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Girl Power: Meet 5 Inspiring Female Entrepreneurs

Girl Power: Meet 5 Inspiring Female Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship has been a hot topic in the last couple of years. Many articles and books have been written about it, and even an entire university curriculum has been built around this subject and success stories concerning people who went from “zero to hero” have infiltrated our news feeds.

Businesses owned by women are now on the fast-track, and it has never been a better time to be a female entrepreneur. Statistics in a report published by Womenable and American Express OPEN say that the number of women-owned firms in the US only continues to climb, and it is estimated to surpass 9.4 million enterprises, which is 30 percent of all businesses in the country.

It is nothing new that women have a hard time working in a male dominant corporate world, where they are constantly facing challenges like being underpaid, passed over for promotions and even faced with sexism. This is why, in many cases, women turn to freelancing and start their own businesses. This offers them a chance to escape and a chance for success.

Everyone has ideas, but these inspiring female entrepreneurs have turned theirs into realities. Let’s have a look at five female entrepreneurs who should be on your radar, who are empowered, and who may inspire you to turn your own ideas into reality.

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Danielle Arps

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    Danielle Arps is the founder of Dani Arps, an NYC-based interior design company that specializes in residential and commercial spaces and startups. Danielle graduated from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, one of the most prestigious design schools, where she received her Master’s of Science in Interior Design. Danielle has become known as the NYC tech scene’s interior designer and her design company has graced the premises of some high profile startup spaces, including Newscred, Kitchensurfing, and Fueled.

    Cara Alwill Leyba

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      NYC-based Master Life Coach and author, Cara Alwill Leyba, is encouraging women to create “Champagne Life” for themselves. This means that they should live effervescently, making happiness their priority and celebrating themselves every day.

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      Cara is running an international boutique coaching practice, where she is working with bored and burnt-out women who know that they are destined to do more in life. Through support, loving guidance and an expert perspective, Cara is empowering women to face their fears and create careers and lifestyles that will be vibrant, authentic and inspiring.

      Adrienne Bosh

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        Adrienne Bosh founded Sparkle and Shine Darling in Miami, Florida, which is a Parisian-inspired boutique and a space where, as Adrienne says, “women can shop, have fun and be inspired”.

        This boutique and online shop contains carefully selected novelties and knick-knacks, and Adrienne has even created her own line of Sparkle & Shine products which include mugs, stationary and more. Adrienne is very passionate about woman empowerment, support for mothers and she wants to make the world a better and glitzier place.

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        Suann Song

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          Suann Song is a graphic designer who founded Appointed in Washington DC, an American-made brand with carefully designed desktop products that give utility a luxurious look. Suann had done an exhaustive and unsuccessful search when she tried to find refined and well-made desktop products that are manufactured in the US, so she decided to create her own.

          Suann’s selection of hand-crafted desktop tools are polished and practical and, most importantly, prototyped to perfection. Her products are designed to elevate the whole work experience. Suann is also the owner of SIMPLESONG Design, which is now a nationally recognized creative studio.

          Sarah and Emily Hamilton

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            Sarah and Emily are twin sisters who founded Bellabox, a subscription-based beauty box which delivers samples of beauty products right to your doorstep. Their business is based in Melbourne and has 15 staff members. BellaBox currently has over 40,000 members and, believe it or not it, they raised $7 million from investors.

            Support is something that really matters for female entrepreneurs who are on the rise and it can help them to succeed like Sarah and Emily, who have successfully expanded their business to China.

            These are just a few examples of aspiring female entrepreneurs who had a dream and worked hard on making it happen. Use their stories as inspiration, because everything is possible with the right amount of desire and guidance. If you have been storing ideas in your head, do not be afraid to try to make them happen, just be sure about who you are and what you can do, and you will be able to deal with every challenge that may come your way.

            Featured photo credit: stokpic via pexels.com

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            Katarina Milovanovic

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            Last Updated on December 5, 2018

            How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

            How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

            Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

            We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

            How do they do it?

            By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

            1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

            There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

            If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

            2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

            Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

            According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

            Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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            3. Demand Learning from Your Team

            CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

            “The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

            His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

            Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

            “We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

            Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

            4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

            Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

            Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

            • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
            • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
            • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
            • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
            • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
            • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

            5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

            Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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            Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

            • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
            • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
            • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
            • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
            • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

              “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

            Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

            6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

            The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

            Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

            You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

            7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

            Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

            But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

            On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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            • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
            • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
            • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
            • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

            8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

            Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

            When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

            9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

            The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

            What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

            Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

            10. Empower Your Employees

            Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

            They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

            Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

            You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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            If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

            11. Nurture Your Company Culture

            Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

            Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

            However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

            Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

            Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

            Be a Leader, Not a Boss

            Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

            However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

            In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

            Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

            Reference

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