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.

 

 

 

6 Steps to Build Your Online Personal Brand

6 Steps to Build Your Online Personal Brand

 

In this day and age, every person is a brand. We see numerous influential individuals making big waves in social media and acting as internet celebrities and reputable experts. Their success was the result of meticulous planning and commitment. Like it or not, you also leave a trace online and make a certain impression. So, you can either shape the perception other people have of you, or let the chips fall where they may. The latter approach is not the way to go, not if you are experiencing a career slump or feel stuck in the loop. It is time to build a name for yourself. Here is how to actively craft and manage your image and reap various benefits.

 

 

Test the digital waters

 

Before anything else, get crystal clear on what your goals are. Ask the following questions: What do you hope to achieve with your branding efforts? How would you like to be seen by others? To answer them, first assess your current reputation. The simplest way to do this is to type your name in Google and see how you hold up. Maybe you’re not even able to find anything, especially if you have a common name. In any case, work out a plan on how to improve your digital presence. One of the main objectives is to boost your visibility and exposure.

 

Unveiling your persona

 

You can align your branding strategy with expectations and preferences of the target audience. At the same time, though, you have to remain genuine and truthful. In other words, your brand should be a reflection of who you are and what you stand for. Uncover a unique internet persona and its visual presentation. Infuse it in everything you do, be it sending personalized wedding invitations, designing business cards, editing a photo for your next post, or writing an email. Achieving consistency across all channels and touch points is the key to grabbing the attention and nurturing the trust.

 

Channeling your brand

 

Nowadays, there is no end to different networks you can take advantage of. Also, bear in mind that it is possible to use your own website or blog as a branding base of operations. But, it is not advisable to spread yourself too thin. For starters, identify online avenues that your audience frequents.  Set up profiles on a few key hubs and focus all your attention there. Establish gateways between these accounts and the rest of your cyber real estate. Their synergy is likely to produce maximum traction and exposure.

 

Pouring in substance

 

Next, it’s time to optimize your profiles and pages. Use striking images and enthralling visuals to stand out in the overcrowded landscape. Pay special attention to the crown jewels of your brand, such as the profile and cover photo. Note that posts that have high-quality photos tend to generate way more likes, shares, comments, and retweets. Apart from the benefits of traction, all these social signals lead to a better ranking. Of course, well-written statuses and articles help your cause as well. Promotion through content is generally one of the most effective strategies you can use.

 

Continuous interaction

 

In the great digital outdoors, constant interaction is what gives you a real fighting chance. So, join the relevant groups in your industry/niche and engage in discussions. Answer peoples’ queries and questions. Keep up the pace with news and trends. Give people fresh and honest takes on popular topics. Become influential in your field and attain the reputation of an expert. If you manage to assume a distinguished position of a go-to source of information, you can foster a loyal community.  Also, make sure to discover key influencers in the area and connect with them.

 

Moving up in ranking

 

People have grown weary of perpetual and aggressive advertising. They want to establish meaningful connections with brands, be it corporate or personal ones. And as you may know, the vast majority of the internet users search the web using powerful engines like Google. Hence, to take your branding game to the next level, you have to rank there, and you have to rank high. For this reason, get familiar with good SEO tactics that drive organic traffic your way. Thus, you will make the most of content marketing and never sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity. That being said, you should try to update your profiles on a regular basis.

 

A dazzling beacon

 

How you come across via the internet can have a profound impact on your professional life. To cut through the immense noise out there and reach your goals, you have to work hard and show perseverance. Reputation and image are never set in stone, and they require constant maintenance. Start by figuring out who you are and who you want to speak to. Create robust social media profiles and fine-tune your blog/website. Position yourself within your field of expertise to rise above the layers of generic and average. Master the art of storytelling and let your unique persona shine. Eventually, you will forge a stellar brand and use it as a vehicle for success.

 

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 Working Mom: An Impossible Dream?

The Working Mom: An Impossible Dream?

 

Let’s be honest ladies, being a working mom can be hard. We are constantly trying to find the perfect balance of doing a great job at work, caring for our children, and loving our husbands. And most days we feel like we’ve missed the mark entirely. What if I told you that you don’t have to toss your dreams to the wayside the minute you become a mother? Today we are discussing ways that you can achieve goals for both work and pleasure, while still making your family a priority.

 

Don’t Play The Guilt Game

 

It can be hard if you are a working mother, to not feel guilty that you are neglecting or leaving your family to work. That is a lie that you have put on yourself because of societal pressures, snarky comments from stay at home moms, and your own fear of missing out. You are doing a fantastic job as a mother, and I am sure your kids feel plenty loved. I know that as the daughter of a full-time working mother, that I never once felt anything less than loved.
My point is that you should not let anyone make you feel less than because you have goals and because you want to achieve above average results at your job. Half the battle of being a working mother is accepting that you can’t be super mom. But you can love your children and care for them the same way that a stay at home parent can.

