Best Ways to be a Mentor to Other Female Entrepreneurs
There are literally millions of us! #Bossbabes, #Girlboss, #Badassboss…whatever we’re called (and no matter how you feel about the hashtags you see them all over social media), there is no doubt that this is our time.
Women are starting businesses at a faster pace than we ever have before. We’re branding, we’re coaching, we’re providing professional services, we’re blogging – we are here and it’s safe to say, we’re here to stay.
Even with all the growth & success, being a female entrepreneur can be tough…we’ve all had our experiences. How many times have you been faced with a challenge and wish you had someone to call right at that very moment to guide you through? I’ve had plenty of those moments and many of them without anyone to call. Things get tough and for those of us that have had success (and failures), I think it’s our responsibility to share and help other female entrepreneurs to the top too! Here are some ways we can best do that:
1. Seek out quality mentees:
Approaching anyone at high levels of success can be difficult & intimidating. Instead of waiting on potential mentees to come to you, seek out high- achieving young women to guide & bring along. You don’t have to feel as if you’re asking someone out on a date. You just need to simply let the potential mentee know that you have an open-door policy and take an interest in her success. No need to overwhelm yourself or them – start with small talk, ask about what’s going well. Be available as much as possible and keep the door open. This should all be done organically or else, it’s just weird
2. Constructive criticism is not only good, it’s a mandate:
When I see a woman with a horrible fitting dress or suit on, the 1st thing I say is, “She either has no mirror or no friends.” Some of the most
useful contributions you can make to your mentee’s success is to be honest. Positive feedback is good but honest feedback is best. Is she doing something wrong? How can she be better? Offer encouragement & tips. Hearing constructive criticism from someone invested in your future can be difficult but it’s helpful because you know that person is not trying to hurt you but help you.
3. Share your struggles:
Acting as if everything has gone well for you is not honest or helpful. We miss opportunities to help when we refuse to share our own struggles and failures. Not only is it not honest, its hurtful because it often makes the mentee feel as if they’ll never measure up to your impossibly perfect reputation. So, share those embarrassing stories! How did you feel? How did you rebound? What did you learn? What helped most? How did you push through? Let your mentee know that tough times don’t last, but tough people do
4. Support and laugh – OFTEN:
As female entrepreneurs, we face many different issues. Be the supportive mentor, not the antagonistic and judgmental one. Offer advice and encouragement. Effectively and compassionately help your mentee through her struggles; let her know they’re going to help her in the long run. Be careful not to make everything so serious. Enjoy watching her grow, sharing your experiences, and laugh a little.