Women owned Business

Fear the Regret of not Being Bold

Anything that is holding you back from taking that chance to march into a new endeavor, knock it out of the way, and take that leap of faith. Many women, like men, fear change and any disruption in their stability.  I’ve talked about walking away from my private sector job and starting my own business before and it is not an easy choice. I see women on two different ends of the spectrum now, where they are either going for their dream life with gusto or having a ‘someday’ attitude because they have families; both are valid feelings. Outsiders may say that by taking a risk professionally, the respective woman will struggle or worse the family.  However fearing the unknown and absorbing the opinions of others is a recipe for regret. If  you put at least 50% of the energy that is given to your job or family into yourself, everyone will be better for it.

Fearing the unknown is a waste of time. Expecting the unknown troubles, successes, and journeys is far more invigorating! When a challenge arises that forces your humility it is a transformative process. When a woman becomes a mother, everything changes and many unexpected things occur. When a woman starts a business or other types of endeavors, it is the same process. We can prepare, but not always predict if or when something is going to happen. So why allow the fear of the unknown to build up our regret.

No matter what you do, someone will have an opinion for better or worse. And while it is alright to ignore those opinions, listen to them, because they may be holding a piece of advice that needs to be heard masked in worry. For example, if you are starting a small business and have a family of five someone may ask ‘What about your kids? What about your spouse?’ and that will spark an idea on child care, partner coordination, and work time management to be effective in all realms. With other negative opinions in the spirit of ‘Most businesses fail in five years’ or ‘You’re going to do that?‘ use that as fuel to prove to yourself  that these negative people were wrong. I say to prove it to yourself because no matter how incredible you become, they will never lift their outlook on life or opinion of you. You have to prove yourself wrong, by conquering every imagined catastrophe and rejoice in it not coming to pass. After all, the most important opinion we have is the one of ourselves.

Fear is a motivator and the fear of regret has the same power. Use the fear of regret to fuel your ambitions. Yes, mistakes will be made and perhaps one of those imagined catastrophes will come to pass. Learn from it, and be bold in moving forward. I may have regretted some decisions or plans I laid out that did not benefit me. However after almost 30 years of taking that leap of faith, I’ve learned it is better to regret bad decisions that were reshaped into opportunities, than to regret never taking a chance at all.

    There are no mistakes. 

     

    Don’t Be a Bad Student: The Mentor Circle

    We never stop learning. Regardless of your profession, interest, or expertise, we never stop learning. The best thing about being a mentor is that you have an opportunity to guide someone to the answers they are seeking. Along the way, if your guidance is done correctly, the mentee will also educate the mentor.

    My mentor said, ‘Let’s go do it,’ not ‘You go do it.’ How powerful when someone says, ‘Let’s!’” — Jim Rohn

    The important thing to remember is we are in this together.  

    When seeking a mentor, you must find someone who matches who you are collectively. This does not stop at the type of profession that the potential mentor has. For example, I spoke about Lynn before, my mentee who was starting her own business. I am an IT and Telecommunications services business and her business was a creative solutions business. We are in very different fields, but we both had the same goal in mind and that was to build a successful woman owned small business. I was able to guide her in how she conducted herself, management tactics, project management strategies, and relaxing in the growth process. She in turn showed me the importance of social media and how to use it to benefit my business and personally. These were things I had not considered before. So as I was ‘showing her the ropes as a long time business woman’ she was laying out a new path for me to expand my presence. We walked this path together.

     Ego will not serve your education 

    I hope everyone is familiar with the Creed films with Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stalone. Both Creed and Creed II were perfect depictions of mentorship  That was the perfect depiction of how ego between a mentor and mentee can destroy your path forward. In both films Adonis Creed was being mentored by Rocky to be one of the best heavy weight champion boxers and Adonis fought him, proverbially speaking, all the way. Adonis realized that he needed Rocky when he faced defeat and Rocky realized that Adonis gave him purpose and a reason to fight against his illness. If neither had released their ego and what they believed would be the best tactic for the desired solution then Adonis would not have won either of his fights. It takes humility from both the mentor and mentee to understand that they have their own strengths that rely on each other to be successful moving forward.

