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Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms: Key Takeaways From Amanda Steinberg’s Book

When it comes to professional careers, Indian women have come a long way in the last century. In fact, it’s normal for a woman to have a day job or run her own business.

As a result, today many women are making a significant income, if not equal or more than their husbands.

However, when it comes to managing our money, we have a lot more work to do. Specifically, we continue to rely on our husbands on money matters, we’re overwhelmed with investment jargon, and we are narrowly focused on income and budgeting.

I recently have the privilege to meet Amanda Steinberg, the author of “Worth It – Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms” and blogger behind DailyWorth, that helps women earn more, save more and spend smarter.

In this article, I’d like to share with you my key takeaways from Amanda’s book as it relates to Indian women and how you can apply these learnings in your own life.

Our Problems with Money

At the most fundamental level, our problem with money arises from the stories we tell ourselves. Our personal experiences, thoughts, perceptions and ideas about money, shape our beliefs.

Specifically, there are four problems we have with money.

  1. I need to spend money on luxury goods, nice car and clothes

You have an excellent, well-paying job. You frequently meet with customers or are seen as a role model in your community of friends and family. Or you are expected to buy expensive gifts for loved ones just because you’re getting paid a hefty amount at your job.

This puts tremendous pressure on you. You’re expected to dress well and exude confidence. You’re expected to be a nice, giving person.

This type of external pressure knowingly or unknowingly forces you to purchase luxury goods, expensive cars or the latest fashions. These costs up quickly, leaving you little or no savings.

  1. I can’t be spiritual and care about money – they’re opposites

Men are “built” to reason and provide. Women are supposed to emote and nurture. This belief is highly prevalent among Indians.

Specifically, Indian women are expected to be religious. A woman’s job is to pray for the family’s well-being. Women are not expected to manage money. That’s best left to their husbands or men in the family.

It’s true that women are responsible for the monthly budget or bringing in a steady income. For instance, housewives are given a set amount each month. Or professional women bring in a paycheck each month.

A major portion of the paycheck, if not the entire amount, is deposited in the bank account that is managed by the husband.

The point here is that women generally don’t to have the overall financial picture.

  1. Asking for a salary raise will get me fired

In the workforce, men are associated with aggression, independence, and competitiveness. Women, on the other hand, are associated with being nurturing, nice and altruistic.

Women who exhibit the feminine traits are seen as lacking leadership qualities. On the other hand, women who exhibit the masculine traits are seen as unfeminine, mean and unlikable.

This “double-bind” works against women and they are frequently not given appropriate salary increases. According to Amanda, this problem can be solved as soon as women take ownership of managing their money.

Women can and should ask for salary increases without apprehension, guilt, fear or shame.

  1. Managing money is too technical

The money jargon we hear in the news or from our significant other can be overwhelming. Words such as stock (also known as shares or equity), bond, index, portfolio, diversification, asset class and asset allocation sound too technical.

We’re already tired of working all week in addition to taking care of our family. So trying to learn money jargon is one more thing that we don’t want to do.

But managing money doesn’t have to be technical. All you need to do is carve out less than two hours to understand the basic terminology to get you started.

How to Overcome Your Money Problems

  1. Change your money story

We need to change the stories we tell ourselves. For example, we need to stop saying:

  • My husband/partner will take care of me, should we run into money issues
  • People will think I’m selfish if I talk about money and don’t give gifts
  • Men are solely responsible for managing money
  • I have bad luck with mone

Instead, we need to replace these statements with:

  • I’m good with money, money is force for good
  • Money is a spiritual expression
  • Saving money doesn’t mean I’m selfish
  • My earning capacity is limitless
  1. Focus on Net Worth and Self Worth

“Net Worth” are the two golden words. All this means is that you want to take an inventory of your assets and loans/debt. Add them up and you’ll end up with your net worth. Your goal should be keeping your net worth headed in the positive direction.

Assets are primarily composed of the market value of your home, cash savings, investment account, and any other savings accounts. Loans and debt include any mortgage on your home, car loans, credit card debt, and any other types of loans.

If you have a negative net worth, don’t be hard on yourself. Instead, you need to take the steps towards a positive net worth by reducing your loans and debt.

In addition to Net Worth, you want to focus on Self Worth. You are the best judge when it comes to self-worth. Don’t sell yourself short.

  1. Take the time to understand basic financial terminology

As we discussed, investing and money management doesn’t need to be difficult. Below are definitions of common money jargon in plain English.

Asset: It is a financial thing you own

Stock (also known as shares or equity): Ownership in a given company

Bond: A loan you make to a government or company

Index: A number that measures a sector of the economy. The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) is an index of Indian companies.

Portfolio: Your investment in assets such as stocks, bonds, and gold.

Diversification: Owning different kinds of assets

Asset Class: Categories of various things you own. For example, “stocks” is an asset class. Similarly, “bonds” and “real estate” are also asset classes.

Asset Allocation: The distribution of your investment across different asset classes.

Fund: A mix of stocks, bonds, and other cash equivalents.

  1. Manage our money without shame, apprehension, guilt or fear

Once you start taking ownership of your finances and understand how money works, you’ll experience long-term happiness.

When you start to manage money, do so without shame, apprehension, guilt or fear. If you are married or in a relationship, be honest with your partner and explain why it’s necessary for you to have the overall financial picture.

Two Actionable Tips For Your Money Problems

Now that you have an understanding of our problems with money and how you can overcome them, I’d like to wrap up with two actionable tips that you can implement right away.

These tips will allow you to increase your Net Worth, so you can experience an excellent financial future.

  1. Invest in Lost Cost Funds such as an Index Fund

When you make an investment, be sure that you are paying very low investment fees. For instance, if you hire an investment advisor, you may be paying a hefty fee for someone to manage your money.

Investment fees of 0.05% to 1% are generally acceptable but anything over 3% is high.

Paying high fees, means you get to keep less profits from your investments. Higher investment fees are not only detrimental to you in the short term but also in the long term. You’ll earn less compound interest on your investments and can negatively impact the value of your overall portfolio.

  1. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Compound Interest

Let’s use an example to illustrate the power of compound interest. Say you had an extra Rupees 15,000 each month that you decide to save in the bank at a fixed deposit rate of 8% per year.

