March 30, 2016
The feminist in me (which is pretty much all of me) bristles a bit when we talk about women entrepreneurs as a separate group that requires preferential advice. But unfortunately we still live in a patriarchal society and as much as I wish I could deny it, women are still treated differently in many arenas, including entrepreneurship.
There are also a lot of double-standards out there when it come to how female and male entrepreneurs are treated. Yet, starting in a lower position than our male counterparts, female entrepreneurs are forced to work harder and often outperform men.
All of that being said, I have to admit that it is still somewhat helpful to see advice out there that is specifically tailored towards women and how we interpret, and are interpreted by, the world.
Here are some of the best pieces of advice I’ve seen for women entrepreneurs recently. I should add that, if we were to put this advice into a Venn Diagram, while all of it would be useful for women entrepreneurs, a lot of it would also be useful for all entrepreneurs whether male or female, and a lot of it would also be useful for women in general.
- Find your passion. If you’re going to be spending most of your waking hours working towards something, try your damndest to make it something you’re truly passionate about.
- Keep your home and work life separate. This can be a huge challenge for those who work from home, and if you’re diving into a startup venture full-time and can’t afford an office space, you’ll almost definitely be working from home. If you keep your schedule too flexible, customers and clients will take advantage of it, causing unnecessary stress.
- Form real connections with other women. I’m not saying join a twelve step program for women entrepreneurs (does such a thing exist? That could be a genius startup idea in itself!) but get out there and meet other women who are in the same boat. Get yourself a kickass mentor, or create a group if one doesn’t already exist in your area.
- Network your face off. Even if you’re far from a social butterfly, you can still network with the best of them. Being a successful networker is a learned skill. Knowing the right people, or even just knowing the people who know the right people can be incredibly beneficial when you’re trying to build and grow your business. It can also help you become part of a community of likeminded folk.
- Don’t start a business just for the money. Sure there are a lot of serial entrepreneurs who jump from one venture to the next and chase trends and money rather than what really interests them. This works, but not often, and it can take a long time before you start actually making money, so it’s best to make sure you enjoy what you’re doing so you don’t burn out before the money even comes.
- Be brutally honest with yourself. If you can’t be honest with yourself, how can you be expected to be honest with anyone else. It’s challenging at first, but you need to be able to see your own strengths and weaknesses with a critical eye, and assess shortcomings or needs for additional support with unbiased judgement.
- Ask for help when you need it. This goes along with the previous tip. Don’t try to conquer the world single-handedly. The most successful entrepreneurs know when to ask for help. Be strategic about it and know that it’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of good judgement and awareness.
- Take risks. Almost every aspect of entrepreneurship involves taking risks, and while some might end in failure, the ones that don’t can be very rewarding. Just remember to enter these risks with the confidence that you will succeed.
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