Fresh Start Nominations

Nominate yourself or a woman you know who deserves a Fresh Start!

News4Jax and She Is Fierce!, a global women’s network based in St. Augustine, are partnering to transform the lives of women in North Florida with our brand new ‘Fresh Start’ series.

We know there are countless women right here in our community working hard professionally, building businesses, doing double duty as moms and caregivers and giving back every day.

Two women will be selected through our nominations process, closing Friday, May 3rd, to be featured in our upcoming ‘Fresh Start’ Series.

 

This could be perfect for you if you have a big dream related to:

  • Starting or growing a business
  • Building or scaling a nonprofit or service in the community
  • Stepping into that next level in your career and making a difference

Winners will go through She Is Fierce’s foundational ‘Impact & Influence Intensive,’ and get life and professional coaching.

They’ll be connected with mentors who will help them clarify their ideas and make a plan for success.

Plus – they’ll win a makeover, an annual membership to She Is Fierce!, and the opportunity to share their “leap of fierce” and get support from our whole North Florida community!

Nominate yourself or a woman you know who does everything for everyone else but is now ready to step into HER potential right here!

Finalists must be available to be interviewed at News4Jax between 8am-10am on May 14th, and be available to film during three Saturdays in May and June and regular video diaries.  They must also be committed to spending time working with coaches and mentors on those three days and on additional off-camera days throughout the transformation period.

Winners will also be featured on stage at the She Is Fierce! Summit on September 19th, 2019!

 

Obstacles to Overcome When Starting a New Business

Obstacles to Overcome When Starting a New Business

Mompreneurs, business ladies, women with ambition, or simply those who just have an idea waiting to be realized – you know the many troubles of kick-starting your own business in this modern-day climate. It’s fast-paced, hectic, and very crowded when it comes to competition, so in addition to being original and true to your values, you need to come up with a whole slew of solutions to preempt problems in the first place. While some of them are simply common-sense, others are known only to those who’ve already dipped their toes in the entrepreneurial pond of innovation.

However, if you’re not familiar with the current business eco-system, keep reading to get up to speed and prepare yourself in order to overcome those obstacles with more resolve and knowledge!

Master the art of funding

Women-owned firms tend to have a harder time finding investors due to prejudice, but this doesn’t mean you should EVER give up. On the contrary, when you start hunting for the perfect source of funding, you should widen your net and keep it diverse. From angel investors, bank and independent loans, all the way to crowdfunding platforms, make sure to do your homework and look for various ways in which you can give your business a stable financial backbone. You can even talk to your friends and family and see if they’d be up for pitching in until you start turning a profit.

Get practical with your budget

Once you’ve found the best possible way to fund your business, you need to allocate your budget wisely in order to support optimal growth. For starters, that may mean you need an office space, and to cut costs, you can work in a shared office space instead of committing to a more costly rental contract. On the other hand, you can consider working remotely with the rest of your team.

To add to that, you may need to be on the go very frequently to conduct meetings, presentations, reach out to clients, and work with your partners such as manufacturers or web developers. In that case, finding cheap car hire options can make much more sense for your budget than purchasing a vehicle of your own. You’ll save on maintenance fees, upkeep, and various unforeseen issues that tend to pop up.

Stay healthy

One of the most common issues so many business folk face in the early years of their journey is balancing their personal and professional life. That’s a difficult task even with a steady job, let alone when you’re struggling to find clients or deal with a website crisis every week. Who has time to think about cooking or hitting the gym, right?

Still, by investing time in essential self-care, you’ll actually invest in your business, too. You’ll have much more energy every day, fewer sick days ahead, more confidence for those tough negotiations, and better focus to muscle through those difficult tasks.

Find the right teammates

A one-woman operation is an excellent choice as long as you can handle the workload without it affecting your wellbeing. As soon as you notice your life is literally turning into work, you should take a moment to see which tasks you can delegate, and which portions of your business (such as bookkeeping or SEO campaigns) you can outsource to experts.

Whether you want to expand your local team or you’re open for working with freelancers from all over the world, you need to be careful to find people that will match your values and your brand identity. They might be an excellent hire from a professional perspective, but if they don’t have the soft skills you need to keep building your company, then you need to look further.

Keep growing

On that note, much like you need your future employees and business partners to be able to keep up with the market changes and customer needs, you also need to make room for personal growth. In fact, you need to invest in yourself in every way possible as you build your business, so that you can always have an innovative edge with your brand.

