Becoming a Woman of Influence

I devote a substantial amount of time each week to advancing my personal development and leadership skills. I use many resources to do this, including connecting around INDIE Business Book Club, reading leadership focused articles, books and magazines, and inspiring and encouraging my members.

Black Woman Leader

In so doing, I have discovered that while there are plenty of leadership resources for people who lead very large companies, there are surprisingly few resources aimed directly and specifically at micro-business owners who lead companies without any employees besides themselves. Often, these people don't think of themselves as leaders simply because they have no staff members. After all, without a staff, who are you leading? Well, let's see.

You are leading yourself.

Even Tiny Businesses Have Leaders

No matter how small a business is, it has a leader. It may not have a good leader, but it does have a leader.

Just like a home, a class room, a marching band or birds flying in formation, every organization is being led by someone. That person is at the helm making moment-by-moment decisions, prioritizing tasks and planning for the future.

As solo-preneurs, micro-business owners, very small businesses, INDIEs, or whatever we call it ourselves, we often forget that we are leaders! We are so focused on pursuing our passion or serving the very next customer that we don't take the time to zoom out and take a look at the big picture.

In order to influence customers, clients and other stakeholders to take us seriously, we must learn to take business by the horns and make decisions that guide and direct it in the way we want it to go. We must learn to be women of influence. We must learn to be leaders.

Practice Being a Woman of Influence

No matter what kind of business you have, and whether you have 20 employees or it's just you at your kitchen table, take some time each day to take measured steps to advance your leadership skills.

Record your goals in a journal and read them to yourself regularly to confirm your forward motion and to make sure you don't lose momentum.

Publicly announce your goals and the steps you intend to take to achieve them. To do this, use your blog, your newsletter and your FaceBook Page, among other social media that double as personal development tools.

Privately share your goals in more detail with trusted women business leaders, MasterMind style, to get feedback and suggestions. Speak up for yourself in group settings so people can see the you are making progress and know that you are serious about .

Network and learn from others. Share what you know and soak up other people's experiences

These tasks may seem like a strange combination of mundane and overwhelming if you've never done them before, but they make a huge positive difference in how you perceive of yourself and your business.

If other people see you as pursuing excellence and achievement, not only are you setting a good example for them, but you are also by default expanding your sphere of influence. When that happens, more business opportunities come your way, and more importantly, you are uniquely positioned to take advantage of them.

Question: What steps are you taking to advance your stature as a woman of influence?

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.