These 3 women entrepreneurs not only succeeded, but thrived in the pandemic has permission to reproduce this article.According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, small businesses owned by women were affected more than men by the coronavirus and corresponding economic crisis. These three women, all over 50 years old, defied the odds by adopting digital technology and pivoting to their businesses.They didn't survive the pandemic. Instead, they thrived, as you will see in our interviews below. These are the entrepreneurs:Kathy Goughenour is an entrepreneur from the St. Louis region who has grown her 13-year-old Expert VA Training business to one that brings in more than $1 million.Sandra Guibord is a former actress and model who has expanded Sandras Wine Life (based in New York City and Ridgefield Connecticut) by offering virtual seminars that attract clients from financial institutions and private wealth firms.She co-founded the HMG Strategy international tech platform with her husband.Kathy Cano-Murillo is a Phoenix-based Latina founder of Crafty Chica's lifestyle brand. She has become an even greater influencer. Her company, which sells Mexi-style wall decor, block prints and T-shirts in Mexi-style, as well as earrings, pins, books, pins, mugs, and candles, recently reached one million views on TikTok.Please tell me what inspired you to create your business.Kathy Goughenour, after 18 years of working for a Fortune 500 [telecommunications] firm, I was not promoted. My boss told me that I laughed and smiled too much. To succeed, I needed to be more joyful. It was too short.I have a small business and wear tiaras to meetings.My VA (virtual assistant business) quickly doubled my income as a marketing manager. In 2020, I had 20 times the income.I am laughing to the bank.Sandra Guibord: I founded Sandras Wine Life in 2000 as a consulting and wine education business. I realized that there was a huge market for wine lovers who were not served by the wine industry. This included both everyday wine enthusiasts and corporate executives.Similar: NFIB reports that a labor shortage is limiting growth in small businesses across the nationI was a writer on wine. I also became the magazine's food and beverage editor and started a women's wine club. After selling my share of a multimillion dollar tech event company, I focused on Sandras Wine Life to help people explore wines with confidence and joy.Kathy Cano-Murillo. I started my [craft] company as a side business in 2001, when crafts were experiencing a revival among young people. I've been a maker all my life and wanted to make a space for the Latino community.I was a newspaper reporter at The Arizona Republic, and a syndicated columnist on craft. In 2007, I devoted my full attention to my business.My content was a niche, and this was before influencer marketing. Since then, I've been busy.What is your greatest challenge?Kathy Goughenour - My greatest challenge was learning how to take risks. I wish I had spent more money on marketing, professional development and business coaching earlier. When I hired a great business coach, my business grew at an incredible rate.What is the greatest success? This has helped hundreds of women feel confident and empowered to achieve their goals. They have learned how to start a profitable VA business. They have traveled the world, purchased dream homes and paid college tuition for their children.Sandra Guibord: The biggest challenge I have faced has been dealing with the various laws in each state regarding wine shipping. While I host events across the country, I have had to source my wine from multiple suppliers. This has allowed me to expand my network.My greatest success was when the Turkish government and Wine Alliance hired me to exclusively introduce Turkish wines to America.Kathy Cano-Murillo : I find it challenging to come up with fresh ideas and relevant concepts, but I love the challenge!My greatest success has been my overall career, which has grown steadily over the past 20 years.How did you do in the pandemic?Kathy Goughenour - The VA industry exploded during COVID. My program's women participants shared their experiences with me. They reported that they made an average of 100 and 30% more in 2020 than they did in 2019. My VA coaching and training business grew to one million dollars, from seven hundred thousand dollars. Based on my research, this industry is expected to flourish. Having an online presence is crucial for that growth.Sandra Guibord: Virtual Wine Seminars were a huge success during the pandemic. My business has grown 100% through virtual presentations. I quickly switched from the traditional in-person format to virtual presentations.Also, see: Small businesses were forced to adapt to the pandemic. Some innovations that are well-known will continue to be seen.Virtual wine tastings have become a valuable tool for financial institutions to reach their customers without the need to go to the movies or play golf. I have worked with large financial institutions and non-profits such as Citicorp, TD Bank and The Red Cross. It is incredibly rewarding to have intimate, interactive experiences.Kathy Cano-Murillo : My brand did well. It was all about listening to the people and helping them during the pandemic. I listened to what people wanted and found ways to help. This meant creating DIY content that they could share with their family and friends. You can make face masks for beginners, Day of the Dead Barbies, and mini-journals from scrapbook paper.Social media has always been a major part of my business plan. During the pandemic, I hosted an Instagram craft night that brought together all types of people. Eighty thousand Facebook FB followers, -1.19% now. A few TikToks have gone viral.Do you have any advice for women entrepreneurs?Kathy Goughenour - Make sure prospective clients have the money to pay. Also, make sure they see the value of hiring them.Women need to have a positive outlook. There's no need to keep your head against the glass ceiling or be overlooked for promotions or higher pay. There will be no cheerleading for others to get ahead, while you eat chips and watch.Sandra Guibord: Don't be afraid to partner and develop your network.I was invited to a large event by a catering company that provided me with food to match my wine pairings. I was curious as to why we weren't working together. The owner immediately joined the team. We are teaming up for my Wine and Opera and Wine and Cinema Events.Now, I regret not reaching out to my mother years ago.You should also consider expanding your brand. My target audience was my focus as a single woman businesswoman. My brand grew as I had more children. It was about wine's place in family holidays, business dinners, and large-scale international entertaining.Kathy Cano-Murillo : Make clear and specific goals, create an action plan and a timetable of tasks, and then work daily on them.Related: TikTok saved me my business: A candy retailer gains internet fame because COVID-19 forces him to pivotIt is important to have a clear vision of the end goal. This has led to many success stories, including a greeting card collection, two fabric collections and books. I also appeared in an HSN craft product line.Last year, I was the keynote speaker at Michaels Stores, North America's largest specialty retailer of arts and crafts.Barbara Field was previously employed by CBS, Harcourt Brace and UC San Diego. She also worked for Pace University, The OpEd Project, and UC San Diego. She is a regular contributor to VeryWell Mind. Her work has also been published in Shape Magazine, Salon, Newsday and Columbia Review. She was awarded a Writers Digest fiction prize for her novel. Writing Life Stories is a non-fiction writing business that she founded.This article is part Americas Entrepreneurs, an initiative by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, EIX, and the Entrepreneur Innovation Exchange.This article was reprinted with permission from, Inc. 2021 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc.Next Avenue has more: