With more and more women breaking into the field of S.T.E.M., it?s natural to feel curious and want to discover more about the field. ?Whether you’re an aspiring scientist or just someone who’s interested in learning more, here are a few things that you can do to get into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics!
It’s never been easier to access content that teaches us more about the world around us and other people’s experiences. Youtube Channels like ASAPScience, Crash Course, Vsauce, SciShow and programs like Khan Academy create stunning and easily digestible content for both students and curious onlookers alike. All you have to do is follow them and wait for their next update. Thanks to the power of the internet, you can get a daily dose of cat memes and fun facts served to you at breakneck pace!
Read and explore
The wonderful thing about S.T.E.M. is that it’s all around us. Fundamentally, Science is what helps us understand the world around us and how it works. It’s made up of theories, discoveries and ideas (and it’s ever changing!). The range of topics are endless and all you need to do to learn more is interest. As someone in Biology, my main area of interest is the environment around me. Whenever I have the opportunity to travel to a new place, I take a little time to walk around and learn more about the flora and fauna that are native to the area. Aside from uploading more information into the fun fact machine, you can share what you learn with others!
Find a mentor
I’ve come to realize that I’m in a rather privileged position when it comes to my own academic career in Biology and Technology. ?Not only did I have the funding the pursue a higher education, I also had the right encouragement. Not only were my parents very supportive once I decided that I wanted to study biology, I was also helped out by other incredible women and men in the science department at my community college and at my university. I realize now that not every woman who chooses a career in S.T.E.M. is surrounded by the positive encouragement from the academic community and their own support systems which is why I urge you to find a mentor if you choose to pursue an education in the Sciences.
I’ve had the pleasure of having many mentors who fed my curiosity about chemistry, physics, and biology. However, when I speak about an excellent mentor relationship I can only think of a dear friend of mine. She was an undecided major that casually joined a physics 101 class and fortunately met Dr A. Harlick. Now she’s graduating with a double major in Biochemistry and Physics. Dr Harlick was the type of person who went above and beyond to see her students succeed and understand the material. She excited hundreds of students about physics with her witty sarcasm and endless movie references. But, one thing that she never held back was the reality of being a woman in the S.T.E.M. field. Though it was difficult, she persevered. I remember her telling us that initially she was in university to study linguistics but ultimately pursued her PhD in Physics to prove someone that she could. Heck, she even tempted me to join the dark side that’s physics. Now I will admit, not everyone will run into a Dr Harlick but there is inspiration out there. You should never step into a field blind to the bad things, so take a mentor with you. It could be a professor, a professional, or someone with a passion for the sciences, a mentor is never hard to find in a field so filled with curious minds eager to share their knowledge.
Whether that means volunteering at a university or practice, opportunities to get hands-on experience is there so long as you have the heart to pursue it! I’ve had the pleasure of caring for harp seals and breeding salmon. All it took as a little patience and scouting for an opening. Who knows, volunteering can lead you to your next degree, career, community, or friends! Volunteer and help programs like Girls Who Code who are bringing S.T.E.M. to our youth. You don’t have to enrol in a 4-year university program to be active in the S.T.E.M. community. All it takes is a little dedication, a willingness to learn, and a curiosity about the world around us.
Encourage others, always.
Remember step 3? Make sure you’re a step 3 for someone else too. Being a mentor doesn’t mean that you know all there is about the world and you certainly don’t have to be Bill Nye the Science Guy. But giving words of positive encouragement and steering people in the right direction with resources that you may have will be enough to get the wheels of curiosity turning.
Learning something new doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money on equipment or completing a degree. It’s easier than ever to access information with videos breaking down complex concepts into easily digestible content. Sometimes all it takes is a little curiosity and hunger to learn more. So get on out and happy learning!
Social media marketing doesn?t come easy for everyone.
It?s different than curating a personal account. There are times when it feels like it takes a doctorate to make social media work for business. Figuring out who your audience is and what your audience wants can be difficult. It takes work, consistency, energy, strategy, and time. And by time, I mean many months to a year or more to truly understand your audience and begin a flow of natural community engagement.
I?m not an early adopter. My motto is to learn one platform and get comfortable before moving on to the next one. Give the new platform time to grow and be consistent. Give it the attention it deserves for you to learn it well. And know that all platforms measure differently. I know not everyone works this way, but it works for me.
Social media is constantly updating and the algorithms change all the time, too, keeping you on your toes. Facebook will change its whole format (as it recently did!), leaving you lost and confused. Where did Page milestones go? How do I get to my Page?s wall again? Oh? so my Page?s wall is now called Feed? What?s up with the circles at the top of Instagram? Where did my favorite filter go?
It?s worse than going to the grocery that was ?revamped?. The organic section is gone and they switched the aisles around. Some days the changes are fun like hide and seek. Other days? Not so much.
Metrics: Paying attention to your metrics will help you determine when and what to post. The best days and hours are different for everyone, but understanding your target market and what excites your fans by reviewing your metrics helps to narrow that window down. Also keep in mind the type of content you post. Based on my own experience and several experts, typically, from worst to best, it?s text, link, photo, gallery, and killing it is video.
