Statistics show female entrepreneurs get awarded funding at a disproportionately smaller rate than their male peers, even though women who receive venture funding bring in 12% more revenue than male-owned tech companies and are likely to have greater success overall.

Why the imbalance? The abysmal presence of female VCs, low numbers of females pitching, and the prevalent gender bias we have, are just some examples. To help overcome this, I’ve created these three tips, based on the most common mistakes women make when delivering their business idea pitch.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Pitching your idea for the first time is already a daunting task, so you want to eliminate anything that could prevent you from delivering what you want to say clearly and confidently. Practice your pitch in front of the mirror over and over until it is ingrained and flows naturally. You may even want to set up a video record so that you can play it back.  Self-awareness is one of your most valuable weapons when it comes to pitching, so having a video copy, as daunting as it sounds, can be really useful in helping highlight your weaknesses to better your performance.

Once you’re done practicing alone then go out and practice your pitch in front of different people: work colleagues, friends, mentors, family. They should be a mix of age and gender and preferably not all familiar with your industry or business cvoncept. I say this because in most cases, women will often find themselves pitching to an all-male group of VCs and it’s natural to feel uncomfortable about this, especially if your product is aimed at a female market.

I know of a woman who once pitched her online childcare service to an all male panel who had never looked for a babysitter because their wives always handled that area. In an instance like this, your audience may not have had relevant experience related to your business idea, and without practice, their reaction or lack of engagement could be off putting. Being prepared for different (or, frustratingly, the same) investors will leave you feeling more prepared and confident in your approach.

Avoid industry jargon and buzz words

Remember that not everyone will understand your industry as well as you do, especially if your idea is esoteric, age or gender-targeted. So when making an impression in such a short amount of time it’s important to focus on getting your key points and messages across, instead of using industry terms that people may not understand, or having to spend time defining what these terms mean, in the hope that you will appear educated on the topic.

I once heard a pitch from a woman who was working in the health industry. Her solution and product was truly groundbreaking. However, when she tried to explain what it was, no one could understand what she was talking about and in the end, they tuned out. My number 1 tip in this instance is to have someone from outside your industry, interest or target market listen to your pitch. If they can’t understand your idea, chances are, neither will a board of potential investors.

Don’t spend too much time explaining the problem

This is something I see both men and women do, regularly.  So many times, I’ve heard pitches where the founder focuses too much on the problem and doesn’t spend enough time talking about what the solution is and why they their idea is the best way to solve it. We all understand you are passionate about the problem you’re trying to solve and explaining the issue is important. However, developing a well-balanced pitch involves touching on these elements while focusing more closely on the solution you have developed.

My advice is to highlight the problem clearly, don’t try and solve multiple problems, and finally, outline simply why current solutions are inadequate. This way you will ensure people don’t switch off. Understandably, investors get more excited about the strategy of your solution than the problem you’re tackling.

 

While these are my top three tips for delivering your best pitch yet, I also think we need to see some action from the other side of the pitch fence. By this I mean we need more women in leadership positions, making the decisions of who gets the money and how much, in order to see a real shift in the number of female led business ideas attracting the right level of funding.

Furthermore, whether gender discrimination is intentional or not, it’s limiting the access female entrepreneurs have to funding, and evidently needs a greater push to break down these barriers. Investors, lenders and other financial firms need to be open to greater education on the potential of women to improve the business world.


Christie Whitehill is an award-winning entrepreneur and mentor in the Australian tech space. She is the founder and CEO of Tech Ready Women – an accelerator program specifically designed for non-tech female founders who want to step confidently into the tech space. They work towards not only up-skilling women in tech start-ups, but also giving them opportunities for funding and eventually working towards the establishment of our own fund solely for women led businesses. For more information, visit https://www.techreadywomen.academy/


What if the biggest limitations holding you back from business success are also the simplest to change? For every problem or hurdle, there are infinite possibilities – if you are willing to be a person who invites in opportunity over obstacles.  In truth, our biggest obstacles to success are the limited points of view we inherit from the people and world around us and then lock away in our mindset.

This is what I came to discover when I started my translation business at the age of 48. At the time, I had no previous experience running a business and faced a lot of doubts – both in my own mind and verbally, from those around me.  When I challenged my mindset and took action, my business and I became unstoppable.

