This is How a Self-Made Boss Babe Keeps It Professional at All Times
You know how kids lament, “I can’t wait until I grow up, so I can do what I want”? This echoes a similar sentiment sometimes voiced by employees who aspire to become their own bosses someday. People crave entrepreneurship for a myriad of reasons such as having complete autonomy and not having to engage in office politics. As a serial entrepreneur who’s been in the game for almost a decade, I know that sometimes you have to keep your cool even when you want to scream from the top of your lungs.
I’ve counted to 10 before, then counted backward. “Deep slow breathes, Alex,” I’ve counseled to myself numerous times. People will take you there--take you out of character. And next thing you know, an exchange with a customer, client, or vendor goes viral. Then you’re being labeled a bitch without people knowing the true nature of the initial conversation.
To all my “Fire off bitchy response emails and ask questions later” boss babes, beware! We’re living in a screenshot era. What you type might be used against you in the Court of Social Media. The onus will always be on you to keep it professional.
And while I like talking about the meats and potatoes of building and running a business, not enough credence is given to the character and professionalism that one must possess for longevity. Beyond having a great mindset, must lie a decent human being and someone with tough skin. You don’t have to be Miss Congeniality; however, your character under pressure and attitude on the day-to-day is paramount. Plus, no one is really putting up with the mean girl persona anymore. The Devil Wears Nada as far I’m concerned.
Be careful how you to talk your employees or independent contractors:
CYA or Cover Your Ass is not only reserved for employees. Do you want to be a self-made boss chick? Conduct yourself as such. It’s better not to mix business with pleasure in the form of friendship or intimate encounters. (It happens but later on, it might be a liability.) Make sure you provide contracts to your employees or independent contractors, so there’s no ambiguity about what’s required of them. And while you can’t predict who may turn into a disgruntled employee, having a binding contract or paper trail of any misconduct, might save your butt. Don't engage in exchanges with employees that are not professional and that can take you out of character. Bullying and harassment are hot bedded issues that have more visibility and less tolerance in today’s society. You never want to be associated with neither.
Respond to bad reviews of your business or deplorable comments on your social media with professionalism. If someone leaves you a bad review on Yelp or your website, ask the customer what’s the perfect resolve to help make their patronage with you better. Don't respond in a nice nasty way to invalidate their experience. The same goes for nefarious emails sent to you by customers. Always keep it professional. You have more to lose if you respond in an unprofessional or aggressive tone. Word of mouth can help build your business and inversely help tear your business down.
Also, on your social media, comments made by people that are sexually explicit or threatening in any way should be blocked and reported immediately. Don't engage with trolls. Other people are watching. Rule of thumb: Someone is always watching, even when we think they’re not. Govern yourself accordingly.
Learn how to take constructive criticism.
Who’s not sensitive about their business? Do you know how many sleepless nights and sweat equity I put into all my businesses, especially my first one, Glam Seamless. Sometimes criticism feels so personal. However, if it comes from a solid place or messenger, it might behoove you to take heed to what is being said to you. Oh, and I’m not talking about vapid criticism coming from a frenemy or a jealous family member who has never built anything. I’m talking about the type that comes from a business coach, mentor, or investor. "Get out your feelings and make this money."
Don’t let the mediocrity of others knock you off your game.
When I tell you, I run a tight ship, I’m not even kidding. I give a 1000%, so I expect the same from my employees, partners, vendors, influencers, models, etc. There’s an old adage, “You if you want something done right, then do it yourself.” While I understand the sentiment, it’s not realistic. I can’t do it all. What do you when the business relationships you formed are not aligning anymore with your business goals? I’ve learned not to be impetuous in severing business ties without finding solutions first. However, there are times when the only resolve is to completely disengage and part ways. Here's a caveat: Don't let your past dealings dictate all your future dealings. Yes, use wisdom and discernment, however, Business PTSD aside, enter each new situation with an open mind and positivity.
I, Alexandra Cristin, will never tell that being an entrepreneur is easy. It’s actually a huge learning curve, especially when it comes to dealing with people and the public at large. I’ve often turned to the gym to release my frustrations. Another great way to block out negativity is to journal or mediating (something you can do before you respond to a callous email). Also, if you can afford a therapist, you might want to consult one from time to time, to help deal with the pressure of entrepreneurship. Learn your triggers and stay away from them at all costs. Or, since you’re the boss, you can hire people to deal with certain things that may trigger you.
Please comment below, how do you approach dealing with people even when they are rude, obnoxious, or plain old disrespectful to communicate with.