    I’ve got your back.

    Our  parents teach us how to be a properly functioning adult and in turn the “new adults” take care of the parents, while the parents still provide some guidance. It is the same thing with mentors and mentees. There is a bond formed that is an endless cycle of support that provides comfort as well as guidance when things are not going well. Because a seed of hope has been sewn by the knowledge and graciousness of the mentor, the mentee can grow into something beyond what the mentor has taught. And both can rest assured in a cycle of continuous gratitude and growth because they never stop learning from each other.

    Your Network is your Net worth

    A major component to my success thus far has been: Your business will not survive if you do not realize the value of your network, because who you have in your network determines your net worth. This concept is applied to business and your personal life. In financial terms your net worth is the value of assets, minus the total of all liabilities. In both business and your personal life it is important to see who is a viable connection so that it does not devalue your own worth as while your advancement is in progress. This may sound exclusive, however if you are trying to elevate your business or your life, you must choose where people belong to maintain the balance and growth you aspire for.

    Your Assets

    In business an asset is something that supports or assists in the evolution of your company. The key to acquiring said assets is to be open to “diversifying your portfolio”. When building up your stock portfolio, the first thing any broker will say is to diversify your portfolio to obtain maximum results. It is the same in business where the variety of people within your network bring value to your growth plan; whether that is from a chance meeting, connecting on LinkedIn, or meeting at an event.

    Asset Building Values:

    • Actual Value: The person/people you connect with that have a skill, service, or network they want to introduce you to that will affect your business in a positive way almost immediately. These are people that you seek to build a relationship with for an intentional purpose that has potential growth in the future.
    • Potential Value:  The person/people you connect with that may be in a different industry or career level than you are that will be useful in the near or distant future. While these types of connections are not an absolute guarantee of partnership or using the service, these connections can serve as great referrals that someone else may come to you for; thus making you a reliable resource for information.
    • Penny Stock Value: In the stock market a penny stock is a small or big business that trades publicly for $5.00 or lower, but can yield a small return with little risk. Penny Stock connections are ‘back pocket’ connections you can call upon for a quick service or connection. They may not serve a need for growth, but they are quick, reliable, outstanding resources for an immediate job, referral, or service that can be rendered for a small cost. They are not invaluable, but if they are not used it will not be to the detriment of your company.
    • Educational Value:  These are people who are potential mentors, connections to valuable information, and further education for your staff or yourself. This type of connection is always a good resource to have especially in rapidly changing industries like technology.

    Running a business or operating a life is not easy and you need people in your corner that will pour into you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually while supporting you no matter what. Not everyone is a business connection, however that does not devalue them.  Everyone is a part of your personal growth in big and little ways. While they may not fit in every part of your life a good friend is needed in every component of your life. When creating or evolving your “friend circle” make sure that they hold the following components that will not derail your personal growth:

    • Can provide advice on life’s issues or be a listening ear when you need to vent. Having someone to talk to is wonderful, having someone to listen is priceless. Odds are you know the answer already, you just need someone to help you lay out your options even if it is just by listening.
    • Offer assistance or refer you to someone who can. No one has all of the answers, and sometimes things like therapy or groups can offer more of a solution. Be around someone who will not shame you for not having it all together, but assist you in sorting out your issues.
    • They are your defense system. Whether you are successful or not, people will talk about you, especially to your friends. A good friend will always speak against the negativity and protect your honor so that the opposing energy does not disrupt your personal growth. They will not gossip about you, they will hold your personal standard of success higher than you do, and they will keep you lifted; regardless if you feel defeated.

    Your Liabilities

    There are a few things to avoid when it comes to business and personal net worth. While they may serve a quick purpose, they are not viable resources of growth for the long term.