After 10 years, you would end up with 26 lakh rupees. After 20 years, you would end up with 83 lakh rupees. And after 30 years, you would have a whopping 205 lakh rupees.

Thus, money that compounds over a long period of time, grows significantly.

Summary

I hope you got much value from this article. In summary, Indian women need to take greater ownership of managing their money. Budgeting and income generation isn’t enough. Managing your money is necessary.

When you start ownership of your finances, it is necessary to have control over your emotions. This means not rushing into making investment decisions and not letting your own stories about money get in your way.

Finally, be fearless and don’t let shame or guilt get in your way.

Author Bio:

Jinal Sampat is a jewellery designer at Sampat Jewellers Inc. Her focus is on innovation and creation of jewellery pieces that are meaningful and hold long-term value. She creates versatile mangalsutra designs with Indo-Western elements. Jinal holds her graduate degree from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). You can find her on Instagram.

Naaree Interviews Riticka Srivastav Of Book Thela

New graduate, Riticka Srivastav is an inspiring example of a successful woman entrepreneur in India. Her online bookstore, Book Thela, offers both new and pre-owned books at throwaway prices all over India.

Book Thela has a huge collection of books of different categories ranging from fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, featured library editions, 49 club, bestsellers and will soon be adding entrance exam books as well.

Riticka always had a passion for entrepreneurship and has worked with many startups in the past for her internships. The main purpose behind starting the venture was to spread happiness by uniting bibliophiles with their favourite reads at affordable prices.

Naaree caught up with this young entrepreneur to find out what drives her to do what she does.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? Did you always love it or was it something you got into?

After doing a side entrepreneurship stint in college where I was selling packaged food products to hostel students (who had no access to food at night except the mess), my passion for entrepreneurship deepened and that’s when I realized that I wanted to start something on my own one day.

Also, coming from an entrepreneurial family, my parents always encouraged me to follow my dreams and passions and therefore I started my own company, Book Thela.

When do you know that it is no longer just an idea in your mind, and that you can really turn it into a lucrative business?

Research plays a very important role to understand if the business will be profitable and sustainable or not. Before starting any business, proper research and analysis should be done to understand the target market, the profitability of the business model, the feasibility of the product/service and other major aspects of the business.

I did a thorough research and analysis about the business before starting my venture. It helped me in making a lot of tough decisions like outsourcing shipping, the supply-chain of the business etc.

What inspired you to start out on your own or with your partners? What learning lessons can you share from your startup experience?

I was in my last semester of college and was actively looking for internships for my training period when my father, Dr. Niraj Srivastav, who is an International Award winning author for the book “Daggers of Treason”, suggested the brilliant idea of selling used and second-hand books online.

He knew about my passion for books and entrepreneurship and encouraged me to follow my dreams. Whenever I was in doubt of whether I should go for a job instead of starting my own venture so soon, he always used to tell me that stating my own venture is not going to be easy but it will be worth it and he’s absolutely right about that.

I did a lot of research after that to ensure that Book Thela becomes a sustainable business and officially launched it on 22nd March, 2017.  The main aim of starting the venture was to unite broke bibliophiles like me with their favourite reads without the hassle of travelling to far off places to buy cheap books.

As a college student with a limited budget, I had to travel a lot to different places to buy cheap second-hand books. This is when I realized that I could mold my business idea around this problem and provide a solution for the same.

The learning lessons from my startup experience are:

  1. Always be prepared to face challenges
  2. Innovation is an integral part for running a business
  3. Age is just a number. All you need is determination and perseverance to run a start-up.
  4. Having the right team is really important

What are some challenges that you faced initially when you started out? Do you have some examples to share and advice to women entrepreneurs on overcoming them?

The major challenge which we faced was getting the shipping done on time to create a pleasant experience for the customer.

As logistics is the backbone for any e-commerce company, we decided to outsource our logistics to different courier partners like FedEx, Delhivery, Holisol etc. to ensure that shipping is carried out smoothly without any delays.

And now we are happy to say that Book Thela was able to achieve its break- even point within the first month itself.

My advice for women entrepreneurs:

  1. Have a support system in place whether it’s your family, your friends or even your colleagues.
  2. Always believe in yourself and your business and don’t get knocked down by criticism.
  3. Innovation is necessary to compete in the market.

What are all the things that an entrepreneur needs to keep in mind? I.e. apart from your great idea, what do you need to be armed with?

I would say apart from a great idea, you need to be armed with the following things:

  1. Determination and Perseverance
  2. Passion for entrepreneurship
  3. Support system with people who believe in you and your idea

Do women entrepreneurs find it tougher to get funding for businesses? If yes, why do you think that is?

I personally don’t think that gender has anything to do with getting funding. Investors mainly look at your idea and its profitability and also whether you have the skills to carry out the business while investing. Once you’re able to convince them about the idea, it doesn’t really matter if you’re a man or a woman.

Is it beneficial to have a mentor when you’re starting out on your own? What does a mentor bring to the table?

Absolutely.  Having a mentor not just initially, but through all stages is very important as they help you in making important decisions which would impact the business.

I would say, for me my parents and my friend Akshay, have been my mentors as they’ve helped me in making a lot of tough decisions related to the venture.

Having a mentor brings a lot to the table, as they are able to provide a new perspective of looking at things.

How did you recruit your first team? How difficult was it to get people on board during the initial stages?

I haven’t recruited a team till now but will be expanding soon.

What are 3 key things that you have learned as an entrepreneur?

  1. I have learned that each day will have a new challenge and you will get to learn new things every day.
  2. Making mistakes is important as you get to learn from them.
  3. Understanding the market and their requirements is of utmost important for your business.

What would you describe as your biggest moments of success in your business?

The journey of a start-up is filled with moments of success as you are achieving something new each day whether it’s getting new customers on-board or even getting good reviews from the customer.

All of them add together to make the journey memorable. But one of the biggest moments of success for Book Thela was achieving the break-even point within the first month of starting the business.