 

Set Aside Some Time

If you are serious about trying to achieve some goals, work-related or personal, you need to take some time to pursue them. I know that this might be the time where you are thinking, well then I am out. I have absolutely no other time left in my day. But, that is not true. Everyone has time; they may just not be using it properly.
Ask your husband for help with some regular household chores, or to help get the kids up in the morning so that you can work for an extra half an hour. Your husband should be happy to support you, and this can be a great way to have him bond with your children even more. Think about the times during the week or weekend that you might have some freedom, and ask your husband if he would be willing to help out a little extra for an hour. You can even create a system with your husband, so that you both have times where you have a break from the kids, and can work on other goals.

Make A To-Do List

At the beginning of each month, practice making a to-do list. But, instead of making a list solely of what you have to do, try to add things that you want to do. For example, have a list each week of what you have to get done, like picking up the kids, work presentations, cooking dinner, etc. And then have a section set aside for more personal goals. Like finishing a book, working an extra half an hour, or accomplishing something small on your goal list. This can help you carve out time for what is really important.

Minimize Social Media

 

It can be so easy to waste away literally hours on our social media accounts every day. Instead of doing this, try to be more productive with your time. Set aside a certain amount of time that you want to engage with social media each day, and don’t exceed it. This should free up your nights and mornings considerably.

Be All There

Make the time you do have with your family, matter. I am not saying that you constantly need to be planning trips and getting your kids ice cream, but when you are with them, be all there. Don’t be checking your phone and text messages, distracted, or doing something else, be there. Be intentional during these times and your kids won’t feel like something is missing if you are gone.

Be Realistic

Realize that sadly, you just don’t have as much time to do things or achieve goals as someone who is single without a family. It’s just the truth. When you are setting goals, especially with the New Year just around the corner, don’t go over the top. Try to keep your list small, specific, and manageable. This way you will be able to celebrate how much you have accomplished, not disappointed that you didn’t get more completed.

Figure Out What Is Most Important

 

Yes, you should have dreams and goals outside of your family, but what is more important? Make sure that you don’t pass up quality time with your children to burn the midnight oil. Think about the things you don’t want to miss with your kids each day, like tucking them in, reading to them, or making breakfast, and don’t work during those times. That way you won’t be missing out on what matters most.

 

As you can see, being a working mother can feel like an impossible task sometimes. But, it doesn’t have to be. I hope that these tips can help you to get out there and have dreams, but still put your family first. You deserve to want more than just your family, but you don’t have to neglect them to get there.

 

 

Rachel Watson is the website manager at OurStart.com. OurStart is a lifestyle blog for women in their 20s and 30s. They regularly publish content on pregnancy, parenting, marriage, weddings, and more. When she is not writing, Rachel enjoys spending time with her friends and family, exploring cute cafes, and playing with her miniature schnauzer.

5 Key Things to Know Before Starting a Business

5 Key Things to Know Before Starting a Business

 

Entrepreneurship is hot on the streets right now.  Everywhere we look, there’s a new business in town.  If this has ever been a desire of yours, yet you do not know where to start or if you should even give it a try, here are 5 key things to know before you make your decision.

Know your story.  Know your why.
Surveys show that 70% of employees hate their job and many of them want to start a business.  It is important to be transparent and honest in knowing if you are in the 70% however that is not reason enough to start a business.  Could it be that you just don’t like the current job that you have, and with careful evaluation, maybe changing your line of work could help?  Hating your job does not always equate to being saved by entrepreneurship.

What are you truly passionate about?
It is really important to answer this question before ever thinking about starting a business.  If there is no passion, there is no successful business, and my hopes are that you want your business to be successful.  When there is no passion, you are solely seeking money and that will lead you down a road of stress and many times failure.  When this happens, people are often ready to go back into the corporate world.  Know your passion.

Be ready to invest.

You are probably great at many things, but being able to invest in your business and yourself will cut out a lot of the stress that comes with trying to wear all of the hats.  Attempting to DIY your company is a sure way to fail.  You will have to have some means to invest in delegating some of the task out to someone that you know will do a better job so that you can focus on servicing the clients.  This is one of the top reasons many new entrepreneurs fail.  They want to do it all.

Be motivated by the services that you can provide rather than what your clients are willing to pay you.

You potential clients can certainly sense if you are only chasing money, or if you are truly there to service their needs.  When thinking of starting a business, think about what you enjoy, are passionate about or want to introduce a concept that will improve the way in which people work/live. For example, a company like Integrated Air Systems provide a service to businesses, specialising in surveying, design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of air conveyance; dust, fume and waste extraction; industrial ventilation and air filtration systems. There is truly a difference and the decision you make will at some point determine your business success.  Passion before Profit.  Profit will come, but you must remember this should never be your sole reason for wanting to start a business.

