As a female entrepreneur, it can feel like you have to do twice the work for half the credit. According to the US Department of Labor, only 27% of chief executive positions are held by women, even though women make up approximately 47% of the workforce overall. While there are more women in business than ever before, it’s still an uphill battle, and it can be especially difficult to hold on to your values when you’re trying to balance success with social responsibility. However, if you keep your intentions positive and make smart business choices, you can have the best of both worlds, and act as a role model for others looking to achieve the same results. If you’re starting a business, or a new career in business, here are a few tips and tricks to help you stick to what you value without sacrificing success in the process.
Finding people to work with is a critical part of building an enduring business. If you’re just starting out, or are building something from the ground up, it’s essential that you take advice and support from sources that value the same things as you. Make sure you’re working with consultants who support you and your specific goals and needs. According to CBS-CBS.com, it is critical to spend time working ‘on’ your business, not just ‘in’ your business. That is, taking a step back to organize and analyze can help you keep your perspective and make more rational decisions for the long term. If you’re trying to cut costs or do everything by yourself, you might lose track of your intentions. Having someone to help guide you and keep you in line with your business plan will take the stress off of you personally, and help you stay on track when things get tough.
Know Your Strengths
Another important part of your business plan is how you can lean on your strengths to ensure success. No matter what your background or experience is, you have specific skills and abilities that you can use in a business environment. Many of the things we associate with business success are seen as masculine character traits, like assertiveness, confidence, and analytical skills. Not only are these not exclusively masculine traits, but they’re not always the best way to go. Empathy, resourcefulness, and emotional intelligence are valuable tools, and are commonly considered feminine traits. In fact, research on leadership styles has shown that the greatest predictor of effective leadership is the ability to care for others. For the modern businesswoman, the confidence to embody whichever traits best suit your goals without fear of judgment is the most important trait you can have. Abandoning outdated gender norms is the first step towards success, and finding people to work with and rely on who understand this is a great way to contribute to your business’s success, and your own emotional well-being.
Paying It Forward
Another important responsibility you have as a woman in business is to pay it forward. Your success will pave the way for young women for generations to come, so acting as a mentor, taking on interns and volunteers, and speaking at career events and schools in your area are all great ways to meet young women you can help, and to remind yourself of the positive effects you have on the world just by doing what you love. 39% of working women are in fields that are made up of more than three quarters female workers, so the relationships and mentorship you can offer to women who work, or want to work in your field is invaluable, expecially if you have been successful in a male-dominated field.
Being a woman in a professional environment isn’t always easy, and it can take great patience and strength of character to get through it sometimes. However, many women before you, and many to come will take on the challenge and your chance to be a part of the rich history of women entrepreneurs. Learning from those who can help you, committing to your work and individuality, and giving back to those who you can help are how you add value to the world as a woman in business.