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.

 

 

 

The Biggest Misconception About (un)Successful Women

 

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?

A Word

 

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: isabel.f.william@gmail.com or  isabel.frank@ripped.me Twitter: https://twitter.com/Isabel_FWilliam Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/isabel.william.98 Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/isabelfwilliam/

 

From High Heels to Hiking Boots – How I Quit My Corporate Job to Travel the World

 

I think most people can relate to the feeling. It’s Monday morning… again. The iPhone alarm is blaring in my ear, my next vacation is a whole three months away and I already have 10 e-mails in my inbox that need “urgent attention.”

Then I’m running to catch the subway for my morning commute pushed up against 2,000 of my closest New York City neighbors on the downtown J train. Clutching my coffee and day dreaming about what I’m going to do the minute I can escape the office later that evening… and I haven’t even reached my stop yet.

Those days got me thinking. Why am I wasting my life waiting for the proverbial “bell” at the end of each day – the moment where I can clock out and get my life started after a full day of just going through the motions? If I added up all those hours on those five days a week year after year, that’s a whole lot of my precious, short life I’m essentially pressing the delete button on. And for what?

It started innocently enough. I started following every female location-independent entrepreneur I could find on Instagram or Facebook. Suddenly I was e-mailing old business school professors and talking to friends that were running their own companies. Each day a new travel, business or motivational book popped up on my door step after another late-night binge session with Amazon Prime.

My fascination with the idea of starting my own business and traveling the world, sipping cider in a London pub or eating noodles on a Thailand street corner, quickly became an obsession.

I stopped noticing the shoves from angry impatient commuters pushing their way through the platform on Monday morning because I was listening to podcasts and audible books, taking notes in the leather-bound journal I kept in my handbag.

And before I could even drop my laptop at the door of my apartment I was watching TED Talks and scheduling Skype calls with potential new clients or business partners. The bug had bit me and I knew there was no coming back from this. I was officially an entrepreneur.

The more I listened to the success stories of people once like me, looking for an escape from the 9-to-5 to run their life on their own terms and see corners of the world I’d only dreamed of, the more I thought – “what’s stopping me from doing that?”

I was just as educated, smart and scrappy. If they can do it, so can I, right?

And as I write this from my Airbnb in sunny Portugal in my yoga pants without a high heel or suit in sight, I can tell you for certain. You can do it, too.

There’s no greater feeling than knowing you are in the driver’s seat of your life. If I’m feeling inspired and want to work until 5am, go watch the sunrise over Florence, stop for an espresso and then stroll back to my apartment to sleep all day – well, I can do just that. The only person in charge of me and my business is me. And no promotion, raise, paycheck or pat on the back from a superior can give me that.

Have you thought about starting a business to trade in your briefcase for a backpack? I share more about being an entrepreneur while solo traveling across the world in my blog, Anna Out of Office.

 

Anna Lee Grymes is the Founder of Spare Marketer LLC, a full-service marketing company specializing in the real estate industry. Her life’s passion is travel and she has built her business around doing just that. While working in the demanding finance industry on Wall Street in NYC she realized she was going to need a lot more than three weeks of vacation to see the world. So, Anna built her business around location-independent living, quit her corporate job, and can be found running her company anywhere from a hammock in Bali to a pub in Dublin. And she blogs about it all on www.annaoutofoffice.comAnna is a Jacksonville, Florida native and graduated with an MBA from the University of Florida. Learn more about her life on the road less traveled on Instagram and Facebook.

Ladies, Let’s Take Action

Ladies, Let's Take Action

 

Statistics show us that, on average, men are better paid, but women are better educated.

Men dominate the top jobs, at least in business, while women do most of the unpaid work and care at home.

Working women, despite having paid jobs, also bear the brunt of the housework. They devote an average of 28 hours a week to washing, cooking, lunches, carpools, solving family problems and decision-making.

Women are also the primary carers of elderly parents, with 92% cared for by daughters
and 8% by sons.

Based on these numbers, you could easily assume that being a woman means doing it all.

It also means being overloaded and undervalued.

You could also assume that the feminist movement long lost momentum in a dialogue that goes something like this: While women do have an undeniable biological need to nurture, many of us tend to exclude ourselves when it comes to the list of things we actively make time to care for. As a result, our health, wellbeing and happiness can suffer.

