Tips for Spring Cleaning the Office

Last week was the first official day of Spring, a sign of new beginnings and blossoming possibilities. It is also a time to rid yourself of clutter throughout your workspace. Just like spring cleaning your home, start this spring season by eliminating disorder, disinfecting and re-organizing the office.

Don’t know where to start? Here are some suggestions to make the most out of your spring cleaning.

Work Zones

Start by figuring out what you want and need out of your workspace on a daily basis. Create zones accordingly, such as a storage area for supplies, a library area for research and your computer space. These don’t have to be large zones, but rather spaces to prioritize each of your jobs.

Tip: Keep only what you really need at arm’s length. Rid yourself of visual clutter.

All That Paper Work

Despite efforts to go paperless, a lot of business still deal with piles and piles of paperwork weekly. This can not only clutter your workspace but it can also make your workload look overwhelming. Opt for creating folders or bins that are labeled by project or by a daily task. Color coding can also help if the project is especially lengthy. Knowing what needs your immediate attention and what you need to accomplish every day can help you feel less stressed as well.

Desk Drawers

We all have that drawer that someone become the “junk drawer” over time. Most of the time this drawer is the catcher for things you don’t want to deal with or have cluttering your desk. Invest in an organizer that compartmentalizes all these bits and pieces like pens, paper clips, elastics, and tape. Go back every few months and keep it neat.

Email and Desktop Clutter

Email pile up for everyone and so do desktop icons on your computer. When you are in a rush to make a deadline, you aren’t too concerned about the organization of your files and emails. During spring cleaning, take the time to delete unneeded emails. Create folders in your Outlook by client or task. Clean up your desktop so that every time you turn on your computer, the first thing you see isn’t a sea of icons. This might take a little bit of time, but when you are done, you will be so happy you did.

Disinfect

They say that one of the dirtiest surfaces is your work keyboard. Dirt, fingerprints, and dust can build up over time on your mouse, phone, and monitor. Use disinfectant wipes to clean these areas weekly. According to Forbes.com, “three-quarters of workers say a clean office makes them more productive.”

 

Confident Body Language Tips for Success

We have all heard that confidence is the key to success. Studies have shown that those who appear more confident achieve higher status than their less confident peers. Appear is the key world here. If you feel that you lack confidence in some areas, working on your body language can actually make you appear more confident to others.

According to Barrie Davenport, author of Confidence Hacks: 99 Small Actions to Massively Boost Your Confidence understanding and managing body language boosts your confidence in two ways. “First, by managing your body language and sending appropriate signals in specific situations, you receive positive feedback and feel assured you aren’t sabotaging your own success or the perceptions of others….and more importantly, when you practice powerful, positive body language, you’re sending messages to your brain to reinforce positive, confident feelings.”

In other words, confident body language actually makes you feel more confident.

Here are some tips to for using body language to project confidence and credibility:

Posture

The first rule of appearing confident is your posture. Davenport says, “When standing you should be able to draw an imaginary straight line from your earlobe through your shoulder, hip, knee and the middle of your ankle.” Not only is good posture essential for keeping your bones and joints in proper alignment and avoiding back and neck pain, it also reflects a confident demeanor. Good posture is the key to looking self-assured.

By keeping your posture erect with shoulders back and head held high, you are telling the world that you are sure of yourself. Walking into a board meeting this way will send a message to your peers before you even open your mouth.

Engaged Body Language

Engaged body language involves using open gestures, smiling and nodding, and mirroring the expressions and movements of the other person. Mirroring body language is a way to bond and to build understanding. It truly is a powerful tool. Often times we don’t realize we are doing it. Make a mental note to practice this at your next business encounter and see if you notice any difference in the interactions between you and others.

Smile

Believe it or not, smiles have a powerful effect on us. They stimulate our own sense of well-being and can improve our health, stress levels, and our self-confidence. They relax our bodies and release endorphins that counteract with stress hormones. Smiling can also make you look more attractive and appear trustworthy.

With this in mind, smiling more often will not only benefit your own body but those around you. You want to not only appear strong and assertive but you want people to trust you as well. Practice smiling in the mirror and notice how your smile can make an impact on your presence.

Pitch of Your Voice

According to Forbes.com, “the quality of your voice can be a deciding factor in how you are perceived. Speakers with higher-pitched voices are judged to be less empathic, less powerful and more nervous than speakers with lower-pitched voices.”

