Being a boss woman isn't easy and the race to the top is filled with many obstacles but with women being the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in America, it's safe to say that obstacles and barriers are just a small part of the game. I recently spoke to 10 amazingly ambitious women about some of the challenges they had to overcome on their journey to success and what those challenges taught them.
Social Media and Marketing Specialist at @Socedo
"Nobody should ever look back and wonder what if."
One of the hardest thing I've had to overcome in my career is being able to speak up for myself and to not let others step all over me, even if they're in a higher position. Being fresh out of college (graduated last June), I was new in this industry so I wasn't as confident. I just did what I was told and after a while I realized I wasn't happy. I didn't feel valued which made work dreadful. I hated that.
Social media to me isn't just a place for fun. I firmly believe that people can use these platforms to generate business. I knew I had experience/talent with social and I wanted to show it, not let someone do the work for me. So how did I overcome it? I talked to an experienced friend in the industry, took notes, set up a meeting and said how I felt. I didn't know what the outcome was going to be, but I'd rather be honest than to sit there in misery. Luckily, I didn't get fired and I was heard clearly. I wasn't scared anymore and I knew that I was valued in the company.
Nobody knows you better than you. People can't read minds and know exactly how you're feeling. In order to enjoy what you do, you must take initiative, go after it and be the change you wish to seek.
2. Qori Broaster (@SoundsLikeCOREY)
Freelance Graphic Designer www.HelloQori.com
Not all those who wander are lost" - J.J.R Tolkien
The absolute hardest thing I've had to overcome thus far was my fear of failure. I was most recently working full-time in retail management and while it was I job that I enjoyed for the most part, it was stopping me from really fulfilling my dreams. My fear of failure kept me at that job for a very long time. My fear also stopped me from promoting myself as a freelancer/entrepreneur and that CLEARLY can't be good for business, right? I was seeing very little progression in my career so I had to re-evaluate the steps I was taking to reach my goals, and what I could improve on. Once I realized that I was letting the fear of failure get in my way, it seemed so silly - so I had to kick it. I know fear is a very natural thing, but I see it now as a test of character; something you need to push through to get stronger.
You never know what's going to happen until you try, and even if you fail, you just have to keep going until your failures turn into successes. Plus, those failures make your successes THAT much better!
3. Keisha Dutés (@TastyKeish)
"The minute you've created something, you have succeeded. You are a success.”
Having the confidence to start and maintain something new is a challenge. I constantly am fighting in real time.Women are not often ushered into the world thinking they are enough when in fact we go above and beyond to deliver. When I realized that, I said to myself: "Just start."I overcome it by finding ways to constantly educate myself and I became unashamed of learning and implementing things I learned in an unexpected fresh way.
I learned that videos, podcasts, etc is new media. There are no experts. Trust me. There are formulas that work and there is trial an error. Having you're own business in new media is constantly trying new things and taking from the lessons taught by pioneers before us. I study them and I try new things. If something doesn't work out, I stop and try something else.
4. Tara Giuliano (@taragiuliano)
Head of Institutional Marketing, UBS Asset Management Americas
“Build the hell out of your network. And don’t be afraid to use it.”
The hardest thing in my career has been a constant battle of my young age and pure number of years of experience. This comes across as a disadvantage on paper but I have found that building a strong network of more experienced executives who are my advocates has been key. I have found ways to volunteer to lead projects to give me experience I might not have had on my resume or came with my day job to prove myself as well. And lastly, I have found ways to use my age as an advantage. When I obtained my last role as CMO of a fast growing company I spoke to the fact that marketing has changed more in the last 5 years than the previous 100 years combined – and only marketers who have spent time in the trenches staying educated on that as well as being part of the modern marketing evolution- would be ideal to lead that firm’s marketing efforts.
5. Ivy Rivera (@TheIvyRivera)
TV/Radio Personality TheIvyRivera.com
I guess the hardest thing, which I'm sure everyone can relate to, was keeping my faith in my purpose throughout this journey to the top. There were a few times through the years where I really felt hopeless. And having friends who are creatives and chasing after their passions, it encouraged me yet discouraged me because I felt like I was so stagnant. But then I had to remember that my lane of expertise is a complete different ball game. And most importantly, my story will never be like someone else's. So I had to stop expecting and just let things take its place. I realized I wasn't going to get the blessings I deserved in life if I was living in self doubt. So I challenged myself to be one with myself and be completely okay with what I have to offer because I knew this would one day take me far. Everything starts in their heart but their mind can mess everything up. So the key is to make sure those are in sync and once you exude the right energies into the world, the world will bless you triple fold.