No matter how busy your life may get, take some time to develop your own interests, visit conferences, take courses, learn something new, or talk to new people. You’ll transfer all of that knowledge into your business mindset and allow it to utilize your skills in all the best ways!

 

 

Claire Hastings is a wanderer and a writer. She writes as long as she can remember, and she is very passionate about fashion, running, other cultures, and her cat.

 

 

7 Ways to Mentor Female Entrepreneurs

 

7 Ways to Mentor Female Entrepreneurs

The concept of ‘girl code’ has applications in the business environment too. Who is better placed to know the challenges faced by a female entrepreneur than a female entrepreneur?

The playing fields are not always even. Despite much progress, there is still a great deal of male privilege in many industries. Having someone who understands the challenges, offering mentorship is a great advantage. For established female entrepreneurs, the opportunity to share expertise and soft skills are greatly satisfying.

A competent mentor can make the difference between success and failure for emerging female entrepreneurs.

Here are some examples of how female entrepreneurs can mentor budding businesswomen:

Encouraging the female entrepreneur to take the risk

Jill Griffin’s post speaks a lot about taking risks when it comes to business. Many women have great ideas. A lack of courage or an unhealthy dose of self-doubt often causes women to give up without trying. Entrepreneurship requires taking large risks to seek larger rewards.

Griffin’s book, Women Make Great Leaders, tells the story of many women who took the leap of faith. Mentorship is essential prior to the launch of a business. Women must be encouraged by successful entrepreneurs to take the risk.

Risk means a chance of success with an equal possibility of failure. Griffin feels that while success is the goal, failure along the way also serves as a series of valuable lessons.

Mentors should be proactive in their approach to mentoring young female entrepreneurs

Female entrepreneurs achieve success after a lot of hard work. Seeing other women trying to succeed, the established entrepreneur need not wait to be approached for mentorship.

Offering to mentor someone might be an answer to prayer. Many people are too afraid to ask for help. The fear of being rejected or ridiculed is high.

Women who approach others seeking success and offer to mentor them can make a difference. Proactive mentors seek out women who might need guidance. Indicating an open-door policy could encourage a woman to seek help from a mentor. That opening move creates an opportunity for a mentoring relationship to begin.

Mentoring in a group is a good idea

One-on-one contact can be very intense and might be intimidating. The idea of having someone so successful focusing 100% on her might make a woman feel overwhelmed. Group mentoring sessions could prove more successful. A mentor can create a platform where women can meet. The women may be experiencing similar challenges.

The mentor plays more of a facilitating role. She starts the session, gives advice and guidance, and then opens the floor to discussion.

The mentees have valuable time to network and gain strength from others having similar experiences. The mentor is also able to share valuable information with more than one person at a time. This helps the mentor to reach as many women as possible.

Give honest feedback even when it’s negative

One of the most important aspects of a mentoring relationship is feedback. Mentees need to learn from their successes and mistakes. Having a mentor who shies away from pointing out shortcomings is not doing the mentee any favors.

In the relationship, successes must be celebrated. Failures must also be discussed, and advice is given on how to proceed.

EssayOnTime project manager Jen Atkins says that her mentor was never shy to tell her where she’d gone wrong. “Her honesty and constructive criticism gave me the tools I needed to succeed,” Atkins declared. A mentor should share with a mentee some areas for development for the purposes of learning and improvement.

Formalize the mentor-mentee relationship

Carol Rodz writes about mentoring as a way to help an entrepreneur and suggests making the relationship official. She writes, “In order for a mentor relationship to grow and evolve, it must be formalized at some point.”

This is sound advice for mentors and mentees. At first, the discussions may be informal. The mentor and mentee can establish a sound relationship.

The mentee can ask the mentor to make the interaction official. Alternatively, the mentor might offer to do so.

Formalizing the relationship allows both parties to discuss mutual expectations and schedule regular sessions. The mentor and mentee can decide on a comfortable mode of communication and set objectives for the mentorship process.

Share real-life experiences as part of the mentorship

The mentoring process is not about theory alone. Women want to hear that others have had similar struggles and get advice on what to do. Sharing gender-related frustrations is an essential part of the process.

The mentee should feel free to ask questions about overcoming these obstacles. The mentor can tell the mentee about encountering similar experiences and triumphing.

Gender-related issues are still a struggle for many female entrepreneurs. Despite gender equity legislation in many countries, women still struggle. Male-dominated industries are hard for women to break into. Women have traditional responsibilities like housekeeping and childrearing to contend with while climbing the ladder to success. Discussing how to balance it all will give the mentee strength to persevere.