You can connect with Book Thela at @book_thela

 

8 Habits For A Successful Marriage When You’re Busy Being Parents

Being a parent takes a lot of time and energy. It’s worth every single second, and there will be just as many laughs and moments of joy as there will be frustrations along the way.

But let’s be honest, sometimes your marriage takes a backseat to your kids.

By the time you’re both done with work and childcare, plus school meetings, sporting events, lessons, summer camp, and selling girl scout cookies, there’s not always a lot of time left over for your marriage.

It’s not uncommon for couples to drift apart as every conversation becomes about family and kids and your relationship gets less and less attention.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Having a successful marriage when you’re busy being parents is possible, and that’s better for everyone. You and your partner will feel closer and happier, and your kids will benefit from being brought up by close, committed parents.

Try to inculcate these eight habits for balancing parenthood and marriage.

1. Make Touch A Part Of Your Day

If you’ve ever spent time with a newlywed couple, you know that touch is a big part of their love language. Couples who are still in the honeymoon phase frequently hold hands, put arms round each other, or sit close together.

As your relationship matures and you get busy being parents, these little daily touches are often forgotten. Try bringing them back – regular touch builds intimacy with your partner.

Make time daily to hug. Hold their hand when you’re out together, or just relaxing on the couch. Put your arm around them. Regular touch is a mood booster for both of you and cements your bond.

2. Don’t Neglect Date Night

Dates can soon become a thing of the past when you’re both busy being parents. Time together as a family is vital of course. Family meals and family days out bring you all closer and give you and your kids regular quality time together.

But what about you and your partner? You need regular quality time together too if your marriage is to thrive.

Make date night a regular event, and stick to it. Get a sitter or enlist a willing family member to take care of the kids at home, or even take them for the night.

You and your partner can get dressed up and go out to eat like you used to do, or even enjoy a home cooked meal and a relaxing bubble bath at home. Nurture your marriage by spending time on it.

3. Make Time To Talk

Adult conversation sometimes goes by the wayside when you become parents! Can you remember the last time you had a conversation that wasn’t about school, outings, how to referee a fight between your kids or maybe, sometimes, about work?

Make time every day to talk about everything else in your lives. Just ten minutes over coffee or while cleaning up the dinner things is enough.

Find out what’s going on with each other. Talk about your hopes and dreams and worries and plans. When you can, make time for a longer conversation. Regular talks keep you close and connected.

4. Stay In Touch Throughout The Day

Remember when you were dating and you would text or FaceTime regularly? You don’t have to stop that just because you’re married with kids.

Take time every day to leave your partner little messages. You can text, call, video chat, or even post on their Facebook timeline (don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mother to see!)

A quick love note, a “hey how are you doing?” or sharing an interesting article, funny story, or video you think they’ll love will keep you in their mind and recapture some romance, too.

5. Look After Each Other

It’s really easy to get caught up in the stress of parenting, work, and daily life. Before long, your partner becomes someone you take for granted or someone you mostly communicate with about who’s picking the kids up from football practice this week.

Put a little energy back into your marriage by taking the time to look after each other. After all, you’re a team, and more than that, you’ve chosen to share your lie and raise children together.

Show each other a little appreciation through simple gestures. Maybe make your partner a cup of coffee, or take them up on the offer of a foot rub.

6. Give Each Other Space

Sometimes looking after your marriage means giving each other a break from it! When you become parents, self care often goes out the window.

But if you put your kids and spouse first all the time, you’ll eventually drain your own battery and feel tired and irritable.

Being worn out doesn’t do anyone any good – you or your kids and spouse. Give each other the gift of a little me-time by taking turns to look after the kids alone for an afternoon or evening.

That way you each get time to do something just for you, whether that’s seeing friends, going for a spa day, or just taking a book to the local park for some quiet time.

7. Make Sure You’re On The Same Page

Having a happy marriage while parenting isn’t just about making time for the two of you. It’s about how you are when you’re actively parenting, too. Disagreements about child raising and discipline are a sure fire way to put your marriage under stress.

If you don’t agree on topics such as discipline, they’ll be more tension between the two of you. In addition, kids pick up on discord and might even try to play you off against each other (knowing that if one parent says no, the other will say yes, for example).

Sit down and agree on ground rules for discipline. Decide on guidelines for every aspect of parenting, from bedtimes to pocket money to TV time.

When an unexpected situation comes up, make time to sit and discuss it together and reach an agreement before taking action.

8. Look For The Good In Each Other

It’s natural to get a bit stressed when you’re both busy being parents, especially as one or both of you will most likely have job stress to deal with too.

Add in family issues, illness, or even fun things like a full social calendar, and it’s normal to feel a bit frazzled.

And when you feel frazzled, it’s easy to snipe at each other.

Looking for the good is a simple way to make your marriage happier. Take time every day to find things you love about your partner. Notice all the things they do that remind you why you love them.

Maybe they’re amazing with the kids, or full of fun ideas for family days out, or always ready to support you. Perhaps they took care of a couple of your chores or cooked everyone a fabulous meal.

Look for the good, and you’ll find more of it. Your focus will shift from all the things that are stressing you out and you’ll be reminded why you love being married to this person.

Even better, tell them! Giving each other regular compliments is a fantastic self-esteem boost and brings you closer, too.

You can be busy parents and still have a vibrant marriage, too. Remember, your kids benefit too if both their parents are happy.

By having a healthy, fulfilling marriage, you’re modeling good relationships for your children and setting up healthy but realistic expectations for their future.

Try out our tips and enjoy feeling closer than ever – and enjoy a more harmonious and happy home, too.

Author Bio:

Rachel Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support, and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.

4 Life Lessons From Wonder Woman Every Woman Can Take To Heart

We don’t typically stray too far into entertainment here, but we happen to be approaching the end of a summer during which one of the most important films for young women in recent memory came out.

Wonder Woman was an inspired effort by director Patty Jenkins and star actress Gal Gadot, and one that earned a great deal of acclaim across the world of cinematic review.

In part, it was a relief simply because it was a very fun, very well made movie. But it was also a major film for female empowerment, and not just in a superficial sense.

We see this as an important event not just in film or entertainment, but for women in general. So with that said, here are four life lessons women can learn from Wonder Woman.

