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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The reading nook. Every home deserves to have one in this chaotic day and age. When the day is done and the stress of the outside world starts to slowly dissipate into the unknown, the last thing we want to do is to try to relax by once again staring at a smartphone screen or watching TV. Instead, you need to rest properly on an emotional, physical, and psychological level.
A good book can help you achieve this and so much more. Whether it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon just for you, or a quick reading session before you turn in for the night, letting yourself go to the comfort and serenity of a romantic reading nook with a book in hand can be a truly restorative experience. Here is how to create such a setting in your own home.
Start with the lighting
Aside from mere illumination, lighting in interior design is used to set the mood in the room, accentuate certain features, and help the right kind of vibes imbue the space with that romantic homey vibe. When it comes to designing the perfect reading nook, lighting will play a vital role.
You could just read under the base overhead light that’s already in the room, but that would be a terrible waste of your riding nook’s aesthetic potential. Instead, turn off the chandelier and introduce dedicated lighting for this area. When you’re reading in the daytime, natural light should gracefully fall onto the seating area without making it too hot and without producing a glare from the windows and the surrounding decor, so be sure to balance the light beams with beautiful curtains or natural blinds on the windows.
The setting area is your focal point
Of course, the main spot in the reading nook is the seating area, and this can be anything from a cozy armchair with an ottoman, or even an entire couch other family members can enjoy with you. No matter the arrangement, this piece of furniture should be designed for maximum comfort – meaning that it should not only be fluffy, but supportive as well.
Choose sturdy leather upholstery for skeletal support, and then accentuate with throw pillows and cozy blankets later on. Complete the seating area with a wooden side table where you can lay down your book and other reading necessities.
Cozy up the setting with layered rugs
They are key to creating a reading nook of ultimate coziness (go ahead and write that in stencil on the wall behind it), lies in leaving no surface uncovered, especially the floors. There is a distinct difference between a reading nook with bare hardwood flooring, and one that enjoys the cozy vibe emanating from the fluffiness of the surrounding carpets.
With that in mind, consider positioning your armchair and ottoman on a soft Moroccan, and then layer strategically by putting accent round rugs right beneath your feet to create a cozy landing spot. It’s little accents like these that will make a beautiful, romantic reading nook come to life.
Surround yourself with books
Whether or not you will be able to truly surround yourself with books will depend on the amount of space you’re working with – sometimes, a reading nook is just a chair, a free standing lamp, and a corner. Nevertheless, there is always a way to strengthen that “intimate oasis” feel.
For instance, you can mount floating shelves on the walls next to you and put the books on your reading list on them so that you always have a good read close at hand. If you have plenty of space, on the other hand, then go ahead and position your seating arrangement right next to a grand bookshelf.
Don’t forget about pillows and throws
Now is the time to add the finishing touches to your romantic reading nook. Your lighting scheme is spot-on, the upholstery is not too soft or to rigid, the floors are radiating coziness, now you only have to add pillows and blankets to the mix.
This might seem like a simple task, but bear in mind that these additions can easily clutter up the look, so be frugal in your approach and only add the pieces that will enrich the reading nook in aesthetics and comfort. This can be a single chunky-knit blanket complemented by two accent pillows – one to support your lower back, and one to support good head posture.
The reading nook doesn’t get the praise and recognition it deserves in the modern household, and it’s time we brought this amazing restorative piece back into our daily lives. With these tips in mind, you will have no problem creating a romantic reading nook the entire family will love.
Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She’s passionate about fashion, home décor and healthy living. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”
7 Valuable Ways You Need To Invest in Yourself
Even though it’s always wise to maintain a thrifty mindset, some aspects of your life are worth all the time and money in this world. Since we already spend the majority of our time working, no matter how rewarding and wonderful your career may be, you truly deserve to invest in yourself. After all, when we don’t learn how to practice self-care, chances are we will not lead fulfilled, happy lives in which we can do good for others to our full potential.
To help your mind and your body thrive, there are several key ways in which you can invest in yourself. Some of them will instantly impact your life, while others will take time to show their influence, as they predominantly rely on building healthy habits for your long-term well-being!
