How to Succeed in Male-Dominated Industries

Gone are the days when women were concentrated in lower paying service jobs like retail workers and administrative assistants. Now more and more women are holding high level and high paying jobs in previously male dominated industries. To be successful in these industries, women require a lot of joggling especially if they are married and have children to look after.

Here are a few suggestions for women to get ahead in an industry that is known to be male-dominated.

  • Make sure your value is known

    One of the main challenges faced by women in the ‘male-dominated’ industries is making their value known. It can be intimidating for some women to play by men’s rules. Women need to play on their strengths and characteristic qualities that are sometime lacking in men. Many women think they need to change when working in a male-dominated environment. But, your unique qualities or working styles can be the catalyst that helps you to be noticed as a person of value.

  • Don’t be the ‘Yes’ woman

    In many industries, there is tremendous pressure to work hard and go the extra mile. Women must not feel obligated to say ‘yes’ to anything that doesn’t remotely list under their responsibilities. Agreeing to taking on every project in striving to be a ‘good employee’ will not do any justice to you in the long run. If you don’t learn to say no, you will ultimately hurt both yourself and the company you represent. It is important, however, to stand up for the projects you really want to work on.

  • Be Confident

    Having confidence in yourself goes a long way and can get you where you want to be in your career. Being confident, you won’t feel the need to get the ‘approval’ from anyone as women are just as capable of holding certain positions that appear to be reserved for men only. Being a woman, you may be playing more than one role. It is advisable not to allow domestic worries impact upon your confidence and focus at work.

  • Be strong and structure oriented

    As a woman,you need to not only prove yourself, but be relatively outspoken about it too – something many women are not comfortable doing. Being structured in your work, organized, technically strong, and ensuring you’re assertive goes a long way to earning the respect and recognition for a job well done.

  • Have patience, perseverance and positivity

    Maintaining a positive attitude and focus, together with equal doses of perseverance and patience, will stand you in good stead. One step forward is one step closer to getting ahead.

  • Build contacts

    Networking after work is a big part of building contacts in any industry. This is often done in environments that aren’t particularly female-friendly, but breaking into this is a must.

  • Motivation and mentorship

    Going it alone up the career ladder is hard. One of the most valuable things is to have a mentor – someone who has succeeded in the system, understands the challenges, and can guide you through some of the peculiarities of the industry, as a result of his/her own experience and lessons learned.A mentor can also push you a little harder than you might push yourself.

Remember, the amazing thing about women is that we’re stubborn individuals who will build strong, supportive networks to help each other grow. Keep a positive attitude and always challenge yourself to learn more. With knowledge and confidence, you can enter any office and show that you’re a valuable addition to the team.

It’s Time to Make a Career Change

People change careers several times during their lifetime. The main reason is that they don’t make informed decisions about the careers they choose. They do not take into account their own interests, values, personality types while selecting career path. Because of these reasons, you may find yourself wondering whether you should be doing something different. Here are some valid reasons to leave your current career for a new one:

  • Loss of purpose and passion

    If your career has no meaning, you are no longer excited about it or you have grown tired of getting up in the morning to compete for something you don’t believe in anymore – it’s time to move on. The financial incentives are not enough, when the chance to find real personal significance and happiness is missing.

  • Talent potential is not valued

    When your talent is not valued, it’s difficult to stay motivated.   When your boss doesn’t trust your potential and will not sponsor your career advancement, it’s extremely hard to remain loyal. You must value your talent potential more than anyone else. Never allow your talent to be taken for granted.  If it is, it may be time to move on.

  • Professional growth is stunted

    If you are unable to challenge yourself to grow and mature, then how can your employer help you? If you think your employer is not investing in your professional development, you must move on. If you don’t stretch yourself to do more or remain in your comfort zone for too long, you will have to pay the price later. Your resume should reflect enough success stories to merit advancement in your career.

  • Workplace culture is not trustworthy

    A hostile work environment that operates in silos – where the executives are not transparent – is difficult to trust. This type of workplace culture becomes corrupted and begins to impact your performance and ability to advance. When you are part of an organization that is full of leadership and workplace problems, it’s time to consider a career change.

  • Not sufficiently awarded

    It’s easy to become contented in your career, but in today’s fiercely competitive and dynamic marketplace, you must be your own manager and continually be accountable to keep a “reward scorecard.”   Rewards are qualitative and quantitative measurements.  If you are not being rewarded for your work – based on industry standards (or better), it’s time to consider a career change.

  • You make excuse for a day off

    Do you make excuses to call in sick or let go opportunities to take lead? It may be time to assess your current career. If your sense of satisfaction fades away, you aren’t worried your performance review didn’t go well, or you spend more time on surfing internet than concentrating on business, it might be time to move on.

  • Your life has changed

    When you chose your career your life may have been different than it is today. For example you may have been single then and now you have a family. The crazy schedule or the frequent travel that is typical of your career may not suit your new lifestyle. You should look for an occupation that is more “family friendly.”