1.  Natural Bodies Are Beautiful

We’ve written before about body shaming, and it’s something that’s done in a subtle way in films all the time.

Women are often digitally retouched or edited to look unrealistic, thus reinforcing harmful perceptions about what the “ideal” woman looks like.

Similarly, overweight women (or men, to be fair) are often mocked on screen as if it’s a joke we’re all okay with. Well, Wonder Woman takes a more natural and realistic approach.

Sure, Gadot has clearly worked hard on her body to get into superhero shape, but she wasn’t retouched or enhanced to be so fit or curvy as to be unrealistic.

In fact, Twitter celebrated her thigh jiggle at one point in the film, and it’s also been pointed out that other powerful women in the film displayed aging skin and other imperfections.

These are small but important messages that should teach young women to be okay with their bodies.

2. Women Can Lead Men

By 2017 this ought to be obvious, and yet young women still look at a world in which men constantly try to assert themselves as superior leaders.

Men are in charge of more high profile companies, men are the most prominent coaches and athletes, and men dominate politics for the most part.

In the U.S., in particular, this has been emphasized, as a deeply experienced female candidate lost the presidential election to a man with a history of misogynist comments.

But Wonder Woman teaches us in no uncertain terms that a strong and capable woman can absolutely inspire a following and lead men.

Logically, this should be no surprise, but it’s wonderful to see an example played out on screen.

3. Women Can Be Mentors

This is similar to the second point, but it’s something worth noting specifically with regard to cinematic examples. From Good Will Hunting to Batman Begins, we’re used to seeing not only male leads, but male mentors for those leads.

Wonder Woman took a different approach, with its lead character raised and taught by a full community of goddess-like women. It’s actually interesting that they tapped into ancient Greek culture, as the ancients seemed to have a healthier idea regarding female role models.

Even now when we celebrate their mythology we give equal attention to women. There’s a prominent series of arcade games online called “Age of the Gods,” featuring slot reels devoted to different characters. And among them, entire games are modeled after the likes of Athena, goddess of wisdom, and the Fate Sisters of mythology.

The ancient world celebrated such characters, and Wonder Woman echoed that world with its female leaders and mentors. Young women may be inspired now to seek out similar figures in their own lives.

4.  Action Beats Hesitation

It’s sad to say so, but a lot of women in today’s business world are hesitant to assert themselves because of the prevailing culture of male dominance and authority.

Women can be uncertain about speaking up or taking action independently, for fear of rebuke or disappointment. But the actual character of Wonder Woman should teach a powerful example in the other direction.

Another article looking at lessons to learn from the character, specifically for teachers, stated that Diana (Wonder Woman’s real name) conquers “No Man’s Land” in the film because she’s willing to act.

The not-so-subtle message there is that a woman can do what no man ever has; but the more valuable life lesson is to take action when you know you’re capable.

5 Steps To Recover From A Serious Heartbreak

By reading this very first sentence of this post, you basically admit that you’re in a big trouble. You’re probably hurting a lot, and you’d do anything to stop or maybe even reduce the pain for just a little bit.

First off, let me tell you that I’m writing this article from a posture of a “healed” woman.  I want to assure you that even if I don’t exactly know your situation, I might understand the intensity of the feelings you’re experiencing right now.

I have already felt the intensity of a heartbreak and I know what it can do to you in case you’re not ready. Unfortunately – we’re never ready. Yet, I’m right here, smiling. That means I’ve gotten out of that mess, and I’m going to try to help you do the same.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a famous psychiatrist, and author, suggests that the grief a person feels after a heartbreak is made up of more processes:

  • Denial

When caught in a disturbing situation such as a terrible breakup, the first impulse of a human being is to deny everything that’s happening.

You will get thoughts such as “he/she will turn back” or “I’m sure this is not the end”. Ignoring the truth is less painful than accepting it, but that’s never a proper solution.

  • Anger

Once the denial stage is over, people become angry. They often feel hurt by the circumstances or by the other person, and they start having thoughts like “I hate him/her” or “I wish he/she never finds anyone else”. This anger is absolutely normal.

  • Bargaining

The bargaining process is extremely confusing. After your feelings of anger are gone, you start to wonder whether something is still possible between you two.

The word “maybe” pops into your head every day, and you keep going like that until you are reassured that everything is over.

  • Depression

The moment you see that the bargaining process is done and you haven’t obtained what you wished for, you start to become anxious and depressed.

Negativity fills your life, and you believe that you’ll never find love again. No one around you makes you happy anymore, except that special person who does no longer want you nearby his/her side.

  • Acceptance

Now here’s the stage everyone expects – consciously or subconsciously. Acceptance is the stage that sets you free from the pain.

When you finally understand that what was, was and what is, life will no longer be a pain. Waking up every day with feelings of sorrow and pain will soon become history, and you’ll be able to finally move on.

It is important for you to be aware of the stages because only then you can perceive them objectively. And when you’re suffering from heartbreak, objective thoughts are very limited resources that carry a lot of weight.

When I was going through my first heartbreak, I used to perceive my conscious and objective thoughts as the only thing that can save me.

Unfortunately, back then, I didn’t know how to deal with my breakup. I learned it the hard way, and I’m committed to doing something about it now. This post is all about helping you get better.

Here are some straightforward tips that I would like to share with you. I am very confident that by the end of this article, you will feel better and you’ll have new hope for the future. Let’s begin:

1. Accept All the Feelings that Flow Through You

At first, it’s all about acceptance. When you encounter heartbreak, your emotions go wild and you can no longer stop them. In other words, you become emotionally unstable. That’s okay. Really. It is.

You have invested a lot of feelings into your relationship with your significant one and now it’s all gone. Now is the time to experience other types of feelings, feelings which are not necessarily bad yet most people perceive it that way.

You might feel disappointment, anger, frustration, sorrow, lack of hope, and so on. If you try to block or ignore these feelings, they’ll keep coming back until you accept them. Keep in mind that they’re emotions.

Not negative emotions, just emotions. If you can keep it that way, you’ll find out that accepting them is easier than ever. Once you accept how you feel, you can consciously start changing your life for the better.