Notice your own infections and how you are articulating your words when speaking in the workplace and on important phone calls. Since the sound of your voice is critical to how you are perceived by others, do your best to relax your voice to its optimal pitch.

Eye Contact

Strong eye contact is one of the greatest indicators of confidence. Even though some people were taught or raised in a culture where extended eye contact is inappropriate, most businesspeople from the U.S., Europe, and Australia all expect you to maintain eye contact 50-60% of the time. When you keep eye contact with the person you are talking to it indicates that you are focused and paying attention. It means that you are actually listening to what the person is saying and thus will have an appropriate response to follow.

If you feel uncomfortable, practice with someone you know like a friend or family member until you make it a daily habit.

Arms and Legs position

Sometimes when we are in an uncomfortable or in a vulnerable situation, we don’t know what to do with our arms or legs. Cross them or uncrossed them? Stand with our legs far apart or close together?

Carol Kinsey Goman of Forbes says, “When you stand with your feet close together, you can seem hesitant or unsure of what you are saying. But when you widen your stance, relax your knees and center your weight in your lower body, you look more “solid” and confident.”

Similarly with your arms, crossing them can suggest you are closed off, self-protective or defensive. To avoid this, pay attention to your body. Notice how you are feeling when your arms or legs are in a crossed position. What are you saying or what are others around you saying or doing? Focus instead on putting your hands on your lap when sitting or by your side when standing. Cross your legs at the knee, however, avoid crossing your arms at the same time.

The Hand Shake

Davenports says,” A firm, solid handshake is a universal sign of confidence, and everyone, including women, should have one.” It should be strong without crushing the other person’s hand and should also be accompanied with a few seconds of eye contact.

This sign of respect can give you and the person you are exchanging the handshake with, a boost of confidence.

Apparently, a lot of people feel inadequate about their handshaking abilities. In 2014, Bussiness Inquirer published an article saying that 70% of people don’t know how to give a proper handshake. Learning how to master this first impression is key to confident body language for success.

 

We hope you enjoyed these tips! Comment below with some of yours!

How to Stay Healthy With a Busy Schedule

We all know we should get enough sleep, make time to exercise and eat right. But if you’re like most entrepreneurs, chances are, you’re telling yourself that you don’t have the time.

However, staying healthy and feeling your best might be easier than you think. Here are our tips for keeping your health a priority while still sticking to your busy schedule.

Bring Meals to Work

Meal planning and eating right is probably your most difficult challenge. It is easier to grab a pre-packed granola bar than it is to make yourself a nutrient-rich breakfast. However, planning meals ahead of time will save you time, money and inches on your waist.

It’s only a hassle to do this the first week of starting the new routine. After that, it becomes second nature. Spend a few hours on the weekends cooking in bulk and preparing for your work week. Most foods will stay fresh in a Tupperware in the fridge for a few days. Also, don’t forget about the microwave! You can heat up frozen vegetables or meals you saved in the freezer. Just by dedicating an hour or two to bulk cooking and prepping can mean a world of difference.

Short, But Intense Workouts

Exercise is the first thing that we tend to delete from our schedules when our time is stretched too thin. However, if you don’t have a lot of time, you can get the most out of a workout by aiming for short but intense full-body workouts. This will burn more calories than training each body part individually. According to Pedro De Abreu on Virgin.com, “some simple ways to incorporate quick full-body exercises into your routine are installing a pull-up bar in your home, buying a jump rope, and doing burpees.” Research shows that exercise routines like high-intensity interval training are highly effective for burning fat and building muscle. And the best part is, you can do this anywhere.

Regulate Your Sleeping Patterns

Studies have shown that sleeping the recommended amount of seven to nine hours can increase productivity and is essential to your health. And if you can’t commit to maintaining this regular sleep pattern, research has shown that even a 15 to 20-minute nap will make you more alert. Make sleep a priority in your life, even if you have to schedule it in. Your body will thank you for it.

Hydration

Getting plenty of water throughout your day is extremely important. It helps keep you full, energized and extra focused. A healthy amount of H2O can also keep cold and sickness at bay. Eight glasses of water a day is the recommended amount to keep you feeling your best. Try keeping your water bottle on your desk to remind you to keep drinking.

Take Time Off When You Can

Vacations are important your mental and physical health. You may feel that you don’t have the time. However, taking a vacation and getting much-deserved time off will help you be healthier, happier, and more productive. No matter how jam-packed your schedule seems, book some down time. Take time to unwind and maybe even time away from Wi-Fi. Take time to just be.

