Women in Business

Yesterday, I attended the 2018 ‘Women in Business’ Expo sponsored by the local joint Chamber of Commerce in my area.

Being a sparsely populated area, the attendance was about 100 woman (include a few brave men) — most who were either business owners or managers of local businesses.

Honestly, it’s been awhile since I’ve attended a community event like this.  I usually am just happy to do my thing online and interact with my ‘people’ on social media, but I was glad I went to this workshop.

I’ve been a ‘woman entrepreneur’ for a long time — nearly 20 years and never realized how much changed in those twenty years!

First, Wikipedia’s lists that around 30% of US firms are majority-owned by women. And ” Overall, 40 to 50 percent of all small businesses are owned by women in developing countries.”  That is phenomenal!

Back when I started my sales rep business, I ran into a few female sales reps, but a larger majority of them were men.  Even now, sales is heavily represented by men (although, a popcorn producer I met in the 1980s tried very hard to talk me into selling for him as, according to him, woman made better sales people!)

At the workshop, I was most impressed with the female Presbyterian minister keynote speaker.  Not only did she advocate for women in leadership positions, she talked about the unique perspective that a women can bring to a business setting.

Being a licensed Spiritual Practitioner myself, she caught my attention.  What she explained, that I did not consider myself, is women make excellent ministers (despite the male domination in this field) as well as counselors, coaches and mentors because women tend to be natural nurturer and relationship builders!  A much needed trait in today’s business world.

So, in honor of all women entrepreneurs (sorry men, bear with me on this), I would like to share the following quote by Amelia Gundersen-Herman from Entrepreneur Magazine:

On being a female ‘trep

“[My] most important piece of advice to any woman is don’t think about yourself just as a woman- you are not just a woman, you are a startup entrepreneur. That supersedes any other identity that you have… The minute you put another identity above that it becomes a limitation for yourself: limitation in your own mindset, and in your own perception of your abilities. If [entrepreneurship] is what you want to do, think of yourself first and foremost as an entrepreneur; not as your nationality, not your gender, nothing… Be brave. Go out there. Talk to people. Reach out to people on LinkedIn. Find mentors for yourself. Where I am today is a result of just being really audacious and very stubborn. For my early internships, I was sending companies 20 faxes in a week, and they would get so annoyed that they would contact me and say, ‘Why are you sending us so many faxes?’ I would say, ‘Because I want to do an internship with you guys,’ and they would be like ‘Alright, come over for an interview; we’re so fed up with all these faxes.’ So if you want something – go for it. Don’t be shy. Don’t be embarrassed. You are totally entitled to it.”

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What Motivates You?

Motivation comes from within not from outside.

Do you remember a time, when you were young, when your mother (or father) wanted you to do something you did not want to do?  What motivated you to do it?  Fear of disapproval or punishment?

When we are/were out in the workplace, what motivates us to do our job?  Not wanting to get fired?  Much the same that motivated us when we were a kid:  we want to avoid, on some level, a punishment or lack of reward.

As business owners and entrepreneurs, motivation is a key element in moving us forward in our business. Of course, the reward of generating an income motivates us, but is that all there is?

Within us all is the desire to express ourselves through what we create — to make our world a better place because of what and who we are.  We create to be remembered for something great and wonderful.  No one wants to be remembered for the person who lived a very boring uneventful life.

So if the motivation to create is behind so much of what we do, why then, do we have days where we barely drag ourselves out of bed.  Maybe because the work is too hard or could it be because we What Motivates You?don’t really believe in ourselves?

Motivation is the spark that sets everything in motion, whether it’s your day, your week, your project or your entire career.
~ Alyson Stanfield, Art Biz Coach

One of the greatest things that motivates me is learning to be thankful for what I have.  Okay, I know that sounds pretty simplistic, but think about it:  If you can find it within yourself to be grateful for the little things in life, you open the doors to see the bigger things ahead.  And, I don’t know about you, but I want to experience ‘the bigger things’ in my life!

There will be days where you might still be dragging yourself out of bed.  We all have days like that.  But if you can see beyond yourself and your circumstances for the moment, you can see all the good you can do in the world with your creations.

Maybe you still struggle with motivation and need help.  I get it!  I’ve been there!  Maybe your lack of motivation is due to an area where you are stuck.  I can help!

After working with hundreds of producers over the years, I understand the ins and outs of the retail/wholesale industry.  As a former retail store manager, a traveling sales rep, and a gourmet food producer, I see the problem from several different angles.

If you need help, I am here.  You can check out my 1-on-1 Wholesale Business Consulting and Coaching here! 

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Moving from Fear to Confidence

Dealing with fear seems to be a popular topic among many producers.  I know I have dealt with my share of fear in my business (Check out my article on Fear to Success).

There are many ways to deal with fear.  I like what Alyson Stanfield from the Art Biz Blog suggests in her article:Moving from Fear to Confidence

How to Project Confidence (Even If You Have to Fake It)

Confidence is one of the most collector-attractive qualities an artist can possess.

And, yet, doubt and fear are endemic in artists’ lives.

You are bound to go through peaks and valleys as you’re experimenting with your art and business decisions. I realize it’s a big ask, but try to be comfortable with the discomfort when it comes.