Read a chapter a day
Or even just a page a day, it doesn’t really matter as long as you strive to invest more time in reading. It’s a simple, yet powerful way to widen your horizons, open your mind to new ideas, let your imagination run free, and on a more practical note, enrich your vocabulary. Try various genres, look for books of substance, but also the ones that will do great for a relaxing Sunday afternoon with their humor and light-hearted stories.
No matter how old you are and what sort of education you’ve had, it’s never too early or too late to rekindle your love for mastering new skills and perfecting your knowledge.
There are so many online courses you can take free of charge to learn more about the world, but you can also take classes, from dancing, cooking, sewing, all the way to subscribing to YouTube channels with fun tutorials.
Follow the travel bug
There’s nothing quite like globe-trotting that teaches us to appreciate the world so much, embrace new and different cultures, and expand our views.
Whether you’re a fan of solo traveling, you prefer to look for exciting offers by various cruise lines, or you’re a spontaneous soul with a preference for road trips, consider the world your oyster. The more people you meet and the more places you see, the richer your life becomes.
Create a healthy routine
If you’re not a morning person, then perhaps a healthy, uplifting ritual when you rise and shine could help you associate the time of day with a wonderful experience – and add to your wellbeing!
For example, a cup of tea of different flavors for (almost) every day, meditation to fill your mind with positive thoughts, followed by a morning exercise routine to instantly elevate your mood. Whatever helps you lead a healthy life and makes you feel good in your own skin, do it!
Grow your confidence
Through moments of pure gratitude, conversations with yourself, or through an empowering activity that makes you feel on top of the world, you should begin to celebrate the fact that you and your life have value.
Start expressing gratitude for your virtues, and for the challenges that help you become a stronger, better person. All the friends and family in your life, everything you’ve accomplished, remember that you’ve earned it and worked for it. It will put your life in perspective, so that you can truly feel that you matter.
Less digital, more social
Even though it’s wonderful to stay in touch with your loved ones from abroad, social media platforms are no excuse to stay stuck staring at a screen and not really connecting with people. Make a weekly date with your friends, where all phones are off, or at least you’ll promise only to respond to emergencies.
Make it your goal to spend more time offline and truly bond with the people who matter in your life, as opposed to looking through Instagram photos of puppies. As cute as they may be, what gives meaning to your life are the people who make you happy!
Set your goals
While we’re on the subject of goals, setting them helps you get a firmer grip on whatever dreams you may have, as it puts them in a realistic timeframe. Make them attainable and measurable, and you can even divide them into milestones for daily tasks that let you get closer to the most important goals in your life.
No matter in what stage of life you currently are, there are always incredible methods to improve and better your existence through consistent investing in yourself. Make it your number one priority to “fund” your health and well-being, and the quality of your life will soar!
Olivia is psychologist and entrepreneur from Brisbane. Mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs. She is passionate writer, a traveler and conscious consumer, seeking healthy and sustainable products to incorporate into the lives of her family. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
The Biggest Misconception About (un)Successful Women
We are powerful.
We are CEOs and investors.
We are mothers, daughters and wives.
We are breadwinners.
And best friends.
We are bitches and bosses, and all in between.
We’ve seen the top. We are the top.
But… are we enough to the patriarchy or, maybe, just a little too much?
Are we even… here?
When Simone de Beauvoir uttered one among many of her famous lines, quoting “One is not born a woman, but becomes one”, she probably didn’t have the current gender dynamics envisioned. We’ll assume she’d be extremely proud of all that we’ve achieved but at the same time saddened by the prejudice we are still actively facing (maybe now even more so than ever). We are bleeding injustice with every inch of our beings but we’ve grown skillful in hiding the scars. After all, isn’t that what we’ve been doing for the most part, all this time? Hiding the fact we’re still flesh and blood so that the clever patriarchy doesn’t get the idea to eat us alive? Yes, yes we have. And yet, you are scared. You are scared – we’ll be the first ones to eat YOU alive. And, you are probably right – we’ve already taken the first bite.
Nah, just kiddin’.
Raw Emotion And Thought
“For mad I may be, but I will never be convenient.”
― Jennifer Donnelly, Revolution
It’s a contradiction, really – this whole gender thing. What we are currently living isn’t feminism in its absolute… it’s an active oppression of female role in the male-run society.
