You hear it over and over again. You have to network to kick start your business and make it grow. Get out there and meet new people who share your determination and your hunger to drive your business to the next level. With so many events popping up in Facebook groups and Meetups, how can business networking benefit you and your unique business?
In an ambitious effort to bring international and Paris-based businesswomen together in Paris for an all-day conference, the Global Woman Club held its first business event last week. From owners of local start-ups to worldwide businesses, women of all backgrounds and ages gathered to share experiences and find common ground. Some were still frozen in their desire to create their own business, others were looking for the key to propel their ventures forward, while a few seized the unique moment, and the mic, to sell their expertise to a captivated audience.
As diverse as each or our needs were, there was a common insatiable desire to learn from one another. Here are six key lessons INSPIRELLE took away from the Global Woman Club Paris business event — and, to drive the point home, additional words of wisdom from international business leaders who have already turned their passion into a reality.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others
“Embrace what you don’t know, especially in the beginning, because what you don’t know can become your greatest asset. It ensures that you will absolutely be doing things different from everybody else.” (Sara Blakely, SPANX founder)
Believe in yourself and your service. If you continuously compare yourself to the competition or feel intimidated by the success of others, how can you ever expect to gain the confidence of a client? Observe, learn, but don’t underestimate your skills, talents and passion. Stay true to yourself to convey how unique your product is.
2. Don’t do it alone
“Get five or six of your smartest friends in a room and ask them to rate your idea.” (Mark Pincus, Zynga CEO)
Your business is your baby, but it doesn’t mean you don’t need anybody. Turn to people who can help you; avoid naysayers and meet new people who can offer fresh ideas and an infusion of energy. Find someone you can confide in who can help calm the nerves and listen to you. Isolation can cause confusion, panic, and depression. Seeking support eases the workload, opens the mind and creates dynamism.
3. Even coaches need coaches
“Get a mentor in the applicable field if you’re at all unsure of what you’re looking for.” (Kyle Bragger, Forrst founder)
Seeking out the counseling of someone who has been there and done it is one of the best and most efficient ways to avoid mistakes, hone in on what works and understand what your real assets and skills are. There are a plethora of coaches to help you speak, organize, structure, brand, and develop your business. Do your homework and find the person that you feel most comfortable with and who can offer exactly what you need.
Hiring a personal coach is a financial investment, which should help you jumpstart or unblock barriers to building your business.
4. Success comes in doses
“Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.” (Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO)
Love what you have chosen to do. That is your first major success and will drive you to nurture your business every step of the way. Embrace the challenges and know not everything works the way you want it to. If language is a barrier; start taking lessons and become bilingual. If cultural differences are a challenge, observe in order to learn to work in the new environment. If administration overwhelms you; take a deep breath, and assess what is needed to get it done properly. Don’t let an obstacle stop you dead in your tracks.
5. Make time for yourself.
“Take an hour a day for yourself.
Take a day a week for yourself.
Take a week a year for yourself.”
(Meicha Geohagen-Moguche, author and wellness coach)
How can that be possible when you’re frantically juggling work, family, and home, you ask? It’s 24/7 for each of those obligations, but if you don’t make the time to look after yourself you will burn out, and each of those duties that are so important to you will suffer.
If you’re happy, your world smiles with you.
6. Just do it!
“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” (Scott Belsky, Behance co-founder)
Of course, you need a business plan with a working calendar, but according to Global Woman founder Mirela Sula, we should all stop overthinking it and just do it! If Mirela hadn’t pushed herself to walk an hour from her tiny Albanian village, across a forest to the closest town, she would never have found a library to study and complete her university degree. If she hadn’t applied for her first job, she would never have landed a job as a journalist at Albania’s top women’s magazine. And if she hadn’t accepted a speaking engagement in China when she felt overwhelmed by its prospects, she would never have expanded her presence internationally.
Today, the author, international speaker, publisher, trainer and psychologist runs a global empire — including Global Woman and Migrant Woman magazines, and the Global Woman Club — to provide a platform for international women to speak up and promote themselves.
You won’t know what works until you try. It’s as simple as that. And, let’s not forget that female entrepreneurs have distinct advantages over their male counterparts. Women instinctively reach out to others, are masters of multitasking and protecting their babies… in this case, their startup business.
“Trust your instincts.” (Estee Lauder, Estee Lauder founder)