Things to look at when reviewing your posts:
? Why did one post do better than another?
? Was it timing? Topic? Clever wording?
?Did you remember to tag people, locations, or businesses? (You have a better chance of your post being seen or shared if you do this.)
?What type of post did you put out? (text, link, photo, gallery, video)
?What?s in your post content? (educational, entertaining, celebration, random, etc)
Because Facebook wants your money these days, they continue to make it increasingly more challenge to reach your fans/supporters naturally. Sharing your Page?s content to your personal feed greatly increases your chance of getting seen and natural (unpaid) interactions taking place.
Sharing Posts: Remember to add a comment when you share to your personal page, too (whether it?s from your page or somewhere else on Facebook). A quick ?This is awesome? or ?What do you think about??? will not only draw people into your posts and allow for conversation, Facebook likes it better when you do, too. Is the post also relevant to a group you?re a part of? Share it there too. Please remember to follow the rules of the group! Testing out these sharing methods before throwing money at your posts can positively impact your visibility and interactions without spending money. (That said, there are times when you will need/want to put fund behind a post. Remember to think about the purpose of what you?re promoting.)
A Note on Videos: Share videos directly to Facebook, not as a link. Sharing a link does not allow for autoplay. Autoplay is the secret to being eye-catching because it?s flashy on an otherwise static screen. You add a video to a Facebook post the same way you add a photo. Videos that work well with and without sound do better than videos that require sound. Facebook allows you add captioning and this is strongly recommended. Some people are unable to hear or never turn the sound on for their videos. (Warning: If you turn the volume on for a video and do not turn it off when you are done, videos can autoplay one after the next and the following video will start with the sound.)
Reposting: Don?t forget to wrap shares of your posts into your content calendar. When you create your page post, you can share it right then, but you can also share a little later, too, and you will reap the benefits of the repost. Doing this will keep interest in your post over the course of a few days or maybe even a few weeks, bringing it top of mind for people who already liked it and also getting into the feeds of others who may be interested but didn?t see it the first time around.
Use Your Events! You?d be amazed at how many companies create events on Facebook and then don?t continue to feed the excitement for the event. They make the event and then nothing. Be excited about what you?re hosting! Interaction is best.
Your Metrics: Do you know how to find your analytics/metrics on Instagram? From your smartphone:
? Make sure your account is set up as a business account (in settings). Personal accounts do not have metrics.
? Go to your profile.
?Click on the bar graph icon (top right for Android, bottom right for iPhone).
?View your metrics for impressions, followers, posts, stories, and any promotions you may have.
Use the data gleaned here to help market to your demographic and post at your peak times and days. There is no point in posting on Sunday at 2 p.m. if your audience isn?t present. Also make sure your account is public! If your account is private, the only people who will see your posts (even when you use hashtags) is people who already follow you.
Analyze your data.
? Why did one post do better than another?
? Was it timing? Topic? Quality?
? A particular type of post (quote, photo, video, meme)?
?Which hashtags were used?
? How was the commentary on the post?
?Was is personal, very basic, informative, or funny?
?Was is shared across other social media accounts?
Crossposting: If your Instagram post isn?t quite getting the results you wanted, try sharing the image with a different caption on Twitter or Facebook. Maybe your audience isn?t on Instagram, which is why your post didn?t perform well.
When crossposting from Instagram to Facebook Pages, make sure you have the correct Facebook account selected. Technology is (as we know) not infallible and Instagram can get confused and post on your personal Facebook profile from time to time. You will know if you are posting to your Facebook Page because your page?s name will be next to the Facebook Share button. If the Page name doesn?t appear, it will post to your personal account.
Build Relationships: It?s easy to get lost in the shuffle on Twitter. I see Twitter as a great resource for learning and building relationships. Participating in chats allows me to learn from others and build relationships. When participating in a Twitter chat, your reach becomes so large it?s mind-blowing! I learned that by participating in two Twitter chats in the same week my impressions can go up to 140,000. As a solopreneur, that?s HUGE. The value of those conversations is worth so much more than many of the news or inspirational posts I see clogging my feed.
? Don?t be a robot
? Add value
?Participate in conversation
?Interact with others (like, comment, retweet, follow)
Reposting: On that same note of how to not get lost in the shuffle, Twitter is a great place to share content multiple times. It is so full of chatter, that your previous post can easily get lost. Setting your site/blog up to post on Twitter is great. I get the most interaction after hours, not including chats. There are also some social media management tools like HootSuite, Buffer, and TweetDeck. Or, if you have a CMS, many use an addon or plugin that will post for you. Not only do you get interaction on Twitter, viewers click through and return to your site. YAY for viewer increase! The key here is to be engaging – with people liking/commenting/sharing your own posts and the same with your interactions for the posts of others.
