There is a lot of talk about how underrepresented women are in the start-up, tech and VC communities. I believe these numbers will increase over time and there are a lot of great people working to improve the stats. I also believe that you shouldn’t rely on others to do it for you and it is NOT outside of your control. It is up to you and you must be successful despite it.
If you dare to do great things, here are some tips:
- Embrace the art of the hustle.
- Showcase your money-maker. Be smart and don’t be afraid to show it.
- Be protective of your time; it’s a valuable resource that you can’t get back or buy.
- Be purposeful in all that you do. Focus on what’s most important. It’s easier said than done, but be diligent about it.
- Lose your fear of rejection. Not everyone is going to like you, want to buy your product or share your views, and that’s ok.
- Ditch perfectionism, bring on satisfactory. No one is perfect and you are just wasting your time.
- Forget what your mama taught you, especially you Canadians! Impose, tactfully. Always reach out, have a specific ask (be it advice, to try your product or for an intro to someone else that could be a potential customer, partner, employee or investor) and let them know why it’s important to them. People won’t do your work for you. Make it easy for them.
- Don’t get comfortable. Push yourself outside your comfort zone as often as you can. If you are comfortable and feel like you know what’s up, you are coasting. Dive back in.
- Turn off, regularly. Take the time to reflect. For me flights work well, so say no to wi-fi on the plane. In fact I’m writing this on a flight from Washington to Fort Worth.
- Re-program your thoughts and work around your cognitive biases. You are good enough, you are smart enough and you are ready. You will never feel ready and if you do, you’re too late.
- If you have a family, get your home life in order and ensure your partner is with you on the crazy ride you are on or about to be on. Have honest conversations and expectations. Be purposeful in the time you spend with your family. Be present. Do it as often as you can, but have them set up for when you need to travel or to be somewhere else. Find ways to make each feel special. Trust me, this isn’t easy with everything else you are trying to do.
- Surround yourself by people who push and challenge you and the status quo. There are far too many people happy to live in a box and they will only take up your time and bring you down.
- Brag. Don’t be shy. Showcase your experience or your progress to-date. Men are so much better at this, but women need to do it too.
- Wonder Woman isn’t real. You can’t do it all yourself, it’s ok to get help. Off load or delegate what you can at work and get your partner more involved in home life.
- Manage the perception of you. Write a list of things you want to be known for and live up to it.
- Dress the part and be mindful of stereotypes. I welcome the day when we don’t have to be mindful of this, but unfortunately it is the case today. You may look slammin’ in an outfit, but does it fit the perception of you that you are trying to project?
- Be curious. Ask questions.
- Get out from behind your screen. Go meet some interesting people. Be genuine. Don’t be that person – the “what’s in it for me” person when at an event. Be strategic and go in with a plan, but allow for unplanned encounters.
- Control what you can control, and worry less about what you can’t.
- Take risks, but don’t be irrational. The greatest things come from chance.
- Don’t forget about your physical self. Your body needs to be pushed and challenged.
- Don’t be weird.
You are not crazy, there are other people like you! You just need to find them. If so, my hand is raised, so feel free to heed some of my advice and reach out to me. Maybe we could start our own support group.
What would you add?