Recently, I was going to charge a client a fee, when an older male friend said to me, “Why are you charging so little money?” Honestly, I knew I was undercharging, but I had been afraid the client would think I was asking for too much if I billed the way I ought to. My friend sat me down and explained to me why I needed to be more assertive when it came to my financial goals. It got me thinking.
Have you noticed that there is a difference in the way men and women build and use their relationships? Men seem to have mastered how to build business and professional networks, while women seem to concentrate on nurturing family ties, making deeper connections and building psychological and social support systems. This is not a negative thing (it is in fact, quite great a coping mechanism, considering what women have had to survive). However, we would be wasting a great deal of the potential inherent in our support systems if we don’t learn how to also use them for financial growth and independence.
Now, let’s look at a few ways to take advantage of all that emotional intelligence we have, when it comes to career growth and money.
– Create and preserve the “sis” code
Just like the male equivalent, “the bro code”, create a sis code that says “Sisters over Misters” or something like that. Lol. Ok, seriously, we need to grow to the point where we generally stop seeing one another as competitors but, instead, as collaborators. Swap information about courses, funding, savings and investment opportunities, and share your tips for success and financial growth.
– Attend workshops and seminars for women
In Nigeria, societies such as International Women Society (IWS) and Women in Business (WIMBIZ) aid the growth of corporate or entrepreneurial women. Their numerous workshops and seminars allow you to expand your network by making genuine connections. There are also less formal networking events like HangOutWithTee. Don’t be shy! Make a conscious effort to build networks at such events, and get to know successful people you admire in your field and learn from their experiences.
– Learn to mix business with pleasure
Men do it all the time, closing more deals over bottles and shots than they do in boardrooms! At that cocktail or dinner party, or even church meeting, exchange business cards and set up dates. This way, you can swap career advice and ideas to
make more money build and expand business empires, all while exchanging hugs and kisses.
– Speak up about your business and money goals
Sell yourself as much as possible, telling everyone what you do for a living and asking for referrals. Speak up about job searches and upgrades, and send your CV to as many people as possible. It’s a good idea to talk about your medium and long-term goals as well, enlisting the support of the women you know in meeting those financial growth goals.
– Reciprocate supportive gestures
Support other women as much as you would like to be supported. Be a source of encouragement by attending their events, patronising and promoting their business, and giving constructive tips and feedback. This way, you generate and store up goodwill that may help you at the most unexpected moments.
We hope these tips help you make the best of your relationships for a support system that is just as financially rewarding as it is emotionally enriching. Share your thoughts in the comments below!