Set Realistic Goals

Your wellbeing should be on top of your list of priorities. Neglecting your health is expensive and bad for productivity. Lack of sleep impairs your cognitive function and makes it harder for you to concentrate. Sacrificing your health for your job just doesn’t make sense in the long run. Set realistic goals for yourself so that you can actually accomplish them. If you work well with a written schedule, then pencil in when to drink your water, when to exercise and when to block off time to meal prep. It is all a matter of making your health a priority. Once you do this, you will find that despite your busy schedule, you still have time for you!

Marketing to Millennial Women

If you read our blog about millennials last month, you know that there are currently 80 million millennials in the U.S. with an annual buying power of over $600 billion. With a prediction of millennial spending power of $1.4 trillion in the next five years, it is not a stretch to say that women will hold at least half of this trillion-dollar bank.

With that being said, it would behoove your company or business to have a female-driven millennial marketing campaign in mind.

For some agencies, marketing to millennials can be intimidating. According to a NewsCred study, 30% of millennials flat-out refuse to read content that doesn’t either entertain or inform them, 60% will only share content that is thought-provoking and intelligent, and 70% share content that makes them laugh. That is a pretty tall order.

However, marketing to specifically millennial women might be a little easier. After all, since “70% of millennial women consider shopping to be entertainment,” you have ample opportunities to put your company in the line of fire. 

Here are some tips on how to get to know female millennials to make the most out of your marketing campaigns:

Great Personal

If you take anything away from this blog post, this is it. Millennials want you to get SPECIFIC. Part of the reason your marketing campaign isn’t working is because it’s too broad. Millennial women want to feel like their brands “get” them. Know your audience well, and create smaller segments or niches to make them feel like they have your full attention.

According to NewsCred, “Sephora is doing an amazing job with this by using their “Beauty Insider” in-store buyer rewards along with their customized skin tone-matching technique to target products to specific shoppers based on their previous purchases and coloring.” If you don’t have the technology to personalize your product this way, you can start by personalizing your emails. “That will give you on average a 26% higher open rate.”

According to NewsCred, “Sephora is doing an amazing job with this by using their “Beauty Insider” in-store buyer rewards along with their customized skin tone-matching technique to target products to specific shoppers based on their previous purchases and coloring.” If you don’t have the technology to personalize your product this way, you can start by personalizing your emails. “That will give you on average a 26% higher open rate.”

 

Social Media

Millennial women make up the majority on social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram. Both of these as well as Facebook and Twitter are fertile grounds for brands to grow awareness as well as click-throughs. To get female millennials to engage with your brand, create lots of opportunities for open communication: Get them talking about your product, commenting on and sharing posts and reviewing your products online. Find ways to be part of their ongoing research and dialogue by responding to comments. Create hashtags and giveaways. Optimize all your content for multiple devices, and make sure your content is shareable. And finally, use attractive photos and aesthetically pleasing graphics to coincide with your brand’s theme. Millennial women are attracted to beauty, and we look to create beauty in our surroundings. Naturally, they want products, services, and offerings that look and feel professional. 

Millennial women are attracted to beauty, and we look to create beauty in our surroundings. Naturally, they want products, services, and offerings that look and feel professional. 

 

Be Inspirational

If you want your brand to succeed, make it inspirational. This generation of Millenials believes they can change the world or at least make it a better place. They’re thinking big, optimistic of the future, and are looking to be inspired. 

According to YFS magazine,”think of your brand as a movement and work to build a platform for realizing your customers’ aspirations. The goal here is to align your product or service with a bigger idea that transcends any single transaction.”

 

Diversity

43% of millennial are not white, according to a 2014 Pew survey. Since authenticity and relevance are two of the most important factors for successful content marketing, marketers should be doing their best to reflect the diversity of this generation. This includes race, gender identity, sexual orientation, family makeup, body type, and cultural background. 

A great example of a company utilizing this approach to marketing is  Dove’s Real Beauty campaign. With a clear agenda in mind, Dove features women of all sizes, shapes, and races. They not only show the value of millennial women through this campaign, they also showcase the realistic variety of women’s bodies. Campaigns promoting self-love, diversity and embracing your natural body are embraced by millennial women because they have been void of them for so long. As I mentioned before, millennials want to be inspired. 