  • Your job is too stressful

    Some occupations are inherently stressful. You knew that from the beginning about yours. You’ve come to a point, though, when it’s become too much to handle. To preserve your mental and physical health, you will have to find a career that is less stressful.

If you want to make a career change, talk to the career counsellor for guidance and making a right move. Think about roles or jobs where you can use the knowledge and skills you already possess. If you are convinced that you want to make a career change, then take a dive! There is never a perfect time, so don’t wait. Try to prepare plan B, and then do it!

Dealing with Workplace Harassment

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Workplace harassment and office bullying are unfortunately common incidents these days. It refers to any repeated, intentional behaviour directed at an employee that is intended to degrade, humiliate, embarrass, or otherwise undermine their performance. It can come from colleagues, supervisors, or management, and is a real problem for workers at all levels. It’s no joke. By learning to recognize and address workplace bullying behaviour, you can help to create a healthier, more productive environment for yourself and your colleagues.

What women can do

  • Communicate your disapproval – If you can avoid the colleague who makes you uncomfortable, do so. If you have to work in close proximity to him, avoid being alone with him and tell him to stop his specific behaviour. If the person has sent you a joke through an email or SMS, reply through email or SMS when asking him to stop.
  • Keep a record – If your colleague isn’t getting the message, prepare to report him. Gather evidence to substantiate your claims. ‘Note down the date, time and details of each incident. Save any emails or text messages that contain inappropriate language. Try to use your mobile phone recorder to discreetly record his remarks.
  • Find a friend to share this information – Share the situation with a colleague you trust in the office. She may be able to keep a watchful eye on the situation. But be picky about who you share this information with, and ensure that this person is trustworthy. A senior colleague or mentor who carries more weight in the organisation would be ideal.
  • Formal complaint – If the above doesn’t work, make a formal complaint to senior members of the organisation, with whatever evidence or notes you have. Make the complaint in writing and keep a copy. Remember an oral complaint can be hushed up. Often women don’t report sexual harassment for fear they might lose their jobs, but unless you are willing to take action, your problem will persist.
  • Contact EEOC – If your complaint does not result in your supervisor or senior manager taking action, you can file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which investigates sexual harassment incidents in the workplace. Inform the EEOC of your employer’s name, the name of the offender and the details surrounding the incidents.
  • File a lawsuit – After you file a complaint with the EEOC, you can possibly file a lawsuit. You can seek monetary damages, or try to get your job back if your employer fired you due to the incidents. If you plan to file a lawsuit, you should seek legal representation from an attorney who handles sexual harassment cases.

Should Start-ups Hire Interns?

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For some start-ups it is inevitable to hire interns at the initial stages of their company’s growth. While this may initially appear to be a good practice, especially with start-ups’ tight financial constraints, the grind of managing the interns could overshadow the benefits of having them in your office.

Internships are a “give and take” relationship because the commitment goes both ways – an intern works for your start-up, but you have to teach the intern the necessary skills and give him or her individual learning plan in return. The intern is working for you because he or she wants to learn and get experience in his or her field of expertise.

Pros and cons of hiring interns
There are mostly ‘pros’, but you need to be aware of one con: Interns are time consuming in the beginning of their internship. You need to take the time to teach them a new set of skills and integrate them into the workplace.

Here are the benefits of hiring interns:

  • The most important benefit to the start-ups is that they get cost effective dynamic workforce.
  • For most interns, it is their first job, so they give their best to the employer. They are motivated and have desire to learn and progress within their field.
  • Interns fill positions and assist employers with innovative ideas and technology.
  • Internships allow employers to connect with and build relationships with students early in their academic careers
  • Employers can test the candidates before offering him/her full time position within an organization.
  • Smaller, less important tasks could be given to interns, so that experienced workforce could devote their full attention to more productive work.

However, these benefits could come at a cost of your time and energy.

  • You spend more time teaching them how to work and what to work on
  • If you have more number of interns, your business activities may suffer when interns go back to school.
  • Most start-up founders will take the interns under their wing and teach them what they know. As an internship cycle usually repeats itself every 3/6 months, it can be quite taxing.
  • If handover is not done properly when an internship comes to an end, you could lose your business.

In a small start-up, interns can either make or break your company. However, if handled and planned correctly, internships can be meaningful to both you – the employer and your interns.

If you plan to hire interns for your start-up, register on TheGongzuo.com and advertise your open positions to get qualified interns.

Best US Cities for Startup Businesses

When we think of tech start-ups, Northern California region comes to our mind. Companies in Silicon Valley area receive the largest share of funding from venture capitalists, but there are several other promising cities around the country to launch tech start-up.

The following ranking is based on start-up survival rates, available talent pool, day-to-day start-up costs etc.

