Business 04 January 2018
When you're diving into starting a business, you will quickly notice how every thought, every decision, and every conversation you have is driven by the product or service you are starting to build from the ground up.
You may find yourself skipping out on social activities so that you can hunker down and do research for your company. You may even decide to break your lease and move back home to your parent's house so you can use the cash you would normally spend on rent, on bootstrapping your new idea.
But one thing you might not be able to control is how much you find yourself talking about your start-up to your family members, your friends, your dentist, and even potential investors you meet at a networking event. It will become your favorite thing to talk about and phrases like, “Can I pick your brain" or “What do you think of this idea?" will flow out of your mouth without you even realizing what you are saying and who you are saying it to.
So if you're in the business start-up zone and you're looking to impress an investor, spill the behind-the-scenes of the company to a close friend, or let a first date know how much of a badass female entrepreneur you are, here are tips on how to refine your elevator pitch to meet your audience's needs.
Finding yourself standing in front of a table of investors can be a frightening and also empowering thing. Chances are you have worked your butt off to get a business plan ready, a product or service outline to present, and even some press surrounding your start-up to show off to them. It might be a groundbreaking meeting, but if anything, it is a chance for you to clearly explain your business idea and the impact it will have on your target audience.
For this, it's important to get personal while also staying on track. Begin the pitch with an anecdote of what drove you to start this business and how the problem your business is going to solve is something near and dear to you. Then go on with the answers to these questions, “Why you? Why now? Why this?"
Providing a short pitch, answering those questions first, will allow potential investors to understand why you're starting this business and what makes you quailed to lead it down the path of success.
When you're catching up with your close circle of friends, either over brunch, the phone, or a group text, people might share what they've been up to lately. If all you can think about responding is, “I've been up to too much stuff with starting this business," you might want to bite your tongue or erase the text and think of something more useful and practical to say.
It's okay to vent about the struggles you're having with your business to your friends, but don't forget to also boast about the positives and the wins you've experienced too.
If you find that you've already handed your friends your elevator pitch one too many times and got them excited about what your business is going to be, it's time to refine the pitch so that when you talk to them, you're providing them with updates on your business so that they can give you feedback and also help keep you motivated and inspired.
This pitch should include just one problem you've faced that week and then two wins or positives you have acquired so that you can get in the habit of celebrating success. By also stating those important things, you'll be able to help your friends better understand your business idea, why it matters, and how it's going to change the industry that you are breaking into.
3. A First Date
One of the most annoying questions for an entrepreneur on a first date is the question of, “what do you do for a living?" Perhaps you're working a 9-5 job, a part-time gig, or a handful of part-time gigs, while also creating magic on the side for your new business, and the answer to that question can be complicated.
Or, maybe you've recently quit your full-time job to pursue your own business and you fear that by saying that to your date, they'll give you a stern talking about how you're going to drain your savings and be out of the workforce for too long.
Either way, it's important to come at your date with a confident answer as to “what do you do for a living?" and the best place to start is with a quick elevator pitch for your business.
Unlike the one you gave to investors or friends, who might be the same demographic as potential customers for your business, your goal with this pitch is to excite and impress your date.
Start with a sentence or two about the problem you're looking to solve, the audience you want to target, and the unique feature of your business. Add in another sentence about your background and experience, so you're date can get a feel for how rad you are, with a final sentence about why you're the right person to start this business.
This pitch will not only eliminate your date's questions on whether or not you're a serious entrepreneur but will also get them feeling intimidated and certain that you are one strong and fierce female sitting across from them on this date.
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."