Tips for Balancing Work and Family Life

Work-life balance seems to be a common struggle for entrepreneurs and business workers, alike. In fact, according to a Harvard Business School survey, “94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week.” And according to Forbes.com,”nearly 20% of today’s workforce is a family caregiver during “off-work” hours.” Stress from an almost never-ending workday is damaging to your health, family, relationships, and overall happiness. And on top of that, it actually decreases your productivity.

Balancing work and your family life means something different to every individual, but there are ways to find the harmony between the two. Here are a few of our tips to help you harmonize both aspects of your life so that everyone is healthy and happy.

Scheduling

Kevin Kurse, Forbes.com contributor, wrote an article entitled, “Work-Life Balance: Tips From 24 Entrepreneurs Boiled Down To 1,” where he interviewed 24 leaders of start-ups and entrepreneurs, asking about their work and life balance. Out of all the tips and tricks, the most mentioned piece of advice was keeping a schedule. If you schedule time for work projects, shouldn’t you do that same for family and other areas of your life?

Kurse also says to schedule but don’t make a to-do list. Instead, put all your to-dos on your calendar. “If you want to have an amazing life, you have to be intentional about it. Your calendar is the plan for your time. And time equals life,” said Kurse.

Think about your top priorities and create block times on your calendar to accommodate them. Dinner with the family, going for a jog, date night with your significant other…treat all of these as you would a doctor appointment. You decide what means balance for you and create the life you want for yourself.

Unplug

Let’s face it. We are all glued to our phones. Whether for business or pleasure, your smartphone is as big of a distraction as it is a helpful tool. However, when it comes to working, it has also created expectations of constant accessibility. The workday never seems to end as co-workers and clients can have constant contact with you.

Instead, make quality time true quality time and turn your phone off. This act of self-control can actually make you a stronger person, as well as more present in your own life.  According to Robert Brooks, a professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and co-author of The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence and Personal Strength in Your Life,  “Resilient people feel a greater sense of control over their lives,” says Brooks. Inturn, reactive people have less control and are more prone to stress. If you have scheduled a time to hang out with your family, then be with your family, wholeheartedly.

Slow Down

You are no use to your company or your family if you are burnt out. Not only will you be tired, but your creativity will be greatly stunted, affecting your job performance.

Slow down. Stop striving for perfectionism and start aim for excellence instead.

Healthy Self-care 

Self-care is the kind of activity that yields big positive benefits from just a few simple acts. A bit of self-care each day boosts your physical and mental health, and your work performance, as well.

Make sure you are getting your basic needs:

  • At least seven hours of sleep a night
  • Eat healthy food and avoid junk food and excessive eating or drinking.
  • Exercise.

Among these basics, schedule in time to meditate. Short, meditative exercises like deep breathing or grounding your senses in your present surroundings, are great places to start. “The more you do these, the more you activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which calms everything down, (and) not just in the moment,” says Psychotherapist Bryan Robinson, author of the book Chained to the Desk. 

Although self-care isn’t complex, it can be difficult to practice. It may feel selfish at times, but you won’t be able to help those around you if you don’t care for yourself first. Whatever you do to care for yourself will maintain your positive energy and capacity to juggle work and family caregiving.

 

Comment below and let us know how you stay balanced!

 

7 Ways to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

Fear of public speaking is on the same list as fear of spiders and even death. We are all at least a little afraid to speak in front of a group of people. Whether it’s in a board meeting with your peers or on a stage in front of strangers, the fear is the same. But resisting public speaking engagements can hold an entrepreneur back since workshops, presentations, and pitches are a great way to network and gain support. With this in mind, here are some ways to improve your public speaking skills to get you out of your shell and into the spotlight.

1. Begin with the End in Mind

Like everything in business, you need to have your plan. Before you start working on your presentation, know your purpose. A great way to figure this out if you are struggling to articulate your main points is to ask yourself some focus questions. Such as:

  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • What impact do you want to have on your audience?
  • Are you looking to inform? Inspire? Persuade?

Knowing your ultimate purpose and the desired outcome will help you stay focused on the preparation process.

2. Simplify Your Message

You are probably where you are today because of the depth of knowledge in your field of expertise. With all the information you have floating around in your brain, it is difficult to know where to start. Your impulse might be to impart as much of your knowledge as you can to your audience. However, don’t do this! You will overwhelm or bore your audience with unneeded details. Plus, you will lose sight of your focus points. Convey a few powerful ideas that your audience will remember. Simplify your message to include only the information you want your listeners to walk away with.