  1. Austin, TX – Austin has topped the list, becoming alternative to Silicon Valley. It has a smaller population and that is  great for quality of life. It has the necessary talent available needed for tech industry.
  2. New York, NY – This is city is very much open for business. Internet businesses are thriving in Manhattan. NYC’s mass transit system is a big plus in its digital success.
  3. Seattle, WA – Seattle has great universities producing engineering and IT graduates. So, it has the highest density of tech talent. This is the biggest advantage for entrepreneurs.
  4. Denver, CO – It has comparatively low office rents, affordable for budding CEOs and CFOs. It has smaller population, so people enjoy great quality of life.
  5. Atlanta, GA – It has great public transport and subway system for commuters. Low cost of office spaces is good news for start-up owners. They get more money in hand to expand their business or to hire quality workforce.
  6. San Francisco, CA – Here, over half of the population holds a Bachelor’s degree. This is fantastic as it means there is a good spread of academic qualification and experience throughout the city to aid recruitment. Major downside is, it is the costliest place to open a new office.
  7. Washington, D.C. – Academic talent pool is larger than most of the cities. This is fantastic news for anyone looking for a more academically qualified workforce, or looking for specific qualifications that come out of advanced degrees.
  8. Miami, FL – Miami has one of the most thriving local business cultures of the entire Top 10 cities of this list. It can attract many different businesses from different sectors. It can attract many different businesses from different sectors.  Miami is blazing ahead in terms of number of new company formations.
  9. Los Angeles, CA – It has second lowest transportation cost among the top cities listed here – good news for employees needing to get to their workplaces and the bosses who need to get them there early. LA is great place to start and grow business. It has a high rate of new entrepreneurs.
  10. Houston, TX – Houston is the best city in terms of office prices. Being highly populated, it gives great local market for businesses. It has a wide variety of skills available, which is a big plus.

How To Make Money Online?

When money is tight, an extra $1,000 a month could be life-changing. Although an additional $12,000 a year might not sound like a ton of money, for a single-income home, or for a family with a hefty car payment or medical bills, it could make all the difference.

You can start an online business if you have the right attitude and willingness to learn. Follow these steps to utilize your spare time and invest it into an online business.

  • Find what interests you most and what are you good at

    This is the starting point of setting up your online business. Spend enough time on thinking about this. Write down whatever comes to your mind and then make a short list of 5 such business ideas. Finally, you can come down to one such niche area, which you love the most or enjoy doing in your spare time.

  • Develop your own website

    The next step is to write blogs or articles about your interest area on a website. You don’t need tech skills for building a website. You will find online resources where you can get ready-to-use templates. You will get visitors to read information on your website. Your website contents should aim to solve their problems. For specific information, you can develop a video or present expert’s interview clip or info graphic and can ask for viewer’s email address in return. For additional free resources, visitors will share their email ids with you. In this way, you regular visitors become your subscribers.

  • Start selling

    Once you generate the list of subscribers, you can start selling your product. For example, if your niche area is tutoring, you can actually develop an online course for which your loyal visitors will pay you fees. Once you provide them quality information for free, they are ready to buy such services from you. People compare the cost of actual tutoring and the pain of commuting with the online resources.

Once you follow these steps, then the sky is the limit for how much you can earn. Keep updating your website contents to get repeat visitors. Keep growing your number of subscribers and enjoy being a successful businessman!

How To Design Start-up Business Plan?

Launching a business without a plan is like going on a road trip without a map or GPS to guide you. Whatever may be the type of your start-up business, you have to have a business plan in place. Its real value lies in the process of researching and thinking about your business in a systematic way. Another advantage of having a start-up plan is that, you can present it to the investors to give them a clear idea about your business.

Start-up plan is nothing but the “to-do” list of everything to start your business. Once you list out the actions that need to be taken, assign a responsible person for every action and write down the deadline by which it needs to be completed. Any task without a deadline will never get completed.

Review the following steps to write your start-up plan:

  • Mission statement – This is your reason for starting your business. Maybe you want to provide a specific service that’s missing in your community. Your mission statement should explain your reasoning in a few clear and effective sentences.
  • Your own background and information – Add a section about yourself, mentioning your qualifications and experience.
  • Employees’ information – List the names of your employees, if you have already identified them or else you may write the titles, job descriptions, the responsibilities they would be handling etc. You may also include the salaries and benefits you are planning to offer to your staff.
  • Market study – This includes the description of market that you are targeting. It includes either the geographical locations or people of particular age groups.
  • Competitors – Besides their name and business type, note a brief reasoning as to why each business is considered competition. End with why your business will overcome the competition and be successful.
  • Partners – These would be the distributors, vendors and contractors that you may need to hire as part of your business.
  • Description of your product/service – Be specific about how you plan on producing or providing the product or service, and how you will deliver it. You will also need to explain the methods you will be using to sell the product or service and what modes of marketing your will implement.
  • Financial section – This includes information about your credit status, sources of funds, business expenses and projected sales and profits.

It typically takes several weeks to complete a good plan. Most of that time is spent in research and re-thinking your ideas and assumptions. Be sure to keep detailed notes on your sources of information and on the assumptions underlying your financial data.

If you need any help in launching your business, register at TheGongzuo.com for free. We have mentors and advisors to help you in every single task – from building your start-up plan to market your product/service.