2. Accept Your New Reality

Now that “the love of your life” is no longer present, you might feel that your reality is no longer satisfying. You cannot feel positive anymore, you don’t enjoy the things that you used to enjoy, and everything seems different.

When you hold very tight to your past, it’s quite obvious that what’s happening now, in the present moment, is not going to make you happy.

In order to enjoy your days again, you need to accept that you’re going to experience a different reality. You’ll experience new feelings, you’ll meet new people, you’ll do different things, and you’ll eventually learn to be happy again.

3. Cut Off All Contact With Your Ex

After you experience heartbreak, keeping in touch with your ex-lover means sabotaging yourself big time. Listen to me. Seeing, talking, or even stalking your significant one is not going to make things better.

In fact, you’re going to be stuck in the denial or bargaining process. As explained before, these are never good places to be in, so bear with me.

In order to create space for clear thinking, you need to let go of any contact with your ex. By no contact, I mean no social media, no phone, no watching of movies or pictures with you two, and no nothing.

This is really good for you, and if you take my advice, you’ll notice it shortly.

4. Learn to Love Yourself Instead

Before your heartbreak, all the love and appreciation you were offering was for someone else. That is no longer possible now, so you must switch the focus towards yourself.

You see, whenever we fall in love with someone, we focus on their feelings instead of ours. We learn to love them, and we forget about loving ourselves.

It’s time for you to learn how to love yourself again. Perceive yourself as a different entity that needs a lot of nurturing and care. Give yourself the best of everything.

That means that you can use various strategies such as periodic rewards. Moreover, you need to step out of your normal perception boundaries and understand one important thing:

If you place all of your love and happiness in the hands of someone else, you’ll eventually end up broken hearted. Instead, love yourself first.

By doing so, no one will ever have control over your feelings again. If you break up with someone, it will hurt, yes. But, you’re not losing everything – you still have yourself.

5. Give It Time

Time and patience. These are two very important aspects that you need to grasp while going through heartbreak.

They say that time heals everything. Have you heard of this saying? I did countless times during my breakups. Yet, people say it because it’s something that’s not arguable. Time really heals everything.

By healing, I’m not referring to forgetting. I’m talking about reaching a state of mind in which you no longer feel that terrible pain and sorrow. And yet, very few people are patient when it comes to breakups and heartbreaks.

Victor Nelson is a professional writer at Aussie writings. A few years ago, when I was going through the most terrible breakup, he was the first to make me understand the importance of time and patience. I still remember his words:

“As time goes on, life still “happens”. You still have to go out, you still have to study, work, or do whatever you were doing before. The difference lies in the fact that you now have to do it on your own.

The more you live your life “alone” (without your ex) the more you’ll adapt to your new circumstances. In a while, you’ll soon feel less and less pain, and that’s all because of the passing of time. Allow time to heal you – you’re in good hands.”

Conclusion

Recovering from a heartbreak is a not simple thing to do. Yet, it is far away from impossible. Even though you’ve heard it countless times before, that’s how life is. It comes with good and with bad, and we’re the only ones in power to adapt.

If we strengthen our perception and mindset, we can accomplish anything we want, and that includes moving away from a painful state of being that suddenly popped into our lives. Stay positive, and remember that…everything is going to be alright.

About the author: Olivia is a journalist, content-writer and a bookworm. She loves to teach, read and write. Her second biggest love after books is her cat called Patty, who usually kindly assists her while writing. Follow Olivia on Facebook and Twitter.

 

3 Crucial Laws Against Domestic Violence In India: Know Them, Protect Yourself

Widespread and rampant violence against women is one of the most pressing problems India struggles with as a society. It is estimated that around 37 percent of Indian women have experienced either physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

In 2013 alone, there were nearly a hundred and twenty thousand reports of domestic violence against women, according to India’s National Crime Records Bureau.

Furthermore, a 2015 study conducted by the Planning Commission of India surmised that a whopping 84 percent of women have been abused in their homes at least once.

However, a majority of these women are far too afraid of social stigma to reveal that they are victims of abuse. This is due to women’s poor social standing in Indian society, where beating a woman for even the smallest things is seen as a justified act.

In turn, this leads to a lack of support, even from close friends, when domestic violence victims seek help in escaping their situation.

Thankfully, the Indian government has already put into place a number of rules and regulations that are designed to protect Indian women from domestic violence.

If the following laws are properly enforced, women in India may be able to hope for safer, more peaceful homes within the near future.

  1. The Indian Penal Code Amendment in 1983

A special section, numbered 498-A, that officially made domestic violence a criminal offense was added to the Indian Penal Code in 1983. This section of the law specifically covers cruelty towards married women by their husbands or their husbands’ families.

A helpful clause in this section allows women’s relatives to make the complaint for them. This is extremely beneficial in cases where the woman is too afraid to speak up for herself, for reasons such as she could get caught by her husband or simply cannot leave the house.

One kind of cruelty that can be punished is behavior that causes a woman’s death or serious injury, or pushes her to commit suicide. Another kind is the type of harassment relating to intimidating the woman or her relatives to give up her property.

Under the policy, acts of cruelty include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • physical abuse;
  • mental torture through threats to her or her loved ones (such as children);
  • denying the woman food;
  • locking her in or out of the house as punishment; and
  • demanding perverse sexual acts against the woman’s will.

Convicted offenders will be charged with up to three years of prison, as well as a hefty fine.

  1. The 2005 Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act

Created in 2005 and enacted over a year later, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act is exactly what the title proclaims.

This is the first law in India to specifically acknowledge every woman’s right to be in a home without violence. In fact, it was seen as a major step forward in securing women’s rights and more effective protection.

It is a long and comprehensive law that details several important policies and procedures meant to help women.

First, it gives a specific definition of domestic violence: actual or threats of physical, mental, emotional, sexual, or verbal abuse, as well as harassment regarding dowry or property.

Women are given the right to seek protection against such acts, and their relatives can file a complaint for them against husbands who break the law.

Second, a woman’s right to reside in their “matrimonial household” is clearly recognized. She cannot be evicted from it as she rightfully shares it with her husband.

If she is evicted, she has the right to seek monetary compensation and safe shelter, as well as free legal and medical aid.