Empathic mentoring is an effective approach

An empathic approach is helpful for female mentors seeking to guide and help female entrepreneurs. The approach requires a mentor to show the mentee that she can put herself in someone else’s shoes.

Empathic mentoring makes the mentee feel reassured and secure in the relationship. Feeling safe in the space created by the mentor will make the mentee more likely to share everything instead of holding back.

Empathic mentoring is an approach known to create a long-term relationship. The skills needed for this approach may not come naturally to the mentor. They can be developed with time and patience. This makes it a worthwhile skillset that a mentor can, in turn, pass on to a mentee.

To Conclude

Mentoring is a great responsibility. Mentors can learn much from the process as well. Sharing expertise and skills is vital as these will help the mentee succeed. Many mentors use the opportunity to mentor to foster self-growth and rediscover themselves in the process. A female entrepreneur who has felt a need to mentor someone should take the leap of faith and do it. Those who might not have should consider doing so. Another woman’s life may be forever changed by it.

 

Serena Dorf is a content writer in Los Angeles. She is passionate about writing, personal development, education, and marketing. In her free time, she is reading classic American literature and learning Swedish. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter.

 

 

 

Dare to Ask Yourself the Big Questions

Dare to Ask Yourself the Big Questions

 

For as long as I can remember, I have tried to follow the “right” path and take all the “right” steps. I took school (very) seriously. Never got in trouble. Filled my plate with extracurriculars.  Everything society tells you is important was important to me. Maybe too important. This led to a lot of accomplishments but concurrently, a life of anxiety and stress…and not necessarily happiness.

 

I kept myself busy, always going, always moving forward to the next thing – college (4 years), grad school (4 years), then the next logical step, pursuing licensure…another 2 years minimum. Passions of mine like dance and theatre got pushed aside because they weren’t realistic options and the opportunities weren’t there where I grew up in Florida. Plus, I was good at school.

 

Upon graduating with my M.A., I was offered an incredible full-time job at Rollins College, my alma mater and dream school. No way I could pass that up. Additionally, I was offered part-time work at my counseling supervisor’s private practice where I could begin accumulating hours toward licensure with supervision included. I’d be crazy to pass that up, right? And just like that, my schedule consisted of a 8:30am-5:00pm full-time job, rushing to see clients at the private practice (almost running over Paul McCartney but that’s a story for another time) from 5:30-9:00pm, shower, maybe an hour tops to unwind…and up early for 7:00am boot camp if I wanted to get a workout in.

 

It was too much. But I had essentially been working like this since birth. Told that hard works pay off. But when? I had a lot going for me but I was not happy and started to question what I was even working toward anymore. Lost site of my end goal. Pushing forward without asking questions had just become second nature. When I finally stopped to breathe and ask the big questions, it dawned on me…life is short. I didn’t want to get stuck. We only have one life to live and I wanted to fully experience mine.

 

I started thinking about where else it might be exciting to live. Apart from a small stint in London for a semester study abroad in college and that time my family almost moved to Belgium when I was 8, I’d never lived anywhere other than Florida. I didn’t want to live a life with regrets, never knowing what could have been. That sounded much worse to me than any alternative so, I leapt. I gave notice at my jobs, cleared out the apartment I’d lived in for 10 years (including all the awards I’d racked up and thought were so important over the years), packed up my (small) car with whatever I could fit, and drove to NYC, without a place, without a job, without knowing anyone there. And it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

 

I made the move with a lot of unanswered questions and blanks to fill in (and spoiler alert, though I don’t want to say too much because there’s a whole book on this to come) but it all came together, one day, one step at a time. I’d be lying if I said it was easy. It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life and I experienced all of the stages and emotions but it was worth all of the blood, sweat, and tears. People will think you’re crazy. You will start to think you’re crazy. But don’t let that stop you. Grab ahold of your life strongly with both hands. It’s about more than your job, your house, your car, your possessions. None of it means anything if your quality of life isn’t there. Is something missing? It’s never too late. Sure, it’s scary. I get it. But that’s half the fun. You will figure it out, I promise.

Angela is an actor and influencer in NYC. She graduated with her B.A. in Psychology and her M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. Angela toured the U.S. as bassist and vocalist for alternative rock band SMB Project and is passionate about advocacy and activism. She is a lover of fitness, music, the beach, breakfast, traveling, and thrift store shopping. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @angelabelcamino

Fighting Anxiety: How to Cope with an Overwhelming Workload

Fighting Anxiety: How to Cope with an Overwhelming Workload

 

Do you feel pressured by deadlines, responsibilities, and complex projects at work?

