Women Helping Women: Business and Career Advice from Women for Women : For most of history, women were excluded from the world of business. Yet there have always been talented, strategic women who circumvented the rules and made their own way in spite of the obstacles. What did they do to succeed in such difficult circumstances?
Even today, women in business often have no choice but to figure these things out by themselves. But things don’t have to be this way. We can propel ourselves forward a lot more effectively by helping each other out.
Here are some life-changing tips for building a successful business or professional career of your own—advice by women, for women.
Manage Your Finances to Grow Wealth
Managing your finances is probably the single biggest secret to building a successful career. Cutting costs and saving money, especially in your early years, are the keys to long-term financial security. It takes sacrifice to do this, but it’s so worth it!
Make debt repayment your number one priority. Other than an emergency savings of a few thousand dollars ($5000 is a good number to aim for in your first year, rising to $20,000 a few years later once you have built more wealth), put all of your profits into paying down your debts, including student loans, mortgage payments, and medical bills. Avoid taking on new debt whenever possible, and don’t make credit card purchases that you can’t pay off immediately. Pay your taxes and other bills on-time and in full.
Most of all, cut back on personal luxuries. This is the hardest part for sure, but also the most important. How many streaming service subscriptions do you really need? Can you give up expensive delivery services like Ubereats and instead buy wholesome ingredients from the grocery store? The bottom line is that to save money, you need to be strategic about spending money on luxuries. It’s good for the soul to let yourself have a few luxuries in life. However, you’d be surprised at just how much you can do without, and the security that comes from wisely managed finances is even better for your peace of mind.
Don’t Skimp on Business Investments
There is one time when spending a significant amount of money can be the right thing to do: when you’re building your own business, don’t cut corners on the equipment you need to make it run smoothly. Don’t cheat customers on the quality of any physical materials you use. Look for efficiencies and reasonable savings wherever you can, but don’t compromise the integrity of your brand.
Don’t short customers on your time, either: give your products and services the care they need to delight the customer. If this means putting some brakes on your business growth, that’s okay. In fact, growing too fast can be dangerous, because it can tie up more capital than you can safely afford to risk. Don’t let yourself get sucked into a business boom unless you know you’re ready.
Develop the People Around You
As you build your career, you’ll sometimes find yourself in a leadership position. Whether it’s employees, colleagues, bosses, contractors, customers, vendors, or clients, your power as a business owner or a career professional is something that you can use to make a positive difference in other people’s lives—especially other women. Entrepreneurs have a unique opportunity to scale up women business empowerment by sharing the lessons that made them successful in the first place.
Help your people to develop their own passions and career track. Be a role model. Set a good example. Take an interest in their lives and passions, and give them the encouragement they need to get their dreams off the ground. This isn’t just the right thing to do; it creates goodwill and inter-dependencies that can help a business to flourish down the road. People who appreciate what you’ve done for them may just become your allies in the future, and it’s never a bad idea to have a few more friendly faces.
One tip: Don’t try to control your people! You want to aim for the exact opposite. Leadership isn’t about control. It’s about giving others the tools and freedom to succeed for themselves.
Know Your Brand and Pick Your Battles
A good business leader is always moving toward a clear goal. This is much harder to do than it might seem! In our daily lives, it’s easy to get distracted from the mission and spend time on things that don’t matter.
The best remedy for this is to know your business goals and your brand as an entrepreneur inside and out. Where are you heading, and how are you going to get there? Know how to explain your answers to yourself and others. Know what you need to be doing right now to get to the next milestone goal on the road to your ultimate success.
Once you develop a vision of what success looks like for you, you’ll be much better at picking your battles wisely.
Don’t Let Others Control Your Goals
Finally, the business world is full of dominant personalities. There will always be people who think they know you and your business better than you do. Everyone has to deal with this in business, but especially women. It can be very frustrating.
It never hurts to listen to people who give you advice in good will—and sometimes they’re right!—but the final decision is yours. It’s your life. It’s your career. The power is yours. Never forget that. And good luck in all you do!
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