After working with people from all walks of life, ages and continents, I noticed that many of us become deterred from starting business because of some common misconceptions. Here are four of the leading myths about business success, and how to shift your mindset so that you can go beyond them and enjoy creating a thriving business!

It’s too late to start

When I was launching my business, I received a lot of different opinions about my ability to succeed. Some folk were happy for me, and others, even those close to me, expressed doubt and uncertainty (and even disbelief) that I would choose this. I was told that I was at a disadvantage as a woman over 40, that I was out of touch with market trends and wouldn’t be able to keep up. I had moments in the beginning where I hesitated. After all, these people were close to me, and their points of view mattered. How could I move on with what I desired to do and not offend them?

It came to a point where I had to become clear with me: If I was going to put other people’s points of view and judgements first, I was never going to do and be something for myself. What would happen if I put myself first? To get over this hurdle, I used a simple tool – I asked myself a question: If I was really choosing for me, what would I choose?

From this simple question, I was able to step outside the opinions of others, gain the clarity I needed to trust myself and follow my own desires. The funny thing is, once I started doing that, many of the people who had initially doubted me changed their behaviour toward me and sought out my business!

Wait until you are ready, certain, prepared, etc…

“I have to wait until I am ready!” used to be one my favourite point of views – one I often used to slow myself down.  But what I finally realised is, I would never feel ready. I just had to go for it or nothing would happen!

Have you ever had an idea to start something, and then thought, “I’d better take another course,” or, “I need to prepare better first,” or you didn’t want to try something new unless you were sure you could do it perfectly? The myth we buy into is that it is possible to be 100% prepared, perfect or ready.

But what if you are never at your “best” because there is no such thing?  What if we are always “under construction”? There is always more we can add, accomplish, achieve and create. Instead of waiting to be ready, at our best, or getting it just right, ask: What is the best I can be and do today? What can I accomplish and what can I create?

You have to have the right education or experience

Do you allow all of your experience, knowledge and difference to count in the creation of your business?

When I first started studying languages and sociology, I would never have predicted that one day I would be able to combine that experience to create a successful business. I can translate and speak different languages, therefore I’ve been able to expand the range of people I work with and talk to, and the locations in which I can conduct classes and workshops. My background in sociology gives me both an individual and global approach to people – and approach that is different and that works for me.

In addition, I am a mother and I use my experience with parenting and raising my son to relate to a wide range of women and talk about things not many people feel easy speaking about. Take some time to look at all of your talents and abilities – especially the ones you believe have no value. Ask: What is it that’s special about me that I haven’t valued, because it’s easy for me? What would it create if I included those capacities in my business, too?

You have to copy someone else’s model

There are a lot of ‘answers’ out there about the right way to do business, create business, run a business … right down to the optimum business hours!  But the best way to create a business is not to follow other people’s models, but to do what works for you.

I started creating my first business – translating books – so that I could spend time at home with my son. With this translation business, I could do the work at home while my son was at school or at night when he was sleeping.  It worked for me for that period of time, and I used my skills and created money.  Importantly, I was able to change my business model when my personal circumstances changed. Ask yourself: How can I create my business in a way that works for me?  What if it didn’t have to follow a structure or system or model that limited you to achieve success in your business?

The more you trust yourself and don’t buy into the opinions and judgements of others – even the experts or people who you care about – success becomes so much easier, and a lot more fun!  What do you desire, what do you know and what can you create that no one else can?


Norma Forastiere is a business mentor, natural therapist and certified facilitator of several Access Consciousness® special programs. A native Portuguese speaker with a proficiency in English and Spanish, Norma founded her first business, a translation coaching service, at the age of 49. She offers workshops and consultations for those willing to explore greater possibilities in life, and in business. Find her at http://www.normaforastiere.com/


Money is only one part of what a career can offer you. For me, it was always about finding a lifestyle that provided me the freedom to make my own schedule, travel and create positive change in the world; a lifestyle that didn’t look like anything I currently knew, something that had to be personally sculpted by putting actions behind my daydreams.