Don?t worry about trolls or mean comments. (Unless you?re famous or create hateful posts, you probably don?t have much to worry about.) Most trolls are looking for a fight because they are unhappy in life. It?s not personal. Use judgment to determine the difference between a difference of opinion and trolls. If someone gets too rude, all of the social media platforms I use have a magic ?block? button.
Be bold! Share! Post! Interact! Like! Don?t be a robot!
Don?t stand at the back of the line. Interact with others, build relationships, and get in front of future clients and friends. Social media will get you great exposure and is the best way to build connections. Social interactions across platforms strengthen relationships that you can later tap into as resources when the time is appropriate.
Is anyone else singing ?A Whole New World? from Aladdin?
So many people are fed up with their corporate jobs and seek to start their own business. You want to get out on your own for your passion project or the thing you know will bring in more money than working in the corporate world. Entrepreneurship is calling. I get it! Been there and done that. What most people don?t realize is that you can learn a lot about starting a business from your corporate job. Embrace what you have while you wait because there are so many lessons to be learned and used from your current position on your entrepreneurial journey.?
When I started my own business I didn?t necessarily see myself leaving the corporate world. I always thought that I would be a professional and a professional side hustler at the same time. Well, the funny thing is that I?ve changed my mind. Throughout my corporate life, I have been receiving all of these opportunities to learn about business without always knowing they’re setting me up for my future goals.
Let me explain!
Many of the concepts I’ve learned in the corporate world are transferable to running my own business when it comes to the overall idea of entrepreneurship. For example, if you are in customer service, you should be soaking up all of the training you?re receiving from your current job in order to best serve your customers at your own company in the future. If you?re responsible for training at your corporate job, learn to be the best at it because you will eventually be training your own staff.
Here are some of the greatest lessons I?ve learned in my corporate career that have played a hand in starting my own business.
During my time in business development, I was fortunate enough to take a Dale Carnegie sales class. If you know anything about Dale Carnegie, then you know the classes are informative, powerful and?expensive. This 8 week, $1,800 series was not something my little pockets could pay for at the time. Let?s be honest, I would struggle to pay that now!
The workshops in this series taught me public speaking skills, how to close a sale, how to network, and even the proper guidelines for following up with a lead. Of course, all these skills were necessary for the role I held with my previous employer. But it as paid off – A LOT. These skills translated very well into my current role. In my own business, I have the know-how and the confidence to pitch clients and land successful deals. Everything I learned was worth its weight in gold.
Even if it?s not a Dale Carnegie class, I encourage everyone to take a sales course in order to learn how to present yourself and close any deal!
What?s that Jay-Z lyric? Oh yeah. ?Numbers don?t lie.? As a business owner, it is imperative to know how to analyze data. You have to know your past, current, and future standings. Whether you?re looking at your business revenue or the results of your services, you have to know!
The proof is in the pudding. When you can show the results in numbers, it helps close the pitch and also demonstrates the success of your efforts. For example, if I can show my clients that I?ve been able to successfully grow their social media accounts by a certain percentage within a specific time frame and that I?m meeting the goals we?ve set, that gives the client an idea of my importance and value to their business. This is why they NEED me and need to keep PAYING me. Understand what I?m saying?
Networking is like going to the gym. You hate it, you don?t want to do it, but you push through and make it there anyway. Go you! Sometimes you complain through the workout but, when you leave, there is a feeling of accomplishment. If you network and make a good connection?? even just one?? it feels even better.
I had the opportunity to go to as many networking events as I wanted in a previous position. This opportunity taught me the art of climbing social ladders and developing genuine business relationships.If you have the opportunity to network or even take meetings with those you typically wouldn?t have a chance to interact with at your company, do it! That person or group of people may be a huge benefit to the business you will run in the future.
Knowing how to network is also a great idea because it gives you a chance to expand your knowledge from those outside of your lane. As an entrepreneur, your favorite kind of person needs to people who help people. And you need to be one. What connections are you making? What opportunities are you taking? How are you constantly learning?
Now, put these things to task
These three areas of opportunity are just topics I stumbled upon. I wasn?t focused on entrepreneurship at the time. Now, I specifically ask to see what I need to know. For example, I now have a pretty good relationship with someone in the marketing department at work. I plan to ask this person to take the time to go over Facebook ads with me. I need to dive into this particular world and the information is sitting right there for FREE! You know I?m not going to pass up that opportunity.
Don?t be scared to ask. If something you want or are interested in is outside of your current role, volunteer and give a helping hand in the area you wish to discover. Everybody needs help and by helping you?ll learn more. In this case, you?d be doing someone a favor in rturn by helping with their workload (and doing yourself a favor in the learning department, too).
I say all this to say that the business or businesses you currently work for had to start somewhere, just like you. They are most likely using tried and true tactics when it comes to hitting business goals (and if they?re not, it may be time for you to seek a new opportunity!). Your journey is your journey for a reason. Don?t miss the gems in front of you by being an antsy pants and only negative about your corporate job. Think big picture and beyond the desk you?re sitting at. Take it all in and focus on learning the things that will ultimately make you the greatest success at your business.