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How to ask for Help. Advice from 5 Successful Women

  • Just do it.
  • Find a champion who can see your vision.
  • Be honest about your successes and failures.
  • Look for advice in the less obvious places. Talk to everyone.

For many people, and women in business in particular, asking for help feels like a show of weakness. But this is not the case at all, according to five influential women who took the stage at the second SheSays Cape Town event last month.

The theme for the second event of the local chapter of the world’s largest creative network for women, was Day Job/Side Hustle/What else?. It looked at the concept of thinking like an entrepreneur, whether you work for yourself or not. Of the many themes that were broached during the course of the evening, the difficulty of asking for help came up often. This is what the panelists had to say:

You don’t have to do this alone

For many entrepreneurs doing everything on one’s own is part and parcel of the game. Most “hustlers” have got to where they are by fulfilling five different job titles at once, which makes asking for help even harder. “So many women find it hard to ask for help. But if you do, you will find that many people have knowledge to give you. You have to open your mouth,” said Lauren Fowler, revered Cape Town creative entrepreneur.

However, that’s not to say you must always rely on others to keep you going. “You must be your own biggest cheerleader,” added Zola Nene, TV chef and cookbook author.

Find a confidant and cheerleader

Yogavelli Nambiar, CEO of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, pointed out that women tend to talk down their skillsets and be apologetic: “They aren’t selling their ideas and business hard enough.” She recommends finding a champion in the business who can see your vision and help you sell. Asking that person for help and guidance doesn’t necessarily mean asking them to do the work for you. Sometimes the best help you can get is to find partners who will help get you in the room.

Honesty really is the best policy

Knowing where you are strong and where you fall short is not a weakness, it is merely a problem you need to solve and sometimes this involves asking for help. Says Izelle Venter, Channel Head of VIA, “Be honest about your successes and failures. People like entrepreneurship.”

Help in the least expected places

Help also comes from the least expected places. For example, for many creatives, the finance team is simply there to keep the lights on. But Paula Hulley, CEO of IAB South Africa, reminds us, “Don’t forget to ask financial directors for their opinion. Human resource and finance teams can often be best source of inspiration. And many of them are dying to be asked for advice.”

For the published article and more,  click here.

About SheSays

SheSays is the world’s largest creative network for women, focusing on the engagement, education and advancement of women creatives.