A few things are very close to my heart – being a woman is one of them (not that I have another choice!) but as clichéd as it may sound – Womanhood is something I celebrate. In the course of our lives, we all have seen women who have done so much that it just reaffirms one major belief I have in us… our ability to take on anything that we would like.
Now I am not saying men don’t do that, the same holds good for them too yet when it comes to women, we will agree that it is not the same! Maybe we are wired differently, maybe we think too much, maybe we are conditioned to think in a certain way that we don’t really give ourselves that chance – that “Go”.
In the last few years that I have been a Life Coach, I have been fortunate to meet some inspiring women who think differently, who work passionately and who know a life that they have designed for themselves. There are no cribs about the life they have lead or even about what is in store for them. They are just on the move, on the Go – all this while making a difference. Some of them have been entrepreneurs and a lot of them always wanted to do something on their own. As I got to know women better and especially who wanted to take the entrepreneurial route, I realized there is no “one size fits all” kind of formula. However, I did realize that there could be some quick tips that I could share that worked with most of them and one can keep them in mind. So here are,
Top 5 Tips for Women Entrepreneurs
Network – Network with the right people. Don’t hold yourself back in introducing yourself in a group and introducing your product / service. I once had a coachee who wanted to foray into entrepreneurship as a home chef. However, she was too “shy” to speak about the fact that she wanted to sell what she was cooking. We worked together to make her believe that talking about her passion that is food comes naturally to her and hence if she would talk about her passion with the right people, she would be able to network and build a clientele easily.
It’s a level playing ground – Women need to understand that out there in the market, men and women entrepreneurs are same since it’s the product that the customer is finally interested in. Being a woman, is neither advantageous or disadvantageous. It’s a level playing field for anyone. So, if we are really seeking equality, we, as women must understand that when it comes to the final product or service, the best one takes the cake. Pursue the excellence!
Don’t be afraid – Women also tend to hold themselves back because of reasons that men would probably not even think of. Don’t be afraid to take the first step. The child who learns to walk never knows what it is to start walking, yet he takes the first step, falls and keeps trying till he gets it right. Women need to give up their inhibitions or the thought of “What if..”..one would never know what one can achieve unless you tried. One of my coachees, a year into her boutique business wanted to get into online sales of her garments. She understood that it was the next best thing. Yet, somehow she always equated the same to technology and was unable to make the effort to go online. Coaching sessions helped her understand that if she knows what is best for her business, she needs to jump in with the know how and see how it unfolds. Slowly yet reluctantly she began learning about online business and is ready to launch her line very soon.
Take risks but be prepared for any failure – Failure and Success are faces of the same coin. If success comes to you, failure at some time will knock at your door. Take calculated risks. Everything in life is about risks in some way or the other – your choice of education, marriage, kids. So in your business too there are risks that one takes and be stronger to take failure as it comes. A fashion designer coachee of mine was distraught by the fact that she had a huge inventory that was not getting sold. If she did not complete the sales, she would be unable to add on to her clothes collection and the styles were changing (from summer to autumn wear). She learnt that she had acted in a hurry to create her designs and get them stitched. It meant a huge loss to her but she also realized that it was a risk she was taking. She took time but overcame the fact that she needed to create a new line and would only operate on order. The best learning was that she took away a huge business learning from the episode, one which made her a better entrepreneur.
Have fun – Women entrepreneurs should have fun with whatever they do. Women in general should be able to take time off and pursue personal goals as well. As one becomes more entrenched in business, the fun element tends to take a back stage. Never give up on fun. List out your personal goals whether they are health, fitness, travel or adventure. My coachee had been in business for over 6 years and having an established system, she still felt there was something amiss. Not knowing what it was she in one of the sessions came up with the desire to run a marathon. She kept telling herself that she was overweight to run and hence had been putting it off. A couple of sessions later, she realized that with proper training she could. She ran her first marathon for 5 kms in Pinkathon 2015. She was thrilled to pits and she even set an example to other women employees of her company.
Not everything suits everyone and that is something we as women must respect. Respecting each other, collaborating not competing, encouraging and not putting down, gentle strokes of moving ahead are some things that we women can do easily. Even research proves that women are more empathic than men, so why hold ourselves back? Reach out, encourage, be positive and “Go Ahead”