Become a mentor, find a mentor: Female leaders & entrepreneurs thrive
Updated: Nov 28, 2018
My guiding principle of “do something you love” led me to entrepreneurship and business at an early age, and It’s quite refreshing to see more and more women choosing entrepreneurship as millennials take center stage.
9.1 million women-owned businesses are out there today. According to an in-depth look at women-owned businesses and female entrepreneurs performed by Guidant Financial and Lending Club, that number will continue to grow in 2018.
Don't be intimidated by what you don't know
The words of self-made billionaire and founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely, still ring in my head today. "One of the first things I learned while I was trying to make it as an entrepreneur is that inexperience can be one of your greatest assets."
“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” Sara Blakely
Looking back, my initial lack of experience came with an endless amount of ambition, which fueled my “can-do” attitude and gave me the grit and determination I needed.
Ambition, while it is a great fuel for success, can also set you up for disaster, if taken to an extreme. If going nonstop might seem like the key to faster results and success, in the long-term, you will learn that quality work outperforms quantity work.
The future of ambition is mindfulness and self-awareness
Millennial entrepreneurs possess an unbreakable will and hustle. But you know what they say; sometimes it’s good to stop and be in the moment. Take a deep breath.
A very efficient way of doing that is by incorporating self-awareness into our daily regime. Easier said than done, right?! Like most entrepreneurs, your days probably start and end in front of the computer, but the good news is you can also practice mindfulness with the help of technology. You can relax, destress, or even meditate right at your desk. Apps to consider that I like; Stop, Breathe, & Think, and Think Pacifica.
You’ll soon learn that sometimes working harder is not the right answer, but working smarter is. It’s important to pause for a minute and become aware of the early signs of exhaustion, before you officially feel like you’ve been run over by the proverbial 'train'.
Become a mentor, find a mentor
Later in my own career, I also learned that it’s OK to ask for help. An advantage is that today's business world is full of incredible women with relatable success stories and resources. Everything you need to know is a question away, and a survey by Workplace Trends confirms it. When asked what they would find useful for their development as a leader, 53% of millennials said mentoring, as opposed to 4% that said university courses.
Mentorship and collaboration are two essential steps toward better decision making, more effective problem solving. Combined, they provide a better understanding of what matters, what is relevant to you and your business, and how you can leverage your strengths for a successful career.
According to an Inc.com article by Lisa Calhoun, 48 percent of female founders reported a lack of suitable mentors and advisors for their business. There is a thriving ecosystem of in-person and virtual incubators, as well as online resources. One of the greatest resources may be just a phone call away, already part of your personal network.
Learning what you do best comes with knowing your weaknesses. It is important to acknowledge your areas for opportunity as early as possible in the process, so you can start to surround yourself with experts in those particular areas and leverage the resources around you.
Technology is your friend
To-do lists and responsibilities are endless, so you need to prioritize what matters in order to save time and focus on the things that count the most. One way I managed to stay on top of things was by leaning on technology to optimize my time and resources. Lucky for us, we live in an era of AI so we might as well take advantage of the benefits. Here are some areas where you can rely on technology for better time management:
Digital workspace organizer to declutter and stay focused
Budgeting tools to keep your finances in order and easier, faster reporting
Planning tools for a more effective sales and marketing strategy implementation
Project management tools for goal achievement
Time tracking for better productivity and team and workflow management
Customer relationship tools like Salesforce
The truth is there’s no better time than today, for millennial women to put their entrepreneurship hat on and start building successful businesses.