And you know what else? This is a perpetuating story.

This is information that we hear day after day.

It rarely changes. It’s a soundtrack that keeps us believing that all of this is real.

However, as long as we see these facts as real, we believe in these facts and we keep paying attention to these facts, guess what? We will keep unconsciously behaving in a way that sustains the story. We will keep getting these second-rate results for ourselves over and over and over again.

You know why? Because we interpret the world around us through our neurology. But, through neurology, we can also make important changes.

We each have our own reality – the way that we look at the world around us. We each have the power to change this reality by changing the way we look at the world around us.

Each individual is responsible for his/her own experience.

Therefore, for us to create a movement and a powerful change, we women (as a collective) need to see, believe and perceive a different story.

We need to let go of our limiting beliefs and old stories.

The statistics relating to the gender gap haven’t really changed in the 50 years since we began having open discussions about equality.

I believe that the reason we haven’t made much progress is because we are not giving ourselves permission to feel truly individually empowered. If we want change, then we need to instigate change. We need to look at the situation differently and shift our mindsets.

Quite simply: If we stop believing the rhetoric, if we stop believing that we’re the ‘second sex’ and start believing that we’re equal, then we will have made an important step in the journey towards change.

Ladies, it is time for us to rewrite the story… To start nurturing ourselves, to begin acknowledging our individual contributions to this life, honoring our own unique and special set of talents that no one else can possibly emulate.

We need to start loving ourselves and backing ourselves… and backing each other.

The moment we begin to value ourselves more, the world around us will have no choice but to follow suit.

By altering what we are willing to accept as true, we can create change. The world around us can only treat us as the ‘second sex’ if we let it.

What we put out, we get back. And what we perceive, we believe.

It really is as uncomplicated as this. The catch is the commitment. To create real, lasting and transformational change we need commitment. This is where we must not falter. We will only succeed if we start today, continue tomorrow and keep going into next week and beyond, telling ourselves and each other and the world around us the new story, until it becomes the real story in our minds and in the minds of those around us.


 

Catherine Plano

Catherine Plano

Catherine Plano is an International Executive Coach, Keynote Speaker, Self-Made Entrepreneur, Leadership Development and Facilitator, and a member of the Ellevate Network. She is also the editor-in-chief of I AM WOMAN magazine.

Connect with Catherine at her website, www.catherineplano.com.au!

 

On Friendship and Photography

Let’s face it, there is a good chance that the last professional picture you took with your best friends looked like this:

Or like this:

Or maybe, like me, you lucked out with a wedding photographer who caught an amazing photo like this:

 

I love this picture, I really do.  And I love the girls we were in it, the ones so sure of their futures and relationships and careers. The ones who were marrying their best friends and buying their first homes and diving into the professions they had spent years preparing for. The girls who just knew that everything in their lives was going to be amazing.

In the 10 years that have passed, the girls in that photo have grown into women. Women who have seen marriages falter and fail, who have mourned the loss of parents, embryos and unborn babies.  Women who have experienced the disappointment of false friends, and career paths that didn’t work out, and occasionally a whole life that looks nothing like we had planned.

We’ve experienced great joy too, in becoming mothers and wives, in continuing educations and walking away from careers that no longer suited us.  Watched amazing parents become amazing grandparents and wonderful husbands steal our hearts all over again as they became wonderful fathers.  We’ve found incredible wonder in the all of the wrong turns that took us to the exact right places.

And in that time, the years and miles and different lifestyles that should have driven us apart have only served to remind us of the shared history that brought us together.  Our friendships have deepened, are fiercely loyal, protective and supportive.  So I’m calling for a return of the buddy photo, because as much as I love the girls we were, I love the women we’ve become even more.  And it’s time we pull out our favorite coordinating outfits, grab some wine, and honor that shit.

 

unnamed-6

 

Huge thank you to the Emmetsburg high school graduates for sharing the incredible blast from the past buddy pictures!


Kelly Bay

Kelly Bay is a business owner, wife, mom, writer, and general all around boss lady.  She  has never actually punched anyone in the face.  Read more of her thoughts on parenting, raising strong girls, mindfulness and finding joy in a chaotic life at www.beerandjunk.com.