Being a successful female entrepreneur is not only challenging, it's (in some aspects) rare. Women make up more than 51% of the U.S. population. But, the latest Census reports show that only 28.7% of all businesses nationwide are owned by women alone. New businesses that are being founded by women are at their highest peak in history but still trail significantly compared to our male counterparts.
Women have been recognized as major participants in the field of entrepreneurship and business. We have established ourselves as leaders and have played a role in growing this platform. We’ve said goodbye to many outdated stereotypes and old fashioned ideas and obstacles and have made a mark in this male dominated world. We’ve set benchmarks and male competitors are now recognizing the capabilities of a driven female entrepreneur.
Being driven is one of the dominant traits found among women entrepreneurs. However, having drive alone is not enough. Being driven is very important but there is a basket of troubles waiting for you at every nook and corner and you have to face them all with confidence.
We have a dreamy perception about being a boss but ask those who live this life and some of them would truly say that the price to pay for being the one who calls the shots is immense. You may know how to handle the obstacles as most of them are common to those faced by others and you know the way out, but there are some things you can do that will keep you fearless, innovative and driven.
Collaborate and Partner Up
There are more opportunities than ever to meet and connect with other driven female entrepreneurs.
Like I said earlier, female entrepreneurs are still the minority in measurable statistics like revenue and patents. But, the number of businesses started by women have skyrocketed by 50% since 1997. This means that there are more opportunities than ever to meet and connect with other driven female entrepreneurs. Search Meetup.com, The National Association of Women Business Owners or American Business Women’s Association and find those opportunities.
Greater awareness, social media interaction, and greater need to depend on each other for support have led to the development of a many communities of women. Business communities are formed at all levels from district to national and even international levels, to bring together ideas and innovation for better growth and development.
In the same breath, don’t limit yourself to working with only other women. Many businessmen understand that its beneficial to work with female partners due to many factors. There is a two sided perspective involved as men and women see things differently at times. People have come to accept the difference in perspective and learn from each other to establish a stronger business enterprise, better opportunities, more growth, and profits.
Starting or running a business can be stressful, frustrating, and even maddening. Have someone who can guide you through the obstacles, offer a different perspective, solutions, and be the person to keep your ego in control. Do not just go for a top business mentor, in fact, do the opposite, find one who understands you and is fearless enough to be honest. It has to be a balanced mentor-mentee relationship.
Try to have more than one from different fields, even genders. A combination of men and women works best. Try to utilize the different business practice groups and local networks.
"Never limit yourself because of others' limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination." - Mae Jeminson
Stay Focused on the Mission
The mission that you had in mind when you started your business should always be remembered. You have to take every decision with that image that you had in mind and they all should fall in line with it. Collaborate with people who have a common mission and common ideas. This will be easier to achieve and there are better chances of the partnerships succeeding.
Having a clear goal and mission will lead you back to the yellow brick road when distractions and other opportunities attempt to lead you away. If you are good at what you do, then there will be many doors that will open and many offers you will receive. The key is to weigh those options against your mission. If you started a home business to spend more time with your family but you are getting consulting offers 3 states away, then that may not be the path you should take.
That doesn’t mean you say no to every opportunity. But it does mean that those opportunities have to fall in line with your mission. Instead of flying out to do the consulting, perhaps use video conferencing as the primary communication method to avoid having too much time away from home. There’s always a way. You just have to commit to following your mission and be innovative enough to find those ways.
Drop all Fear
Fear of failure can be a debilitating factor on your life and performance as an entrepreneur. The best way to handle fear is to face it and defeat it. Draw yourself out of the comfort zone and take challenges, take risks, and go after success.
Coming out of the comfort zone and working wisely will boost your confidence like nothing else. This is the best way to make the most of an opportunity and also overcome your fear. You won’t know what you are capable of achieving until you try!
Establish and Keep Your Credibility
Trust and loyalty are important while entering into any kind of relationship. Your partners, customers, and associates need to know that they can count on you. If you have a valuable skill set, do everything possible to fine tune and develop those skills so that you are the go-to girl for the job.
As a leader, you must have a sense of fairness and justice to your business decisions. Be honest and build the faith in your partners and associates that you are worth paying attention to. Credibility is very important and some giants of industry are living examples of this. You should be an entrepreneur who people like to do business with and have faith in.
Be fearless, innovative, and honest and you are all set to rule the business community. There are no shortcuts to success and any compromise with dedication, truthfulness, and sincerity will lead to failures. Have clear a vision and great confidence but be ready to learn from small things and people whenever there is a chance. Be a person people like to do business with and success is assured.
This article was first published on StartUp Mindset.
Not too many years ago, my advice to political candidates would have been pretty simple: "Don't do or say anything stupid." But the last few elections have rendered that advice outdated.
When Barack Obama referred to his grandmother as a "typical white woman" during the 2008 campaign, for example, many people thought it would cost him the election -- and once upon a time, it probably would have. But his supporters were focused on the values and positions he professed, and they weren't going to let one unwise comment distract them. Candidate Obama didn't even get much pushback for saying, "We're five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." That statement should have given even his most ardent supporters pause, but it didn't. It was in line with everything Obama had previously said, and it was what his supporters wanted to hear.
2016: What rules?
Fast forward to 2016, and Donald Trump didn't just ignore traditional norms, he almost seemed to relish violating them. Who would have ever dreamed we'd elect a man who talked openly about grabbing women by the **** and who was constantly blasting out crazy-sounding Tweets? But Trump did get elected. Why? Some people believe it was because Americans finally felt like they had permission to show their bigotry. Others think Obama had pushed things so far to the left that right-wing voters were more interested in dragging public policy back toward the middle than in what Trump was Tweeting.
