Hi Guys and a happy Thursday to you! All is well in Sana’s household and I am having those wee early mornings where I wake up, can’t go back to sleep, and start work instead. Working from home aka multitasking from home has made me more productive than I ever could imagine. I do recognize that going to an office gives you more discipline, but working from home breaks down time barriers and you overwork yourself sometimes. Well, that hyper-productivity has led me to complete goals and plan to the nitty-gritty what I want to achieve in life. So it’s a win-win situation here.
Also, today is International Women’s Day! It is nice to be celebrated regardless of whether you are a daughter, a wife, a mother, or someone special to someone. It would be fun to read, hear, and watch all the women being celebrated around the world for their work, and no doubt inspiring. I wanted to do something geared towards them today on the blog, and although anyone can benefit from the content, I would really encourage women to read and learn from what I have to say. So here goes…
Women investors are a handful even in the likes of Silicon Valley, California, where there are women engineers, programmers, and managers working in companies. I have attended a couple of conferences where I learned that conditions in companies and business environments are still not conducive to a woman’s success, even powerful women like venture capitalists. Some startups (I am using this word generically for all sorts of businesses) don’t feel safe when a woman wants to invest in their ventures or they have a difficult time finding investors for their startups. And the sad truth is that women are just as innovative, creative, smart as their male counterparts. So what gives?
I think, first of all, there is a serious lack of mentorship available for women-not just the kind that gives their vision some structure, but those who will encourage them through the process of growing a company or a business. Startups of any kind are A LOT OF WORK and the sad reality is most women choose to have a man as a co-something whenever they attempt a new venture as an investor or a CEO. Being a pioneer or a trailblazer requires a lot of hard work and patience, so work on changing the culture and attitude towards women in these areas first. Be vocal, be innovative, really help and guide people on a small and large-scale, let time run its course, and meet all obstacles with a steadfast attitude. These are the basics required for any type of success. So start now.
Then comes women’s attitude. I think we have WAY moved past the time when women were thought to be lazy or seen as “blamers”. But we still need to change our attitude about somethings. Instead of thinking that women entrepreneurs can only create in philanthropy or fashion, expand your innovation to other areas still saturated by men like technology, medicine, and even space travel (See HERE). Write down your vision first. What change do you want to make in the world? And then write out a detailed 5-year plan and a 10-year (see below) that can be tweaked as new unforeseen developments occur. Get a mentor such as your boss or a manager (or a father with experience?) to help guide you. Try to involve as many women in the legal process of your new venture. Why? You will feel more comfortable and they will be more attuned to your needs. There is no shame in this. Lastly, work hard!
If you are an investor, then there are some tried-and-true approaches to investing. Remember as an investor of a startup you will be a mentor, in addition to their boss. However, if you want to invest in an established company (or their product), there are other aspects that can help you decide whether to move forward or not. When looking to invest in a company (or its product), look at the company culture. Visit their building, meet their employees, their managers, and obviously those running the company. This will help you decide if you can actually work with them. Then the next step is to look at the company (or their product) from a scalability point of view. What is the current market need and where are there gaps? How does this company or product fulfill that need? Are there similar companies and products that are better? Etc. Then the future comes into the question. Does this company or product have what it takes to go into the future and make you money? Can something be tweaked if needed according to consumer needs? Etc.
If you are wondering where to direct your attention (and career) towards, then look into biotechnology, green technology, investments in programs for youth such as job training and education. If you really want to focus on a need, how about doing something for at-risk youth? The opportunities are endless; all you need is determination, creativity, and hard work.
Check THIS website out if you are wondering where to start. When I taught, I had my students do this on the first day of school and before starting any project–goals! They were required to make reading goals, writing goals, you name it! And I will ask you to do the same. Write down your vision and your goals in a 5-year plan and then a 10-year plan. Start with: “I want to do/accomplish this in 5 years” and then write down steps to get there. Write down tangible steps, not things like “I will work hard” or “I will be creative”. Instead, ask yourself, how I can show that I am making progress towards my goal. Things like “I am going to invest in something that helps people” or “I am going to get into college” or whatever. And then do the same with your 10-year plan.
So ladies (and gentlemen), I hope I have given you some ideas on styling your venturing or entrepreneurial career. Happy Stylin!