I have decided to start a little ‘Women in Business’ series on this blog because I realise that women face unique challenges when wanting to go into business for themselves and I think it would be good to explore some of those challenges particularly as I come up against some of them myself.
I read an article the other day and it was about the biggest regret of successful female businesswomen and it was that they lacked confidence in themselves when they were first starting out. Putting yourself out there is extremely hard -particularly if you launch an online business because your business is essentially in the public domain. The way things are going in the world it is going to be impossible to launch and run a business that is not online in some capacity. This means that you are going to make mistakes in front of others, you are going to have to struggle and find your way in front of others, you might even fail at your business and decide to launch a completely new business! You will have to learn very quickly to stay focused on what you are creating and not to worry too much about what anyone else may think.
Why do so many women struggle with confidence?
Girls are brought up in environments where being strong, having their own ideas, being an individual – is not necessarily seen as a good thing. Essentially many girls are brought up to ‘people please’ and to disregard their own thoughts and beliefs in order to please others and to keep other people happy. They are also often not taught to take action and go after what they want. If you look at all of the media directed at women it is often about waiting or trying to change yourself into something that you are not so that you are accepted. Being a strong, successful, independent women is not necessarily valued or recognised in our culture.
“If they do not have women there (as leaders) then girls can not see that they can be that” – Miss Representation
1. KEEP LEARNING:
Women can really struggle when they choose to have children because we are told that we can ‘have it all’ and we go into motherhood extremely confident in our abilities to continue a career with children and everything else. The reality is much more of a juggling act! And often women take on lower paid employment which is not going to lead to anything greater or really place any value their own unique skills and abilities. When we are in the struggle with babies we think that it is going to last forever and it really doesn’t. Many new mums lose confidence in themselves after they have children. Continue to work on yourself – study, read, learn new things, play with creative ideas, discover and explore new things with your children. Motherhood can also be the perfect time to try out a new side project. Babies quickly grow up and you will still have years of work life ahead of you!
2. GET AROUND OTHER SUCCESSFUL WOMEN:
Instagram has been such an inspiration to me in seeing what can be possible for myself as a woman. I am now discovering lots of online communities that are specifically targeted at creative female entrepreneurs. Network and build relationships with other women who are doing things similar to you or better yet who are one step ahead of you so that you can learn from them! Join Facebook groups with successful women who are pursuing their passions. Reach out to other women, share ideas and learn from each other. There is plenty of room at the top for women (we all need to be getting out there!) and it is really important that we collaborate with, help and support other women to also become the best version of themselves.
3. KNOW YOUR WORTH:
Value yourself, know your worth, don’t work for free or give away all of your ideas for free. It’s 2017! Creatives should no longer be struggling and not be earning their worth in this world! Work on building up your email lists and creating good quality ‘paid for’ content alongside all of your free content so that you are supporting yourself to do more in this world. With money comes more opportunities to invest in yourself, pay for programmes that are going to up-level you, give yourself the best work environment, the best nutrition etc. There is nothing wrong with knowing your worth and earning your worth so that you can continue to take yourself to the next level and take your business or passion much further.
4. MIND YOUR MINDSET:
Be very very careful what kind of thoughts that you let into your reality! You are essentially creating your life every day with your thoughts and mindset. Work to let go of limiting beliefs. Many women have fears of success. I personally have a lot of limiting thoughts around money so I have actually been doing abundance meditation most nights and I think it is helping me to become more confident in myself and my ability to earn money that will help to further me on my journey. Learn to recognise any limiting beliefs that you might have and then do the work to change them around to more empowering beliefs or to let them go all together!
5. DON’T SHRINK YOURSELF:
When women launch businesses online or go into a leadership role sometimes the focus will not be on whatever mission or challenge that they are trying to solve in this world it will become about how they look (see the doco trailer below which talks about how a women’s worth in the world is too tied up with how they look). Also due to the media, many women have insecurities about how they look. This can really affect their self-confidence and what they believe is possible for themselves! Many women will also keep themselves small and not go after their dreams as not to upset others. Don’t change yourself to please other people; if people are not happy with you as you are then let them go. Life is too short and too precious to not be who you are or to keep yourself small to suit other people.
Interesting article from Forbes plus a great YouTube video.
I really recommend the doco Miss Representation it talks about all of the statistics around female leaders although I don’t 100% agree with some of the messages within it.
(Photo: Julia Caesar)