I learned that there's no such thing as competition. I learned that the only thing in your way of ANYTHING, is yourself. People feel like they've done everything they can. People feel like they deserve something. And I'm sure we all do. I would like all of us to win. But the ones that do win, make sure that's exactly what they do. There's no game plan. You just GO! And go until you get where you want to be. Stop being afraid of what can go wrong. You're not going to make it as fast as you think you are but the best thing to do is to train your mind to believe that you will make it regardless. You become what you believe you are. So be you and the rest will follow.
6. Brittany Melton (@xobritdear)
Creative Director & Web Designer xobritdear.com
"Work while you wait on your manifestation."
In complete honesty, the hardest thing was finding experience in my niche. I went from doing corporate web design on a part-time freelance basis, to full-time design, because I lost my job. I was behind on bills, I had no clients, and I didn't have a portfolio in my desired niche. I wanted desperately to switch from corporate design to design for creatives and bloggers. After getting over the initial panic of broke-ness (which honestly took a month or two), I decided that I would use my blog as a way to showcase my expertise. I was tired of business based blogs, so I decided to write on design instead (I'm a web designer after all). I started by giving photoshop advice to bloggers, and creative business owners. I showcased my skills via tutorials and unique image editing. I critiqued images for people, and tweeted about easy, Photoshop tweaks that could take your photos from lame to extraordinary. I made a name for myself as the Photoshop girl with the dope selfies and my business grew from there.
I learned that you have the skills you need to make magic happen. Keep your head down and work on ONE task that will lead you to the ultimate goal. Worrying about what you lack is time that can be used developing a marketable skill. Find your next step, and pursue it wholeheartedly.
7. Shanice Parker "Ms. Parker" (@BillzProductions)
"Always be willing to learn from someone, always be willing to educate someone."
CEO/Founder of BillzProduction www.billzproductions.com
What was the hardest thing you had to overcome in your career thus far and how did you overcome it? What did you learn from it?
I feel like for any entrepreneur like myself one of the hardest things to overcome is obtaining consistent clientele each month. Some months are extremely lucrative and some months can be challenging especially in the production field. Realizing there are other entrepreneurs that go through the same exact challenges it is important to reach out and ask for advice.
One of the best pieces of advice I have received so far has been to record my monthly strategies for obtaining a client, that way I can have on file what worked for my sales and what did not work towards sales. Now that I have this information I make it my business to record each of my monthly sales to have a consistent workload.
8. Eboni Jazzmine (@Cosmic_Siren)
Content Creator & Visual Marketing Specialist
"I'mma keep running 'cause a winner don't quit on themselves!" - Beyonce
I would say the hardest thing to overcome in my industry is time management and keeping myself content under pressure. In the media and scene of entertainment in Atlanta I have many roles: photographer, writer, speaker, event coordinator, consultant whatever as a sort of taste-maker; juggling around time and organization to some balance. I have to deal with a lot of different people (mostly men), and they can be frustrating... from sexual harassment, lose jobs to other men because I'm a young female, paid less, having to prove myself, entitlement, competition, or belittlement. As a female you don't know what anybody will come at you with; they could be a joke or the real McCoy, a jerk or good person. I had to obtain tough skin and be on guard at all times in my surroundings whilst doing my job and maintaining great vibes.
I overcome this by being confident and assertive; paying attention to my mistakes. I don't let my emotions take over on my work or relationships. I know what’s in my best interest as well as my worth. I'm not here to look pretty for the male consumption or slave for somebody for free. I came to be compensated for my time and effort or take an mutual opportunity as anybody would.
As long as I keep blazing to my goals with ambition then I can do anything. I also do not need certain people in my life to get where I am going if they are being problematic. I create my own medium and platform If I'm not given a chance.
9. Sara Crawford – Jones
"Success begins with happiness, if you’re happy than you’re winning!"
As a small business, the cost of overhead for your business needs can become overwhelming and expensive. I began to plan better, evaluate needs vs wants, and streamline my thought process. We can get carried away overthinking the actually process or what we think we need.I began to work smarter not harder.
I learned that I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel – I just needed to identify a strategy and technique that would work best for my business and that would allow me to execute the financial goals I needed to achieve.
10. Miriam O’Shea (@Miriamoshea)
In college I spent every weekend in various studios recording tracks for producers. I used to put professionals on a pedestal which caused me to chase what others wanted for me for a couple of years. What I should have done was to stand my ground and follow my gut, both musically and professionally.
In the end I learned that good things only start to happen when you stop caring what others think and start doing your thing. When you’re a creative person you just shouldn’t take everything personally. You’re brave enough to put yourself out there and show the world what’s really going on inside your head, so of course it won’t resonate with everyone.