Image by: Steve Wilson
By Alexa Hughes
The “confidence factor” is a term used in business that can help you demand more of what you want. While more and more women are becoming entrepreneurs every single day, there is still a big gap in the numbers. In some countries women still hardly get involved from a leadership position at all. Often when women do run companies, they do not reach their full potential, which can be tracked by seeing what percentage of employees they specifically employ. It is no where near as high as with men business owners.
This news is nothing to be dismayed about, but rather a call to action to get more women educated in the world of entrepreneurship. Research has shown that women tend to doubt their ideas more often then men do, so having more training and exposure can really help to turn things around. Here are some ways you can support your own confidence factor in your business practices.
#1) Charge what You are Worth
Women are more likely to come out of the gate in an apologizing manner and charge fees lower than what they are actually worth. Of course when you are just getting a business off the ground the fees might be lower than further down the line, but they should not lower than your competition for no other reason than that you are lacking the confidence to ask for it. Your time, energy, commitment, and ideas are worth money and if you don’t ask for it good luck getting it.
Do not back away from your full potential by playing small and trying to make other people comfortable. If you are confident enough in your concept to start a business to begin with, embrace that amazing idea and then other people will too.
#2) Align Yourself with Leaders
Many people shy away from networking, and women in particular often cite the awkwardness of the process because it requires putting yourself out there and being a bit vulnerable. It also requires asking for things, whether it’s just a contact or some advice you could really use.
One thing to keep in mind with networking is that you don’t have to become best friends with each of the people that you connect with in the process. In reality it would be completely impossible to do so. This is one circumstance where it’s better to know more people at a more surface level than a couple people really well.
Seek out the leaders in your field who you relate to or who might know of opportunities for you. You never know, they might benefit from your help or advice as well.
#3) Be Okay with Saying No
Similar to women being more likely to undercharge for their services than men, women are also more likely to over say “yes” and pile up their plate. It’s always admirable to take on a full load of work, but you have to know where your priorities and boundaries are to be able to draw the line when people ask you for things. The fact that they are deferring to you means that you have something that they want, don’t mistake it for anything else.
You build your own power in business by being confident in the demand that you present and being comfortable with the fact that you just can’t do it all. This will free you up to take the opportunities that you really desire and you’ll see a fast change in the opportunities you get when you start raising your own bar a little higher.
#4) Be Authentic
Unfortunately, some studies have shown that women in business are seen in a more harsh light then men in business, because we as a society tend to perceive men in business as a natural role while women have to give up things or fight dirtier to get there. This of course, is not always true. You can’t change the opinions of people at large but you can always be authentic and the best version of yourself in business, you will forge lasting relationships and build your reputation in the industry.
Being authentic does not necessarily mean avoiding conflict either. It’s preferable when things go smoothly in life but as we all know sometimes things can get complicated. Remain open and honest in your communications and stay true to your plans, intuition, and vision.
Do you find these topics easy to own or challenging in your own experiences in business? Let us know your thoughts!