With the high variability of industries under the umbrella of entrepreneurship, it’s very difficult to outline a sure-fire roadmap to developing a successful business. Yet, what shouldn’t be underestimated for any entrant into the corporate world is that confidence in business success begins with self-confidence. At the end of the day, potential investors or clients have little faith in leaders that don’t firmly believe they have the skills and capabilities to excel. I’m here to tell you that you do have what it takes!
The most successful people in the world fail – and they fail hard. Eradicate any self-doubt about your facility to succeed due to a grade, a rejection, or that embarrassing presentation. We’ve all been there. This has no weight on your ability as a woman or as an entrepreneur. Instead, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and check out these five tips to get a jump start on your journey to entrepreneurship!
1) Own Your Success
It’s nearly impossible to own a business until you own your personal success. Research shows that women systematically underestimate their own abilities and don’t negotiate themselves as frequently as men. Paired with separate situational barriers as women, this leads to less bonuses and company recognition of excellence. Celebrate your achievements! It’s easy to blame external factors to avoid sounding pretentious. But you didn’t “get lucky”. You worked hard for your accomplishments and should feel proud.
2) Cooperation is an Undervalued Skill: Use it!
Women can often be great cooperators and active listeners. But if you pooled all of the adjectives generally used to describe a CEO, these two strengths are severely underrepresented. A common misconception about an effective leader is that the more assertive, the better. But that isn’t necessarily true. Yes, a strong hand is absolutely essential to climbing the corporate ladder, but recognize that there is a fine line between assertiveness and tyranny. To lead others, you need to recognize their strengths as well, and know how to collectively use those strengths for the betterment of the entire operation. Stay steadfast and strong in your leadership, but there’s no need to overcompensate. You’ve earned your place, now show them you know how to earn your keep by letting them earn theirs as well.
3) Understand Business is a Game
It shouldn’t be ignored that business is a game. There will be foul play, and the referee won’t catch every penalty, but understand that one’s indeterminate drive can overcome such obstacles. The most notorious players of history were fueled by ambition and broke the barriers of expectation. Be your own Jesse Owens. Also, make sure you enjoy what you do! Just like a game of pick-up, don’t take it too seriously and enjoy the experience. It will only make the game easier to play.
4) Maintain a Healthy Environment
It’s no myth that the people around you contribute to your personal success. As identified by Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. The people around you inherently define who you are and who you will become. Always strive to surround yourself with positive people, places, and opportunities. In short, make sure to stay close to the people who encourage you. The entrepreneurial success will follow.
5) Consistently Seek Growth
As much as your stereotypical corporate mogul may project an air of flawless self-achievement, realize that they couldn’t have gotten there without a few bumps in the road. Good leaders are made through their willingness to learn from their mistakes. The moment you believe you have reached perfection is the moment you limit the growth of your business and yourself. Always look for opportunities for self-development. For example, seek out mentors and coaches in your academic and extracurricular spheres that can provide advice and anecdotes from their past experiences. Remember: Stay focused. Stay hungry. Stay driven.
I am far from the ideal paradigm of a female entrepreneur. Yet, I recognize these tips are incredibly important for any woman seeking to become an integral player within the corporate world. Hopefully they will inspire you in your quest to make a change through enterprise.