    • Poachers: People who pretend to be seeking a relationship for growth, but they are solely in it for their own interest. Not every friendship is a business relationship or vice versa. However if people are continuously asking for you to “do them a favor” or reach beyond your capacities without a return they are damaging your worth. They will use your friendship or services to better themselves without a thank you or equal distribution of favors which can damage your reputation as being desperate and willing.
    •  Copycats: People who lightly compliment then copy your style almost identically because they can not create their own style, relationships, or business concepts on their own. These people usually envy something that you have and instead of developing their own or asking for advice they copy you and expect to be glorified for it. When they are not given the same attention as the person they are copying they start to shame and belittle that person so that they appear superior.
    • Faux Olive Branches: People who pretend to be helpful in a time of need, but in reality are setting you up to be a ‘poacher victim’ or gather information to use against you when you do not give them what they desire. In business there are times of crisis in which a call to the network would be needed, however if someone may need something from you they will use this crisis as an opportunity to grow themselves instead of being a helping hand. In friendships, these are people who will drink with you, dance with you, yet in a time of crisis are no where to be found until they need something from you. Some surefire signs of this are: publicly offering support to be seen, subtly demanding thanks and praise for their rescue, and gossiping to you about other people’s issues to encourage you to talk more about your own.

     

    Your Net worth 

     It is a process to weed out  assets and liabilities. If someone who you thought was an Actual Value asset turns out to be a Faux Olive Branch, it’s alright because everyone makes mistakes. By continuously going through the process of identifying your assets and liabilities your growth whether personal or professional will occur. All I can truly suggest before starting that process is to first identify your self worth and how you contribute to your own success, your network, and removing your own unknown liability habits.

     

     

    Mommy I want to do THIS!

    In 1993 Take your Daughter to Work Day began so that young women could expand their career horizons as the domestic roll was waning out. This was an incredible initiative to expose young women to the workforce and introduce careers that even 20-30 years prior were not “allowed”. Now it has evolved to take your child to work day so that children can get a sneak peek into what Mommy and Daddy do everyday, which introduces their career options or nurtures the idea to hold an excellent paying job and possibly own their own business. We are in an excellent time now where mothers, who this was not fathomable for 50-60 years ago, can imprint a work ethic within their child/children and make them say “Mommy I want to do THIS.”

    It’s adding up to success

    Women who work influence the entire household to push for more, whether they are married or not. Mothers are naturally gifted in multitasking, so working or running a firm, then coming home to manage the household successfully is not unusual. While it can be stressful at times the results are outstanding; especially for women of color. Women of color have been historically given barriers to climb the corporate ladder. Household incomes have doubled due to women working regardless of the type of the work. And single-mother households must work and take care of home without the help of a partner, so management of time and resources is key. Being able to manage all of these rolls can be mentally exhausting and many women suffer from depression, high blood pressure, and more. However for the sake of their children more women are taking the initiative to create balance in keeping themselves healthy and working smarter to create prosperity for their families. So if a woman of color who is single or married works for herself or is gainfully employed, whilst caring for a child/children and breaking through barriers to create generational wealth, this next generation will be on track to create a world of equity in business and a healthy balance in life. Because if Mommy can do this, so can ‘I’.

    • 11.6 million women own firms of various sizes in the U.S.
    • 5.4 million firms are majority-owned by women of color in the U.S. and 37% are in the workforce.
    • 70% of mothers with children under 18 are working, with 75% working full time.
    • Daughters of working mothers in the U.S. make approximately 23% more than daughters of Stay-at home-mothers and with 21% get managerial positions.
    • The median family income has increased 84% since 1980 due to women working, regardless of the industry.
    • 76% of the workforce are single mothers regardless of full/part time status or industry.

    Doing THIS

    On this incredible day women can show their children what means to be a balanced adult and manage their lives better regardless of what career is chosen. It’s not expected that your child follows the same career path as you, but they need to see who they want to be as individuals while they make that choice. Whether a single or married Mom it is also important to show children how to manage relationships, and that too is work. Seeing mommy at work whether in the office or home teaches youth to:

    • Create a good work ethic that provides stability in their career and mental state.
    • Manage time between work, home life, and fun.
    • Create opportunities for growth for the family and personally.
    • Create generational wealth by managing spending habits.
    • Taking chances on yourself to try something new.
    • Making sure your health is well balanced.
    • Cultivate sustainable relationships while at home and work.

    Every day is take your child to work day, because the work on yourself is never ending. Be someone they can look up to.

    RESOURCES