We’ve heard it time and time again: Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Men and women think differently, behave differently, and are built differently. Sometimes, this can affect the way women do business.
Four women entrepreneurs reveal which habits and attitudes they had to keep in check to help them become more successful. Ladies, read up: These might just be the things that are holding you back.
1. Saying “yes” to everything. Whether it comes from a sense of hiya, natural soft-heartedness, or a compelling need to please, many Filipino women are afraid to say “no.” But Joyce Co Yu, president of the Association of the Filipino Franchisers Inc., stresses, “Learn how to say ‘no’ when you feel like someone’s just taking advantage of you, your skills, and your resources.”
2. Not asking for help. Ricca Del Rosario, founder and creative director of HTP Clothing, shares, “The first thing I had to stop doing for business to grow was to stop doing everything myself.”
Women are hardwired to keep things running smoothly at home—staying on top of everyone’s schedules, needs, and wants—that they often feel the need to do every little thing in business, too. At some point, Del Rosario realized that she was putting too much energy into things that were keeping her from growing her business. “I realized that it’s okay to need some help. It’s okay to delegate tasks. Had I not hired HTP Clothing’s first employee back then, we wouldn’t be a company of thirty strong individuals at present.”
3. Letting fear get the better of you. Time to overcome your self-doubt! “I had to stop listening to the voice inside my head that made me fearful of a lot of things,” says Ginger Arboleda, CEO of Manila Workshops and popular mommy blogger. “If I listened to the voice inside my head that constantly tells me—to this day—that I’m not good enough, I wouldn’t have achieved what I have achieved. It’s true when they say that once you do something that scares you to death, you grow as a person. I think what made me grow more confident, self-assured, and more certain about the choices I make are the challenges that I have overcome and the opportunities that I have embraced in the past.”
4. Being ruled by emotions. “Women tend to get emotional when we hear something we dislike. We dwell on it too much because honestly, we care about what other people think about us,” says Del Rosario. While it’s natural to get affected, Del Rosario believes women shouldn’t take negative comments personally, and instead use these as a motivation to improve. Sort through the noise and get to the heart of the comment and how you can use it to become better.
Dr. Mary Jane “MJ” Torres, owner and head doctor at the Zen Institute, likewise warns against being too emotional: “When you’re caught in a situation where emotions cannot be contained, do not make a decision in haste.”
5. Not taking a break. Another unhealthy habit that Torres has noticed? “Consuming their time at work and not giving time for themselves to exercise or relax.” These days, women seem to wear busy-ness as a badge of honor, but no one wins when you work yourself to exhaustion. Taking a break can keep you from getting burnt out and can even help you become more inspired and productive.
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