“Be the kind of woman that makes other women want to step up their game”
Being a business woman is something I always dreamed of as a kid, I knew from the first day I attended nursery, I had an argument with my teacher over whether my t-shirt was pink or red (it was pink), that I had a problem with authority. I find it hard to work for other people which is the reason I have had 15 jobs since being 16. I have never remained in the same job for longer than a year, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
I have started multiple businesses in the past, from the age of 16 when I held my first ever event right to this very moment when I have finally settled on this business. However, being a woman in business isn’t all pretty dresses and lunch meetings, the reality of being a woman in business is much harder than it may seem from the outside. I will explore some of the issues I have faced, and many other women have to.
Believe in yourself
It is a proven fact that many women find it hard to own their strengths and achievements, you can test this now by complimenting the closest female to you, I guarantee she will response back to you with an answer that downplays the achievement. I know this personally, I receive messages every week from people who support my businesses, last week I had a message from an amazing coach who said she was struck by how together I am at 23, I immediately began thinking about how I really don’t have it together.
An article I found on Business News Daily when I was researching this subject spoke to a lady who owns her own business, she said she always finds herself saying ‘we’ when talking about her company rather than ‘I’ because she doesn’t want to feel like she’s bragging. A lot of women can relate to this, myself included.
I always find myself worrying about whether to put things I have achieved out on to social media because I don’t want to come across like I’m trying to look like I’m better than anyone else. I am currently having this dilemma as I write, I have learnt a new skill recently and although I want bookings, I am reluctant to put it out into the world yet.
I attend an event last week with The Sister Sister Network who ran a seminar on leadership for women, Aduke the founder of the network spoke about this subject, there was a fact she mentioned that has stuck with me all weekend. 35% of women who start businesses quit within the first year, not due to them not being successful more due to the fact they personally don’t believe in the business.
I believe this is the biggest problem for business women we need to believe in ourselves before anyone else does.
Take Me Seriously
As a woman I believe I am not taken as seriously as I would be if I was a man, many of times when I was running events, I would approach venues with a great idea, but I’d never hear back from them. The same venue I approached, a male friend of mine approached the same week and managed to secure the venue. I know I’m not the only woman who feels like this, in order to gain recognition, I believe women have to work 10x harder.
Although there are lots of amazing business women out there, I still find 90% of my meetings are with men. I am used to this due to the nature of my freelance work being within the events industry, so I feel like I need put across that I am a serious business woman from the get-go.
The Art of Negotiation
When it comes to negotiation being a woman has its pro’s and con’s – pro’s being the fact you can sometimes flirt your way into a business deal or get a reduced price for a product or service (I definitely use this tactic whenever I can). The con’s being because you’re a woman they try to scam you into paying a higher price as a mechanic does when you need your car fixing. I wanted to book a DJ for an event around Christmas and emailed the person directly who wanted to charge me £1000, I then asked my male friend who is also a DJ to ask him and guess what? He quoted him half of the price for the exact same set.
Another con I find with negotiation is that men seem to try to negotiate on the price of my service which I feel they wouldn’t do to a man. I charge a set price for a day rate to manage a bar or event, at a meeting last week the man tried to negotiate this with me, this goes back to my pricing blog – sometimes I will negotiate but this time I decided to stand my ground.
My advice to all other entrepreneurs and creative women is to not give up, no matter what challenges you face or need to overcome. The world needs more women business owners.
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