This piece is for all the young ladies out there, who plan to start out on their own or have already joined the start up force. My company started as a ‘one woman’ army; however, we are today a team of ten with a couple of contractors and a business that is growing. In the years that I worked towards establishing the company, I learnt about ‘surviving instincts’ which have since then become bye laws for me.
Surviving Instinct #1
Stop calling and identifying yourself as a ’woman’ entrepreneur. Do not take pride in being branded ’rare breed’ by the press. The day you appreciate the title of ’woman’ entrepreneur, you have consciously made a different finish line and by default you are out of race.
Surviving Instinct #2
Stop thinking that it is difficult to hire a male candidate and to work with them. Most often we assume male employees come with bloated ego and may not accept a woman as the leader. Most people join start-ups only to add to skills, take up challenges and to work in informal environment. If you think you will not be able to manage men at work, it’s time you upgrade your leadership qualities.
Surviving Instinct # 3
Be fearless, speak your mind out, there is no specific rule for male or female in a business meeting. No one will ever give you a business because you a woman or no one will ever drop a deal because you are a woman. It’s all about the business you are involved in. Hence, focus on building the business and do not waste time and energy on who runs the business.
Surviving Instinct #4
Be that ‘deaf frog’ who hears nothing and is focused to climb the hill. Do not be bogged down by remarks such as “Life is tough for woman as an entrepreneur”, “Ah, it’s her hobby business, nothing serious!” After all, it was the corporate world that coined the word 'glass cliff' that means when a woman is appointed when male management fails!
Surviving Instinct #5
Stop being dependent- be it on your cofounder, team, family or your friends. Indian girls live in that extra protected cushioned environment since their childhood. But this protection is no less than a parasite. It will reduce your growth as a professional. Let people around you know that you are not dependent on them for completion of a chore, but you would appreciate their help.
Surviving Instinct #6
Emotional instability of women is a myth much projected by authors of fiction world. The fact is women are wired to be emotional and resilient beings. Use emotions in the form of 'emotional intelligence', instead of allowing yourself to be soft take hard calls, fast decisions and learn to say No. And use the power of resilience to bounce back each time you meet failure.
About the author:
Surabhi Dewra is Co-founder & CEO of MeraCareerGuide.Com and working towards helping India make informed career decisions. Her engineering degree brings in a strong tech understanding, where as her passion for education and counselling brings her close to the venture: MeraCareerGuide.Com
Apart from work she enjoys reading and writing short stories.