November 29, 2012

Practical advice for women entrepreneurs

9 tips to encourage women to take leadership roles in the tech space

Ayelet NoffIn addition to being a founding partner in Socialmedia.biz, I started building the Blonde 2.0 name and educating startups about the importance of social media back in 2006 when almost no one understood what I was talking about. Back then I was a one-woman show. The industry was filled with men — much like it is today.

I had to learn very quickly how to brand myself correctly as a female entrepreneur evangelizing an industry — social media — whose importance was yet to be known and receive recognition in a male-dominated industry. Today Blonde 2.0 is the largest social media agency in Israel with 25 employees.

So how did I do it? I thought I would share some tips and advice with our female readers to encourage more women to step up and take leadership roles in our industry.

1Be confident. To get results, you need to be assertive and confident in your abilities. Don’t doubt your capabilities or opinions just because you’re questioned. Be ready to fight for what you know to be true. Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and get into the arena.
2Show your stuff. Don’t be afraid to flaunt your skills and take credit for your achievements. Don’t let others take your spotlight because you were too shy or stood aside. Show everyone what you’re really made of.
3Speak up. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and present your views in front of an audience. Whether you’re in an internal meeting or on stage at a conference, speak up and take the lead.

This is not a dating game. This is business. Build your relationships and nurture them.

4Build your network. Don’t be afraid to start talking to people whom you may not know yet but want to know. Initiate communication. Don’t wait for the executive to speak with or write to you. This is not a dating game. This is business. Build your relationships and nurture them. Just like in most industries, connections are super important.  Make sure you build the right ones and make an effort to nurture them as best you can.
5Love what you do. This is of course true not only for women, but I feel that females especially often make wrong career choices because they’re trying to find more flexibility in their job and then end up hating it. Only if you’re passionate about what you do can you excel.
6Find a supporting partner. If you’re with a partner, it is crucial that he/she support you in your career. If things are peaceful and supportive at home, it enables you to focus on your work, enjoy it and progress forward.
7Don’t be afraid to talk numbers. Too many women I know are afraid to ask for a raise or speak about any financial matters. There’s no reason for that. Women are just as good in finance as men are. Don’t be intimated by a boss if you’re due to get a raise. Don’t shy away from talking numbers with clients. It’s part of the business, and after all, you’re trying to make a living that’s at least equivalent to your skill set.

Don’t be intimated by a boss if you’re due to get a raise. Don’t shy away from talking numbers with clients.

8Take care of yourself. Sleep well, eat healthy, exercise. Don’t just “let yourself go” because you’re working hard. Don’t forget — a healthy body is a healthy mind.
9Step up to the game. too many women don’t even apply for leadership roles. Don’t be afraid of the challenge and nominate yourself for the role.

According to YCombinator‘s seed funding program, only about 4 percent of women founders throw their hat into its digital startup ring. Why aren’t more women taking leadership roles in the tech space? The answer is not really clear, but I hope that the above tips will be taken to heart by female entrepreneurs reading this article.

We need more females acting as founders and CEOs of startups, sharing their perspective and leaving their footprint on the future of the digital space!Ayelet Noff is a partner in Socialmedia.biz and founder and co-CEO of Blonde 2.0, specializing in creating brand awareness, engagement with consumers and overall buzz for brands online. Contact Ayelet via The Blonde 2.0 website , email, or follow her on Twitter and Google Plus.