When it comes to business acumen, awesome shoes, and a powerful network of amazing business associates, I’ve got it all. I’ve been an entrepreneur for more than half of my life, building my 20 office real estate firm, a law firm, coaching business, and fashion empire.
When it comes to business, I feel as though I play fair in the sandbox. I deal equally well with men and women as my sole focus is to move the ball forward in whichever empire I am working on at the time. That being said, I’ve come to learn that there are different sets of rules for women versus men when it comes to business. I’m not whining about it, because what’s the use? I’ve simply come to observe that there are advantages and disadvantages to building a business in heels.
There are a million and one advantages to being a female business owner. That being said, I’ve come to learn the hard way, that every once in a while there are things that guys can get away with in business that girls just can’t. These are the things you need to watch out for when doing business.
Here’s my ultimate guide to what women can’t do in business.
Assume a Dinner Meeting is a Dinner Meeting
So you’re working on a massive business deal with a guy business associate. He says, “What are you doing for dinner?” I’ve been on plenty of dinner meetings that were actually dinner meetings. However, I’ve also been on dinner meetings that turn south because the business associate had more than dinner in mind. If you think you’re fine because, well, you are wearing a wedding ring, think again. My advice is to stick to lunch or coffee meetings unless absolutely necessary or unless you are going with a group. This way you avoid a potentially good business relationship becoming uncomfortable or even combative.
Post Only Business Stuff to Social Media
I’m a huge fan of social media. I use Facebook and Twitter daily. I use both to strategically build my businesses. Here’s what I’ve noticed. I constantly make posts that pertain to what I’m doing in business. I post pictures from networking events, group lunches, business trips and more. I find that if I post just business stuff, people make comments to me like, “Do you ever spend time with your family?” The truth is, yes, I spend time with my family every day, but I choose to keep that part of my life semi-private. Do guy business leaders take the heat when they don’t constantly post pictures of their kids? Doubt it.
One of my favorite male business leaders in real estate almost always cries when he gives a speech. Another strong businessman I know was brought to tears at the first two meetings in which I met him. In my experience, guys that cry in the business world are seen as strong, whereas women who cry in the business world are seen as weak. I’m quite positive that all of us, both men and women, have had our days where all we want to do is sob into a pillow. If you are a chick, find a gal pal and share your woes because the truth is that girls who cry at the office, exposing their vulnerability, will never be looked upon as the strong albeit compassionate business leaders that they are.
I don’t know if this is just in the real estate sector or if it’s in every business, but there seem to be different bragging rights when it comes to guys versus girls. Guys that brag about their awards, accomplishments, and accolades are seen as Gods. Girls that do it are viewed as obnoxious. There are ways around this, I’ve found. For example, list awards, accomplishments, and success statistics somewhere on your website. That way it’s public information. I also make sure that my LinkedIn profile is insanely accurate with every award or accomplishment received. When I meet someone, I’ll never brag about what I’ve accomplished in business, however, if someone I meet shares their accomplishments, I will do so as well. For example, I’ve been trying to recruit this really big real estate agent to my firm. In a recent conversation with him, he made a point to explain all of his accomplishments in detail. In return, I shared the accomplishments of my business.
Mix Business and Pleasure
It’s common knowledge in the business world that guys network on the golf course. Entire days are spent out on greens and fairways and this counts as business networking because relationships are being built somewhere within the eight hours of chipping, drinking, and chatting. As a woman, I can tell you that almost anything fun I do is networking. The fashion show on Friday night – networking. The sip and shop mixer at the country club – networking. Girls Night Out – networking. In the world of business there seems to be a very distinct line drawn between business and pleasure, at least for women. If we want to have fun, even if it’s networking fun, it’s after work hours. How come there’s no such thing as Guys Night Out? Maybe because they take entire days outside of the office to golf with colleagues under the guise of networking?
Empire builder, author, attorney, and mom who loves to inspire women to reach for big dreams.