Lastly, both NGOs and divisions of the Indian Government – such as the National Commission for Women – took the initiative to organize awareness seminars that could be easily attended by women who are affected by this act, e.g., women in high risk areas.

Violators of this law will either be mandated to compensate the woman financially, or will be served a restraining order to keep them away from the complainant.

  1. The 2013 Criminal Law Amendment

As a response to the requests made by the Justice Verma Committee, a small commission named after and headed by one of India’s most highly regarded jurists, a lengthy list of amendments to the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Indian Evidence Act were introduced in this 2013 act.

The aim of the amendment was to provide harsher and swifter punishment for those criminals who committed abuse against women.

Details regarding sexual assault and rape were clarified and added onto. For instance, “rape” was given a better and more exhaustive legal definition, to include non-consensual penetration using non-sexual objects, as well as non-penetrative sexual acts.

Penalties for offenses such as rape, assault, and sexual harassment were increased.

In particular, heavier sentences were declared for rapists, even including the death sentence for particularly disturbing cases, such as gang rape where the victim was left in a vegetative state after the crime.

New offenses that are punishable by law were introduced by the amendment as well. These include, but are not limited to:

  • acid attacks (the act of throwing acid upon a woman with the intention of disfiguring, maiming, or outright killing her);
  • stalking;
  • voyeurism (spying with prurient or indecent interest); and
  • publicly and forcefully disrobing a woman

However, despite the commission’s recommendations, the amendment failed to address the issue of marital rape. This exception basically assumes that marriage automatically means the woman will always consent to her husband’s sexual desires.

This ridiculous notion implies that rape cannot happen within a marriage, when in fact it does, and even happens quite frequently to Indian women.

Crime Against Women Cells

This is an initiative of the Indian government to better help female victims of domestic abuse. In every district’s police station, a Crime Against Women (CAW) cell was put in place.

Women suffering from domestic violence may approach these specialized help desks for direct assistance from the police, whether to file an official complaint or follow up on one. Each one is headed by an assistant commissioner.

This program begun in 2010, as the Indian government’s answer to steadily growing numbers of abuse that targeted women.

In Summary

While the Indian government has made significant efforts in reducing the largely unchecked epidemic of violence against women, there is still a long way to go.

Merely passing laws meant to protect women from abuse is obviously not enough to achieve success. Even after the 2013 amendment, horrific crimes such as gang rapes continue to happen, and happen publicly.

The numbers have even continued to rise, though this may be because of increased awareness among women, resulting in greater reporting of domestic violence overall.

A necessary step in moving forward lies in changing the overall mindset of society towards women. There needs to be more education on how to treat women as equals, instead of as lesser beings that deserve to be punished for the tiniest mistakes.

If the Indian government can combine proper enforcement of their existing laws with thoughtful gender education programs, we could be looking at a safer and brighter future for Indian women in the next few decades.

About the Author:

Jon works in marketing team at Loch Employment Law – The Employment Law Lawyers in the UK. He is fond of reading, writing & meeting people. In a former life, Jon worked as a content specialist and has good knowledge about employment policies & law. You can catch up with Jon at Loch Employment Law London office for any advice related to employment laws.

Naaree Interviews Dr Bani Anand, Founder and MD, Hairline International

At the helm of Bangalore-based Hairline International is a dynamic young woman who has charted the growth of the company from the word go – Dr Bani Anand.

 A field where hitherto only dermatologists and cosmetologists were being consulted for hair problems, she has created Hairline to be a holistic treatment center with a totally scientific approach.

For Hairline, bringing in international hair treatments much before they are envisaged in the Indian market has become second nature. And in just 2.5 years since its inception, today Hairline boasts of a turnover of nearly Rs 52 million with just 6 centers in Bangalore.

Naaree.com caught up with Dr. Bani Anand, Founder and MD, Hairline International, to learn what drives her and what lessons she has for other entrepreneurs.

What inspired to become an entrepreneur? Did you always love it or was it something you got into?

Well, I have been groomed by an entrepreneur, which is to say my mother. So, it was but natural to take it through in the same space. I guess early learnings and good mentoring has contributed to me becoming an entrepreneur.

I think as you groom early you eventually do get into something that inspires you and follow through with it.

When do you know that it is no longer just an idea in your mind, and that you can really turn it into a lucrative business?

I think it is the lack of availability of these services and resources in the country in comparison to what is available on international platforms besides the development of innovation combined with the understanding of customer needs.

There is a certain trending rhythm we follow which comes from customer needs and that feeds the gut of the business model.

What inspired you to start out on your own or with your partners? What learning lessons can you share from your startup experience?

Well, I started out on my own primarily on the basis of market and customer understanding through debt funding started one hair and skin clinic and in a span of seven years have built seven dermatology clinics in Bangalore with a pathology lab where the blood work gets done.

We also have a research lab, research institute and an ethics committee today to support commerce and research and medical publication. Passion for the subject was my inspiration and customer understanding was my forte. Merged the two and well I had a plan.

Some of the learnings are persistent, never give up on your dreams no matter how difficult it gets, change is inevitable internally and externally, adaptation to change is a must. Keep learning and growing that’s the only way forward.

Learn from your mistakes you are bound to make them.  Continuous learning and upgradation is key to any business with an eye for innovation so keep that eye open always. For all you know you could be leading the way.

Have faith and build strong teams so that they can drive your dreams with complete dedication. Have fun along the way it’s important to reenergise yourself and your teams.

Show your teams your passion and they will drive the business for you. I think this kind of sums up the thought.

What are some challenges that you faced initially when you started out? Do you have some examples to share and advice to entrepreneurs on overcoming them?

Well working with doctors and teams was a challenge in the beginning with everyone looking in a different direction. In essence team building, putting a vision together with so many mindsets and obstacles was a very big challenge.

But time, conviction, logic, training, mentoring all help you eventually in overcoming these challenges.

Sometimes you build your dream as you go along. It comes to you bit by bit which we call evolution. That evolution is an outcome of the dynamics of a business and probably is the best way to go forward. There is always some form of chaos but your effort is to minimise it.

As advice, I would say be cautious and yet follow your instinct. Do the math and see if it adds up from a business point of view. Dream of building something that can actually create real value in real time. Think ahead of time that’s that only way forward. Drive your team to think on those lines.