I grew up on a farm in rural Canada, near Birtle, Manitoba, a town with a population of 700. I come from an incredible community filled with warm-hearted people but building a worldwide business in conscious living wasn’t really the main booth at our career fair. I knew I had to create my own path. It was just a matter of trusting myself enough to bring it all to life.

For the past seven years, I have paved my way in the world as a facilitator for Access Consciousness. I facilitate classes around the world and am lucky enough to travel every month.

Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Sometimes wondering where the next paycheck will come from is almost traumatic. It has been a jagged, frustration-filled journey at times, but after seven years building this business, I have finally set up the systems, self-confidence and revenue streams to have a sustainable life.

Here are four steps to building a successful career or business that fits you.

Step 1: Follow Your Intuition

In business, you have to be able to make decisions quickly and stand behind those choices. Most of us second-guess ourselves out of quick decisions. It is much easier to find a reason why something won’t work out, rather than committing to it, even if you could fail.

You can combat indecision by using a simple exercise called “Light or Heavy.” It is a way of strengthening your intuition and listening to what you know deep down. If something makes you feel light, it will create a future of more lightness and ease. If something makes you feel heavy, it will create difficulty in the future.

This technique does have its drawbacks, because at first, we can be quite confused about what our intuition is telling us. The more you practice this technique, the stronger you will be in the choices you make, and the more you will pay attention to which choices will create something greater, and which will create difficulty. The good thing is, that each choice will create greater awareness, whether it is right or wrong.

Step 2: Realize that what you think and say creates your life and future

The words we think and speak are the mantras that create our life. So much of what we say actually creates the path ahead of us. Negative self-talk really does destroy our career and/or business.

The definitions of the words we say have changed over time. This means that we often don’t know the true meaning behind what we say. For example, the word ‘want’ has many definitions, most of which mean ‘to lack’. So, every time you say, “I want money,” you are actually saying, “I lack money.” If you pay attention to the language of people who have large amounts of money, they rarely use the word ‘want.’ They actually just go ahead and do something, or don’t. Wanting is not in their vocabulary and therefore lack does not reflect into their lives.

Pay attention to what you say and think and do your best to eliminate the words that are undermining your success.

Step 3: Realize that your negative thoughts don’t belong to you

We pick up on the vibrations of the thoughts of those around us. When you walk into a room, you can immediately sense the overall energy. I used to have days where I was very depressed. When I would leave my apartment building, I would immediately feel better. I was living in a bad area of town and the overall morale and energy was not good. If you acknowledge that so much of the negativity you are thinking is actually negativity in the people around you, you can actually choose beyond it.

Step 4: Don’t make choices in your career based on what others would choose for you.

If I would have followed the advice of those around me, I would be working on a PhD I didn’t care about, totally burnt out and unfulfilled. People give you advice based on their personal points of view, and their own life experiences and expectations of you. They always come with good intentions, but no one else is you. You have personal dreams that are not part of other people’s awareness, and often the people around you do not have the same awareness. It is important to stay true to your path, no matter what others may be thinking or whether or not they are judging you.

 

When you are building a business or career, you have to look at the practical and financial choices you are making. And looking at the energetics of your life, is actually a great place to start when jumping off the cliff into a new job, or into entrepreneurship. With these four steps you will be on the road to a bigger, brighter future.


Julia Sotas has always been interested in self-improvement, attending her first course at the tender age of 13. She has a degree in Sociology from the University of Winnipeg and now lives in South Carolina with her husband and three step kids. She’s seen personally how to change money mindsets and go on to earn more than you could ever imagine. She teaches Right Riches for You classes so others can do the same. Right Riches for You is a specialty program of Access Consciousness.


Do you recall when you started your business; when you woke up each day full of ideas and couldn’t wait to get to work?  Unfortunately, when the novelty of something new fades and the day to day requirements of running a business take over, you can find yourself in routine that dampens the enthusiasm.

One of my first businesses was walking and boarding dogs.  I love animals and I enjoy creating my own schedule.  I was very excited. The business was growing, yet I was bored. It had become monotonous and I really didn’t enjoy the marketing which was required to keep it going.  These were things I could have changed, had I really looked at it.  Instead, over time I slowed down the creation of new clients, and basically ran my business into the ground. I have learned a lot since then.