Another theory is that Trump's lewd, crude, and socially unacceptable behavior was deliberately designed to make Democrats feel comfortable campaigning on policies that were far further to the left than they ever would have attempted before. Why? Because they were sure America would never elect someone who acted like Trump. If that theory is right, and Democrats took the bait, Trump's "digital policies" served him well.
And although Trump's brash style drew the most handlines, he wasn't the only one who seemed to have forgotten the, "Don't do or say anything stupid," rule. Hillary Clinton also made news when she made a "basket of deplorables" comment at a private fundraiser, but it leaked out, and it dogged her for the rest of the election cycle.
And that's where we need to start our discussion. Now that all the old rules about candidate behavior have been blown away, do presidential candidates even need digital policies?
Yes, they do. More than ever, in my opinion. Let me tell you why.
Digital policies for 2020 and beyond
While the 2016 election tossed traditional rules about political campaigns to the trash heap, that doesn't mean you can do anything you want. Even if it's just for the sake of consistency, candidates need digital policies for their own campaigns, regardless of what anybody else is doing. Here are some important things to consider.
Align your digital policies with your campaign strategy
Aside from all the accompanying bells and whistles, why do you want to be president? What ideological beliefs are driving you? If you were to become president, what would you want your legacy to be? Once you've answered those questions honestly, you can develop your campaign strategy. Only then can you develop digital policies that are in alignment with the overall purpose -- the "Why?" -- of your campaign:
- If part of your campaign strategy, for example, is to position yourself as someone who's above the fray of the nastiness of modern politics, then one of your digital policies should be that your campaign will never post or share anything that attacks another candidate on a personal level. Attacks will be targeted only at the policy level.
- While it's not something I would recommend, if your campaign strategy is to depict the other side as "deplorables," then one of your digital policies should be to post and share every post, meme, image, etc. that supports your claim.
- If a central piece of your platform is that detaining would-be refugees at the border is inhumane, then your digital policies should state that you will never say, post, or share anything that contradicts that belief, even if Trump plans to relocate some of them to your own city. Complaining that such a move would put too big a strain on local resources -- even if true -- would be making an argument for the other side. Don't do it.
- Don't be too quick to share posts or Tweets from supporters. If it's a text post, read all of it to make sure there's not something in there that would reflect negatively on you. And examine images closely to make sure there's not a small detail that someone may notice.
- Decide what your campaign's voice and tone will be. When you send out emails asking for donations, will you address the recipient as "friend" and stress the urgency of donating so you can continue to fight for them? Or will you personalize each email and use a more low-key, collaborative approach?
Those are just a few examples. The takeaway is that your online behavior should always support your campaign strategy. While you could probably get away with posting or sharing something that seems mean or "unpresidential," posting something that contradicts who you say you are could be deadly to your campaign. Trust me on this -- if there are inconsistencies, Twitter will find them and broadcast them to the world. And you'll have to waste valuable time, resources, and public trust to explain those inconsistencies away.
Remember that the most common-sense digital policies still apply
The 2016 election didn't abolish all of the rules. Some still apply and should definitely be included in your digital policies:
- Claim every domain you can think of that a supporter might type into a search engine. Jeb Bush not claiming www.jebbush.com (the official campaign domain was www.jeb2016.com) was a rookie mistake, and he deserved to have his supporters redirected to Trump's site.
- Choose your campaign's Twitter handle wisely. It should be obvious, not clever or cutesy. In addition, consider creating accounts with possible variations of the Twitter handle you chose so that no one else can use them.
- Give the same care to selecting hashtags. When considering a hashtag, conduct a search to understand its current use -- it might not be what you think! When making up new hashtags, try to avoid anything that could be hijacked for a different purpose -- one that might end up embarrassing you.
- Make sure that anyone authorized to Tweet, post, etc., on your behalf has a copy of your digital policies and understands the reasons behind them. (People are more likely to follow a rule if they understand why it's important.)
- Decide what you'll do if you make an online faux pas that starts a firestorm. What's your emergency plan?
- Consider sending an email to supporters who sign up on your website, thanking them for their support and suggesting ways (based on digital policies) they can help your messaging efforts. If you let them know how they can best help you, most should be happy to comply. It's a small ask that could prevent you from having to publicly disavow an ardent supporter.
- Make sure you're compliant with all applicable regulations: campaign finance, accessibility, privacy, etc. Adopt a double opt-in policy, so that users who sign up for your newsletter or email list through your website have to confirm by clicking on a link in an email. (And make sure your email template provides an easy way for people to unsubscribe.)
- Few people thought 2016 would end the way it did. And there's no way to predict quite yet what forces will shape the 2020 election. Careful tracking of your messaging (likes, shares, comments, etc.) will tell you if you're on track or if public opinion has shifted yet again. If so, your messaging needs to shift with it. Ideally, one person should be responsible for monitoring reaction to the campaign's messaging and for raising a red flag if reactions aren't what was expected.
Thankfully, the world hasn't completely lost its marbles
Whatever the outcome of the election may be, candidates now face a situation where long-standing rules of behavior no longer apply. You now have to make your own rules -- your own digital policies. You can't make assumptions about what the voting public will or won't accept. You can't assume that "They'll never vote for someone who acts like that"; neither can you assume, "Oh, I can get away with that, too." So do it right from the beginning. Because in this election, I predict that sound digital policies combined with authenticity will be your best friend.