#SWAAYthenarrative

5 Lessons For Driven Women Entrepreneurs

Career

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 We’ve said goodbye to many outdated stereotypes and old fashioned ideas and obstacles and have made a mark in this male dominated world.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.

Gain Guidance

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.

6 Min Read
Politics

All My Life I've Had To Fight

I live the pain and stress of being black in America every day: I am a black woman, the mother of a black son, sister to black men, and aunt to my black nephews. I remember what it was like as a young girl to be afraid to go to Howard Beach for fear of being chased out. I know what it's like to walk on Liberty Avenue and be called "nigger" and being so young that I didn't understand what the word meant, I had to ask my mother. I know too well that feeling in the pit of your stomach when a police car pulls up behind you and even though you know you haven't done anything wrong you fear that your life may be in danger from what should be a simple encounter. Like all African Americans, I am tired of this burden.

African Americans have a long history of having to fight for our humanity in America. We have had to fight for freedom, we have had to fight for equality, and we have had to fight for our lives. The fight continues to go on. I have often quoted that line from the character Sophia in Alice Walker's The Color Purple, "All my life I had to fight." When I say this to my white counterparts it can sometimes be uncomfortable because it's clear that they just don't get it. They view it as melodramatic. But it's not. It's part of the black experience, and it is the part of the black experience that black people don't want.

I have often quoted that line from the character Sophia in Alice Walker's The Color Purple, "All my life I had to fight."

While I was out yesterday, passing out PPE and talking to people, a woman asked me, "What is it going to take for this to change?" I told her that I think peaceful protesting is a good start. But it's just the start. We can't elect the same people for the past 20-30 years, some in the same positions, and then talk about how nothing has changed in the past 30 years.

This injustice, inequality, and inequity will not spontaneously disappear. It will take bold, outspoken, and fearless leadership to eradicate the systemic racism in our country. We must address the violence at the hands of a police force paid to serve and protect us. We must address the recurring experience of black people being passed over for a promotion and then being asked to train the white person who was hired. We must address the inequities in contract opportunities available to black businesses who are repeatedly deemed to lack the capacity. We must address the disparity in the quality of education provided to black students. We must address the right to a living wage, health care, and sick pay.

While we like to regard the system as broken, I've come to believe the system is working exactly as it was meant to for the people who are benefiting from it. We need a new system. One that works for all of us. I am running to become the mayor of New York City because I can't assume there's another person who has the courage to do the work that needs to be done to create a fair and just city.

We can't elect the same people for the past 20-30 years, some in the same positions, and then talk about how nothing has changed in the past 30 years.

There are some things we may not be able to change in people, but at this moment I think that whether you are black, white, purple, or yellow we all should be looking internally to see what is one thing that you can do to change this dynamic. Here's where we can start:

If we want change, we need a total reform of police departments throughout this country. That is going to require taking a hard look at our requirements to become a police officer, our disciplinary procedures when civilian complaints are filed, and a review of what and how we police. No one deserves to lose their life based upon the accusation of carrying counterfeit cash. We also need to hold police officers accountable for their actions. While it is their duty to protect and serve they should not be above the law. Even at this very moment, police officers are overstepping their boundaries.

If we want change, we have to build a sense of camaraderie between the police and community. A sense of working together and creating positive experiences. We have to be honest about the fact that we haven't allowed that to happen because we have utilized our police department as a revenue-generating entity. We are more concerned with cops writing tickets than protecting and serving. Even during these moments of protest we are witness to the differences made when the police supported the protesters and stood hand in hand with them or took a knee. It resulted in less violence and more peaceful protest. People felt heard; people felt respected; people felt like they mattered.

While we like to regard the system as broken, I've come to believe the system is working exactly as it was meant to for the people who are benefiting from it. We need a new system.

If we want change, we have to be willing to clean house. And that means that some of you are going to have to step up to the plate and take roles of leadership. In my city alone, there are 35 city council seats that are term-limited in 2021. There are some that aren't termed but maybe their term should be up. Step up to the plate and run. If nothing else it will let our elected officials see that they need to stop being comfortable and do more. We don't need you out in the street taking selfies or reporting the problems to us. We need solutions. We need you in a room implementing policies that will ensure that these things don't continue to happen.

If we want change, we need to support grassroots candidates that are not in corporate pockets, who are not taking PAC money, and who really want to make a difference to their community. We need candidates that know first-hand and can relate to the experiences that many of us are going through.

We are at a pivotal moment. It is inspiring to see people from all races and backgrounds in the streets protesting, standing up for justice, and wanting to see change. We must seize this moment, but we must also be mindful that change requires more.

People often ask me why I decided to run for office? I am running for me. I am running for the little girl that was called nigger on Liberty Avenue. For the woman who has been pulled over for no reason. For my nephew who was consistently stopped during the era of stop and frisk. I am running for your son, your brother, and your nephew. I am running so that the next generation will never have to say, "All my life I had to fight." Because although we won't stop until we see justice and changes that address inequality and inequity effectively, this fight is exhausting.