Boredom is feedback telling you that it’s time to adjust what you are doing.  Often, we wait, hoping it will go away.  Unfortunately, that’s akin to an ostrich sticking its head in the ground.  Everything is still the same, you are simply tuning it out.  There is good news, it is possible to use the boredom to re-ignite your creativity and grow your business!

Be willing to commit to your own happiness

Because I am unwilling to remain bored or disenchanted I now re-create my business as is required.  I learned to listen to my boredom. I question what I really desire my business to be, and what is and isn’t working. Above all else I commit to my own happiness.

Be willing looking at your business and be honest with yourself about what is really going on.  What was your vision when you started your business?  Perhaps your business has strayed from what you desired to create.  Or, it’s possible you created what you desired, but it doesn’t fit your life as it is right now.  Is your business fulfilling overall?

Money follows joy, joy doesn’t follow money.  The happier you are with your living and in your business the more income you will invite into your life.  Don’t fall into the trap of waiting for more money to show up to choose what makes you happy.  When you have a business, it is a large part of your life.  Make it work for you!

Ask Questions

When you ask open-ended questions from a space of pure curiosity, you are inviting possibilities to show up.  Let go of any conclusions.  If you have pre-determine what will the answer should be, you won’t be able to see anything else.

For example, you can ask: What do I need to change to re-engage with my business? What is possible here that I have never considered?  Who or what can I add to my business to make it more enjoyable?

Play with the questions, and know you aren’t looking for a concrete answer.  What you are asking for is awareness of what is going on and how you can change it.  Notice what shows up and any ideas that come to you, and follow what is light or expansive.

Be You

 This may sound obvious, after all, who else would you be?  However, many entrepreneurs are trying to fit into some image they bought into about what a business owner is supposed to be like.  There are certain norms we accept as absolute without even realizing it. Have you bought the point of view that you have to be superwoman and do it all yourself, working so hard you give up you in the process?  Allow yourself the time to have a full and fruitful life, don’t let everything outside of work fall away. Remember, money follows joy!

Is your role in your business one you enjoy; if not how can you adjust it?  Consider delegating tasks to someone who would excel at them. Or, hire someone to do some of the things that detract from your enjoyment.

Is how you work working for you?  If you are most productive in the morning, take advantage of that. If you do best with lots of time outside, allow yourself some breaks to take a quick walk or feel the sun on your face. Use the flexibility of having your own business to your advantage and allow yourself to shine.

Had I used these tools with my dog walking business, I would have known I required more variety and that doing it all myself wasn’t working.  I could have added some doggy adventures in places I love, like hikes in the mountains or beach outings. I could have hired another dog walker – increasing income without overscheduling myself.  And I certainly could have hired someone to help with marketing. The possibilities were endless.

Play with your business

Invite a sense of adventure back into it, and allow it to be fluid. Don’t be afraid to make big changes. One key to success is being present and interactive with your business to find out what works, and then not coming to a conclusion that you have found the answer.

Always be willing to add, remove and change elements of your business.  If you try something new and it doesn’t work, change back or tweak it until it does work. Instead of judging it as a failure look for the information the situation is giving you. Choice creates awareness and invites more possibilities to show up.  There is always something else you can choose.

When the fun of creation gives way to maintenance, boredom is not far behind.  Find the joy in playing with the recipe of your business; add an ingredient, change the quantities of certain elements.  Make improving your business recipe an ongoing target and you are sure to stay engaged, and your business will be even more successful!


Gabrielle Vena is a life coach and business mentor with a background in counselling psychology and psychotherapy. She is a certified facilitator of several Access Consciousness® special programs, including Being You and Joy of Business and is a certified practitioner in Reiki and Integrative Energy Therapy. Learn more about her at www.gabriellevena.com


The ability to effectively market yourself, your business, and your brand is crucial in business. It can create raving fans, loyal customers, and lots of revenue if done correctly. Even though there are many ways to get out into the world and let people know that you exist, this still tends to be a challenge for many. This has a lot to do with the world changing which makes the way we market change. Marketing is not all about banners, flyers, post cards, and pamphlets anymore. It also isn’t about handing out as many business cards to strangers, or being featured in the local news papers or on radio stations. As a matter of fact, these are ways that probably will render you the least results.

