Thursday, October 18, 2012

The female breadwinners survival guide By Jenny Garrett

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*Struggling to balance a budding entrepreneurial business with being Mom?

*Torn between family commitments and work?

*Thrust into the role of breadwinner when your partner has been laid off, retired or become ill?

*Non-existent work life balance?

 
You are not alone, around 40% of women in the US are the breadwinner, and the number is growing. There’s been a lot of talk about the ‘End of Men’ and women being ‘The Richer Sex’, but it’s not all power suits and top jobs.

Rhonda, a successful businesswoman, working in a male dominated environment, with a child under one year old sums up the challenge of being the breadwinner eloquently:
“By being a working career woman or career mom, I’m trying to get the best out of both worlds. I’m trying to be true to who I am, not to who other people want me to be or what people think people I should be. And that is difficult”
Jenny Garrett, executive coach and author of Rocking Your Role, the ‘how to’ guide to success for female breadwinners, shares 10 essential survival tips from her experience of coaching hundreds of female breadwinners.
1. Check Your Ego
The combination of your role at work and being the breadwinner at home can become a heady cocktail intoxicating you into thinking that you are the only one who has something valid to say in your relationship. If you notice yourself thinking that your opinion is the only one matters because you’re the one holding the purse strings, it’s time to check your ego.

2. Drop the Superwoman Syndrome
Take off your superwoman cape. 
Listen and listen carefully, it’s OK not to be able to do it all. Repeat after me, it’s OK not to be able to do it all.
 Now say it out loud, it’s OK not to do be able to do it all.

3. Remember you always have a choice
Sometimes you don’t exactly choose to become the breadwinner, but you can choose your attitude to your situation. Take back control of your emotions.
4. Talk about money
Don’t let money be the elephant in the room, talk about money with your partner. Decide who manages money, how it’s managed and how you will make financial decisions.  Ensure you have two-way communication about finances, your relationship and your work.
5. Look after your spiritual, physical and mental well-being
You physical, mental and spiritual health are critical, investing in you now will avoid painful derailment of your work and family life later. Take time for you, it could be with dance classes, developing yourself through courses, dates with your partner or even full on retreats. My thing is meditation.
Do whatever restores balance, gives you space to breathe and let go of all the roles you play in life.
6. Ditch the Guilt 

Guilt will drain your energy and take away from the freedom you have to enjoy your life and time with loved ones. Trust that for others to be happy you don’t have to be unhappy. Think quality rather than quantity where time is concerned.
7. Recognise your interdependence 

The reality is that you are kidding yourself if you really think you are independent, as we are all interdependent. A complex web of support surrounds you to make your life work, so acknowledge it and notice what you need to keep this system healthy and thriving.
8. Maintain your femininity 

Being the main earner can make you feel like the man and woman of the house. You can need without being needy. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, cherished and looked after sometimes.
9. Celebrate and share with other woman 

The act of sharing your experience is a way for you to embrace other women who are also breadwinners; it’s an invaluable opportunity to learn from each other. Find ways to share your story.
10. Be aware of the legacy that you are leaving
You are creating the future. If you haven’t reflected on the legacy you leave, how you are a role model and influence others, this is a good time to start because how you choose to react to the role of breadwinner has a significant knock-on effect.
Let me know how you get on Rocking Your Role in life and work.
To learn more about Jenny Garrett at @JenniferGarrett

BOSS Entrepreneurs – Ready to take a walk on the “skinny branch” in 2013? By Malla Haridat

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As a women’s entrepreneurship coach, I am a big believer in setting goals and creating plans to execute on those goals.  But alongside the goals and plans, you have to be willing to step away from the day to day for brief periods and assess how the business is delivering against your long term vision.  What do you see for your company in the next 10, 20 years?  What are you doing to reach that goal?

It’s too easy to get bogged down in the day to day work and become comfortable with your current income.  I just spent a week with my bookkeeper to get several expense reports finalized.  (And I consider myself semi organized!  Lol)  When you have a steady stream of clients or customers, it’s a common trap to focus only on the “get done now” tasks.

Even if your sales are not where you desire, you can still get too focused on the daily work of finding immediate customers.  How often do you spend pitching to larger clients that require a ton of research, relationship building, and longer sales cycles?  What have you done to develop a long term marketing campaign rather than just maintaining your daily social media updates?  Are there new team members that you need to be identifying?  Where do you need to position yourself to meet them and attract them to your company?

