As young girls, we are often told how to walk, talk and behave. As mothers, we are expected to manage everything from childcare, career, and even postpartum depression without complaining. As working women, entrepreneurs, and mumpreneurs, the expectations are also high.
All these also come with unconscious gender bias, judgement and unsolicited advice. It certainly is not an easy road to the top.
In this journey of entrepreneurship, women find mentors and people whose advice makes the road easier to navigate.
In this context, five women entrepreneurs share some of the best advice they have ever received.
Don’t let anyone bully you
Meghna Saraogi the Founder of StyleDotMe, says:
“In my entrepreneurial journey, I have received really valuable advice and while I can’t share them all, here are three - never let anyone bully you. Be strong and face every situation fiercely with grace and dignity. Appreciate what you have built, protect it and be proud of it.
"Young women can come across as very sweet and likeable and this attitude can be taken for granted. It is important to come across as a strong person without being snobbish or rude where people look up to you for your work, vision and passion irrespective of gender.
"It's extremely important to have people in life without any agenda so that you can share things with them without having the fear of being judged and get unbiased advice.”
Focus on solving one problem at a time
Ghazal Alagh, Co-founder of Mamaearth, says:
"By virtue of being a woman, we are always occupied with multiple tasks and the inability to focus single-handedly on something intensifies if you are also a mother.
"Being a mumpreneur, I have handled two growing babies and the best advice I have received in my entrepreneurial journey is to maintain focus on solving one problem at a time.
"It’s not uncommon to lose focus while you strive to strike a balance between your business and home, but what ultimately matters is your ability to bounce back and stay focused on achieving your goal."
Meritocracy and inclusivity can go hand in hand
Pallavi Agarwal, Co-founder and CEO of goStops, says:
"Building a balanced organisation, with equal growth opportunities and equal responsibilities, for all genders is something I strive to achieve every day. We still have more men in our operations team and we are trying our best to balance that ratio.
"The best advice I have received in this regard is to continue trying to build a balanced and equitable organisation while never losing sight of meritocracy. Everyone in our organisation faces the same challenges and they have to deliver, irrespective of gender.
"However, we do have measures to ensure we provide a safe workplace to all our employees, especially women by planning their shift timings accordingly and ensuring POSH implementation. The biggest challenge women in our country face is the constant tug of war between pursuing a career and being there for the family. We are trying to ensure that both men and women can pursue their careers seriously while balancing the needs of their families."
Ask yourself the right questions
Swathi Bavanaka, - Co-founder & COO, Evibe.in, says:
"In my view, great advisers do not tell you what to do; instead, they ask tough questions that will make you think hard and arrive at a solution - they can only be a catalyst.
"You are the best person to decide what is best for you as only you can understand all the “ins and outs”. A few years ago, when I decided to quit my job and become a teacher in a Government school to create an impact in my own way, my eldest sister Swapna Bavanaka asked me tough questions to help me understand what would be in store.
"It made me think deeper and realise I can create a bigger impact; hence, I chose entrepreneurship."
Prioritise, focus, repeat
Meeta Sharma Gupta, the Founder of Shumee, says:
"Being an entrepreneur is a tough journey and being a woman entrepreneur adds another layer of complexity due to the additional roles a woman needs to play. The best advice I have received is to keep your focus and learn how to prioritise stuff and not expect perfection at every stage.
"Another advice, which has helped me and is true for everyone is that one has to ride the waves and not against the waves. Nothing is in one’s control and one needs to trust one’s gut in the process.
"There should be a little flexibility in you to ride the waves; being too rigid about things may not be the best solution at many times. And finally, in all this, remember that the journey is to be enjoyed no matter what the destination is."
What is the best advice that you have received as an entrepreneur? Let us know in the comments section below.
(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)
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