That is because technology has made the world smaller and much more noisier. There are many people that are pushing their brands, products, and services into the world and people are being bombarded with options on a daily basis that they don’t know how to handle. For them, it seems like every time they turn around, someone is trying to sell them something, wants them to do something, or wants them to opt-in for something.

Honestly, people have become numb to average marketing tactics and pass right by them if there is nothing to compel them to pay attention. That means that the only way that you are going to be seen and heard is if you are louder than all of the rest of the people who are trying to market themselves and their businesses.

Being unable to detach yourself from the things that used to be effective a few years ago and learn what is working in the present marketing arena will definitely hold you back. Online marketing is something that is being done by people and companies who are winning in the market place. The reason why they are winning is because they know how to be seen and heard by the people that they desire to be in front of, and they are making lots of cash while doing it.

So how can you get in the game and effectively market yourself?

Brilliantly embrace and tell your own unique story

You are the only person on this whole planet that has the exact experiences, background, upbringing, and memories as you. You are your own unique person and brand, and you can attract people that will fall in love with what you have to offer and become raving fans. All you have to do is be transparent and tell your story. This is not the time to worry about people knowing about your failures or your disappointments. This is the time to relate and resonate with people that are your target market.

Build up anticipation

Don’t let all of the cat out of the bag! In marketing, you can’t just go for the ask. Think of marketing as if you were on a first date. Being wined and dined is something that most people want. They want to get to know the person that they are thinking about getting into a relationship with. It may be several dates before they are actually comfortable with you enough to open up to you and tell you some intimate things about themselves and also be intimate with you.

Be generous

There’s something about a giver that people fall in love with. They want to be around them, they begin to trust them, and they have no problem with coming back for more. The know, like, and trust rule is very real and the more that people who you are trying to reach come in contact with you, the better they will feel about trusting you to do what you say that you are going to do. Your generosity can come in the form of free tips or advice on social media, a coupon, a free course, an informative news letter, or a free eBook of some of your best work. The better your giveaway is, the better your influence will be.

Show up in places where the people who you are trying to reach and connect with are going to be, and share your expertise

Actually help someone for free. If you are trying to get someone’s attention, the last thing that you want to do is be in places where they definitely are not. In order for you to know where they hang out, you are going to have to take the time to get to know who they are, what they listen to and read, what their pain points are, and what solutions you’re able to give them. Doing that allows you to understand them enough to know where you will be able to find them, how to resonate with them, and effectively market yourself to them.

Make sure that you are being persistent and consistent

A lot of times when marketing, it isn’t that you aren’t getting out in front of the people that are potential raving fans and customers. It is that you aren’t persistent and consistent enough. The average person must see you or your ad seven times before they decide to take action. If you have already given up on the third try, then you are leaving a lot of success and potential customers on the table.


How to effectively market yourself is a skill that you need to learn and implement in order for you and your business to be successful. It also must be executed with strategic thought and planning. The way that you market yourself can be the difference in how many opportunities come your way as well as how many zeros are behind the income you make.

 

Denise Damijo is the Founder & CEO of Denise Damijo International, LLC. She runs a successful business while juggling a husband and 5 children (3 being under the age of 2), and is Momapreneur’s Business and Lifestyle Strategist. She has been featured in places like the Huffington Post, Addicted2Success, Women On Business, Elite Daily, and more. She is also a published author, and the creator of the Rise UP And Win Challenge. Denise love helping momapreneurs get clear, get intentional, and get paid by helping them strategize great content, marketing, and sales plans.


Are you a client magnet for finding new business? Or is attracting more people to your business a struggle for you?  Some people are naturally great at sales, others are more comfortable in the creative space and being of service.

Here are 10 tips to help you boost your business mojo to attract people and close that sale.

1. Celebrate your old clients

We all know it is easier to work with previous or current clients instead of finding new people to serve. We need to remember how to spread the business karma with your previous clients and not forget how much you appreciated them when you were getting paid.

Business is about creating and keeping relationships open, so the next time your clients need a problem solved, you are the person they think of straight away.

Why not offer clients a free coffee at a local cafe, referral fees for new clients, enter them in your client competition for movie tickets or vouchers, testimonials for their products, shout-outs on your own social media channels, a profile on your website?