3. Prepare and Practice

Practice makes perfect is a popular saying for a reason. It works!

Don’t just wing your presentation. Have a clear roadmap of what you are going to say and rehearse it. It also helps to practice speaking in front of another person. Whether it be your spouse, partner or co-worker, get comfortable with speaking your points out loud onto listening ears. They might be able to give you feedback on something that you may have missed practicing alone. Preparation will also allow you to avoid the nervousness associated with being not quite ready.

4. Memorize Concepts, Not Content

While you are preparing and practicing, a helpful tip is to memorize your concepts, not your content. If you have a lot of information you wish to convey to your audience, you might feel overwhelmed when it’s time to starting memorizing. Memorization can lead to sounding over-rehearsed and unnatural. Plus if you forget something, you are left in an awkward silence.

Instead, create bullet points of the content, stories, data and key takeaways that you want to get across in each part of your presentation. Then you will be able to speak naturally about them and give a more flexible presentation, which in turn will be engaging for your listeners.

5. Connect with the Audience

Your speaking engagement will be far more effective if it’s tailored to your specific audience. Spend time learning as much as possible about attendees and gear your speech accordingly. Remember you are on the podium for a reason. You are there to inform, not prove that you are smarter than everyone. By trying to impress your audience with your intellect, you create more distance and could come across as arrogant.The more connected the audience feels to you, the more they’ll pay attention to what you have to say.

6. Body Language

90% or more of communication is nonverbal. Your audience will read your facial expressions, the tone of your voice, the way you use your hands, how you stand and move. A warm, easy smile and calm body immediately tell the audience that you’re comfortable and confident. Pent-up energy can be the death of a powerful speech. If it helps, roam the front of the room or the stage to expend some of that energy. And when the speaker is comfortable, the audience is, too. This is also true is you aren’t comfortable! Practice your speech in front of the mirror and critic what your body language is emulating to others.

7. Let Your Passion Show

Passion is infectious and contagious. Your enthusiasm will also keep your audience engaged. People like seeing passion radiate from someone. It is inspiring and entertaining to watch. If you are truly passionate about what you are speaking about, don’t be afraid to show it. Keep your personality throughout your speech and your listeners will feel a connection to your words.

 

 

Overcoming Challenges Female Entrepreneurs Face

Entrepreneurship was once considered a man’s domain, but times are changing. According to 2015 data from the National Association of Women Business Owners, “more than 9 million U.S. firms are now owned by women, employing nearly 8 million people and generating $1.5 trillion in sales.” New York has far more women- owned businesses than other major cities in the United States. The finding of a study done by Capital One’s Future Edge initiative shows that “the number of women-owned businesses in New York between 2002 and 2012 grew by a colossal 65 percent or 45 new businesses every day. This added more than 56,000 jobs and $3 billion in payroll to the city’s economy.”

Although this is encouraging, women still face a set of challenges not typically shared by male entrepreneurs. Here is a list of 5 of those challenges with some tips on how to overcome them.

 

1. Defying social expectations

Women may feel as though they need to adopt a stereotypically “male” attitude toward business. Traits like being competitive, aggressive and sometimes overly harsh. But successful female CEOs believe that remaining true to yourself and finding your own voice are the keys to rising above preconceived expectations.

It might be difficult to walk into a crowded boardroom meeting and find that you can count the number of women in the room on one hand. It can be unnerving, to say the least.

Hilary Genga, founder, and CEO of Trunkettes says,”Be yourself and have confidence in who you are. You made it to where you are through hard work and perseverance, but most importantly, you’re there. Don’t conform yourself to a man’s idea of what a leader should look like.”

Don’t worry about this idea that you need to be aggressive. Clearly state what you want and need and be firm in your decision making.

“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Forty-eight percent of female founders report that a lack of available advisors and mentors limit their professional growth, according to Inc.

Knowing where to find the right support network isn’t always easy. Since the majority of the business world is dominated by men, it can be difficult to make the connections in certain business networks. After all, sometimes it’s not what you know; it’s who you know.

Make connections in other female-focused networks. According to businessnewsdaily.com, a few good places to start include women-focused networking events — such as Womancon, Women in Technology Summit and WIN Conferences— as well as online forums and groups created specifically for women in business, such as Ellevate Network.

There are also 100 women business centers located across the U.S. that run programs and training specifically design for women entrepreneurs.

