Just as with Black history month, the concept of solidarity among members of a race, class or gender is based on shared conditions, experiences and concerns. Following the Michigan Chronicle’s recent recognition of Women of Excellence and now at the conclusion of Women’s history month, an examination of the sisterhood of women is more than appropriate.
No doubt one of the more lauded characteristics of womanhood is the caring nature of the fairer sex, which at times may appear to be a contradiction or a shortcoming in what was traditionally considered a man’s world, particularly in the business arena. But in actuality women’s special abilities as sisters, daughters, wives and girlfriends, lend themselves to developing their capacities as businesswomen. In short, women share a unique quality for cultivating relationships that could easily morph in profit making venutures.
“I think that women come into business intuitively,” says Kimberly Seals Allers, an award-winning business journalist and author of The Mocha Manual for Turning Your Passion to Profit. The former writer for Forbes and Essence magazines – like most women of color who want to enjoy maximum living – admits that getting started in business was frightening and sometimes exhausting, but ultimately worth it.
“Many times I had to invest money that I couldn’t necessarily spare, or give up sleep and my free time on weekends to get my venture off the ground. This is the life of the side hustler. We work our 9-to-5, and then we go to work again four ourselves.”
Fortunately for aspiring and established entrepreneurs, there’s a little thing called social media and once you’ve identified your “passion,” public relations specialist Sholani Burke says women should consider a couple of simple steps to make that hustle pay off:
Create Networking Opportunities
Don’t underestimate your own community. If you’re seeking mentorship, invite a local businesswoman to lunch. There may even be a group that already meets – if not, start one!
Social events like Tweetups and Meetups are a great way to engage women entrepreneurs and other professionals in your area.
There are over 500 pages and groups for women business owners on Facebook. Join and engage with them online. It’ll be a good resource for making contacts and learning about events.
Don’t Exclude Men
Don’t exclude men from the conversation—their stories and experiences can provide valuable insight. Providing your own perspective can enlighten others as well as facilitate informative exchanges and business strategies.
The bottom line is just knowing that there are others who you can turn to with questions or support can take some of the pressure off of being a business owner. As for many things in life, you will rarely find yourself alone.
So reach out and network, engage and cultivate relationships with others. You’ll find your sisterhood does make a difference.