Though I hail from a family of entrepreneurs, joining the startup bandwagon was nothing less than defying traditions and norms. Every aunt I knew advised me against running behind companies and asked me to settle down, and I never knew what settling down meant. The only settling down I knew was that of the sand grains that settled down at the bottom of the river to become sedimentary rocks.
This post is my experience and learning from the last 4 years of my entrepreneurial journey and as I began jotting down points at the back of my mind, I felt any women, entrepreneur or otherwise, would be able to relate to it. Clichés like confidence, strength and yada yada are not on my list of ten things to have, because the fact that you started up is enough evidence that you are a strong and confident woman.
1. A good planner
Invest in a good planner. Doesn’t matter how smart our smart phones are, I always swear by investing in a good planner. A planner will ensure that you don’t schedule interviews on the same day your gang of girls is catching up for lunch. It also tells you the days when you have important meetings/meet ups scheduled so that you can be dressed in your best.
2. Separate compartments for family and work
This one seems stupid and impossible at first but is really doable when you start practicing it. When you are with family, don’t keep checking your phone for emails and vice versa at work. This will ensure more productivity and also will help you in doing justice to the people around you.
3.Ability to delegate
A lot of startups fail when the founder wants to do everything by himself/herself. Similarly, by wanting to do everything at home you will only end up adding to your stress. Delegate work , not just in your office but even at your home. Ask your family to help you with tasks like groceries, cleaning up the home or running errands.
4.Guilt free conscience
Feeling guilty is an inherent characteristic of every woman and sometimes I feel there is a some particular gene that is responsible for this. We women tend to feel guilty about everything, right from not being able to make it to every family gathering to not being able to close that business deal. Its time we give ourselves a break from it because guilt is very counter-productive and makes you feel helpless.
5.A BFF to confide and breakdown with
You don’t have to pretend that everything is rosy just because you are called a strong woman. It’s ok to breakdown. It does wonders to confide and breakdown with your BFF as to how chaotic and stressful your life is. Purge it out of your system. You will feel free and relieved when you wake up the next morning. Having a support system in the form of a girls gang is a blessing. If you don’t have time to catch up during the day, have a pajama party.
6.A pair of good footwear
The first thing someone notices in the opposite person is their feet/shoes. And shoes reveal a lot about personality types. There are loads and loads of studies supporting the previous two statements. I mean we all know that we shouldn’t judge a person that way but first impressions are the best impressions. And because we are women entrepreneurs who cannot afford time for the luxury of pedicures, I would always recommend investing in a pair of closed comfortable shoes. I personally love nude pumps. They go with every look.
Take off from work and family at least for a day once in maybe 6 months, or a year , or depending on how often you need to. But do take off! Taking a break from the monotony does good for you and your business. Spend the day all by yourself. Pamper yourself at a spa, read a book or simply go for a drive. Detox is the mantra.
8.Five quick fix dinner recipes
Have at least five quick fix dinner recipes. Memorize them. Or write them down somewhere. Build your expertise in whipping these delicacies. Don’t spend too much time in the kitchen on weekdays. Instead spend that extra time with the family.
9.Financial goals and investment plans
I am a strong advocate of financial independence for women. A little savings can always account for unplanned emergencies. A lot of us will not be able to draw salaries for the first few years. But even during those few years, try doing business the ‘baniya’ way by making sure you remove and save a portion of the income.
10.Support for the sisterhood
“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women”
Who else can relate and connect to your problems than a fellow women entrepreneur? And vice versa. Just like energy, opportunities are boundless. It’s not like the next person will steal your opportunity. We can all evolve and reach the top by working together and supporting each other.
And during the journey, you will always encounter a lot of people who will not agree with you, and will criticize everything you do. Have the gumption and guts to give it back to them or simply ignore them. Learn to say ‘No’ when you have to, doesn’t matter if it is a client or a friend.