I am so grateful to be a woman living in the United States at this time in history. While it’s true, there are still a lot of inequities for women in our society, we are so lucky to live in a county where it is possible for a woman to truly create the life of her dreams through entrepreneurship. However, just because the opportunity for success exists does not mean all women will be able to bring their dreams to fruition. Why is it some women entrepreneurs succeed in creating a lucrative brand, and others do not?
I think it has a lot to do with how comfortable we are creating, holding and pursuing a big vision for our businesses. Let’s look at each of these separately.
First there is creating the vision. Many women get excited about starting a business. Their reasons for doing so are varied. Some want more freedom, some want more income and some want to use it to express their talents and skills in a more authentic way. Of course, they want to be successful, however, it is rare to meet a woman entrepreneur who is unabashed about saying she wants to be an entrepreneur to become rich. Many women worry if they express a desire to be wealthy, they may be viewed as too aggressive, greedy or perhaps even not a good mom.
Secondly, there is the ability to hold on to their business vision. In order to hold anything, a vision, a barbell or even a baby, you have to be strong. You have to have supportive muscles. What often happens to women entrepreneurs is they create a vision in their minds of what they want, but then they do not put the support mechanisms in place to keep that vision strong and viable. Creating a support team is critical for business success.
Finally, many women feel self-conscious about their own feelings of ambition. They want to pursue their goals, but they don’t want to come across as too ambitious. It’s a well-founded fear. Women are often chastised by both men AND other women for being driven. Instead of moving forward in an assertive manner, many women go in fits and starts. They lunge forward, get self-conscious and retreat. They step when they should leap, they walk when they should run and the results they get in their business reflect this helter-skelter pattern.
So how do we ditch the cycle of hesitancy and get on with the business of creating a wildly SUCCESSFUL FEMALE BRAND? Here are a few of my thoughts on the matter.
1. Surround yourself with like-minded women. Notice, I did not say surround yourself with other female entrepreneurs. That, in my opinion, will not be enough. Everyone is at a different stage of their personal and professional development. You need to make sure you surround yourself with other women who also share a vision for the kind of BIG VISION for success you want.
2. Avoid unsupportive women. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is not. You must avoid the haters at all costs. As women we often feel compelled to get people to like us, and I don’t mean on Facebook! However, you must accept the fact that there will be women out there who are critical of you for many reasons. They may be jealous or they may think you “should” be doing something else. Whatever it is, it is toxic for you and your business. Stay clear.
3. Do not discount men. Although it’s true men can sometimes feel uncomfortable around assertive women, it is also true that many men love and support strong women. Men can be wonderful resources, mentors and models for women entrepreneurs especially in areas where women tend to be weaker such as risk taking and self-promotion.
4. Write down what success looks like for you. Sometimes the reason our businesses fail is we do not start with a clear vision of what we want in the first place. If you do not have a clear, compelling and personally meaningful reason for starting your business, you are way more likely to close up shop when the things get tough. However, beyond a compelling reason for starting, you need to get clear and HONEST about what you really, really REALLY WANT. If it’s a gianormous house, write it down. If it’s enough money for private school for your kids, write it down. If it’s having the time and flexibility to travel while you work, WRITE IT DOWN. Seeing it in black and white is a real motivator.
5. Get an accountability partner. What’s that saying, “good intentions pave the road to hell?” There is a big difference between thinking about doing something, planning to do something and actually DOING something. We are all way more likely to follow-through with our actions if we know we are going to report to someone else about it. This is one of the main reasons Weight Watchers has been so successful. If you know you are going to be weighed in by another person, you skip the chocolate cake for dessert. If you know you have to report to your partner, you will be much more likely to follow-through with those tasks which are most difficult, but often the most important for your growth.
6. Hire a coach. Ask 99% of all successful people and they will tell you having a coach was one of the main factors in their success. You need someone to hold your vision for you when you falter. You need someone with an objective viewpoint to keep you honest. You need someone with more expertise than you to give you guidance and advice. Even if you are a savvy business person, having someone to cheer you on, support you and guide you is critical. Going it alone is like trying to cut your own hair. (I know from experience and crooked bangs this is a very bad idea!)
No woman is an island and no successful female brand is made in a vacuum. Women who do not actively seek out the support they need are the ones who burn out the most quickly. Remember, even the Lone Ranger had Tanto.
Supporting women entrepreneurs in growing their businesses is my passion. To find out how I can specifically help YOU attract more clients click, this link to schedule a FREE Brand Strategy Session. FREE BRAND STRATEGY SESSION
As always, I’d love to hear from you. If you have any thoughts or questions, shoot me a line below in the comments or find me on Facebook.
If you would like to use this article on your website or ezine, feel free! Just be sure to include the following:Heather Poduska is a Reach certified personal brand strategist, image consultant and business coach who helps women entrepreneurs create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses. To learn even more about Heather and the Clear Voice Branding System click the link. www.clearvoicebranding.com