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8 Lessons women in business teach one another

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Be a woman in business is no easy task. Unfortunately, due to several culturalrealities, it still is a challenge to many of us. It is like adding one more layer to a cake about to fall apart. Prejudice remains a daily threat with many people refusing to believe that we are smart enough to become an entrepreneur, let alone a successful one.

Thankfully, the haters can continue hating while we build strong businesses and create jobs out there. And there are female entrepreneur in significant enough numbers to support each other and share tips and lessons.

Here are 8 lessons women in business can teach one another.

Lesson # 1 – forget you are a woman

The first challenge faced by women in business is the fact that they feel like they must forget that they are a woman in order to succeed. This is a quite tricky thing to do and comes with a bad and a good side.

The good side is that if you keep constantly reminding yourself how bad the world is for female entrepreneurs and executives, it will cripple you. Being in charge of a business is hard enough, and you don’t need to add your own distorted perception and fears to it. Just because you heard about it, it doesn’t mean that it will happen to you.

On the other hand, the bad side is that you will be forced to deny that you are a woman sometimes. You won’t be allowed to skip a meeting or deliver a bad presentation because you are suffering from PMS, for instance. This is just not an option. As tough as it sounds, you will need to learn to deal with your hormonal imbalance and that is it.

Lesson # 2: use your weapons in your favor

No, I am not suggesting you to use sex to get what you want. This type of attitude only reinforces stereotypes, and it should bea big no-no. But there are certain things in your personality that can turn into an advantage for you.

It is not wrong to say that women tend to be better listeners than men. So listen to your clients and employees as often as you can. Use your female instincts to empathize with their issues, to build trust, and to find solutions in a more easy-going way, for instance.

If you are trying to thrive in an environment dominated by men, such as IT or engineering, make sure that you turn all heads to you when you are seeking to sell an idea or product. Again, it has nothing to do with wearing sexy clothes or talking with a sexy voice. It is about taking advantage of the fact that many will be surprised by your presence and highly interested in listening what you have to say.

Lesson # 3 – don’t sabotage yourself

Believe it or not, the nemesis of many women in business isn’t sexist competitors. It is themselves. It is still commonto see women being raised to be helpers, not at the center stage. It is not unlikely to hear from friends, parents, even educators, that if you are too smart or too successful, you will live alone forever, never being able to have a family.

As a consequence, women will sabotage themselves, sometimes unconsciously. They won’t take risks, they will let the men speak first, they will smile and try to look cute when they are being challenged. But, as you know, this behavior will never take them to the first position of any market.

So if you notice that you are doing these thingsagainst yourself, stop this behavior right now. It will just add to your pile of challenges, increasing your stress and not bringing any concrete results – as fighting against yourself is always a lost cause.

Lesson # 4 – get inspired by other successful women

Every time you feel that you cannot deal with this anymore, that it is just a waste of time — look for some inspiration. But not for any inspiration. What you are looking for is inspirationfrom women who have made what you are trying to accomplish.

Think about IndraNooyi, CEO, and chair of PepsiCo. Irene Rosenfeld, CEO, and chair of Kraft. Virginia Rometty, thefirst woman to led the giant IBM. Think about all the empires built by incredible women: Chanel, Elizabeth Arden, Ester Lauder, Ariana Huffington, Anita Roddick, and more.

There are many others to name, and I am sure you can list a few in your industry, no matter which one it is. Then put their names down, and create a playlist on YouTube with their interviews, documentaries, or talks. And watch them over and over until it sticks to your brain.

Lesson # 5 – only deliver the best

As I said, I won’t deny that it is tough to be a woman in business. It is much more challenging than what a man has to go through when they want to achieve their dreams. So have no doubt: you will have to deliver an impeccable product or service if you want that they accept you like someone as good as any male entrepreneur.

Meaning that you will have to be very attentive to detail in every aspect of your business. If you are going to give a talk, rehearse it with someone first.

The point is to ensure that everything that has your name on it will be of high quality. This way, nobody will be able so to say a word about you or your business.

Lesson # 6 – ask for help and support in real life

Still, don’t make the silly mistake of trying to sound self-sufficient. There is a lot of a woman in business’ plate, and it is perfectly fine asking for help. Start by hiring an assistant as soon as you can afford it, so you can set yourself free from everyday tasks and have time to concentrate on creative tasks.

Also, delegate what you can to your family and friends. Have a conversation with them and explaining how important is what you are doing for you, and maybe also for them, and ask for support. Your spouse or boyfriend can perfectly take care of the housework, and your children can run errands for you.

Trying to be a superwoman and do everything by yourself will just leave you exhausted, unhappy, and with very low self-esteem – as nothing that you will do this way will be great anyway. And, believe me, it doesn’t prove anything.

Lesson # 7 – ignore those that won’t help you

It is true that some people in your life might refuse to help you. They might feel threatened by your imminent success, or abandoned and left behind. Others just don’t want to share the load with you because of laziness or because they think that those are your tasks, not theirs.

If it happens to you, it is time for a reality check with them. Find a constructive way to show that it is important to you to believe that you can count on them in the same way that you would support them.

You can also try to find common ground. If the house chores are the issue, for instance, promise that as soon that you start making money, a cleaner can be hired so nobody will have to do it anymore. Just don’t make idle promises or it can backfire in the future.

Lesson # 8 – find support from other female entrepreneurs

Another thing that you should never stop doing is exactly what you are doing right now: look for support from other female entrepreneurs. Good news is that you can find plenty of it, both online and offline.

Talking about offline first, you should have a look around for any meet-up groups for female entrepreneurs. You might find one in your community, local enterprise office, with a non-profit organization or a governmental agency. There, you can share your fears with great ideas, plus find out about financial and emotional support and more.

Online, websites, like this one you are reading at the moment, are great sources of tips, advice, and resources. Also, do some research on your favorite social media for online communities – you are bound to find plenty of them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Reddit.

The bottom line

As you can see, there are, at least, 8 lessons that women in business can teach one another. And they are not hard to follow. But you will have to stop moaning and take charge of your future so to apply them and get where you want to be.

Yes, it might be a bit more difficult for you than it was to your brother, father or boyfriend. But it doesn’t have to be impossible. Success will always come for those willing to pay the price. And hopefully, you will.

About Elaina Meiser

Elaina Meiser is a freelance writer, entrepreneur, and educator for the Get Academic Help service. She is fond of business writing, reading, and self-developing. Contact Elaina via Twitter.

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