and accept that things won’t always be perfect, and it’s okay. I’m always prepared to adjust my plans as needed. Life is unpredictable, and being able to adapt can help reduce stress and increase productivity. Accept your shortcomings and celebrate your wins, always give yourself credit for what you’ve achieved. Finally, it’s crucial to make sure to take care of yourself. This can help you stay energized and focused in both your personal and professional life.

4. How does a franchisor like iTAN empower you as a female entrepreneur?

Erin: My favorite part of being in the iTAN family is the strong female presence we have internally. The vast majority of our employees are young women who are on the way to starting their careers. I love that I am able to show them, through leadership and example, that they can accomplish anything they put their minds to. I am grateful to have an impact that goes beyond their days working at iTAN. Empowering my team empowers me in return! 

5. How can we encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurship and provide them with the necessary support and resources?

Erin: I think we need to push the message that as a woman, you don’t have to choose between being a mother/wife or an entrepreneur. You can do both and don’t need to sacrifice one for the other! Know that it is possible to accomplish it all as you dream with the support from those around you. We need to remind women that we aren’t meant to do it all alone and encourage them to network and seek out resources in the community. 

Irina: To encourage more women to become business owners, it’s essential to address the unique challenges they face and create supportive environments that foster their growth and success. Mentorship and networking play a crucial role in supporting women entrepreneurs. Establishing mentorship programs and female entrepreneur communities can help women connect with successful business owners and learn from their experiences. Most importantly, celebrating successful women entrepreneurs in our community can inspire others to follow in their footsteps. Celebrating their achievements through awards, media coverage and public recognition can help break down stereotypes and create role models for aspiring female business owners.