Q. As you start to gain traction within your industry, what is one way you should take advantage of that momentum?
A. Get Engaged in the Community
As a former Miss Las Vegas and Miss Nevada, I learned first hand that all the volunteer work I did in the community not only benefited the needy and filled me with purpose, but it also directly benefited my companies. Volunteering exposes you to an entire group of people that you may have never have met before, nor would you have met in any other circumstance. They inevitably ask more about you.
A. Establish Friendships and Gain Social Proof
As you begin to build your brand, others in the industry may start to hear about you. This is the perfect time to start planting the seeds for building personal relationships with potential affiliates and well-established business colleagues. Approach them with respect for their time. Ask if it’s OK for you to connect with them on social media, etc. Make sure you’re thorough with follow ups.
A. Join Mentorship Groups
For some fields (like finance) it can feel like you’re the first person walking on the moon when you step in the door as a woman, especially as you climb the career ladder. That’s why mentorship groups are invaluable. They provide a group of like-minded individuals who’ve walked in the same shoes and want to help you reach even higher.
A. Create a Campaign Around Your Reputation
Leverage the traction gained by promoting yourself using social ads and other industry publications. For example, if you get named in a major publication, create a sponsored post on Facebook to share this media mention with your audience. Share your media mentions on all your social channels. Create a “News” category on your site to highlight all of your industry publications.
A. Allow Your Fans to Tell Your Story
Meeting and exceeding your clients’ expectations creates fans. Our company grew by 452 percent in two years because our fans spoke highly about their experience with us. Nods of approval then converted into new clients, which widened our audience further. Enjoy the organic word of mouth that arises from doing good work and don’t hesitate to broadcast your clients’ praises.
A. Create a Signature Keynote Talk and Speaker’s Kit
As your business and personal brand gains momentum, you’ll be a more attractive speaking candidate for large events that are packed with potential clients. By creating a signature keynote and rehearsing it, you’ll feel confident pitching yourself for the stage and saying “yes” to speaking engagements that come your way. You’ll also want to put together a speaker’s kit for pitching yourself.
A. Pass On Your Knowledge
The only way to break a glass ceiling is to continue to beat at it until all the cracks cause it to shatter. Passing on your knowledge of how you gained traction in your industry will create a path for other young women to follow you. Whether it’s speaking at your alma mater or a local Junior Achievement class, being an example and instructor for those coming up behind you is paramount.
A. Write a Book Proposal
As I became a top expert in my field, I sought out a book contract and published my first book with McGraw Hill and my second with Harvard Business Review. Both books allowed me to have a larger positive impact and to grow my business to the next level.
A. Stay Visible
The day that you gain traction and people start paying attention to what you do is the day that you should make a permanent commitment to keep pumping out content, putting yourself on the public stage, and connecting with other influencers. So many people make a big splash and disappear. It’s those who keep swimming who will experience long-term success.
A. Call Attention to Social Issues
By gaining a place in an industry where people listen to me, I believe it’s an opportune time to bring up social issues and see if I can use my influence to bring people together and add a voice that gets these issues addressed and maybe even solved. As a woman, I can even get other women to pay attention just from seeing that I’m in a leadership position with some power to influence.
A. Accelerate Your Brand and Broaden Your Network
Broaden your network through a variety of social media platforms. Attend networking events and industry conferences. Proactively approach others to connect. As your network grows, share your distinguished brand through commentary and posts. Get your ideas and thoughts out to your network so they clearly know who you are and what you represent. Share other posts that resonate with you.
A. Champion a Cause
As you begin to gain traction in your industry, set an example for other companies by championing a related cause as your social responsibility initiative. For example, if you’re gaining traction in tech, get involved in STEM initiatives. If you have a growing apparel company, get involved with a nonprofit like Dress for Success (or start your own organization). Be a force for good.
A. Bring Others Along for the Journey
One way to take advantage of gained traction within the startup industry is to continue to propel the women forward who worked tirelessly alongside you in building your company and brand. That network of support is invaluable and it only further grows your influence as they too gain traction in their own respective careers.
This post was originally published on Women2.0
Photo Credit: State Library of New South Wales
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.