Entrepreneurship is difficult when you’re a woman living in a male-dominated world. However, when you have a dream to put into action, let this be your opportunity to stand out from the norm. Today, more and more women reach the C-suite around the globe and refuse to let gender biases limit their careers. As the owner, CEO and founder of Brooklyn Outdoor, here are my top tips for other female entrepreneurs.
1.Embrace What Makes You Unique
Uniqueness sets you apart from the status quo and leaves an impression on those who cross your path. Stepping outside the box is what I do best. As a female in the industry, the odds were stacked against me from the beginning. However, I didn’t let this deter me from starting Brooklyn Outdoor. Since a young age I embraced my outspoken personality and style. The “weird” is what makes you unique— let this be your driving force.
2. Welcome Being the Only Woman in the Room
Being the only woman in the room is not negative. Your life experiences, perspective and ingenuity shine brighter in a setting that is otherwise homogenous. New ways of looking at a challenge or initiative set you apart from your peers, and that idea is what becomes the catalyst for overall success. If you are the only woman in the room, use the opportunity to maintain a positive and collaborative position while highlighting your knowledge of the subject. These conversations can be intimidating, but discouragement need not apply. Own your ideas and make them known.
3. Trust Your Entrepreneur Instincts
Listen to your instincts. They are super-tuned to sense a potential threat. If something doesn’t feel right, steer clear. When your gut tells you to take a leap of faith, do it! I did not take the road commonly traveled by starting an outdoor advertising company, which is an overtly male-dominated business. However, here I am anyways. Being an entrepreneur puts you in the driver’s seat of your business. Trust your instincts to navigate the twists and turns. Take a leap out of your comfort zone.
4. Integrity is King
Make mistakes and own up to them. Communicate powerfully and act with positive intention. This will keep your karma clear and relationships moving forward. Remain strong to your morals and ethical boundaries to build a foundation for your brand that strengthens with every decision made. Integrity is undeniably king in my life and the core of my company’s values.
5. Know Your Business
Know your market and your target audience to grow your business. Make sure there’s a need for whatever it is you want to create. Find out who is interested and communicate with those customers. Remember that mentorship is not only important, it is vital. Speaking and collaborating with others who have experience in the business you want to create is the greatest way to understand how to operate your company. If you aren’t starting a business of your own, adopting a go-getter mindset within your own career helps you develop more skills and advance in your company. You control what happens next.
6. Be Confident
Entrepreneurship is extremely challenging. Your confidence is tested as you constantly prove yourself— these are the times it matters most. Speak up and play to your strengths. When struggling with a task, analyze the parts you are confident in and the parts that need assistance. Remain optimistic and commit to yourself to the best path forward. Starting a new job or launching a business is a learning experience— keep a positive attitude through tough times to make it manageable. Being heard is easier said than done, especially in a setting where your perspective may not have been introduced before. Take this opportunity to be direct. Know what you want to say and say it with confidence.
7. Get a Mentor
Mentors create opportunities for collaborative thinking and provide key insights on work related experience. Seasoned professionals provide guidance and support a boost of confidence knowing that someone is on your side. These relationships offer a lot of insight into the interworking’s of office relations and on the job experiences.
Attend local networking functions to broaden your inner circle when seeking a mentor. These functions introduce you to new people and improve your communication skills. The trick to finding your mentor is by joining a group you are passionate about or that fits your field of work. Interact with likeminded professionals who understand what you want to accomplish professionally. Like all relationships, this is a two-way street. Keep in mind what insights you can offer in return.
8. Accept and Overcome Barriers
As a business owner, raising capital is essential. Develop a plan and understanding of the way your business generates income. But, first invest in your business. It is important to understand that you must invest in yourself before you can pay yourself. Whether you are an entrepreneur or someone in an entry-level position, this idea holds true.
9. Feel Empowered
Feeling empowered to do the work you do is crucial. To ensure this every day, I keep one thing in mind: present new challenges and opportunities to myself and my team. You can’t move forward with a stagnant mindset. Challenge yourself to offer a new idea during a brainstorm session or research a new trend that applies to your team’s work. This tenacious mindset will help you advance your company’s goals and earn you respect among co-workers.
As a team leader, I want my employees to feel empowered too. Giving respect, trusting your employee’s judgment and fostering an environment where people feel comfortable sharing ideas is crucial. Empower your team through recognition, focus on accountability and reward successes. Regardless of team size, make every member feel appreciated. When these qualities are emphasized, those around you flourish.
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