 

Unless you’re superhuman, you probably do. Work-related stress is an all-too-common issue the vast majority of professionals across all industries cope with – not to mention entrepreneurs.

 

We’ve sort of learned to accept it as a matter of fact – we manage the daily operations and keep the stress under control, but every now and then the workload expands (somewhat dramatically) and that fine balancing act we’ve maintained masterfully for weeks, maybe even months, goes to pieces. Pair it with responsibilities and circumstances outside your work life, and you’ve got yourself feeling like a hot mess.

 

That’s when we feel anxious, overwhelmed, and desperate to grasp some resemblance of order, both internal and external.

 

If this sounds all too familiar to you, it’s important to know that you’re not alone – and that there are ways you can manage these overwhelming pressures. Here are some helpful tips for fighting work-induced anxiety and finding balance.

 

Acknowledge your co-workers as teammates

 

When faced with an overwhelming workload, many people create a barrier between themselves and their co-workers, trying desperately to deal with their anxiety all on their own.

 

But what if you didn’t push back the people who are most likely going through the same thing at that very moment and who have the clearest insight into your situation at work?

 

Perhaps your company doesn’t promote a team culture, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bond with your co-workers and foster the team spirit. When things get tough, team members help each other by providing empathy, motivation, and energy, or they may even quite literally step in for each other and help out with certain tasks.

 

So, the next time you feel anxious and overwhelmed by your workload, don’t internalize it. Tell a co-worker what you’re going through, ask for help, don’t eat lunch alone – lean on your team for some support.

 

Ask for support from friends and family

 

Your co-workers are not the only ones who should know what you’re dealing with – it’s important to create your safety net, which can’t be complete without your friends and family. Tell them what you’re going through and what’s troubling you the most about the current pressures. And don’t think you’re burdening them – after all, that’s what friends and family are for.

 

It’s better to vent right away and let them know the issues you’re dealing with than to let the anxiety build up, suffer in silence, and lash out at some point. That’s how you’ll avoid turning work stress into home stress. When loved ones are clued in to what’s going on, there will be no misunderstandings on both sides – only then can they give you the emotional support and the space you need.

 

Take care of your body

 

When tensions rise, it’s more important than ever to take care of your body. This wonderful mechanism, where all the pieces are closely intertwined to form your physical and mental wellbeing, needs to be nurtured so it can help you push through.

 

Any kind of exercise is great for relieving stress, so dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to an activity you like to get your blood pumping. Trust me, you’ll feel better for it, and yes, you can find 15 minutes in your busy schedule. Be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoid alcohol and other stimulants, and try to get enough sleep.

 

Sleep can be an especially tricky issue when you’re fighting anxiety, but if the stress is keeping you tossing and turning at night, try to avoid sleeping pills. It’s always better to find a natural solution, such as plant-based stress support supplements to promote healthy sleep because unlike sleep meds, they have no side effects. These types of products can provide you with stress-relief by managing levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, with the help of natural ingredients known as adaptogens.

 

Set boundaries and find your relaxation rituals

 

You need some serious you-time, otherwise you’ll burn out completely.

 

First things first, set clear work-life boundaries to the best of your ability. If boundaries are something you’re especially having trouble with, it’s okay – start small and you’ll get there. For example, dedicate a 100% work-free hour each night.

 

Take that time to reset both mentally and physically. A relaxing daily routine that you truly enjoy helps you maintain a sense of order and calm amidst the chaos. Maybe it’s pursuing a hobby that you love, watching your favorite show, doing a relaxing beauty routine, or taking a hot bath each night before bed – whatever works for you.

 

Prioritize tasks

 

When you think about the overwhelming workload and you have no idea how on Earth you’re supposed to get all that done on time, the panic is bound to settle in.

 

Take a deep breath and step back. Not everything is urgent.

 

Grab a pen and paper and write it all down, one by one, then assign priority rankings to each task. Think in small steps, focus on time management, and develop a day-to-day plan for tackling the monster project. You’ll feel a lot calmer when you have a battle plan and when everything is put on paper rather than swarming around your head.

 

Work inevitably gets overwhelming from time to time, but the only way to handle this anxiety is by maintaining your perspective. Remember that this will pass and use these tips to help you get through it. Lastly, although humor may be the last thing on your mind in uptight situations, do try consciously to find a bit of it every day – it really heals.

