Day 2 of 90: Women Founders: Kickstarting Your Own Business presented by CommonBond
Day 2 of 90? Success. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I signed up for this, but it far exceeded my expectations. The panelists were funny, strong, and independent. They knew their space and they owned it. And what they all had in common? They just went out and did it. They didn’t wait for someone to validate their desire to do something different. They knew there was a need and they jumped in to fill it (and we’re talking about alcohol delivery to finance – oh yeah).
Alright, so now to the good stuff. To the stuff I learned and that I want to share because this stuff can be applied to all areas of life (literally I’m not joking, so I’ll be sure to give you some examples).
Advice from Jacqueline with Scouted:
Stop adding a caveat to your statements.
This. 1000 times this. By far one of my favorite pieces of advice that she gave. We may think we’re confident and assertive, but when we add a caveat to our statements we’re really just showing everyone that we undervalue ourselves and that we’re under confident. I don’t have time for that and neither do you. Her example – “We’ve signed with every company we’ve met with, BUT it’s still early on.” That’s just no good. You’re literally handing them reasons (on a damn silver platter) of why they should doubt you. You know your product, and in the case of personal use, you know you and what you as a person bring to the table. Own it. So changing what you’re saying to have no explanations would sound a bit like this – “We’ve signed with every company we’ve met with.” Point. Blank. Period. Close the curtain and exit stage left before you add any unnecessary crap to what you know speaks for itself (and if you didn’t know, well now you do because I just told you). Remember, no confidence = no attention. People won’t give you the time of day if you can’t own who it is you are and give yourself that attention first.
Advice from Ita with Tigress Ventures:
If people (bosses) ask you if you’re happy the answer is always I could be happier
I’m telling you right now that I was mentally clapping through every speech last night because their advice was spot on. Chances are that your boss isn’t asking you if you’re happy unless they know you’re important. It also blatantly shows you that you’ve been undervalued, but they’re giving you the opportunity to fix it. They don’t
think – scratch that, they know that you most likely won’t ask for what you deserve. So many people, especially women, assume that they’re not worth what they ask for. You are worth it – whether it’s that raise, a relationship, or a friendship. If you leave, they’re screwed, and so they want to make sure you’re happy enough to stay. Think about all the times where people just slightly appease what you ask for. They give you just an inch more and make it seem like they just did you a favor. Why are we kidding ourselves? They know the game and it’s time we educate ourselves on the rules. “I could be happier.” It’s simple, but it’s effective. It basically opens the doors for you without needing to knock. To sum it up? Remember to ask for more than what you think you’ll get because chances are you’re still low-balling it (and essentially your worth, but who am I to say that?)
Advice from Rachel with Trigger:
Stand out, be innovative, learn from Beyoncé
Let’s just say that I learned a lot about Beyoncé last night. Did you know that when she branched out into solo music she created her own management company under her brand (if the answer is no, don’t feel alone because neither did I)? It’s actually the most genius thing that I have ever heard. She’s not stuck to a label she hates. She doesn’t owe anyone anything. We could all learn a thing or two from that. First of all, it was unheard of. People starting out usually think they have no choice but to go with someone else to guide them. No. A million times no. Take the time and educate yourself. Put in the 10,000 hours. Do what’s beneficial; not what’s easy. And you know what else? It made her stand out from the competition. She’s not competing for attention. She’s only in competition with herself – to constantly be better and to produce work that she’s damn proud of. Basically it comes down to building your brand and then owning that brand – and in case you didn’t know you are always an extension of your brand. Whether this is work-related or values-related. What people say about you and who they think you are is based on how you own who you are or who you want to be. And remember that the people you surround yourself with are important. So unbelievably important. Not everyone has your best interest at heart. Chances are that it’s just you looking out for you (in my case I have my immediate family, but not every one is blessed with that). People act selfishly. Co-workers, friends, significant others, and unfortunately sometimes family. It goes straight back to what Ita was saying. “Are you happy?” If the answer is no then get out or do something about it. People appease people in order to get them to stay around a little longer or for their own benefit. Look at your life, for example. A friendship where it’s not a two way street. You put in all the effort and they only put in 20% effort. Friendships and relationships are not 80/20 (hot damn, I know a few people who need to understand that). They cannot continue putting in 20% of the effort and expect that 80% of their life will be influenced by it, but they do and we let them. Stop letting people use you as the door mat of their life. So anyway. Back to Queen B. Let’s talk innovation. She produced an album a few years back that was just titled Beyoncé. No marketing beforehand. No tag line. Just straight up Beyoncé. And it was wildly successful and once again unheard of. People didn’t know it was coming and that probably added to why people had to have it. She owned her brand (literally) and showed the world that it could stand alone. Why? Because she knows what she brings to the table and she owns it. You may not like her music or her, but you can’t ignore facts here and that’s all I have to say about that.
Advice from Peggy with StartUp Institute:
People, pains, and pooched belly
LOL. I’m sure you just had the same reaction I did to pooched belly, but she swore there was a purpose and it did help me remember exactly what she was trying to tell us. Okay. Back to people. You have to know what you’re good at. You have to know what you bring to the table. And, in the startup world, you then have to surround yourself with people who complement you. People who do things that maybe you’re not the greatest at. People are important (I cannot stress this enough). They can make or break you. I’m sure you have a friendship or a relationship that you can look back on and realize ‘damn, they’re right’. So just remember that. Pains: understanding areas with opportunities for growth. Figuring out what does and doesn’t work. And seriously, let’s start learning from our mistakes instead of repeating them (insert 500 rolling eye emojis). I mean relationships, friendships, and work. We make mistakes, but they are pointless if we don’t start learning from them. You’re never stuck unless you want to be, but it’s up to you to realize that you’re doing it to yourself. And lastly, pooched belly. Learning how to be confident through the use of your speech. If you’re nervous and you don’t know how to deliver a speech where you don’t putter out from losing air then everyone is going to know (because you ran out of breath and can’t talk anymore, obviously). Understanding how to speak when your nervous is going to help you in every area of your life. Asking for a raise. Confronting your significant other. Approaching a friend. And in the startup world? Delivering the pitch that could land you an investor or a client. Learn how to breathe and understand that shallow breathing won’t get you anywhere (actually shallow anything won’t get you anywhere because it’s surface deep and people will see through it, mark my words). So, a pooched belly is in reference to holding in that air. Inhale the good stuff and exhale equally good stuff in form of what you have to say. Your words are important, make them count.
Advice from Lindsay with Mini Bar:
Think before you jump
She got lucky. She and her co-founder were a match made in startup heaven. While I’m not looking for a co-founder, her advice was still well worth the listen. Why? Because it goes back to people, always. You have to be cautious. Think before you jump into things. Whether it’s friendships, partnerships, or relationships.
I almost missed this event because I was writing Day 1: The Beehive, but I’m so unbelievably happy that I got there in time. From the lady who I met in the elevator (shoutout to June because I would have been hella nervous walking in there alone) to all of the other people that I met. You’re all badass and I am so happy to say that I spent my night in the company of amazing, empowering, innovative, successful, and motivated women. You have shown me that it’s all about one day at a time. About looking at things in parts and working on those parts to get to where I want to be. And most importantly, it’s about that leap of faith. Without it, we would be nowhere worthwhile.
Song Selection: Beyoncé – Run The World (Girls) (Because it’s wildly appropriate for this post and because damn straight we do!)