FROM SMALL BUSINESS TO BIG POTENTIAL: WHERE WILL YOUR GUT INSTINCTS TAKE YOU?

Hello Ladies,

They say that if your dreams don’t scare you, then your dreams aren’t big enough and ‘they’ might be right. So ditch the FOMO and embrace that YOLO. If you have a hobby that keeps you up at odd hours, if you have a passion that borderlines on obsession, if you feel like you’ve found your calling and all that you’re missing is the capital, the connections, or the opportunity to make it big —  then roll up your sleeves because it’s about to be *that time* girl! Don’t let your special something (idea, talent, vision) fall to the wayside because you could potentially be losing the chance of a lifetime.
On a very personal note – I was holding my head between my hands feeling supremely defeated last weekend, when I had a swift and sudden moment of clarity. You see, I’m a hyper-competitive-type-A-aggressive-super-ambitious-trying-to-over-achieve-every-chance-I-get personality and when I don’t get the chance to channel that energy in a workplace environment it feels like there’s a wrench in the system (i.e. an existential breakdown every single day). In between marketing contract work assignments, I begin to feel a disassociation with my own life, like a stranger waking up in my own skin. The epiphany was that my own drive to “succeed”, to be constantly on the “right track”, was killing me slowly. I had inadvertently developed a fear of failure and succumbed to a toxic cycle of constant self-judgement. In that moment of clarity, I asked myself why do I hold back from putting myself out there on my own channels? Why am I so comfortable selling everything under the sun but not comfortable with selling my unique perspective? Answer: low self-esteem. I decided that in the spirit of ‘National Small Business Week’  I would muster up the courage and finally open up my digital store front on Redbubble.
Don’t let work define you—define what kind of work will make you feel wind beneath your wings.

With Belief In You,
Andrea Vidovic

CASE STUDY ONE – SCHMIDT’S NATURALS

Schmidt’s Naturals is the brain child of Jaime Schmidt. This #girlboss is the epitome of a self-starter! Discover how she created an enterprise out of a household hobby: click here to access an article and podcast.

CASE STUDY TWO – VALFRÉ

What can I say about Valfré except, that I love her. She is a self-taught graphic artist who grew an entire business out of a blog (a testament to the power of word of mouth). The interview below will have your whole being humming with possibility!

Highlight: (8:00) “I think women—and humans in general—we have the ability to adapt to whatever situation we are put in.”

P.S. Sidewalk Talk is a new series by Lauren Engel. This girl is a #bossbabe herself. Read about her journey from being very inspired, to becoming very inspiring.

CASE STUDY THREE – FREELAND SPIRITS

Freeland Spirits is headed by a magnificent trio of ladies who are beating the odds of the distilling industry. These ladies are movers, makers, and history shakers! Click here to find out how taking a leap of faith with the right people can lead to bountiful gains.

HAVE VISION – WILL TRAVEL

If you feel heat rising to face and have the sudden urge to start pacing, then you’ve realized that there is no time like the present to start on that venture you’ve always dreamed of. Here are some more links to get you started:

10 Instagram Tips For Authentic Growth

KEY TAKEAWAY Instagram is like Thor’s hammer in any marketer’s tool belt. To be successful on this platform you must: be consistent, be specific, be your truest self… P.S. there are no shortcuts that will make for meaningful long-term growth.

Best Ecommerce Tools: 39 Apps to Grow a Multimillion-Dollar Business Online

TO SUM IT UP A crash course on all the tools you will need to turn a humble profit into mega sales online.

How To Get Certified As A Woman-Owned Business

KEY TAKEAWAY “Every little edge helps” —  better to be eligible for aid than not.

10 Grants You Need To Know About For Your Woman-Owned Business

Small Business Grants For Women: 10 Go-To Spots

KEY TAKEAWAY Grants are like “free money” – you don’t have to pay them back! However, you do have to aggressively apply and compete for them, as well as report back on how you used them.

HOW TO NAIL A 5-MINUTE ELEVATOR PITCH

Consider this your crash course in lady bragging.

You may think that elevator pitches are just for aspiring authors desperate to get their manuscripts to the top of an editor’s pile, but they’re actually useful for just about any career or aspiration out there. Yours included. You absolutely need a short speech about yourself that you could reel off in the elevator at every stage of your career, even if you don’t think you have much to brag about.

Everybody has a backstory. Everybody has an inspiration— perhaps it’s your favorite college professor to the female exec at your company whose career you hope to someday emulate. If you know where you’d like to get, all the better. Work it into your speech!

