January 27, 2023

Top Business

Federal Business

Solo Professional Success – Behaviors That Sabotage Women Solo Professionals

One of my favorite authors is Lois Frankel, who wrote Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office. In the book she discusses common behaviors that many women professionals engage in that can sabotage their upward mobility in the corporate world.

As a solo professional, my dream corner office is the one in my house. But these sabotaging behaviors can affect solo pros as well and our ability to build our dream business.

So just what are some of these behaviors? The book outlines 101 mistakes, but these are a few I see happen on a regular basis, or I’ve been guilty of from time to time.

  1. Apologizing for non-egregious mistakes. Women are notorious for apologizing unnecessarily, and then internally re-hashing minor mistakes over and over again. Sound familiar? This does nothing but create a cycle of self-doubt and eroded self-esteem. Not good for building your business. For a few days, count how many times you apologize for a minor mistake, or worse yet, someone else’s mistake. Save your apologies for the big stuff.
  2. Polling for approval on decisions. You own the decisions you make about your business. How many times do you look for approval before making a choice? We subconsciously want approval for our decisions because we sometimes doubt ourselves. I’m not suggesting you should never consult anyone before making a decision, but save the polling for critical decisions.
  3. Using filler language. You know filler language when you hear it – words like “ah,” “um,” “I mean,” and “you know.” Fillers also include rambling sentences used to describe a point. Do you know what happens? Your message gets lost in all of the extra words. The fewer words you use, the more impact you will have on your client, colleague, or audience. A great way to break a filler-language habit and hone speaking skills is to join a group like Toastmasters.
  4. Failing to market or brand yourself. This is especially deadly for solo professionals. You limit your chances of success when you can’t articulate your unique value. I’m not talking logos and web copy here. Where this can hurt the most is in everyday conversations with colleagues and potential clients. Picture yourself at a networking event or having a phone conversation and the other person asks what you do. How clearly and concisely can you describe the unique value you bring to the table and make that person want to find out more?

It’s the little things that add up for big success. Just work on one of these things and watch the difference it will make!