Understand that problem solving is a daily task you need to do so there’s no running away from it. Take your decisions calmly and not in haste because some of the best decisions made are made with a calm mind.

What are all the things that an entrepreneur needs to keep in mind? I.e. apart from your great idea, what do you need to be armed with?

I think patience, dedication, long working hours, debt-raising ability, ability to sell your vision and raise money for growth purposes, execution ability on the ground and a strong arm to market those services.

Which is why I will reiterate that it’s important to create something that is real by that I mean a need that fulfils a real need or needs to come (pre-empt).

Do women entrepreneurs find it tougher to get funding for businesses? If yes, why do you think that is?

No, I don’t think so. If you are a visionary with a good lucrative idea to sell all you need to do is add more people based on what will help you make a stronger team and you should be on your way to roll out your project.

The idea, the team and the profits generally are the bigger goals when it comes to raising funds. Debt funding is always available, government institutions support, angel investors, private equities, venture capitalists etc are some of those ways of raising monies.

Is it beneficial to have a mentor when you’re starting out on your own? What does a mentor bring to the table?

Well mentoring is always good, but I think it becomes more crucial when you are at a juncture of raising funds.

Experience will always teach you something and especially from someone capable of making that difference and building something of real value.

So guidance = growth generally.

How did you recruit your first team? How difficult was it to get people on board during the initial stages?

Newspaper advertisements were the way to go back then. It wasn’t really difficult.

What are 3 key things that you have learned as an entrepreneur?

Be patient while building your business, build it with passion and follow through with perseverance and innovation. The rest will follow.

What would you describe as your biggest moments of success in your business?

I think our biggest moments of success are yet to come I think. It gives me complete joy when I am able to bring in bring in new edge treatments for hair and skin which drive in exceptional results from time to time.

Recently we brought in skin and hair DNA testing which enables customisation of supplements, topicals, and therapies based on your genetic markers.

Bettering our results is always something that keeps us going. Launching that research institute, doing incredible research on environmental pollutants and its impact on hair and skin.

Publishing our work in medical journals, national and international awards, getting better results with time. I think these are some of those things that kind of give you those joys really.

For us, research drives our innovation and we are committed to advancing the cause of the same in the time to come.

 

Naaree Interviews Jillian Haslam, Motivational Speaker And Author

Never forget the past and the future will never forget you! ~ Jillian Haslam

Jillian Haslam is a qualified speaking coach with distinction and has had a 20-year career in banking, including working with executives at board level. Barclays, Bank of America, and the Royal Bank of Scotland are some of the names on her impressive list of clients.

Born and raised in abject poverty in Calcutta – Jillian is a truly inspirational and professional keynote speaker. She uses her experience and motivational stories to inspire others to face their fears.

With her motivational words and her warmth, she engages and empathises with you helping you to wake up, inspire you to do better and be more confident. Naaree.com caught up with motivational speaker and author, Jillian Haslam, to find out her inspiring story and her goals for the future. 

Tell us about your dream job as a child.

Since I was a little girl, I wanted nothing more than to be able to reach out to hundreds of people in order to eliminate the sadness and the despair that is caused by abject poverty. I grew up facing it and I lived by the Eli Khamarov quote that “Poverty is like punishment for a crime that you didn’t commit.”

I grew up not being able to smile and was asked many a time, even by my bosses if I ever did smile but I had an impossible dream (coming from an extremely deprived background) and not knowing how I was going to accomplish that dream was a worry that never ever left me.

It was impossible to smile but today, I do nothing but smile all the time, only because I now have six teams of people who work to change lives every single day (three huge food banks for the poor and the disabled, six study centres for street children, a team that work for women in need, the youth, the disabled and for people with serious illnesses.

I also speak at very many schools and universities talking to people on the power of developing as “The Irrepressible Mind” and asking them not to forget that there are people who need them.

I deliver training and speeches to corporates as well, sharing the drive and the ambition I had and what it took to get through a 20 odd year career in banking, never losing sight of the goal and the objective I had in mind ever since I was a child.

Why did you go into business in the first place?

Dreams are not fulfilled through magic and people who have money are certainly not going to be there to fulfill them for you. Luck does not exist as Henry Ford said the harder you work, the luckier you get!

So, if I was to fulfill my own dreams, I had to become my own creator and to

(a) work very hard and

(b) I had to generate enough income to be able to support my cause and my dreams without having to ask anyone for monetary help.

As Oprah Winfrey says “The only way to find true happiness is to find out what you are good at and to then turn that into a service for others.” I didn’t know that she had said this at the time but I certainly believe in it 100% today. It’s exactly what I did!!

What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?

Oprah Winfrey and Estee Lauder only because they had the same vision, the same goal, and the same objectives in mind, to start a business with one purpose only and that is to give back to humanity!

What is the best and worst decision you have ever made?

The best decision I have every made is to empower people with confidence and recognition. I have had people who couldn’t speak a word of English with a desire to succeed but without the ability. Empowering them has been my greatest asset. As Jack Welch said, “Give them confidence and they will act.”

The worst decision I have ever made is to trust people unconditionally. You can care and you can help but to trust someone needs time and I have paid a very heavy price on many occasions by deciding to trust someone based on words, sweet talk and on face value. I have now learned from my mistakes but the hard way, unfortunately.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to women in business?

Skills. I mentor many women to help them start up their own businesses. I have also delivered a speech titled “A dose of reality” and I did this because many seem to have a dream and believe that they can roll out of bed and start a business without the required skill set. That is one of the reasons why 93% of new businesses fail.

They get so involved in social media, trying to make a name for themselves, doing the admin side of things but losing focus of what truly needs to be done i.e. to learn how to deliver or sell their products/services effectively, marketing a product or service or understanding how to build a brand (and I don’t mean logos, websites, and letterheads) it takes much more than that but sadly our comfort zones and Facebook likes keep us complacent and hence totally in denial sometimes.

What’s the best advice you have received in business?

To train and to get mentored by well-established people in business. To get educated before you venture out and to understand that your talent may get you a step through the front door but it’s only hard work, relentless commitment, and knowledge that can keep you there.

