Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Guest Post: Finding the Right Network of Women to Help You Get Your Business Started by Zee Worstell, CEO of AccelerateHER Internationa

As I started both my recruiting business and my career coaching  business, I struggled with one issue that was so big it nearly derail me both time.  

Are you wondering what it is and if it can derail you too?  

Well  I can tell you that it is something that I know most women entrepreneurs struggle with as much or more than me and I do think is stops many of us in our tracks. If you are starting a business or just thinking about it, this simple advice could be the difference between success and failure.

Question: How much thought did you give to your network and support system when you decided to start your business?  Did you include it in your business plan or are you one of the women who thinks you need to do it all by yourself?   

Because the lack of support from a network almost derailed me, I started looking at why women are so hesitant to ask for help so I could understand  and then use my understanding to help others.

What I discovered was life changing.  The resistance to  developing a network for support can be directly related to our “good girl” belief system. What is a “good girl” belief system?  That is what I have named the set of rules and expectations that are passed on to us from our parents, other girls and society about how to be viewed by society as socially acceptable….a good girl!

One of the more deeply rooted “good girl” beliefs is directly related to not surrounding ourselves with a network. Think back to middle school and high school.

As middle school and high school girls we are trained the painful way that trusting other women can be horrible if you trust the wrong person or the wrong group.  Tell the class gossip who also happens to be your best friend about your crush on that cute boy in science and she tells the whole school.  You remember those days right?  As the mom of a middle school girl, I am reliving them as we speak.  My daughter is learning the hard way to be very guarded about who she trusts and that girls are mean, especially girls in groups, and only really care about what affects them.  They don’t really care about what affects you.    
As adult women we remember this lesson very well and many of us take on this, “I can do it on my own” mentality to protect ourselves  and it will be the death of many a female started business. We hesitate to find a support system because we have never been shown the value of this system.  

Because we are conditioned when we are young to not look to the older more experienced girls for help and guidance, most women don’t seek out mentors or develop networks to support them and help them navigate the tumultuous path of entrepreneurship.  We try to go it on our own and avoid asking for help.    
I definitely fell into that category and until I actually experienced the power of the network, I was determined to do it alone.  But then as I sat there in my home office trying to make things happened, I felt very alone and defeated.  Until I reached out to other people and followed the suggestions I offer below, I was ready to throw in the towel and admit defeat.  Luck for me I was taught the value of the network when another woman reached out to me in search of support. She was also struggling and feeling alone and defeated. Together we were able to lift each other and discover the benefits of a network.

So what now? How do you find a support system and get the much needed network in place?  It is not as hard as you think.  Here are some tips that I put in place to help me and now I have a healthy network of women and men who are supporting me in my business and helping me ward off failure.

  • Start attending industry functions to start meeting and interacting with people who are in a similar industry as you and get to know them.  Be genuine and start a conversation with them.  Get their card and stay in touch. Most people get cards and then never follow up.  If you are one of those people, schedule your follow up monthly in your calendar.
  • Use Social Media to connect with peers and promote them so that they will also promote you.  Interact with them and you will be amazed how much support they will give you. Remember, you must give just as much support or more and you must give it first.
  • Find an Accountability partner who is at the same place in their business as you are and support each other.  For me this is a 15 minute call once a week telling my accountability partner what I am working on and getting any advice he might have and then listening to what he is doing and offering my advice.  Other women I know talk every morning to their partner.  You will have to figure out what works for you.  
  • If you are still looking for more help and guidance you may want to hire a coach who specializes either in your business or in coaching entrepreneurs.  I always have a coach and it has been invaluable for growing my business to the next level.  Each time I hire a coach I take it higher.  
  • This last tip is the one thing that I tell every woman I work with because it is crucial. Plan a day or two each week to go out to lunch with a girlfriend who is interested in you and your business and talk.  As women entrepreneurs we tend to forget to take time to socialize.  For me, I spend every minute my kids are at school working on and in my business.  Before I started taking time away from the office, I found that I would spend two weeks straight never leaving the house and I would start to lose all grasp on reality and the outside world.  You can’t sustain that.  You are your business and you need to nourish your soul.

Take it from someone who knows, establishing a network and support system for your business is one of the most crucial pieces of your business plan.  Make it part of your business plan and set goals each month to track and monitor your network developing efforts.

About the Author:

Zee Worstell is the CEO of AccelerateHER International, a boutique career coaching organization focused on helping women suspend their “Good Girl” beliefs they learned when they were young and replace them with a more powerful set better suited for women who want to succeed.  

During the 15 years spent as an Executive Recruiter, Zee has witnessed many women sabotage their careers because of what they were taught as young girls.  Using Observation, personal experience and extensive research, Zee has developed her simple 6 step system called T.H.R.I.V.E. that guides women towards the success they desire.  She offers group coaching programs as well as more personal options.  Author of the audio program “Good Girls Finish Last…Confident Women Finish First” Zee Worstell is quickly becoming recognized as an expert in the field of women’s career development.  Meet Zee at

No comments :

Post a Comment