I had a client recently recognize that she was too focused on working with her current client roster and missing the big picture.  She turned down a contract with an existing client for the opportunity to spend a few months brainstorming, creating, and planning for 2013.  As this is not a client who “has it like that”, I commended her for taking this bold step to turn down immediate income in the pursuit of asking tough questions about where she wants to be in the next ten - twenty years.  She recognizes she needs to take an honest look at her numbers and develop a new marketing plan as she is currently dependant on only a few clients.

I challenged her to think about a big strategic risk that would really challenge her.  Something that almost scares her to put on her list.  A big hairy audacious goal that would position her as an industry leader – not just another service provider and would make a major impact to her bottom line.  A stretch. Lisa Nichols calls it “taking a walk on the skinny branch” and it’s a habit that I think more women entrepreneurs need to adopt.

I’m hoping she’ll consider a rehaul of her website, speaking engagements, and other opportunities that will get her in front of her target market.

For myself, I will be implementing a public relations campaign as one of my top goals for 2013.  Sure it costs money and takes time out of my day to day.  It will cause all types of new opportunities….. and bring new challenges.  But I have examined those who are successful in their industry.  And guess what?  PR definitely is key.

Now it’s just figuring out how to fulfill on all of the opportunities that come my direction.
So let me offer this post as a challenge to you – take some time away from the day to day of your business.  Be creative.  Think about what goals you need to consider that will really stretch you.  Find a coach or mentor that will challenge your list –so that you know it’s a real stretch and you are not just coming up with a nice neat goal list from your prior years.

I’d love to hear what stretch goals you create.  Share your insights and thoughts!

For more information on Malla Haridat follow her at @MallaHaridat

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

FOCUS! By ReneƩ Lowe

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Nothing gets done when you don't do what the picture says huh?

Every now and then we all need to slow down and focus on one aspect of what we want to accomplish.  In the PR and media world, it's easy to get burned out over a short period of time and then nothing gets done at all! 

I am notorious for working on campaign projects, driving straight forward until they are complete.  I have several jobs to juggle and all of them require tons of attention, or they fall to the wayside. I see a PR opportunity in EVERYTHING! I laugh to myself, because it's pretty sickening actually.  I am a born business hustler and I cut straight to the chase, sometimes to the chagrin of some of my business partners. In the end, they know I am trustworthy and use a values-driven approach, so I guess you can say I get a pass. 

As women in communications, we don’t always have to be sweet as pie, but we must be professional.  Efficiency is the key, when a job needs to be done and a quota met.  We can listen to what others have to say, but we may not always agree with the other party. We must weed through the nuances of this business and make those tough calls.  We must be tough, but tactful.  A leader, but loving.  No-nonsense, but nurturing.  As a PR professional, tears cannot scare you or make you soft in the cockles of your heart...LOL!

Some may say that's cold, but I guess my approach is: Let's celebrate when the work is done  and the fruits of the labor are in front of us.  Here is an example: Have you ever attended a  wine harvest at the end of the growing season?  It is AMAZING! The growers literally celebrate the wine that was pressed from the grapes, as a result of a positive harvest.   There is nothing  wrong with acknowledging trials crossed along the way, but I have learned that you have to  stay FOCUSED on what you want ahead of you, simultaneously.  Think of it this way:  You are  running a race with hurdles that you need to jump over, would you stop to celebrate every time  you jumped over one of those hurdles? NO!  You would run and jump like your life depended  on it, making sure no one else could catch up to you.  Once you completed the race, you would  check your results and hopefully, you would be the winner!


As leading ladies in business, we need to keep in the loop of the latest technologies and what our competition is doing, but it must not be a distraction. FOCUS on your tasks and goals at hand.  When you keep changing your FOCUS with every new twist to keep up with the competition, nothing gets completed and projects begin to crumble.  We must prioritize what is most important in our companies and work towards those goals, because guess what? Those projects will still be there and they need us at 100%, not in burnout mode!  It's why race horses have blinders on, to stay FOCUSED at the race in front of them.  Being a leader in the communications world does not mean you take on every project that comes to you. It means you do the projects that you are strong in and delegate the others where you are weaker.  It's just smart business!

Will you have days that you can't take it anymore and shut down? YES! Will you agonize over the media campaigns piling up? YES! Will you give up on some projects and feel guilty?  YES!  It's all in how you get back up and deal with the tasks at hand.  Never act as if all is well, when it is not, you may be blocking an opportunity for help, before it is even presented.  You have to start somewhere; you can't go knocking on the big business doors and expect magic to happen when you have not proven yourself.  You must build a visible track record of success, and that takes time.  As BOSS Ladies, it is often easy to get caught up in being a Jill-of-all-trades, but I find that when I maintain my FOCUS, I become a true master of my business!

Follow Renee Lowe to learn more at