Written by: Kelisha Mills, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
For the past few months, I have been thinking a lot about my 13 years of experience as a female entrepreneur. It can be easy to discount my many accomplishments; academically, mentally, physically, and spiritually. And that's what most women do. We discount ourselves and don't take the time to acknowledge and detail our value. That's also why we leave so much money on the table.
I have watched my peers leave money on the table because they don't know their value and worth as a woman entrepreneur. They don't understand that their value goes beyond just what's listed on their resume. The value goes much deeper than just an income history, title, or accomplishments. The value of a woman entrepreneur is tied to how she has persevered and thrived, despite the odds stacked against her.
Today, I want to talk about understanding your value as a woman entrepreneur. It's important to know your value to make good business decisions about compensation, benefits, and negotiations. The focus should be on how you can continue to make money for yourself and your business so that you can continue to expand into new markets and increase profitability with each venture. There's no better time than right now to be a female entrepreneur. You don't have to wait for a recession or economic downturn to have the ability and opportunity to be the woman of your business dreams.
It's important to know what you bring into a business venture. Unfortunately, many women entrepreneurs are trying to change their value by trying on new hats: CEO, CFO, etc... This doesn't work because you aren't changing your worth or changing your value as a human being who needs her dollars. You can't add dollar signs to your resume once you have it.
As a woman entrepreneur, your value is constantly being debated. Are you good enough? Too ambitious? Not ambitious enough? There are many judgments made about your value without you even being present. For women entrepreneurs, it's vital to have our stories told so that we can stand on our own two feet. If successful women entrepreneurs can redefine what success means, it will spread to other women looking for their success versions. As women entrepreneurs, we have a lot of internalized shame about being weak, dependent, and unworthy. These self-defense mechanisms are powerful because when we confront them, we feel exposed and vulnerable. We internalize the idea that we are not strong enough or smart enough or able enough to run our own lives, even though we know it's simply not true.
Some attributes that make up a woman's worth as an entrepreneur are hard work, perseverance, creativity, ambition, a drive to succeed, and so much more. The question we should be asking ourselves is not which attributes a woman should possess but rather how we can best use our gifts as women entrepreneurs. It is essential that we look at the work that makes each woman an entrepreneur, not simply what she does after being born into the business world.
Your value as a woman entrepreneur is a combination of strengths and weaknesses that define who you are as a person. The people around you influence whether you're viewed as an attractive option for a job or promotion. The way you conduct yourself at work and in the community affects the perceptions of others toward you. Even how often you appear in public can influence how your clients perceive you.
Your value is what makes you valuable. When you become an entrepreneur, the changes in your life that bring value are often profound. This starts with recognizing your unique profile of abilities and strengths. Then use that information to determine how much you're worth to your prospective customers, clients, and investors. There's no right or wrong answer to this question, but I guarantee you, your value is high!
There have always been advantages associated with being a woman in business and entrepreneurship. But, as we gain more exposure and opportunities for leadership roles in various industries, there are additional benefits that we should consider and celebrate alongside those inherent in being a “woman.”
I would suggest starting with understanding your strengths. Consider taking the Clifton Strengths Finder Assessment and use the results to maximize your potential at work, in your business, and everywhere else.
Kelisha Mills, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Kelisha Mills is a wife, mom of 4, author, speaker, and Entrepreneur (BSc. Entrepreneurship) for over 13 years. Kelisha specializes in life makeovers for mom entrepreneurs, helping them gain the clarity and confidence they need to find symmetry to run a successful business and have quality time with their families.