What not to do as a Female Entrepreneur
Advice from Joya Dass, former business news anchor, delivering live hourly reports from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for Bloomberg, CNN, ABC, CBS, NY1 News. She spent a career interviewing CEO's of Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. Today, Joya runs a global network for South Asian women executives and founders in New York City called LadyDrinks. She hosts fireside chats with women leaders to create teaching moments. Past speakers have included Misty Copeland, Payal Kadakia, the founder of Classpass, the CEO of Vimeo Anjali Sud, and the CEO of Diane von Furstenberg Sandra Campos.
1. Do not say you are sorry!
I see women profusely and perennially apologizing. A lot of "I am sorry, I just, I actually." There is all this language that proceeds an ask to take up less space. They are diminishing their ask before they even let it leave their mouth. I am sure this goes back to something being primal. Women only had likability as their most significant asset before they entered the workplace. I think they are continually looking to take up less space in the world. Apologizing for everything all the time is one way doing it, but you are undercutting your authority, and your ability to say what you are saying is important. If you can be mindful of it, you are doing yourself an excellent service. There is a Google Chrome extension that can monitor how many times you apologize and say that you are sorry. It will strike it out so that you can go back and edit your emails before you send them, and you can see how many times you apologize. For me, I would say I am sorry for not responding in 24 hours. I don't do that anymore. I am so mindful when I am about to apologize because, really, why am I apologizing?
2. Don't miss opportunities to find win-win relationships.
Women will walk into a networking event and make friends with people, but they don't think about the way that that relationship could be a win-win. Men will walk into a situation, and they are transactional. They are always looking for the win-win. Women think, "oh gosh, I don't want to bother her." The best example I have is I introduced a woman to a ghostwriter. Immediately she said that she would give me a referral fee for making that introduction. I thought, wow, what a savvy business person. Not only did she acknowledge that I made the referral, but she also remunerated me. So again, it was a win-win situation for both her and me. Now I am incentivized to send her people who want to get books ghostwritten by her. It behooves you to survey the area at an event to find who could you start to enlist as an ally from day one.
3. Create allies to help you advance.
Men invest in creating allies. Who is the person who is going to be my mentor? Who is going to look at me and say you need to cultivate this if you want to get that promotion or that next job? And who is going to be able to help me achieve a goal or get to the next level? When you occupy a seat somewhere, or you are about to take a job, it is not just about that job. It is about the whole ecosystem of your career that you are building. So you need to keep thinking about who is going to be that person that is going to take you to that next seat. It is not about the seat that you are currently occupying.
4. Don't expect to be noticed if you aren't singing your praises!
Women just put their heads down and work, thinking, "well, clearly somebody is going to notice my hard work." The fact is that they are not noticing if you are not your best advocate. I was on television; it doesn't get more visual than that. I would assume that my bosses would know all the hard work I was doing. I had a colleague who said that I was always remote, down at the NY stock exchange. He said you are not in the office getting the face time you need. Men are singing from the rooftops telling everybody about their accomplishments, even if they aren't even worthy of them. That it is a skill for women to cultivate.
5. Don't forget to step back to look at the big picture.
I think it is essential to sanction time to work on the business, not in the business. When you are first getting started, you are continually doing, doing, doing. And that is all tactical, but are you taking time to think about the strategic? I set some time on Sundays. That is my day of strategy. I am looking at my week and looking at what's coming up. I am thinking about the big picture.