“The way to achieve your own success is to be willing to help somebody else get it first.” -Iyanla Vanzant

Work life balance is a popular topic among entrepreneurs and anyone in business, regardless of gender. Mothers who start a business have to simultaneously run their families and their companies, which can be challenging and stressful.

Find your balance. Don’t beat yourself up over shortcomings on either front. Finding ways to devote time to business and family is the key to success. And know that you are a force that can handle anything!

“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.”- Michelle Obama

4. Limited access to funding

One contributing factor that explains why women founders attract less funding is the fact that of the top 20 most active venture capital firms in the city, just 11 percent of the investment teams are women. According to womensuccesscoaching.com, “Firms with a woman partner are more than twice as likely to invest in companies with a woman on the team, and more than three times more likely to invest in companies with women CEOs.”

But according to the Babson report, only 6 percent of U.S. firms are women-run startups.

A great way to overcome this issue is by working to get more female investors involved in supporting each other. Sponsoring and aiding in the growth of other female entrepreneurs companies can help build your network and find supportive investors. Women helping women is always a good thing.

“Support women on their way to the top. Trust that they will extend a hand to those who follow.” – Mariela Dabbah 

According to Babson College’s 2012 Global Entrepreneur Monitor, the fear of failure is the top concern of women who launch startups. Failure is a very real possibility in any business venture regardless of gender.

“You need to have massive failure to have massive success. You may need 100 ‘noes’ to get one ‘yes,’ but that one ‘yes’ will make you more successful tomorrow than you were today,” said Delia Passi, CEO of WomenCertified and founder of the Women’s Choice Award.

Work through the self-doubt and STOP comparing yourself to others. Work through this feeling of fear and harness that energy into motivation to work your hardest.

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” – Janet Fitch

Women’s History: The Rise of the Female Entrepreneur

Women’s History Month is a big deal for us at Media Partners. As a women-owned business, we want to see the triumph of female entrepreneurs and businesswomen everywhere. In honor of this historical month, we are spending the entirety of March posting blogs, articles, motivational posts and information centered around women in business and entrepreneurs.

Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981. Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week of  March 7, 1982, as “Women’s History Week.” Later, in 1987, Congress designated March the month to celebrate Women’s History for the entire country, after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project.

 

To show how far women in business have come, here is a look provided by National Women’s History Museum’s online exhibit. To see their full slideshow, click here!

This exhibit defines the term “entrepreneur” to refer to a woman who had an idea for a service or product and started a business of her own. American women have owned businesses as far back as colonial settlements.

Women did not historically use the word “entrepreneur” to describe their businesses until the late 1970s; before that, they called them “sidelines” or part-time projects and understood entrepreneurship to describe what men did.

But looking back, it is clear that women’s business ownership deserves a place in the broader history of entrepreneurship; hence the use of the term in this exhibit.

1910-1939

Up through the nineteenth century, women-owned businesses primarily included taverns and alehouses, millinery and retail shops, hotels, and brothels, and were often operated as a way to provide an income for women who found themselves without a breadwinning man. Business, then, was a way for a woman in potentially dire circumstances to provide for herself rather than become a social burden. 

From 1900 through 1929, Progressivism, feminism, consumerism and immigration all gave rise to a climate that was not only conducive to women’s entrepreneurship but also highly accepting of them. Like many women’s ventures at this time, their primary markets were typically other women, but New Women entrepreneurs often tinged their businesses with a sense of purpose beyond simple economics.

1940-1959 

World War II brought many women into the workforce, filling jobs so men could go off and fight. That same patriotic fervor also inspired many women to consider starting businesses of their own. The Boston Globe’s “women’s pages,” for example, featured Polly Webster’s column, “War Time Wife”, packed with tips for weathering the hardships of the war years—including how to generate income from home-based businesses. 

When World War II ended, women were pushed from wartime jobs for returning soldiers, and many went straight into businesses of their own.

 The Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs and state officials—first in New York and then nationwide—ran workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs with advice from trailblazers such as Elizabeth Arden and male business leaders. There were advice books and free pamphlets. Reader’s Digest included women among the winners of its 1946 competition for best business ideas. The press hailed women entrepreneurs for helping to rebuild the economy by increasing the number of women-owned businesses from 600,000 in 1945 to nearly 1 million by 1950. 

