Updated: Jun 27, 2020
The world of business has never seen this many women. From building successful start-ups to capitalizing on innovative ideas, women are surely breaking barriers (and stereotypes) left and right.
Women entrepreneurs are not only excelling in their own lives, but they are also proving to be wonderful role models for little children all around the world. Unfortunately, even with this great influx of women into entrepreneurship, there are still many hurdles that impact them on a daily basis.
So, if you are a female entrepreneur and are looking for some tips to better yourself and your work life, read on.
1. Find a Mentor in Your Field
Experience and hindsight give us a richer perspective about the present, and mentors have them both.
Whether you are in the process of setting up a research firm or a retail start-up, reach out to people who have already done something like that.
Build enriching relationships with the people in your field through workshops, conferences, and seminars. You can go to them with your dilemmas or fresh ideas.
They can help you understand where you went wrong - so that you can take responsibility and act accordingly. Mentors provide you with space where there is no fear of judgment.
This is especially important for people who are just starting out, as a guiding force is invaluable.
2. Take Responsibility for Your Success
As a woman entrepreneur, you cannot get anywhere without being assertive.
- Ask for the pay fit for the services you provide.
- Ask for the resources you need to get that task finished and ask for deadlines to be met.
There are many different ways in which you can assert yourself as the capable leader that you are. Body language and attire aside, your work ethic, your words, and your mind-set are all part of it too.
When people see that you take your work seriously and set high standards, they understand you expect the same from others as well. And when they listen to the way you speak - with consideration, empathy, and practicality, they will be bound to do the same with you.
3. Listen to Yourself, Not to Imposter Syndrome
If you are wondering whether or not gender plays into our self-esteem, the answer is yes.
The infamous imposter syndrome is most often found in women. Do not push these fears of not being good enough under the carpet.
Face them head-on lest they build up, and challenge them. Look back at your achievements, your virtues as a person and as a leader to reaffirm yourself when in doubt.
Reaffirmations are an act of self-care and they help us be kinder to ourselves.
Even Emma Watson is not immune to imposter syndrome - and as is evident from her example, it is very much possible to rise above it each time.
Imposter syndrome is detrimental to your abilities as a leader - it can keep you from exploring your potential and make you an easy target for insecurities.
Also, it is possible that there are other people working around you with a similar problem. By opening up about it and talking about it constructively, you can set a refreshing and inspiring example for everyone.
4. Do Not Run From Failure and Accountability
The best leaders acknowledge both these things with grace and humility.
You cannot be a leader and not accept responsibility for when you go wrong (which yes, you will) or handle failure in a demotivating manner.
The success story for your company is going to involve failures and tough board meetings.
If you overemphasize on success and see failure as this easily avoidable thing, you will not be able to establish a good attitude amongst your employees.
5. Have An Ambitious Vision
Just like assertiveness, ambitiousness is another quality that is often vilified and looked down upon in women. But here's the thing - if you do not allow yourself to have big dreams, you cannot achieve big things. You can be a realist yet ambitious.
Know what your brand is worth, and focus your energy on increasing it in the business ecosystem.
If you as a leader do not have high expectations from the future of the company, how could anyone else? In such a situation, employees will feel no motivation, and clients and investors may see no potential.
Thus, you must be open to all the great things that your team can make come true. Once you believe in your vision, even the sky is not the limit for what you want to achieve.
6. Listen to Your Team
We all have opinions. Be it about the recent changes in the office schedule, or about the next client meeting - get as many people to share their views as possible.
Being in the loop with everyone as a female boss will give you an edge in entrepreneurship - you will be making decisions that are more in tune with your employees' needs.
Sometimes, we gloss over something but others may have seen a valuable point there. When you invite opinions and make space for healthy interactions, you can have more fulfilling meetings.
7. Take Care of Yourself
It is easy to convince yourself that you can take just another call or meeting and just one more client.
But as a leader, it is very important to know when to hit pause.
You are a human after all, and even if those late nights do not take their toll now, they will soon enough.
Sufficient sleep, nutritious eating habits, and having a life you look forward to outside of work are all absolutely necessary.
On a day to day basis, you can practice relaxation techniques, go for a walk, meditate and listen to music, to help you stay calm and connected to yourself.
8. Stand up for women across the board
With this point, we come full circle with the article - being a leader is also about extending solidarity and being a source of support.
When the hurdles, from systemic to social and personal are stacked up against women and minorities, it becomes necessary for us to have each other's back.
If you see something untoward being said, done, or insinuated against your counterparts, speak up. Your voice as an established or upcoming leader matters.
Creating a business ecosystem in which women are there for each other lets everyone know that they are not alone.
You can change someone's life by caring and simply showing up. Do not underestimate the sheer power of listening, of being there for each other, and meaning well in this world of cutthroat competition.
Remember that becoming a great female boss is not a one-day task. It demands consistency and the will to learn and adapt. Each day brings with it new opportunities to learn, make the best of it.
So, the next time you walk into a board meeting or have a pitch to make, channel your inner Beyoncé and seize the day with these tips!