BIPOC Women business owners have always had to work twice as hard to get half the recognition. This is especially true in a capitalist society still primarily dominated by toxic masculinity. However, times are changing. Women realize that they don’t have to play by the rules set up by men. We’ve found that women are naturally great at networking, collaborating, and problem-solving. So let’s do it our way! This blog post will discuss how women can break the mold and succeed in business.
Set aside Toxic Resilience
Toxic resilience is harmful to BIPOC women entrepreneurs because it forces us to comply with white-supremacist capitalist heteronormative standards. It causes us to “play the game” according to rules that were not made for us and often leads to our exploitation. Additionally, it can cause a lack of trust within communities and discourages authentic connection and collaboration.
Stop believing in the Model Minority Myth
The model minority myth is that Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities thrive because they work harder than other racial groups, have strong family values, and have a cultural advantage. It’s based on the false notion that AAPIs are more educated, wealthier, and healthier than other racial groups in America.
This stereotype discounts the racism these communities face every day, from white people and fellow minorities. With this misinformation in place, it becomes easier for others to believe that AAPI’s success has nothing to do with race or class-based oppression: it’s just pure hard work. The model minority myth is an obstacle for BIPOC women entrepreneurs who strive against racist stereotypes every day—and it’s time to break it.
While the model minority myth is harmful to all AAPI communities, it’s incredibly damaging to women. In addition to the stereotype that AAPIs are intelligent and successful, there’s also the stereotype that we’re meek and submissive. These two stereotypes work together to silence AAPI women and keep us from achieving our goals.
When we don’t see ourselves represented in the media or business, it becomes harder to believe that we can be successful. We internalize the messages that tell us we’re not good enough, which keeps us from striving for more. This is why it’s so crucial for BIPOC women business owners to break the mold and show the world that we’re just as capable as anyone else.
BIPOC Women Business Owners, Network in Purposely Diverse and Inclusive Spaces
When it comes to networking, it’s essential to be selective about the groups you join. Ideally, you want a supportive group that provides opportunities for you to grow your business. But even more importantly, you want a safe group—a group where you can be yourself without feeling judged or discriminated against.
For BIPOC women entrepreneurs, this can be a challenge. Too often find ourselves in networking groups where we are the only person of color or where our experience as a woman of color is not respected. This can be alienating and discouraging, and it often prevents us from reaching our full potential.
Take Care of your Health
Health is a privilege, not a right. That’s why BIPOC women business owners need to take care of themselves and their health. Research has shown that when you live in an environment where you are constantly bombarded with stressors, your brain can change its physical structure and the connections between different regions of the brain.
This makes it harder to think creatively or come up with new ideas, which every entrepreneur needs to do if they want to make their business successful. This means that even though we might be working hard and doing our best, we might not be at our best mentally because of how toxic environments affect us physically.
Use Your Intuition
In business, it’s essential to make decisions based on data and logic. But sometimes, you have to go with your gut instinct. And for BIPOC women entrepreneurs, that can be a valuable asset.
Intuition is a powerful tool that we often ignore or dismiss. We might not trust our intuition because we’re unsure where it comes from, or we might be afraid of making the wrong decision. But intuition is a valuable resource, especially for entrepreneurs trying to start their own business.
When data and logic just won’t cut it—you need to go with your gut instinct instead. When you read your financial reports, remember to use your instinct when looking for ideas to increase sales and decrease expenses. Intuition is often based on experience and knowledge that you don’t consciously know about. So if you’re feeling lost or uncertain, trust that inner voice and go with what feels right.
Spark Creativity out of the Classroom
There are a few ways that BIPOC women business owners can practice creative problem-solving.
One way is to be open to new ideas and perspectives. Go beyond traditional business school. BIPOC women entrepreneurs can also reach out to their networks for support and collaborate with other businesses. Find a business coach who has been in your shoes. First, if you’re a BIPOC woman, look for a BIPOC woman coach. Second, look for someone with experience running or leading a business. Finally, experiment with new strategies, track your progress, and see what works best.
If you’re a BIPOC Woman Business Owner, I’d love to talk with you. Please apply for a free consultation using this link.
In support of BIPOC Women Business Owners
BIPOC women need to set aside their toxic resilience, stop believing in the model minority myth, network in purposely diverse and inclusive spaces, take care of their health, use their intuition, and spark creativity out of the classroom. We believe that these steps are necessary to create a more equitable world for ourselves and future generations. This is just the beginning of a journey. It’s not a one-and-done checklist. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!
Janet Johnson is a small business advisor and author of My Money Pivot: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Finding & Making More Money and this educational blog. All views expressed belong solely to Ms. Johnson and do not represent the views of her employer. The website, MyMoneyPivot.com, is currently managed by Luz Marcos, Virtual Assistant.