Every woman and girl should have the opportunity to follow their dreams. Because women do 66% of the world’s work – yet earn 10% of the world’s income – helping women entrepreneurs get their businesses up and running is an important step towards making this goal a reality.
Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, founded by Wendy Diamond, is global “educational event” aimed at educating businesswomen in the ways they can empower one another financially, thus improving the likelihood of their long-term success.
Today there are an estimated 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States, according to The State of Women-Owned Businesses 2016 report from American Express OPEN and Womenable. Generating over $1.6 trillion in revenue, these ventures drive economic activity and improve employment in their communities.
If you’re hoping to join this ever-growing group of entrepreneurs, one of the first considerations you’ll likely have to make is how you’re going to fund your new business – in good times and in bad. Here are seven helpful tips to get you started.
- Take Ownership of Your Credit
Whether you’ve been building your credit for a while or you simply are starting with no credit, it’s a good idea to know where you stand before applying for a loan, your first credit card or seeking any other kind of financing.
“Many women forget about their credit scores, particularly if they are married or sharing a bank account,” Meredith Wood, vice president of content for Fundera, a free site for finding small business loans, said. “Make sure you own your credit so that you can apply for capital.”
- Don’t Fear Asking for Help
“Don’t be afraid to ask — for help, for funding, for free stuff,” Alex Niemczewski, CEO of BallotReady, an online voter guide, said. “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”
Niemczewski said it’s a good idea to start talking with potential investors early, “even if you’re still in the idea stage. The earlier you are, the less you have thought through everything, but that’s okay. Potential investors are incredible sources of advice and connections.”
You don’t just have to be asking for something — it’s good to remember that it’s okay to simply be asking for a fresh perspective from someone you trust. “Sometimes it helps to seek another opinion,” Wood said. “You need to understand how your offers compare before making a decision.”
- Use Resources Designed Just for You
There are programs dedicated to women in your exact situation, like those offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), where you can also turn for guidance or answers to your questions.
“These WBCs, as we call them, offer women entrepreneurs, especially those who are economically or socially disadvantaged, comprehensive training and counseling on a vast array of topics, such as financing, marketing, federal contracting, international trade and manufacturing,” Andrea Roebker, regional communications director for the SBA, said.
- Start Small
“My advice to all women entrepreneurs is to think lean when figuring out your finances,” said Lauren Milligan, a career coach in Chicago. “Can you work from your home office rather than paying rent? Can you outsource to freelancers rather than bringing on an employee? Can you use interns rather than outsourcing business functions to expensive vendors?”
All the business plans in the world cannot predict the challenges that lie ahead – don’t quit your day job right away, and don’t bite off more than you can chew. By trying it first on a small scale, you allow yourself both the room and the time to build credible, trustworthy relationships.
- Know What’s Essential
“Resist the temptation to spend your seed money on furniture and stationery,” said Angelique Pivoine, CEO of Good Thinking Agency, a company that helps freelancers and small businesses draw media attention. “I really recommend that you make a list of essential expenses and fees to start a business and keep it afloat for six months before spending money on a new chair or potted plants.”
Milligan also suggested that you “look at every expense you have and see how you can chip away at it, so that you don’t have to take on unnecessary debt.”
- Consider Angel Investors
“Women starting a company should be aware that there are more and more female-led, angel investors who are seeking great concepts and experienced leaders,” Stephanie Sprangers, CEO and founder of Glamhive, a fashion app, said. “You’ll want to find early-stage angel investors who are open to investing in pre-revenue and even pre-tech build companies. These angel investors provide capital, advice and connections.” She recommends looking for them by searching for “angel investor” on sites like LinkedIn.
- Look at Other Financing Options
“Do your research about grants for women entrepreneurs, small loans, credit cards — a wealth of options exist online if you’re denied by banks,” Wood said.
Pivoine also suggested finding a “trustworthy partner or investor” to help you fund your business. “I recommend, though, that you iron out the details of the partnership beforehand, [including] how much percentage of the business each partner has, how long until the partner who provided the cash recuperates their investment cost, etc.”
On Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and every day, it’s important to recognize the contributions being made to society by women-led businesses as well as the challenges that still lie ahead. Strong, empowered women in business are crucial catalysts for positive change both within their communities and the wider world. As we look forward to this event, remember your own dreams – and then lay a plan to start putting them to action.
Fearless: How One Financial Expert Faced Her Fear Of Public Speaking
When you are on a collision course to face your fears in order to achieve your future career goals, what will you do? Do you run and hide, drag your feet and hope things will blow over, or will you dawn your Super Woman cape and address the elephant in the room?
Today’s woman wears many hats and it should come as no surprise that with all of the role-changes, fear and anxiety can be a bit challenging for some. Add to that a career path that is rooted in public speaking and you could have a recipe for disaster as the challenges faced with respect to public speaking are high. Communication, in general, tends to be challenging for women on both a personal and professional level for various reasons, but why do we seem to struggle a bit more with public speaking?
Sweaty palms, a racing heart, or feeling like a frog is lodged in your throat. Those psychosomatic symptoms can be a real bummer and for many women, they never achieve their full potential due to their overwhelming fear of public speaking. To shed light on this common problem, we turned to financial expert and two-time New York Times bestseller, Pamela Yellen, who knows all too well about overcoming the fear of public speaking.
We wanted to know how someone who had garnered enough support to raise $25,000 in funds for the American Cancer Society and was fearless enough to dawn a gold-sequined leotard while riding on an elephant struggled with fear and anxiety that almost halted her career pursuits. “You can be a risk taker and still be afraid to get up in front of more than a couple of people.”
Despite the risks Pamela has taken in her life, it wasn’t until she decided to go in a different direction and develop a more professional career as a financial services consultant and public speaker that she was prompted to deal with her “paralyzing stage fright.” Once she conquered her fears, she went on to help others face their fears relating to financial security and grace us with Bank on Yourself: The Life-Changing Secret to Growing and Protecting Your Financial Future and The Bank On Yourself Revolution: Fire Your Banker, Bypass Wall Street, and Take Control of Your Own Financial Future.
To help quell her fears and set her on the path to success, Pamela got busy and ushered in the help of a mentor. When asked if she felt like the mentoring approach and feedback would have set her on a different path had her mentor been a female, she chuckled, “I guess we’ll never know, but I will tell you that I was a bit intimidated by him and he was a very strong, demanding, no-nonsense kind of guy. I think maybe I needed that [approach] at that time.” She also acknowledges her abilities to develop and lead people to reach their potential, developing strategies to avoid foreseeable obstacles, and her natural curiosity to challenge conventional wisdom as key strengths that have contributed to her success.
So what do you do when all eyes are on you and it seems as if the world is judging you? According to Pamela, “You can choose are you gonna sit there and stand there and worry about what they’re gonna think about you or are you going to focus on the fact that you have value to give them.”
Having a clear focus is important when taking on any task, especially something as intimidating as public speaking.Once you choose to change your focus to the value that you bring to your client or an audience, you can begin to approach public speaking differently. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you will never have a nervous moment again. Pamela stated she “still gets plagued by a lack of confidence every now and then” but despite a few hang-ups, she has still persisted and has been quite successful in pursuing her goals.
Speaking of womanhood, we would be remiss not to address the obstacles faced by women in addition to the generalized fear many have regarding public speaking. How does one persist when it seems like odds are stacked against women? Being a woman has made her somewhat of an easier target to negative criticism and has been a cause of hesitancy along her journey.
Given many of the patriarchal norms and stereotypes assigned to women that continue to shape much of society, it’s easy to see how despite all of her success, remnants of fear and anxiety can still rear their ugly head. There is little doubt that being a woman presents its own set of problems when speaking out and sometimes against the status quo.
When asked about her thoughts on being a woman in such a male-dominated field, Pamela stated, “people attack me regularly because I go against the conventional financial wisdom.” She also offered an inspiring quote from her mentor, Dan Kennedy, “It’s been so profoundly powerful for me ‘If you’re not offending someone by noon every day then you’re not doing much.'” Despite her critics, like a true superhero, Pamela still persists and we are thankful for it.
Switching gears, the interview would not have been complete without garnering some financial advice from the guru herself. Money and financial security or lack thereof can be a great cause of fear and anxiety for anybody. Understanding that a large part of overcoming fear or anxiety involves doing something different, rather it be challenging yourself or learning something new. Pamela’s book encourages you to do both.
With no regard to socio-economic status, age, or income, Bank On Yourself allows consumers to achieve their goals and take control of their financial situation by avoiding Wall Street while challenging financial institutions and their tactics.
While different groups have benefited from Pamela’s books, advice, and financial expertise; by far the group that has benefited the most have been the baby-boomer generation. “I think a lot of baby boomers and women have benefited from my books because the baby-boomers are the ones or the group that no longer has guaranteed pensions from their companies and their basically on their own to save for their own retirement.” For those still reeling from the Recession, looking to recover from slow economic growth, or gain financial freedom Pamela advises “if you’re not comfortable with the idea of never being sure that you’ll have you know a certain amount of money for retirement you need to look at safe and guaranteed methods of saving for retirement.”
Rather it is public speaking, finances, or career guidance; no matter how successful, when it comes to certain things, fear and doubt can set in and if left unaddressed will find a permanent home in our lives. To learn more about some of these safe financial methods and get a free and safe wealth building report, you can visit www.bankonyourself.com.
Ninety-Two Percent of Caregivers Are Financial Caregivers
A Merrill Lynch study, conducted in partnership with Age Wave, finds that the 40 million family caregivers in the U.S. spend $190 billion per year on their adult care recipients. Despite the financial, emotional and functional challenges in this life stage, preserving the dignity of their loved one is their primary goal. The vast majority of caregivers (91 percent) are grateful they could be there to provide care, and 77 percent say they “would gladly do so again.”
“As tens of millions of people take on caregiving responsibilities each year, supporting those caring for our aging population has become one of the most pressing financial issues of our lifetime”
Family caregivers are America’s other social security, providing the bulk of long-term care today. The aging of the baby boomers will result in unprecedented numbers of people in America needing care. As a caregiving crunch is upon us, “The Journey of Caregiving: Honor, Responsibility and Financial Complexity” offers an in-depth look at Americans’ financial and emotional journeys during this life stage. This study marks the beginning of a new, multiyear research series from Merrill Lynch and Age Wave that will examine five distinct life stages: early adulthood, parenting, caregiving, widowhood, and end of life.
As the first of the series, this study examines the responsibilities, sacrifices, and rewards of caregiving – a life stage that nearly all Americans will participate in, as a caregiver, care recipient or both. This study comprehensively explores the topic of financial caregivers – a role largely unexamined, yet held by 92 percent of caregivers. Financial caregiving involves contributing to the costs of care and/or coordinating or managing finances for a care recipient.
The study is based on a nationwide sample of more than 2,200 respondents, including 2,010 caregivers. Key findings about their caregiving journey include: Paying bills from their recipient’s account (65 percent), Monitoring bank accounts (53 percent), Handling insurance claims (47 percent), Filing taxes (41 percent), Managing invested assets (21 percent).
- Much more than hands-on care. Providing emotional support (98 percent), financial caregiving (92 percent), household support (92 percent) and care coordination (79 percent) far outweigh physical care (64 percent).
- Financial costs – with little discussion of their ramifications. Seventy-five percent of financial contributors and their care recipients have not discussed the financial impacts of these contributions.
- Caregiving for a spouse vs. for a parent. A spouse is 3.5 times more likely to be the sole caregiver looking after a care recipient and is more likely to spend more out of pocket on care-related costs. Their caregiving journey is also different in terms of the obligations and financial interdependencies they hold with their loved one.
- Caregiving gender gap. Both for cultural and biological reasons, women are more commonly caregivers for spouses and parents, averaging six years of caregiving in their lifetime versus four years for men. As a result, women are disproportionately impacted by the challenges of caregiving, including struggling to balance responsibilities and making career sacrifices. And then, more find themselves alone and without someone to care for them when needed.
- Responsibilities extend beyond the care recipient’s life. Sixty-one percent of the time, caregivers expect their role will end with the death of their loved one. However, the complexities of financial, legal, and other aspects of caregiving often continue for months or even years.
“As tens of millions of people take on caregiving responsibilities each year, supporting those caring for our aging population has become one of the most pressing financial issues of our lifetime,” said Lorna Sabbia, head of Retirement and Personal Wealth Solutions for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Greater longevity is going to have a profound impact on the caregiving landscape and calls for earlier, more comprehensive planning and innovative solutions to address the health and long-term care needs of our loved ones.”
Financial caregiving: Navigating complexity and responsibility
The study finds that 92 percent of caregivers are also financial caregivers, and are contributing to and/or coordinating finances for their loved one. In fact, after two years of receiving care, 88 percent of care recipients are no longer managing their finances independently.
Financial caregiving is often far more complex than simply contributing to the recipient’s care. Financial caregivers are responsible for a wide variety of tasks, including:
- Health care rises as top challenge. Respondents find that navigating health insurance expenses is the top challenge of financial caregiving (57 percent).
- Uncharted territory. An estimated 49 percent of financial caregivers don’t have the legal authorization to perform their role.
- Guidance and resources lacking. Sixty-six percent of caregivers feel they could benefit from financial advice.
Costs and compensations of caregiving
While some aspects of caregiving may feel like a burden, those surveyed also tell us it is a blessing. Contrary to all we hear about the stress and sacrifices of caregiving, for many caregivers, the role is also often associated with a range of positive experiences and rewards. Caregivers describe a complex, demanding yet often nourishing journey – defined by honor, gratitude, fulfillment, purpose, and strong family bonds.
- Nearly three quarters of respondents say they’ve made numerous sacrifices as a caregiver – whether familial or professional.
- Fifty-three percent have made financial sacrifices to compensate for caregiving expenses. Thirty percent of caregivers say that they have had to cut back on expenses, and 21 percent have had to dip into personal savings.
- Two in five caregivers under the age of 64 have made sacrifices at work due to caregiving responsibilities, including reducing their hours (17 percent) and leaving the workforce (16 percent).
- Caregivers feel rewarded knowing they are doing something good for someone they love – 61 percent say the greatest benefit of providing care is the sense that they have “done the right thing.”
- Seventy-seven percent say they would gladly take on being a caregiver for a loved one again.
- Forty percent report a strengthened bond between themselves and the care recipient, and 24 percent say caregiving brought their family closer together.
- Eighty-six percent say watching their loved one’s health struggle was a motivator that caused them to place more value on taking care of their own health.
“Caregiving is one of today’s most complex life stages, throughout which hard work, high stress and heavy obligations intertwine with honor, meaning and resilience,” said Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., CEO and founder of Age Wave. “This experience becomes even more emotionally complex and financially challenging when caring for loved ones suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. Even with that added burden, this study reveals that 65 percent say that being a caregiver brought purpose and meaning to their life.”
The crucial role of employers
Employers can play an integral role in supporting caregiving employees during this demanding life stage. While 84 percent of employers say caregiving will become an increasingly important issue in the next five years, only 18 percent strongly agree that their workplace is currently “caregiving-friendly”– underscoring the need for new approaches and solutions across the workforce.
“Meaningful, well-designed employer benefits can make a crucial difference in helping caregivers navigate the high stress of caring for a loved one and help them balance these responsibilities with the rest of their working and financial lives. Just as child care has been an issue in the past that led to revolutionizing HR benefits, the aging of the population means we need to consider how caregiving is becoming an increasingly important issue for employers and employees,” said Kevin Crain, head of Workplace Solutions for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “These should include resources and programs focused on addressing caregiving complexities and employee networks that facilitate support from experts and peers.”
According to Crain, “Bank of America Corporation is committed to meeting the needs of caregivers in today’s transforming world. Companywide initiatives dedicated to addressing the needs of our country’s aging population and those of their caregivers include combatting elder financial fraud, increased awareness of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, and implementing caregiving best practices through training and resources for its financial advisors and corporate clients. The company supports our employees who are caregivers through a variety of resources including access to emergency back-up care for adults and children, professional elder care assessments, elder care law services, and an internal Parents and Caregivers employee network.”
Top 5 Messaging Apps for Marketing and Promotion
Two to three decades ago, advertising in television was the best medium to reach umpteen numbers of viewers to market certain product and services. Now the trends are changing with the advancement in technology. Another factor accelerating this digital trend is the increase in the number of people who are hooked to their smartphones, messaging apps and social media sites.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 messaging apps that could be used to promote your business.
WhatsApp is no doubt the leading messenger application worldwide. It is rare to find a smartphone user who hasn’t installed WhatsApp on his mobile phone.
A study by Statista says that WhatsApp is the most popular mobile messaging apps worldwide as of January 2017 with currently more than 900 million monthly active users followed by Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Line.
The evolution of WhatsApp has replaced the once popular text messaging service SMS among the masses. It has evolved drastically since 2009 by adding features like calling, video calling etc. in its new version. Many businesses be it a startup or an established one, have taken WhatsApp to its marketing advantage by creating groups and sending the group invite link to clients.
The news for marketers is that, WhatsApp has several features to its advantage like cross platform compatibility, Creating Broadcast Lists, Group chat facility etc. that will aid you to reach a number of audience through marketing.
This is another popular messenger used by so many people of all ages. Over 1.2 billion people use Facebook so this is another lucrative platform for marketers when it comes to lead generation. Facebook ad’s called destination ad’s which on clicking leads the user to the messenger can be set up.
Chatfuel is another application that lets you build a Facebook bot to suit your business needs.
Stats say that 53%of people are more likely to shop with a business they can message directly. And when it comes to customer service, 56% of people would rather message than call the customer service and wait for ten minutes by selecting various options to talk to a representative.
WeChat, though an unfamiliar household name is China’s version of WhatsApp. WeChat has 1.1 billion registered accounts and 938 million monthly active users according to a recent report. WeChat has become a part of the parcel in China by letting its users do daily tasks like hiring a cab, managing credit card bills, news updates and much more all from within the main app. Cool isn’t it?
WeChat has an added advantage to capture the Chinese crowd Since Facebook is blocked in China. You can use WeChat for location based marketing if you plan to market in the regions like United States, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, South Africa, Taiwan, and Thailand.
Many businesses communicate with consumers and share discount coupons on WeChat to attract them to their stores.
Line which is owned by South Korean search portal Naver Corp has 218 million monthly users mostly from Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia. It gained its popularity for its use of stickers and stories about the characters they feature. It is predicted by MobileMarketing magazine that Line will be used by 50.2m people in Japan in 2017, which equates to 92.8 percent of the country’s mobile messaging app.
Businesses can create accounts for a fee in Line and send information and free promotional stickers to subscribed users. Line offers various facilities like special discount coupons from brands, make group calls up to 200 members, book a taxi, shop online, follow your favorite brand and artists etc. There are famous brands like Pepsi who made use of line stickers for marketing by creating happy emoji’s who drink Pepsi.
Line offers a LINE Store Page that lets users create their own stickers which in turn will facilitate the exposure of new businesses and the LINE Store Chat allows businesses and consumers to engage in mutual communication. It allows sellers to send messages and coupons to customers encouraging them to visit again.
These days you can get millions of mobile app development companies who can design and develop messaging app for you as per your need & budget.
Slack is an internal communication and collaboration tool that is known for its convenience and organizing ability. There are several marketing, sales, and tech-based tools that have built-in integrations to work within Slack. Trello, DrumUp, Get Response, GrowthBot etc. are some of the noteworthy tools in this list. Slack is excellent when it comes to content delivery too. If users subscribe to your page in the slack channel, then your content will be broadcasted in their slack profile.
These 5 messengers can reach different regions in order to help expand your reach around the world. You could choose which messenger app is the best for you based on the location of the market you aim to capture.
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