Do your research.

Begin to really follow those already in your field and see what they are doing.  It is important to watch other success stories.  By no means do I mean copy, but watch and see what is working for them and then create something of your own that will work for you.  Please ensure that it is as authentic as possible while doing this.

 


Shermikia LemonShermikia Lemon is an entrepreneur, speaker, productivity coach, and Corporate wellness consultant.  Through her signature coaching and training company, Peacefully Profitable, Shermikia helps organizations who struggle with retention due to workplace conflict. 

As a believer in peace and staying true to your life’s journey, Shermikia’s trainings and resources are always geared toward improving your life both mentally and physically.  Known for her calm aura, Shermikia reaches many women and men through her podcast and social media platforms.  More information about Shermikia can be found at www.peacefullyprofitable.com

The Value of a Feminine Approach in Family Business

The Value of a Feminine Approach in Family Business

 

In 1983 I decided to found a company to run my own business. When I talked to my Dad to get his feedback as a family business owner he told me that I was nuts to leave my highly paid job. I was pretty confused because, as a business owner himself,  I thought that he would support my decision wholeheartedly. Later, once I had a few years experience as a business owner myself, I understood that he just wanted me to be safe and not go through the struggle it takes to build a successful company.

Being a woman at that time, parents – especially fathers – believed that a woman should get married and raise the kids. They also believed that it was not necessary for their daughters to study. The son was the king and the daughter the helper in the household. Even in these enlightened times there are still a few men who agree with this viewpoint!

Women played, and still, play key roles in the family business though they are not, and were not, always visible. They are more likely to try to deal with situations in private rather than in public.

Being a woman, and having made a significant impact within our own family business, I want to encourage women to get more involved in the family business, even if there is resistance from others. Women are more people driven and usually much more emotional than men. This adds an important and valuable dynamic to the business. But they do what they love and follow their dreams no matter what. It is time that they step out of the shadow into leadership and prove their value.

The value they bring to the table is particularly obvious when it comes to employees. A more feminine approach ensures that people stay with the company for longer periods of time by successfully communicating a vision that gets employees motivated and instils loyalty. This ignites community and changes the business’s culture for the better. All this has a radical impact on the bottom line even if its not tangible.

My vision is that women learn to speak up for their rights and their place in the family business world. Men and women have equally valuable roles to play. The mixture of both genders makes a very good cocktail from which everybody benefits.

Women are used to organizing their lives to handle all their duties as a wife, mother and family business woman. They are multitasking all the time to make sure both family and business life are in harmony and everybody is happy.

They know how and what to delegate. Assigning tasks such as housekeeping, laundry, some child care and shopping ensures they have enough time for the family and the family business. And they still have time to attend private, school and business events.

Some women decide to raise their kids first and join the family enterprise later. Others want to handle both – family and family business. A few want to get experience in other companies before they start in the family firm. No matter what the decision is, you should follow your intuition and not listen to the so-called good advice that often is offered!

Women are respected for their clear communication, their fairness and their loyalty to the family and the company. Rather than holding emotions back, they want to talk to get the results they want. Using their intuition they immediately feel when there are issues, lack of clarity or disharmony that needs addressing.

They love to encourage and motivate their employees to help them discover their strengths, to create solutions instead of only seeing the problem. They know the importance of appreciation and use it wisely to let the people know that they are a valuable part of the family business.

Leading a family, women know what a good leader needs to take good care of his/her team to make them strong team players. The team leader or manager has to play fair instead of using the team to improve his/her self postion in the company. There has to be friendly competition to help the teams or departments to move forward and step out of mediocrity and into their greatness. The result has to be that everyone supports each other, working to their strengths for the good of the business.

Women want harmony, justice and great results without using their elbows. Women should allow themselves to stand firmly in their female role instead of trying to copy the men. Both genders have great qualities, which should be used to help the company grow and reap the rewards.

 


Doris ScheibenbogenDoris has family business in her blood.  Her grandparents and parents had family businesses and for the whole of her life to the present day she has been involved in family business –  currently as a key partner in her own family’s business and her own business with her clients. She has been an entrepreneuse for over 30 years.  She has encountered resistance in business as a women especially in the early days of her career. Her vision is to see thousands of women leading their family businesses with intuition, commitment, creativity and courage to aim for the stars. She is a strong believer in – you know the truth by the way it feels –  and uses intuition to reach successful conclusions to family business conflicts. She is highly qualified both academically but also in terms of the skills and experience gained over decades in and around business, specifically family business. It is this mix of experience running a family business, learned skills and her intuitive approach that separates her from other consultants and coaches. Whatever conflict or dissension you are experiencing in your business, Doris most certainly has the skills and experience to support you in resolving them in a heart centered way. Click here to a free consultation with her.