The core of every healthy feminist approach isn’t to be better than the man, fear the man or prove the man wrong. It certainly isn’t to exhaust yourself to a point you’ll be your own demise just to prove yourself worthy to a society that doesn’t – and may never – see you as worthy. The core concept of feminism is equality. Equality in emotion, thought and opportunity. Equality in living and breathing, and fighting the same battles as men, the battles that bless you with a certain social standing, a chance at life you dream of and love you hope to find. It isn’t necessarily about women chopping woods or men wearing eyeliners, either. It’s about the possibility and the opportunity to choose. To choose life, in all its beauty. To live freely and speak – unprejudiced or judged. To be respected for your thoughts, not your genitals. To be a person, not a weak gender link. Understand this: we never aimed to beat you at anything. What’ve always wanted was to just play alongside with you.
A Woman Is A Woman Is A Woman
“Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, “She doesn’t have what it takes.” They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes.”
– Clare Boothe Lucе
The trick with feminism these days is that the (subliminal) message has already been launched into the microcosm and there’s no turning back. The message reads: WE CAN DO IT ALL ALONE. The truth is, we can and we cannot. And, when we can – why would we? Why is it upon a woman to take on a role of both her gender and the (supposedly) “stronger” gender, and exhaust herself to illness in the process? If we’ve grown as powerful as we have, don’t we deserve the same treatment as the opposite sex? We should, but we don’t. We have taken upon us to be everything a “typical woman is” and upgraded it to everything a “typical man is”. Combine the two and you are getting a woman who is making you millions but still keeps the household together.
To a woman or man, facing such huge burden and responsibilities every single day isn’t a normal state of things – and it shouldn’t be. It is in human nature to get tired but then decompress in order to avoid mental and emotional exhaustion and cracking. Aren’t you tired? Because we are. Tired of chasing pavements and proving ourselves worthy. Tired of having to be (too) capable – and still be judged for it. We are tired of having to invest double the effort to get that “man’s job” when you know we’re a better fit for it. If we’re (too) strong, we’re cold. If we’re (too) weak, we’re despicable… or, well, women. But, don’t you think it’s time that changed? Isn’t it time this gender charade stopped and we all realized we are on the same side? Life is to be shared, so – let’s share it. I ask the recognized psychologists in Sydney for a professional opinion, and they’ll tell you the same thing we will: the strongest of people are those seeking for help. Here we are, reaching out – to you – in hope to stop framing us into a prejudice but love us for the strength we carry within.
The Weak Link
“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.”
– Katharine Hepburn
With the current state of things, everyone’s confused. Men have gotten absolutely mortified as to what their roles have now come to and women have been killing themselves trying to explain the overall foolhardiness of gender-role division in the first place.
Men are no longer sole providers or husbands whose income conditions their partner’s lives. They are no longer needed to change the bulb, fix the boiler or bring food to the table. Women can do all that, alone. Or – when they can’t or won’t – they’ll pay for it to be done. In a technical sense of a word, it’s become evident that men have grown obsolete. This, along with plenty of other facts, brought about a very unsettling climate – not only in terms of gender roles but relationships altogether. We get it: you don’t know where you stand, so you attack. But, listen to this: while we no longer need you to change the bulb, we do need you to love us, give us families and share our happiness – just as much as you need us to do the same for you.
The Equal Infinity
Here’s an idea: instead of judging us, support us. Embrace our strength and turn it into your advantage. Don’t be scared we’ll love you less if we earn more, because we won’t. We’ll love and appreciate you for having chosen a strong woman over your (strong) ego. Work with us, not against us. We’re not your enemies; we’re your partners (in crime), your support when you fail, and your home to come to at the end of a (hard) day. We are the people that jump in to replace you when you need some time off. We, as strong as we are, are the reason you can sleep rested at night, knowing your home will never be without an income. Growing this strong we’ve made your lives easier, don’t you get it? You can finally just… be, be liberated of the expectations the society has burdened YOU with, too. So, let just be for a second, together and united. We are on the same side. We are one.
Isabel F. William Body&Mind Balance Consultant. Lover of literature and philosophy, runner, and Tai Chi master. She believes that sometimes it is just enough to enjoy a really good book, smooth jazz and a cup of coffee to travel somewhere else. Web: www.ripped.me E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/Isabel_FWilliam Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/isabel.william.98 Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/isabelfwilliam/