Nerdy confession: I love to read Career Contessa. It makes me feel like a girl boss. In fact, when I was in the seventh grade, I dreamed of being a high-powered lady lawyer who’d have a closet full of pastel-colored suits and heels that clacked when I walked through the courthouse. Legally Blonde only exacerbated this dream, of course.

The boardroom dream is becoming a more common goal for women everywhere, and making an elevator pitch is an absolute must-do!

Remember, there will always be multiple people who qualify for a particular job, but no one could do a job the way you could— and this is what your elevator pitch can let people know.

TELL YOUR STORY

Let people know where you’ve been and what you’ve done, but make it an enjoyable narrative. You know that cringeworthy feeling you used to get at parties when some random guy awkwardly asked you what your major was because he couldn’t think of any other way to make conversation with you? Don’t let your elevator pitch start off with that inauthentic feeling. Include the basics, but elaborate in an interesting way. For example, if you’re looking for a job in finance, include the fact that you love reading finance books and started your own lemonade stand business in the third grade. These kinds of relevant details make you endearing and show off your personality.

KEEP IT CONCISE

Once you write the first draft of your elevator pitch, cut it in half— that’s a good rule of thumb for how long it should be. Unless you’re literally as charismatic as JFK, it’ll be hard to keep a stranger’s attention for much more than a few minutes.

SHARE THE HIGHLIGHTS

There’s no need to recap the day-to-day at your last job. Focus instead on what you accomplished there— maybe you made a particular process faster and simpler or you spearheaded a project on your own. People want to help and hire achievers, not just doers. Positioning yourself in this light will set you up for even more success.

PRACTICE

Even though your elevator pitch is a pre-written speech, it shouldn’t sound that way. Once you know your speech like the back of your hand, you can start to customize it for each situation at hand.

LET PEOPLE KNOW WHAT YOU WANT

You’ll most likely be using your elevator pitch for different purposes. Once you’re done giving insight about you, consider how this person you’re presenting to can help you, and guide the conversation in that direction. If you’re speaking to someone who works for a company you like but in an entirely different department, ask them if they know anyone in the department you’d like to work for. If this person knows someone you admire, ask for an introduction so you can get in touch to request an informational interview. If the person themselves is hiring for a role, get their contact information so that you are in the position to take the initiative and reach out to them.

Need more inspiration? Here are 41 elevator pitches to get you started.

Let us know some of your favorite elevator pitch strategies! Make sure to download Hey! VINA to meet other career-powered ladies!

(Featured image via Quiet Revolution)

YOU GOT THIS—HOW TO ASK FOR THE SALARY YOU DESERVE

Have you been working at a job you enjoy, but feel like your compensation doesn’t match your work quality? We’ve been there, vinas! Luckily, we’ve compiled the best tips to getting the salary you deserve. You got this, #bossbabe!

TALK TO THE BOSS

Always ask to speak with your superior in-person or via video chat for a performance view if they are not available. To start, send them an email asking them when you can talk about your performance in a meeting or video call. If you don’t ask, you’ll never get the meeting, so just send the email! First step: Done.

MAKE A LIST

Have a list of things in your head (and on paper) from most important to least important to share with your superior proving why you deserve a higher salary. Don’t overwhelm your superior with all of these points, however. Use your strongest points in the beginning and then save a few for later to reiterate why you deserve this particular salary. In other words, you have to prove your value and worth to the company, so have real evidence to how your work has improved the company for the better. Practice saying these points out load to your vina or your partner so you’re prepared with the facts.

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UP-SELL YOURSELF

Ask for a higher number you were going to ask for so that you can negotiate it to where you want it to be. If the answer is still no, ask to get a salary that is close to the number you want. Check out similar salaries on Glassdoor.com to see what comparable pay range people are getting in your field, and go from there.

HAVE CONFIDENCE

Confidence is key! You’re asking for a higher salary because you deserve it. This is a conversation, not a war. Be polite and respectful and take your time to make your points. Be sure to practice your conversation beforehand so you have all your bases covered.

BE GRACIOUS

If they say no, it’s not the end of the world. Take what you have learned and move on! Use this as a way to learn in the future to ask for what you deserve from the start.

Still not comfortable asking for the salary you deserve? Start swiping on Hey! VINA to find fellow boss babes who’ve aced the process!

