As a woman, starting a business in a male-dominated field can be quite the intimidating experience. It really shouldn’t because they are easy ways to fit in and succeed.
Women make up (yes, I did) just above half of Kenya’s population; according to the last census. Male-dominated fields, though, still remain uncharted terrain for women (implied). Some women have made it big time in these sectors and you can too. HerBusiness lists for you 5 hacks to get you success.
1. Establish Ground Rules
You first have to accept that the industry, you’re delving into, is male-dominated. This means that you will not only stand out but you will be subject to a lot of stereotypes. When you’ve let this off your chest things will get clearer. As part of establishing ground rules, also be confident and convinced that you are just as good.
2. Don’t be on the defensive
The thing about establishing ground rules is that it will enable you know what to expect. So you won’t presume every trouble you go through to be related to your gender. Accept criticism and take responsibility for your decisions. You also have to realize that you’ll put up with industry norms. Unless you are always asked to take notes in meetings and it’s not part of your duties; that don’t accept.
3. Show them what you got
No, not like that. You already know that you will be subject to stereotypes in the industry. Moreover, there will be haters from outside who will say very mean things about your success. Similar stuff is not said about men. It’s unfair but take it on the chin. Good news is that you can overcome this bias by being competent. Be more effective and more efficient. Nothing earns more respect and legitimacy than being good. When you’re good you’re good.
4. Girl power
Ignore wet nail polish for a second and assert yourself as a woman entrepreneur. Men are more abrasive and you have to match them at it. It does not mean you do away with your persona. You have watched many times, on Kenyan TV, women touts say how they handle the nature of their work. You got to be more than the go-to-girl for flirtations. Speak your mind and establish professional confines.
5. Network and mentorship
Create more strategic friendships as you will see men in the industry do. Find means to network and be accepted in a tribe. If you feel it’s totally awkward for you as a lady try and find network with other women. In the same vein, seek mentorship from other women to learn how to maneuver as an entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry.