The Code of the
. . . . .
ENTREPRENEURSHIP CAN BE ONE OF
THE MOST REWARDING JOURNEYS LIFE
HAS TO OFFER.
When done correctly, it’s a path of personal growth, a chance to make a positive impact on the world, and a source of financial freedom all in one.
But it can also be fraught with challenges, including: Ethical dilemmas, personality clashes, leadership push-back, and decisions about how to lead and grow your company without compromising your integrity. These dilemmas can leave many entrepreneurs feeling empty, burned out, and isolated from friends and family.
OUR CODE SERVES AS GUIDING PRINCIPALS
POINTING YOU IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
WHEN YOU FEEL LOST ALONG THE WAY.
Better yet, codes can keep you from getting lost in the first place.
Having worked with thousands of female entrepreneurs over the years, The Society of WE has evolved a code — a set of principles for guiding you towards success and personal fulfillment on your entrepreneurial journey, and implementing these principals can help you create the kind of community we all want to be a part of.
We call these principles: The Code of The Woman Entrepreneur.
Learn them, review them often, and keep them in mind as you build your business. You’ll be glad you did.
. . . . .
The language used in the business world seems designed to pit us against one another.
Businesses that solve the same problems as yours are seen as “competition” to be “crushed”. You’re urged to “dominate your market” and drive your competitors out of business.
But when you shift your mindset from asking “how can I beat them?” to “how can we help each other?” you’ll often find that your so-called “competitors” can be your greatest assets inside your business.
They can increase market awareness and even become partners who share resources and refer customers to you.
Instead of trying to grab a bigger piece of the pie, what if you worked together to grow the entire pie for everyone as a whole?
It’s difficult to shift your mindset from a competitive one to a collaborative one. But when you look for opportunities to work with people rather than against them, everyone wins.
. . . . .
Being an entrepreneur often puts you in a position of leadership.
It can be exciting at first to experience the feeling of importance that comes with a position of leadership — especially if you’ve struggled to be taken seriously in the past.
When you lead with the intention to serve, however, you not only inspire loyalty, you also improve the lives of everyone around you. This is how you will ultimately end each day feeling deeply fulfilled, knowing that you’ve truly made a difference.
Great leaders continually bring themselves back to the question “how can I best serve my people?”
They realize that having a higher position doesn’t mean more status, it means more people to take care of. Good leaders understand this, and, rather than power-tripping, they increase their commitment to serve. The higher their position rises, and the more responsibility they’re given, the greater servants they become.
Know Your Core Values
and Strive for Integrity.
. . . . .
What’s important to you? What kind of woman do you want to be?
Do you want to be the kind of woman who keeps her word? Who shows up for meetings and appointments on time? Who chooses to do the right thing, even when it hurts you temporarily?
Whatever you want to do, always strive to do it with integrity. You’ll build trust and loyalty, and, even more than that, you’ll be able to look everyone in the eye with confidence and pride.
Trust and loyalty happen when you act in alignment with your core values.
Nobody’s perfect, and even failing to act in integrity can be handled with integrity. When you mess up, forgive yourself, admit your mistake, ask for forgiveness, and do whatever you can to remedy it.
Take Care of Your Body,
Mind, and Spirit.
. . . . .
Anyone who’s been on an airplane is familiar with the instruction: “Please put on your own mask first before helping others.”
You can try all you like, but you won’t be able to truly help anyone if you’re burned out, depressed or incapacitated.
The focus on “hustling”, “grinding” and sacrificing yourself for your business has lead many people to neglect their own health, and wind up exhausted, depressed, or living with debilitating health problems.
So work hard, but know your limits. Pay attention to what your body is telling you, and know when you need to pull back and take care of yourself.
We want you to stay healthy, because only you can share your unique set of gifts with the world. Only you can fulfill your mission.
Don’t Let “Self-Care” Become “Self-Indulgence”.
. . . . .
At the same time, it’s easy to take the idea of “self-care” too far and use it as justification for acting out of integrity.
Entrepreneurship is filled with false starts, pivots, and changes of directions. You try something, only to discover it isn’t for you. Or you quote someone a price, and then you realize halfway through that it’s going to be more work than you realized when you first began.
Changing course is part of the journey. But if you committed to a course of action and “your truth” is telling you to stop part-way through, be honest with yourself about whether you’re really doing the right thing, or you’re using it as an excuse to take the easy way out.
When you break your commitments to other people, you not only lose trust with them, you also lose your ability to trust yourself to follow through on what you say you’re going to do. Losing trust in other people and in yourself only hurts you in the long run, so be true to your word, and stick to your commitments.
That said, it isn’t always easy to know when changing direction is the right thing to do and when it’s a violation of integrity, so surround yourself with supporters and mentors who will be honest with you and hold you accountable when necessary.
Have Difficult Conversations Face-to-Face.
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It’s so easy to list out your grievances in a text message, and anyone can quit a job or end a partnership by email. Though it might make you feel like a badass boundary-setter to get out everything you’ve been keeping inside via email, text, or some way other than face to face, if all your boundaries are being set from behind a keyboard, you’re anything but.
Not only does written communication make it easier to hide, it also tends to increase conflict and misunderstanding, rather than leading to more harmony, clarity, and overall understanding with the people in your life.
There’s a lot of talk about the “power of vulnerability” and its ability to create more authentic relationships with both yourself and others. Well, we agree. We also believe that true vulnerability, the kind that truly leads to great leadership, means having difficult conversations face-to-face whenever possible.
It’s amazing how many people would rather burn a friendship, relationship, or business partnership to the ground, rather than having a simple, direct conversation about how they’re feeling.
If it’s not possible to meet up, you can talk by video chat or you can have a phone call. Make a promise to yourself right now not to have challenging or difficult conversations by text or email anymore, and, instead, commit to always clearing things up face to face.
Focus On Happy Customers Over Dollars In the Bank.
. . . . .
What is the best metric of success? How would your business transform if happiness was the bottom line?
If your goal is profits at all costs, it’s easy to fall into the trap of chasing short-term sales. You’ll be tempted to make sales at all costs, regardless of whether or not you can actually help your client or customer.
By focusing on “creating happy customers”, you’ll have more long-term success and sustainability in your business. You’ll inspire more loyalty. You’ll get more word-of-mouth marketing and repeat business.
It’s very simple, but easy to forget. Remind yourself again and again that the purpose of your business is to create happy customers, not profits. This way, you won’t be tempted to make decisions that don’t ultimately serve your people.
Don’t Wait Until You Feel Ready.
. . . . .
To build a business the right way, you of course need to prepare yourself. There are things you need to learn, skills you need to master, and assets you need to acquire in your business.
Experienced entrepreneurs, however, know that you never “feel ready” to start a project. And if you wait until you do, you’ll never embark on anything worthwhile.
Ask yourself if you’re putting any extra steps in front of getting out there, making sales, and serving your customers. Do you really need business cards to get started? Do you need a fancy website or sales funnel? Do you need another certification from another school? Or, is there a more direct path to getting started?
Now, this doesn’t mean you should go out and call yourself a qualified expert when you have no education or experience. But be honest with yourself about when you genuinely need more preparation, and when you’re merely stalling out of fear of the unknown.
Make New Mistakes.
. . . . .
If you never make mistakes, you’ll never learn, you’ll never innovate, and you’ll never discover anything new.
One thing all great entrepreneurs have in common is: They’re not afraid to make mistakes. Or, if they are, they don’t let that fear stop them from at least trying something new.
Often, making mistakes can be the best education possible.
The problem comes when you keep making the same mistakes over and over. So when you’re faced with a tough decision, and you’re worried that what you’re about to try might be a mistake, remind yourself that new mistakes are always better than the old ones.
New mistakes can teach you things even an MBA from Harvard can’t teach you.
Don’t Let Perfection Stand In the Way of Completion.
. . . . .
You started your business because you had a vision.
As you get into the execution of that vision, however, you start to feel like everything has to be perfect before it’s complete. You start comparing yourself to others—how their website looks, how grand their marketing efforts are, how gorgeous all their photos are on Instagram.
Whether it’s a business you’re building, a book you’re writing, or some other creative project, the perfect vision you have stalls you from ever calling it complete. This is what holds so many women entrepreneurs back from ever launching themselves and their business out into the world.
Do this, and you’ll thank us later: Launch, and learn.
Don’t fall into the trap of always refining, revising, switching directions mid-stream, simply because it’s not as perfect as you “could” make it. Recognize that the loss of perfection is how you will grow and learn. And that one imperfect, completed project is better than 1000 half-finished ones.
Dedicate Yourself to Continual Growth.
. . . . .
Foolish people spend, wise ones invest. That means putting time, energy, and money into your education, in order to grow your skills as an entrepreneur and business leader.
One thing successful entrepreneurs have in common is their desire to constantly learn, grow, and improve themselves.
Even the most successful entrepreneurs still read, participate in masterminds, take courses, and continually striving to better themselves as leaders, business owners, and human beings in general.
So set aside time each day for your own self-help and personal development.
Committing to a path of constant growth will bring you many rewards, and, over time, you’ll get to a point where you could lose everything tomorrow, and you’d have it all back in no time.
Experience the Magic of Commitment.
. . . . .
It’s natural to want to ‘dip your toe in’ when you’re just starting something new.
But at a certain point, you need to commit to a direction, and just go for it.
There’s a magic that happens when you fully and completely commit to something. You take yourself out of “evaluation mode” and your mind starts to come up with ways to make things work for you, rather than reasons to give up or switch direction.
Fully committing also increases your self confidence, because you start fully following through on your commitment to yourself. Telling yourself that you’re going to do something and not doing it only fuels your own self-doubt.
Just like with relationships — fully committing to the right thing and investing your time, effort, and energy in it will yield you amazing results.
Ask for Help When
You Need It.
. . . . .
The path of entrepreneurship isn’t meant to be travelled alone, so start asking for help early on.
A lot of women have trouble asking for help, so they end up struggling all by themselves, often for years, and end up failing as a result.
The real tragedy here is that the gifts they had to offer the world are lost — all because they were too proud to ask for help.
Reach out to your sisters. Reach out to your mentors. Give them the opportunity to serve you. If you’re worried about being too much of a burden on others, let them decide for themselves what’s too much for them.
Put aside your pride and remember the difference you can make to the world with the right support. No great business was built alone, and it truly does take the love and support of a village to make your business dreams come true.