Four final tips from Entrepreneur in Residence Christie Whitehill

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Leader, mother, board member and entrepreneur, Christie Whitehill, is the visionary behind Tech Ready Women and has certainly come up against many of the common challenges women face in business. Christie has just finished up her term as  Freelancing Gem’s Entrepreneur in Residence and over the past two months, has been so generous with her support and advice to our community. 

To round out Christie’s seat as Entrepreneur in Residence, she took the time to answer some final burning questions from our Freelancing Gems members on tackling the common challenges women face in business. 

Do you still struggle with imposter syndrome and self-doubt. If so, how do you overcome this? 

Yes, is the short answer. I definitely struggle with imposter syndrome and self-doubt on occasions. I think for me it depends on how much the self-doubt is there. Or whether or not I work with a mind-set coach to check in and what are some of the self-limiting beliefs coming up.  

But typically you can write down what those self-limiting beliefs are. If you sit and take the time to be still and write down some of those self-limiting beliefs that are coming up for you around the situation. Then that can definitely help bring awareness to what your thoughts are. 

Then I would write down phrases to those self-limiting beliefs or doubts that are the opposite. Practice those, so that when you wake up in the morning or looking in the mirror, whether their affirmations or statements that you say to yourself to rewire those thoughts. 

Say, if you have a speaking gig that is coming up, you might not believe that anyone would want to listen to what you have to say. So that makes you nervous. So, you can write down those statements that you’ve got, and then rephrase it in a positive way so that you fell a lot more confident. So, that’s one little tip. 

At Freelancing Gems, we often talk about how women are continually not charging what they’re worth. How did you start charging what you’re worth? 

Yes, this is 100% true and I’ve definitely not charged what I was worth in the past. I ended up resenting the work that I was doing and not feeling motivated. So, I think it’s really important that before you commit to any job, whether that’s a consulting job, whether that’s a full-time job, whether it’s starting your own business and figuring out what to charge, it is really important to write down first what you need to get paid from a base level in order to survive. And then in order to thrive, what would that amount be? You will always operate so much better if you are honest with yourself and put that number forward as to what you would thrive for. As 9 times out of 10, if you don’t do that then you’ll end up charging less and end up regretting it because you can’t afford it or you’ll be doing more work than you should. So yes, I think definitely do that exercise to write down what your base is to survive and what it is to thrive. Then just put it forward and for those who don’t pay it then they’re not worth doing the business with. Someone else will pay you for your time.

How do you deal with competitors or copycats? 

I think it’s a good thing to have competitors because it just shows there is a market demand. And so, I’ve never been worried about competitors to be honest. This question comes up quite often in the ‘Tech Ready Women’s Program’, where women are concerned about that. You know I just tried to ignore them, and if anything at the start of beginning a business it is really important to do a good analysis of who your competitors are. At the end of the day, what you’ll be doing is taking inspiration from some of these other businesses and pulling it into your business. So, I wouldn’t be worried about competitors at all. I think at the end of the day if you’re going into a really competitive market, you really have to find what your unique selling proposition is and really focus on that and do it really well. And try not to be everything for everybody. 

How did you grow ‘Tech Ready Women’ and what is your best investment?

I started out investing my own money into ‘Tech Ready Women’ and boot strapped the business. The key was hiring really great people to do the jobs that I wasn’t good at. ‘Tech Ready Women’ is very much an operations service based business, and I am not an operations person. I’m a product entrepreneur and so although I was really great at coming up with the product for ‘Tech Ready Women’, my skill set is not in operations. I mean I can do it, but it is not what I love to do. So, I hired amazing operations people over the years that are literally the backbone of the business. Then I think it is really just a matter of leveraged partnerships in order to grow and build the brand. I also did some PR, which I think really helped. 

The people were the best investment. So, definitely invest in the best people if you can afford them and can’t do it yourself. You know, my rule is now just hire the best people because you get the best result. 

Tips to tackling the common challenges for women in business by Freelancing Gems Entrepreneur in Residence