Top 5 tips for being a successful woman
This past weekend I spent three wonderful days surrounded by the woods and mountains of Vermont and some truly amazing fellow women entrepreneurs.
I don't know about you, but I never thought that I would be a business owner. It's a bit silly, since my parents own their own business, but I was always afraid to take the leap. Growing up, I always told them that I needed to work in a real job with a steady paycheck. And while I still feel that way today, I've also started to have a new feeling: the feeling that I do, in fact, want to become a woman entrepreneur one day.
It won't be an easy road, I know, but there are a few valuable lessons that I took away from the Women's Entrepreneur Retreat this weekend—lessons that are actually great for women in any career.
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Lesson 1: Craft an Elevator Pitch! The first thing we practiced this weekend was the "elevator pitch." This is basically a short 2-3 sentence phrase that describes who you are, who you serve, what value you're bringing to people (a.k.a. what problem you solve) and what makes you unique/special/better than others out there. This is SUPER helpful when networking and meeting new people, especially potential clients as an entrepreneur or while job hunting in general.
Lesson 2: It's Not About the Price, It's About VALUE! Women entrepreneurs (and women in the work force in general) tend to undervalue themselves. There have been studies about how we don't ask for promotions or raises, and we seriously NEED to! The same goes for clients in a business. When you're setting your price points (or talking to your boss about all the hard work you've been doing lately), it's important to keep in mind that people will pay a higher amount for things that they deem more valuable. It's all about how much the person wants the solution you can offer (in your business) or how much your boss really needs to keep you around.
Lesson 3: Research, Research, Research. When starting a business or trying to find a job, you should do research into the industry to see what it's like. Find out the kind of things that potential clients are looking for and ALWAYS ask why a potential client went with the competition. The leader of the women's entrepreneur retreat, Laura Huckabee-Jennings of Lead Fearlessly, emphasizes that the bigger the decision you need to make (in your business, in your job, or even in life), then the more research you want to do because it is ALL about risk management.
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Lesson 4: The Real Reason People Say YES! Something that I tweeted this weekend that I think resonates with me even more now is this: "Your client will say YES, no matter how feasible or logical it is, if the urgency/tension behind solving problem is high." We looked at a chart of decisions and how people made them and the thing we discovered is that the main thing that your customer is focused on is THEIR problem and how YOU can solve it. They will pay top dollar, even if they don't really have the money, if you can solve that urgent issue of theirs. Remember when things like this happen in your career, too, and write down the instances when you came to your boss' rescue—things to remind him/her about when you're asking for that promotion later on!
Lesson 5: How to Find the Perfect Career for You. Another lesson that I tweeted this weekend: "You know that you're playing to your own strengths if you can do it well AND it gives you energy to do it." I truly, truly believe this statement. I have never shined in a job more than I do in this one, because writing (and writing a LOT) is certainly a strength of mine. Another strength of mine is giving people advice and encouraging them to make healthier choices, which is why I am working on launching a health coaching business on the side. Doing the things that I love and the things that I am actually GOOD at gives me more energy to keep going. As an entrepreneur, you might be working longer days than you've ever worked in your whole life—but if you're enjoying it, then the day will go by that much faster.
As I process the weekend, these lessons have been the most valuable to propel me forward in both my career and my side business. Taking them with me, I know that I am on the road to further success and I hope that you'll learn a trick or two from my book—and get on the path to your own success, whatever that may be, as well.
What is the #1 thing you have learned in your career? Are you a woman entrepreneur or do you prefer to work for a bigger company? Share with us in the comments below!
Image via Victor1558/flickr