5 Things To Know From Top Women In Leadership
History is being written as women in Iran take center stage, protesting one of the mainstays of the country’s mandates: the hijab. For some, the hijab is a symbol of oppression, for others, it’s a symbol of religious commitment. Nonetheless, it’s historical times like these that serve as catalysts for the women’s rights movement.
In the United States, women remain a powerful force in the economy. We own more than 11.6 million firms, employ almost 9 million people, and generate $1.7 trillion (2017). In fact, recent statistics show that women-owned businesses make up 49% of all businesses in the U.S. in three primary sectors: service- based businesses, social assistance, and healthcare. Thankfully, entrepreneurship gives women the opportunity to bridge the wage gap. Women are competing for the same side hustle businesses as men, and they’re crushing it. We’re all meant to lead in one way or another. Here’s advice from some of the best girl bosses out there.
1. What’s the best leadership advice you’ve ever received?
Some of the best leadership advice comes from parents and mentors. Dr. Neeta Bhushan, co-founder of Global Grit Institute and Dharma Coaching Institute said her dad used to tell her to “fail fast.” He taught his daughter that failing was the first step in learning, and this mindset gave her permission to enter into experimentation– not perfectionism– with her career. This is part of stepping into your own power as a leader. Without being able to lead or influence yourself, how can you lead others?
This is exactly what Silvy Khoucasian, former CSI Miami actress turned relationship coach has to offer. She believes: “Values are like a compass. They will ground and anchor the work you do.” She encourages entrepreneurs to create a strong set of values to use as a guide when making business decisions – you need to be guided by a strong set of values to fuel the decisions you’ll make that will, hopefully, influence others.
2. Do you have any words of wisdom for an entrepreneur getting started?
Incredible advice comes from Dr. Lanna, owner of Doctor Lanna Aesthetics, first-generation Chinese immigrant, and stellar doctor. She graduated from Brown University before specializing in sexual dysfunction, and now runs a highly successful medical aesthetics practice in Manhattan. She shares that “people will always remember how amazing you make them feel.” And with that advice, she encourages business owners to be authentic and “put yourself out there.”
This means you’ll have to embrace the moments when things don’t go quite as planned, it’s those moments that build resilience. Iman Oubou, owner of SWAAY “where women own the conversation” and author of The Glass Ledge reminds us that asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. Ebony Rafaeli, an LCSW based in Manhattan, NY, teaches us that business is a combination of multiple sub-disciplines. You cannot possibly master all of those – that’s the importance of asking for help … which leads us to time management.
3. What is the biggest lesson you’ve had to learn in business?
All the women touched on time management in one way or another, reminding us that we only have so much time in our day. That means learning to say “no,” not only to things that drain your time, but to ideas that no longer serve you. You can have an amazing idea, but it just bombs. It doesn’t mean you need to resurrect it. Don’t buy into the theory of sunken cost– know when it’s time to walk away and move onto one of your other great ideas! As entrepreneurs, you’re going to fail. Knowing when to let go – say “no” to an idea that isn’t working – is the cornerstone to success.
Oubou also recommends going against conventional wisdom when starting a business: “Avoid spending money (when you can).” She says that while some businesses require a capital investment upfront, in today’s world, many do not. And if you can get away with it, don’t spend extra money in areas you don’t need to. She firmly advocates against the irresponsible advice that you need to spend money to make money. Oubou shares that if you can build a lean business solution that values and serves your customer, it also empowers your potential.
And Silvy reminds us that we need to find the place that rejuvenates us. For Silvy, that’s spaciousness in her schedule… To get there, she established clear boundaries and strong command of the word no. For others, that “spaciousness” may look like trips to the beach, alone time reading a book, you name it! It’s key to understand what you need to stay creative. Ask yourself: when have you been the most creative? What was going in your life that empowered you at that time? Create more of that!
4. What is your favorite way to expand your brand – what was successful for you?
Partnerships, collaborations, and mentoring top the list. Bhushan says she likes to attend conferences where she’s the “smallest fish,” which helps her take massive leaps to expand into her next level, creating the next version of herself in her business. Of course, each of the women interviewed stressed that social media gives you the most bang for your buck, but they also cautioned budding entrepreneurs that to be successful, you need to be consistent on your social media by always delivering high-value content posts that build relationships.
Ophira Edut, co-founder of AstroStyle.com, coined the acronym PEEPS (with her twin and co-owner, Tali Edut). PEEPS stands for Profitability, Energy expenditure, Exposure to a premium audience, Production time, and Support staff needed. She admits it’s a mouthful, but it guides their decision-making process when it comes to building their brand and offerings. For the two of them, anything they’re considering needs to pass all five parts of the PEEPS test.
5. Do you have a self-love ritual?
Everyone has their own self-love ritual, including self-pampering in hot baths or at the spa. For Edut, she follows the “tend and befriend” principle. She meets a friend for coffee, invites someone for a home-cooked meal, sings karaoke, or cuddles with her dachshund. For her it’s about refueling the bonding experience, what she calls vitamin O (oxytocin). For those who don’t know, oxytocin is the hormone that fosters the bond between mom and baby during breastfeeding. According to research at Harvard Medical School, oxytocin can help us bond with loved ones through touch, music, and exercise.
Khoucasian connects with nature. Dr. Lanna indulges in the services she offers. Rafaeli employs the look-good, feel-good principle. Each of these amazing and powerful women leaders acknowledge in one way or another that self-care is critical to their success.
Bhushan shares her spacious remedy: Make a cup of tea, draw a bath with rose petals, salts, bubbles, essential oils, and my journal. And record a voice note of gratitude for yourself highlighting what went right, what you have to celebrate, and what you need to let go of.
This may seem like a lot at the end of the day, but what a way to acknowledge the beautiful person that’s you! And, according to research, gratitude is a way of acknowledging the goodness in your life, which might just make you happier in the process!