By the 1950s—the age of celebrated domesticity—the home became the new site of, and justification for, starting a business. Everywhere women turned, they received messages that home and family were their primary roles. But the baby boom and an assortment of new consumer goods—from cars to clothes to appliances—also meant that even middle-class families needed more cash. Women stepped up, often capitalizing on homemaking skills to build businesses. They defined their home-based businesses as part of being a good mother. 

1960-1979 

By the early 1960s, the changing social and cultural landscape provided new incentives for would-be women business owners. Divorce rates escalated during the 1960s and single mothers struggling to balance childrearing and their new roles as providers saw in business a possible solution. Women, like beauty maven Mary Kay Ash and advertising executive Mary Wells, started companies of their own as a way to assert their independence in the male world of business. 

The Civil Rights and women’s movements of the 1960s and 1970s brought a new sense of purpose and a language of rights and empowerment to women entrepreneurs. Nonetheless, the result was a change in the way women understood themselves and their ventures, seeking not just to start businesses but to be seen as equals in the world of enterprise.

Feminists founded businesses along movement principles, such as publishing ventures that would give voice to women’s words and perspectives, including the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, the Feminist Press, and Ms. Magazine. Women entrepreneurs also began to move beyond traditionally female categories and into previously male bastions of technology, metals, and finance.

1980-1999

By the 1980s, the hard work of the previous decades was paying off: women entrepreneurs like Martha Stewart and Vera Bradley…owned 25 percent of all US firms. What’s more, the public and politicians widely acknowledged that women entrepreneurs were a vital component of the nation’s economy. New initiatives, including how-to seminars and government programs, sought to ensure that women had the resources necessary to start and grow their businesses.

In 1988, urged on by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Congress passed The Women’s Business Ownership Act, which ended discrimination in lending, eliminated state laws that required married women to have a husband’s signature for all loans and gave women-owned businesses a chance to compete for lucrative government contracts.

2000-Present Day 

It’s been a bumpy ride for women entrepreneurs in the early 21st century: on the upside, their numbers continue to grow, and Key Bank, Goldman Sachs, and other institutions have increasingly launched financing initiatives targeted solely at would-be women entrepreneurs.

Technological innovation ramped up fast as the 1990s became the 2000s. That not only enabled women entrepreneurs to break into technology-based businesses in record numbers but also to use technology to start, run, promote and accelerate all types of companies. With faster and cheaper Internet, cloud and mobile technologies, women can manage a business from anywhere, with far less startup capital. 

But small and big, women’s ventures came to comprise 30 percent of all U.S. businesses—many of them today in categories that were once men’s alone. The lesson they teach is the power of possibilities and passion for transforming lives.

The next century promises to be even brighter for women’s entrepreneurship. 

 

 

Cold Call Tips and Tricks

Cold calling is challenging, but it doesn’t need to be something that’s feared. Even in a world of ever-evolving technology and multiple ways to contact potential clients, cold calling still remains one of the most cost-effective ways to reach new customers. Like any skill, cold calling takes some time to master.

It involves a lot of preparation, research and evaluating your approach. Thanks to social media and online databases, salespeople have the power to conduct pre-call research and learn important details about a lead before picking up the phone. This is extremely helpful, however, it isn’t the only step to mastering a cold call.

Here are some tips and helpful hints to keep in mind when making contact with potential customers:

Attitude is Everything

Your attitude affects all areas of your life. Even sales. Before you pick up the phone, you need to have the right attitude. Give yourself a pep talk. Stand up tall and make the call.

Be Persistent

You’ve got to be willing to keep calling people back again and again until you reach them and they are willing to speak with you. Adopt a mentality that won’t quit. The prospect will see (or hear rather) your dedication and commitment and could be more receptive to your call.

Believe in Your Product

At the risk of sounding robotic or unconvincing, you need to believe in the product you are selling. Your passion will come through in your voice and can be contagious to whomever you are speaking to. You also have to believe that your product has the best value. Convince yourself that even if your price tag is higher than the competitors, it is still the best value. If you convince yourself and tailor your pitch accordingly, you can convince your prospect as well.

Respect Your Prospects

Treat everyone with respect. After multiple calls in a row and a number of rejects, it can be difficult to keep your morale up. However, you need to start fresh with every call and treat each new prospect with respect and as if it is your first call of the day. Respect goes a long way!

Diversify

Never depend on one call. As Grant Cardone says from InsideSales.com, “Disappointment and rejection are not emotions, they’re indications that your model is broken and you don’t have enough business going on.” So don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You need a lot of calls to be successful. Don’t give up!