Use these six tips to project confidence even when you’re questioning your talent and place in the world.

Load up on experience. The best potion for exorcising fear and doubt is experience. Experience builds confidence 99x faster than walking on hot coals or loading your Kindle with self-help books….

Visualize the situation.  As you are preparing for an event such as an art opening, visualize how you want to show up. Imagine yourself firmly planted in the room, welcoming each guest with a firm handshake, and cherishing the eyes on your artwork….

Spiff up. A new outfit can do wonders for your esteem, as can painting your nails and shining your shoes. Or try a new hairdo. Yep, you guys can do this, too. Anything that improves your appearance will give you a boost.

Stand up straight. Don’t slouch in the back of the room. Pull your shoulders back, hold your head high, and introduce yourself to people.

Charm their pants off. Introducing yourself to strangers is a quick way to relieve any anxiety around an event with lots of people that you’d like to connect with. As you meet someone new, look them in the eye, smile, and call them by name. Repeat their name a couple of times as you’re speaking so you remember it….

Never belittle your work. Never apologize. When someone says something kind about your art, all you have to do is say Thank you. Don’t giggle and brush aside their compliment. Don’t look down at the floor and say, Aw shucks. Look them in the eye and express your gratitude.

Try these tips to see how much your confidence increases … and turns into more sales and income!

 

 

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How Do I Make More Money Selling Wholesale?

If you are not reaching the income level you want selling wholesale, there are several factors that may be creating your lack of success.

Following are some excellent tips from Claire at Indie Retail Academy

What do you need to do to make twice as much money from selling your work to shops?

Answer #1. Start selling more stuff.

Your brain has this radical idea that you’ll double your revenue if you “sell more items.” Crazy, right?

But hang on. Maybe there’s something stopping you from selling your work as effectively as possible.

Are you pitching your lovely thing to retailers on a regular basis? Are your product photos and descriptions laser-targeted to your particular customer? Do you know how to sell your work in a way that feels good, so you actually enjoy doing it?

If you’re laughing in a hollow kind of way right now, these How Do I Make More Money Selling Wholesale?are the things you need to fix if you want to double your income.

Answer #2. Stop leaving money on the table.

Your brain says some of the things you do cost you cash. It’s rather insistent on this point.

Maybe you’re not following up with the retailers you pitch to because you’re scared you’ll look pushy.

Maybe you’re not getting in touch with existing stockists when you have new items.

Maybe you’re wasting your time by sending submissions to the wrong stores.

Whatever you’re doing (or not doing,) your brain says you’d have a lot more money if you fixed this stuff. In fact, your brain says that if you sorted out these issues you’d probably do a lot better than simply doubling your revenue, because these kinds of solutions tend to stack up…

Answer #3. Stop thinking “I can’t do this.”

Okay, I think we just hit a nerve. Your brain wants me to be very clear about this.

You CAN make your business work in the way you want it to. You CAN make twice as much money, starting right now. You DON’T have to shrink your dreams and settle for what you can get.

If you know you need to work on your buyers’ pack, go do that. If you know you need to switch from consignment to getting paid upfront by stores, go do that. Fix what you know you need to fix.

I think what your brain is trying to say is:

You’re smarter and stronger than you think you are.

I agree with Claire:  We are much smarter and stronger than we think we are!  You can do this!!

 

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Fear to Success

Last week, I published an article on Dealing with Too Much Stress.  In the article, I looked at my own life and made the following statement, in regards to stress:

After observing myself over the years, I find that most of my stress starts with fear: Fear that I won’t get everything done in a timely manner; fear that I am going to ‘lose it’ if I don’t get my house and warehouse back in order; fear that the new project I am working on won’t sell ….

I suggested making lists of all that needed to be done and to work your list as needed.

But, I know that I’ve gone through periods where I was stressed to the Fear to Successpoint of fear and did not know where or how to proceed — or even make up a list of my priorities!  I am sure I am not the only one who goes through ‘breakdowns’ like this.

Breakdown or Breakthrough

My last ‘breakdown’ led to one of my greatest ‘breakthrough’ in several months. I spent some time in meditation and visioning and realized that working with people one on one or in small groups is what I love best!  How could I forget that?

Often when we are in the middle of a confusing time, we totally lose sight of who we are or what we want to impact the world.  I frequently feel this way during tax season.  Even though I worked as a bookkeeper for several years when I was younger, now it is my most dreaded job!!  So during tax time, I am so focused on getting our returns done, that I lose sight of what I really want to do with my business.  And, alas, stress over taxes turns into depression which turns into lack of productive action.

So my breakthrough came when I finished the taxes, but couldn’t seem to get motivated to work on my business.  Have you ever felt that way?  After a long talk with my husband, I realized that my inaction towards doing the things I loved was snowballing and causing depression.  Dumb, I know, but that was where I was at!

Now, after spending time in looking at my priorities and goals, I know I need to move forward on the projects I started last year (and didn’t finish due to holiday sales).

Taking action — no matter what the action is — towards your long-term goals is the best way I know to work out of fear and into success!

Now stay turned over the next weeks for an announcement about a new opportunity for you to grow your business!!

 

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