 

 

 

10 REAL WOMEN DISH THE BEST CAREER ADVICE THEY’VE GOTTEN

I was recently curious about what my friends felt made them awesome at their job. What words of wisdom helped them along their way? So, I went and asked ten real women in my life about some of the best career advice they have received. Not only was in an amazing opportunity to catch up with old friends, but I was surprised at the variety and depth of the advice everyone had to share. So, read on and get wise!
Noel, a Freelance Copywriter, gave practical advice she has heard from successful people: “Having multiple streams of income is a pretty responsible goal to aim for. Reading up a lot on successful individuals, most have several if not dozens of sources of incoming revenue.”
Italia, an Executive Assistant, talked about her time working with those in high positions: “I really took to heart my boss telling me to not wait for people to grant me permission to speak whenever I have something relevant to contribute. He told me to just speak up and be assertive with my ideas and comments. It’s intimidating sitting in meetings with executives that have been in the industry longer than I’ve been alive, but being able to contribute to the discussion makes me look and feel more competent.”
This advice lined up excellently with what my friend Faith, a Wells Engineer, mentioned when she read the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandburg: “The major takeaway I got from that book was to sit at the table. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel like you are important or just learning – don’t sit down by the edge of the room. You need to sit at the table and participate! It builds confidence and people get to know you. It’s made a really big difference to me.”
Especially with women, many of us receive advice about being assertive in order to move our careers forward. Annie, a Pharmacy Student, said: “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable” – always put yourself in uncomfortable situations that pushes your boundary and challenges your ability.” It’s against human instinct to step out of that zone, but talking scary opportunities can be the best way to grow.
April, a Peace Corps Volunteer, shared a story of great advice she actually received from a professor. She recalled: “One day the professor, while coaching us on essay writing, told us to be proud of our hard-earned knowledge and opinions, to be bold and confident, to use strong phrases like “I think” instead of the more timid “I believe.” She told us, “own your ideas.”” April mentioned that these words remind her to speak up for and be confident in what she believes in.
Kristi, a teacher, said to “do the best you can at the time you are doing it with the info you have”, because when you’re an overachiever and starting a new role, you might have a thousand questions about what to do, and that’s ok. I laughed at the contrast between what my mother Cynthia, a Chief Financial Officer, said: “ Don’t make assumptions.  Get all the facts before making a good decision.” Both pieces of advice highlight being that you should be willing to ask questions, and to not be afraid to request more information.
This lined up with my conversation with Kelsea, a Business Systems Analyst, said her best advice were two different things “First, don’t be afraid to ask ‘why?’ and secondly, to cautious of how much overtime you’re willing to give, make sure to take vacations, and to notice the time you’re using work devices off hours.”
This lined up exactly with what Yesenia, a Certified Public Accountant, brought up in regards to having a work life balance:  “It’s okay to say no… I was once told that work-life balance only exists if you create it. In a world of 70 hour work weeks, any time you get to spend with yourself, your significant other, family, and friends is precious. It is important to know that you can say no without consequences to your career, therefore boundaries are important to establish early on in your career…” Yesenia mentions that you should “give it your all” the hours you are at work, and your managers and peers will respect you for it.
Lauren, a Digital Editor, talked about the importance of having a mentor to have your back. Her mentor helped her feel empowered and believe in herself. “She really helps me work through everything and my thought process. She also is really great at what next steps I need to take. When I was looking for a job she gave me contacts to reach out to and how to market myself and just always thinks I can do anything. I feel super positive after taking to her.” Both formal and informal mentors exist in the workplace, and finding one to help guide you can make a difference in accelerating your career.
All of the advice my friends had received helped me to reflect on my own aspirations. While we may have heard some forms of this advice in one way or another, it’s good to be reminded of what actions we can take to further our careers.
What’s the best advice you’ve gotten in your career?

SF BAY VINAS, WE’RE GIVING AWAY 10 FILM FESTIVAL TICKETS!

Women entrepreneurship is a cause near and dear to our hearts. Gender equity requires pioneering women to lead and build a world that fully realizes the power of ladies with vision. We are proud to partner with our local friends, director Nora Poggi and documentary producer Insiyah Saeed, to give away 5 pairs of tickets to our San Francisco Bay Area Hey! VINA community to attend the film screening of SHE STARTED IT at the Mill Valley Film Festival.

Shot in Silicon Valley, Europe, Vietnam, and NYC within the past three years, She Started It follows the lives of five exceptional young women on their journey to startup success. If you don’t want to take your chances on the sweepstakes, secure your ticket for the premiere event on Saturday, October 8 at the prestigious Mill Valley Film festival here: http://bit.ly/2cIQhN8.

The successful entrepreneurs featured in the film – Stacey FerreiraThuy TruongBrienne Ghafourifar, and Sheena Allen – will be in attendance, including some other stellar women founders, investors, and the greater team from the film.

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She Started It 
and VINA will be giving away five pairs of tickets. Each winner will receive (2) tickets, so take this inspiring opportunity to invite a vina date and bask in the glow of powerful women. Shine, vina, shine!
Enter by commenting below or sharing this blog post to social media – remember to tag @ilikevina!