Women in the tech world frequently struggle with gender perceptions and discrimination. While many women want to start their own businesses to escape the traditional workplace and enjoy greater autonomy, many others are seeking to move up the ladder in their corporate positions to enjoy greater financial security. Whatever your goal, here are some tips to help you hit the ground running, overcome obstacles, and accomplish your career goals.
Don’t Let Financial Hurdles Stop You
Many women are dissuaded from starting their own business because of financial hurdles. However, there are several ways to become an entrepreneur without spending a fortune.
One option is to get your feet wet by trying out an e-commerce model of dropshipping. With a dropshipping business, you do not hold any inventory. Instead of sending items directly to your customers, you transfer your customer orders to the manufacturer or wholesaler who ships out the items. While you won’t need much of an investment to start dropshipping, you will need to find unique products, set up a mobile-friendly website, and learn digital marketing strategies.
When you’re putting together a website for your e-commerce business, you need to make sure it’s easy for your customers to use and, above all else, reliable and secure. Fortunately, there are many web hosting companies that cater to small businesses, allowing them to support their customers while keeping personal information and data safe. Additionally, look for a company that provides autoscaling, which will help control site activity if you experience a sudden surge in traffic. Many hosting companies also support WordPress, which will allow those without a lot of website experience to create engaging content without a lot of fuss.
When it comes to raising money for a startup, it’s not quite so simple. Research suggests that it can be more difficult for women to raise the capital needed to get a tech startup off the ground. According to Business News Daily, firms with female partners are more likely to invest in women-run startups, but this equals only 6 percent of U.S. firms. A small business loan may be a better way to acquire the funds you need. If you go this route, you have several options including SBA loans, a business line of credit, and invoice financing.
Overcome Social Expectations
Whether you’re running a startup or trying to get a promotion at work, it’s important to overcome social expectations that may be holding you back. Women are often led to believe they should be feminine and motherly, even in an office environment. It’s not unusual for women in the tech industry to hear they’re too emotional to do the work as well as men. While this is obviously false, these expectations can give women the impression they’re underqualified for their job.
One way to boost your confidence is by learning more about your job. Stay updated on recent developments in your field and broaden your knowledge of the technical components of your work. Ask yourself what you don’t know and work hard to fill these knowledge gaps.
If you want to take on a leadership role, you will have to move outside of your comfort zone. While some people find that leadership comes naturally, others find it takes time, though it is absolutely something that can be learned! Take classes, talk to your role models, and continuously reflect on ways you can improve. And remember, you don’t have to have all the answers — sometimes, the best way to learn is to make mistakes.
Make Sure You’re Taken Seriously
UC Today reports that 60 percent of women in tech feel that people don’t take them seriously. Women in the industry face problems trying to prove themselves and find this holds them back from going after promotions or better careers. Projecting confidence is one way to ensure your ideas are heard. Sadly, women are not as confident in their skills as men are, even if they have similar skill sets. So, even if you don’t feel confident, try some of these tricks to project confidence and improve your self-esteem.
- Stand tall
- Maintain eye contact while talking to others
- Speak up in meetings
- Initiate contact with others instead of waiting for people to come to you
- Avoid using filler phrases, such as “um” and “you know”
- Be persistent about your ideas
Going after your career goals can change your life in countless ways. If you’re not happy where you are right now, don’t settle. Starting up a tech business as a woman is becoming easier and easier as people are learning how to overcome their biases and celebrate women in leadership roles. In fact, the number of women entrepreneurs has increased by 114 percent in the last 20 years! Join this group of women and discover where your perseverance can take you.
Source: This article was a guest submission from Gloria Martinez of WomenLed.org.