2. Send a snail mail message to both old & prospective clients, with a personal offer (no slimy sales or hidden agendas)

Send a thank you to your clients via the post. We are deep within an online haze at the moment and who doesn’t love the surprise finding a personal note in our mailbox?

You can make it personal by printing off a photo you have taken or ask a graphic designer to help you create something just for your clientele. Spend time creating a personal message of thanks and tell your customers how much you appreciate working with them.

3. Think like a customer NOT a business owner

Work backwards. What are your most common client queries, complaints or problems? Brainstorm new ways to solve these problems in a package, service or offering that is beneficial to the customer.

Once you have developed your new package, offer it for a limited time to entice the public to try new your product.

As business owners we think we know who our ideal markets are as well as their problems but often who ends up purchasing our service or product is a surprise.

4. Involve yourself in a fundraiser

Does your business have a charity fundraiser that is close to your heart? You can ask your staff & clients to bring their families and friends to a nominated fundraiser as a social event, to raise donations for your cause and create relationships with your customers.

Crowd funding or online fundraising websites are often a fun way for people to interact with your business without over committing themselves by their time or resources.

5. Invite clients to a business sundowner

One small business I know has regular sundowner picnics in their local park or pub throughout the year, inviting client families and partners to mingle and get to know each other.

This works especially well during the festive season as people wind down and are open to socialising without being “busy”.

Each client places their business card into a hat for a raffle prize or you can place everyone’s own business card out on a table for others to take for their own resource (as long as they are not direct competitors with each other).

 6. Business forums/social media groups/networking groups

If your business can create a creative meeting place for your staff, customers and other similar business to connect then a thriving community can only enhance your business.

Social media is an easy (and often free) way to connect with each other online to create relationships with your customers and an easy way for friends of friends to find your business.

Many successful networking groups work because they focus on helping fellow business owners. They also work because although everyone wants to own and run their own business but it is lonely at the top.

Communication and bouncing off each other for ideas works well in the flexibility of social media and networking situations.

7. Co-working spaces are the new black

Co-working spaces are huge these days. If you are a freelancer, go visit one and place your advert on their jobs boards or websites, mix with the people!

A hive of activity in small business communities, co-working spaces are the perfect venue to make connections, value relationships and find interesting people for new projects to complement your business.

8. Is your business website ready?

Need new clients? You need a website. How many times have your heard that one? Well, you do need a website in this day and age but is your website doing its job properly?

Does your website copy attract new clients with the appropriate keywords and SEO phrases? Do those key phrases cause your potential clients to take action?

Are your clients signing up to your email website list? What information are you regularly updating on Google via a business blog?

Establishing a digital footprint is a must for gaining new clients by creating trust, credibility and authority in the online world.

9. Reach out to a similar business and offer to work together in some way

Reaching out to competitors is not usually the done thing. We are supposed to keep our competitors at arm’s length, but you may be surprised with the outcome if you do connect. We all have strengths that we like to specialise in but if you choose to find a competitor to complement your business you may be able to work on a win-win situation.

For example, if your counselling business specialises in relationships and divorce issues, you could work with a business coach when your client would like to start fresh with a new career. If you have a graphic designer company which specialises in websites, you could recommend your competition for copywriting work or paper promotional materials. Any overflow work can be referred to your competition then they would then return the favour.

10. Work on your own special interest outside of work. Eg. Bike riding, travel, golf, volunteering

We often are more relaxed and open with people who share a similar passion or experience with ourselves. My husband often pulls on the lycra (don’t judge) and joins in with the early morning bike riding masses. Mostly he rides alone or in small groups, but often competes in charity rides and is always getting kudos via a fellow colleagues Strava app. (Sort of like Facebook for athletes). Most people in his bike riding group know what he does for a living and he has received many referrals and leads simply by following his passion or interest outside work.

Being creative and thinking outside the square for getting new clients is important for the success of your business. Being original in making connections make you memorable to clients and your customers will feed energised to work with you.

lisa bersonLisa Berson

Lisa is a freelance writer, copywriter and blogger based in WA, whose writing interests are careers, women’s lifestyle, parenting and travel. Find out more at www.lisaberson.com

Photo credit: pixabay.com