 

Caitlin is a bookworm and recreational dancer. She is also a medical student in love with science in all its forms. Her fields of expertise could be summed up in psychology, productivity, and well-being related topics. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and Universe, Caitlin is researching and writing about various health-related and well-being related topics. She is happily addicted to art in all its forms, grilled tofu, and hiking. To see what Caitlin is up to next, check out her Twitter dashboard. 

 

 

 

Women in Franchising: How the Landscaping is Changing

 

It’s no secret that corporate businesses are dominated by men. A recent CNNMoney analysis indicates that of all S&P 500 CEO jobs, only 5 percent are held by women. A similar study described by Catalyst shows that women made up just 20 percent of board seats of fortune 500 companies. The good news is, this trend is shifting in the world of franchising. Women now either own or co-own 41 percent of all franchises in the United States. The reasons for this are complex, stemming from cultural shifts in traditional gender roles, general consumer experience, and the overall importance of diversity of thought. Women are changing the game.

 

Challenging Traditional Gender Roles

 

Just like other cultural phenomena, gender roles shift naturally over time; they’re affected by politics, environment, and social values. Over the course of the last century, female roles in western society have evolved rapidly. While there have been significant growing pains, women now hold business positions that have historically eluded them. However, work/life balance is still incredibly important to women, as it’s essential for overall well-being. According to Franchise Times, 54 percent of female franchisees say that their overall work-life is balanced or very balanced. When compared with corporate jobs, there is often less mandatory travel time, and hours are more flexible.

 

In fact, franchising is often overall a more dependable career option than, say, starting a business. Franchises have proven track records of success, follow established business models and regulations, and have the general support of the company. This may, at first glance, seem like a relatively risk-averse approach to business; after all, signing on to a stable company model appears to be a safe bet. However, a more appropriate phrasing would be risk mitigation. Compared to men, women are more adept at mitigating risk in favor of larger, potentially more advantageous risks. In a sense, women make inclusive and calculated decisions that support the bigger picture.

 

Women and the Consumer Experience

 

Women make up a significant portion of franchise consumers. Consumer experience gives women intimate knowledge of what products and services they prefer, what marketing strategies are successful, and how business models work for them. Sexism often plays a significant role—business models that are traditionally male dominated, like those in the automotive industry, can deter female consumers and leave them frustrated. If a woman has a poor experience at a franchise that provides a service that is essential to her lifestyle, she has motive to either take her business elsewhere, or become a change agent in the industry.

 

Though more women are getting into franchising than ever before, there are still logistical hurdles. For example, women continue to have difficulty obtaining adequate franchise funding, with female franchisees seeing a loan average of $568,475 compared to $729,093 for men. In terms of research, it’s hard to say whether these numbers reflect sexism in the loan industry, or if they indicate that women have historically pursued business ventures that require less capital than men. Whatever the case may be, this trend is rapidly changing. Loans to female franchisers showed an increase of 22.5 percent between 2013 and 2017, while those for males only increased 5.7 percent

 

One theory is that female franchisees are addressing the lack of family-friendly environments in companies. Brian Scudamore, Founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? reports that, “female-lead franchises are…disproportionately more successful than the men. Part of their strength is that they can relate to our customers—who are primarily women.” When a franchise owner and a customer share a lived experience, the customer is better served. Using their experience as consumers, women are able to accurately provide access to certain services, increasing foot traffic to their business. For example, when consumers who require childcare services have their needs met, they are likely to return. This is not to say that men can’t address the same issues; it’s merely indicative that the traditional female roles of the past can have significant, progressive influence on female roles in the future.

 

What Women Bring to the Table

 

Women bring a diversity of thought to the table. In general, women are more open to sharing ideas and collaboration than their male counterparts, giving way to innovation and new business practices. Women are similarly unafraid to ask questions, an inclusive practice that allows them to bring new voices and expertise to their franchise. According to Courtney Sinelli, Executive Vice President of Which Which Superior Sandwiches, women “look at their business from various angles,” considering “how decisions affect all areas of their business.” Similarly, Shelly Sun from the International Franchising Association believes that women “tend to be better managers, leaders, and inspirers of talent,” making their employees “feel cared for.” This wholistic approach is paving the way for women to change the landscape of franchising, making it more diverse and accessible to consumers.

 

 

Haley is from Gilbert, Arizona. She loves reading and writing just about anything under the sun. In her spare time, you can find her exploring outdoors or sippin’ on a craft brew.  

 

 

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