'Blow Their Socks Off' aka Tracy Viselli's 7 Tips for Women Entrepreneurs

by Jill Foster on February 25, 2009

Guest Post by Tracy Viselli, an entrepreneur, online media strategist, blogger, political activist, and co-founder of Nevada Interactive Media and Summit. As Myrna the Minx online, Viselli has been “raising hell” for years at her political placeblog Reno and Its Discontents (where the Reno News & Review named her ‘Best Local Blogger’ for three years straight). Her online work has been mentioned by a variety of national and international media outlets including: Politico, Huffington Post, National Journal, Hotline, and PBS’ Media Shift. She is also a member of Women In Politics and Technology (WIPT) and can be reached via www.twitter.com/myrnatheminx.

1. Master the art of assertive and targeted networking.
Assertive networking is about claiming your space, letting people know who you are, and communicating to them that you’re worth knowing. Target those you feel can help you the most and take your time building relationships with them.

2. Position yourself for success by thinking strategically.
If you want to be considered an expert in a certain area, find opportunities to write and speak about that area and assertively network with other experts. Accept opportunities or volunteer to work with people you want to work with in the future—even if they ask you to do something you normally wouldn’t do.

Blow their socks off, and they’ll remember you for future opportunities.

3. Learn how to say ‘No’ confidently and constructively.
Like a lot of women, I found it hard to say “no” to people who asked me to take on extra projects. It takes practice to feel comfortable saying no, so start with small things and build up the confidence to say no to more important requests. Keep your no short and don’t spend time explaining why you are saying no. Just say, “I’m sorry, but I’m not going to be able to help out this time,” and if pressed, just keep saying “no” politely until they give up.

The minute you start explaining why you are saying ‘No’, you’ve lost control of the conversation.

4. Find women mentors who are doing what you want to do.
These women will be able to coach you through the difficult times and help you celebrate victories.

5. If you want to say something in a meeting — say it.
Don’t just think about saying it. Like saying no, speaking up in groups gets easier with practice.

6. Don’t undervalue what you and your expertise are worth.
Mentors can be particularly helpful in helping you figure out what your expertise is worth.

7. Never decline a speaking, consulting, or media opportunity because you don’t think you are “expert enough.” There is nothing stopping you from doing further research or rehearsing so you feel more comfortable as an expert.

If you have something to offer to the discussion, you are an expert.

Tracy will soon announce new experimental projects in government transparency and crowdsourcing. She’s featured weekly in the National Journal’s Bloggers Poll with her full bio at Reno Fabulous Media.

(image by Benessere, Creative Commons)

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