My next book is titled “The Irrepressible Mind.” It will help many, but mainly entrepreneurs to understand these facts and to understand the true meaning of what it takes never to give up in business.

What do you do for fun?

Spend time with the people I love (those in desperate need since they need people like us the most)! That is what I see as fun and it’s with these people that I really and truly come to life.

I always use this quote that came from Bill Gates, “I believe I was a beggar by the corner whom no one gave a dime but today, I read and write and speak because someone took the time.”

I want to be able to show them that I made the time to be there for them, just as someone made the time to be there for me. In my case these people were my parents, my matrons in boarding school, my Principal, people who were poorer than poor who came to our aid and mainly a Teacher named Mrs. Barbara Raha who taught me that everything on the outside meant nothing i.e. torn shoes, torn uniforms, scruffy hair, no make-up etc., etc.

What mattered was what was going on, on the inside and how we could look for ways and means to develop that side of us. It worked like magic for me at least!

What did you most fear in the early days of your business?

That I would have to let thousands of people down and that I wouldn’t be able to find a way to help them. It was more than just a fear; it was heartbreaking to have to think of not being able to reach them.

They say when you desire something to an extent where your very being is affected, you accomplish it but you have to start with wanting something more for others than you want for yourself.

What’s next for you and your business?

To expand into other parts of the world, to reach people far and wide in order to demonstrate to them the power being public speaking and finding your voice, to get the movie made (that is based on my memoir, Indian English).

Hollywood has already picked it up and I have managed to reach thousands of children by way of the story itself. It is now a personal goal to get the movie made and to try and work towards creating a world without poverty.

In the words of Muhammad Yunus, “We need to strive to eliminate poverty because once it is gone, we all need to build museums to display its horrors to future generations. They will wonder why poverty continued so long in human society – how a few people could live in luxury while billions dwelt in misery, deprivation and despair.”

This is my wildest dream and my greatest ambition and it is always the next step in everything I do. Nothing means more to me than giving back in thought, word or deed.

If you could tell your younger self something what would you say?

Never forget the past and the future will never forget you!

Connect with Jillian Haslam at @JillianHaslam

Women Entrepreneurs, Here’s How To Get Investors To Treat You Right

In all the coverage about sexual harassment in the startup ecosystem, I think this is one of the most honest accounts from a woman’s viewpoint that I have read. I love Perri Chase’s honesty and candor about her own experience with a potential investor.

She openly admits that she’s “not the first or only woman who has ever used being a woman to get time with a man” and that this is where we, as women, need to take more responsibility for getting our lines crossed.

I have personally seen how women flock to powerful men in the startup ecosystem, knowing full well that there are no free lunches. Many of these women are very willing to put out, to get that all-important introduction to a potential investor.

The problem is that these willing women end up creating an untenable situation for women who are not interested in being sexually propositioned.

In that sense, we need to admit that, by tolerating and giving into an investor’s sexual advances, we are part of creating and enabling that exploitative culture.

Also, as Perri notes, different women have different abuse thresholds. While those who have never been abused in their lives might take offense at the slightest hint of impropriety, others who have a higher abuse threshold may not find a similar come-on offensive.

Part of the problem, she notes, is that “in an ecosystem where socializing and happy hours are a big way to meet or get to know investors, there are no real clear lines about what is personal and what is professional.”

Looking for a mentor? Here are some ways that you can learn to navigate the tricky world of meeting colleagues and investors at work and outside of it.

  1. Take responsibility for what you create

Like Perri, I believe in taking radical personal responsibility for my life.

This means I buy into the concept that I alone am responsible for whatever I create in my life. Blaming others is a waste of time and gets you nowhere, except deeper into the victim mentality.

Like her, I also believe that I am powerless to change anyone but myself, and that I alone control the choices I make. Her statements that resonate most with me are:

“We can talk about changing men until we are blue in the face, but the only person who is ever truly responsible for my safety is me… It’s not pointing the finger of blame at him. It’s finding the places where you have control and taking it back.”

That does not mean that men don’t need to learn how to behave better. They very much do! But until then, take responsibility for your own safety.

  1. Have a value proposition ready

Don’t assume that people will have your best interests at heart. Most people go through life looking out only for themselves and their loved ones. Very few people are truly altruistic in their intentions.

The truth is that most people only care for their own interests. Especially if you’re a stranger to them. Approach them keeping that in mind.

All relationships involve give and take. So if you’re hoping that someone powerful will mentor you or introduce you to their contacts, you’d better have a value proposition for them too.

This applies as much to women investors and mentors, as it does to men. No one is going to be motivated to help you out if they see no benefit in it for themselves. A mentee must be able to add some value to a mentor’s life, too.

Whether this involves giving them a larger share of your stock or helping them deal with some aspect of their business that they are having problems with, it’s up to you to do your homework and find out where their interests lie or what they need help with, and then offer to help them out with it.

In other words, if you want something from someone, make them an offer they can’t refuse (preferably one that doesn’t involve sexual favours or violence).

  1. Teach people how to treat you

I believe that we teach people how to treat us. This is one of the biggest issues we need to address if we are to create a safer environment for women in business.

We women need to get out of the victim mindset and take our power back. It’s up to us to start setting very clear boundaries on the sort of behavior we won’t tolerate. And it’s a good idea to do that even before you meet up with a man.

Then, if he loses interest when you’ve set clear boundaries, at least you’ll know that your business was never what interested him in the first place.

If you’ve already met up and want to get out of it, all you have to say is, “I’m sorry, I don’t think we’re on the same page here,” or “I think I misunderstood what this meeting was about,” and part on friendly terms (or not, depending on how he takes rejection).

Should someone constantly disrespect your boundaries and keep making unwanted sexual advances, don’t feel guilty about it. It’s not your fault that he’s a creep. You have every reason to report him to the authorities.

But, I believe that if we learn to be more assertive, are willing to take responsibility for our own expectations, and walk away at the first sign of trouble, there’ll be no need for hurt feelings and accusations.

  1. Trust your instincts

If you feel there’s something off, cancel the meeting or leave if you’re already there. Trust your gut.

Never second-guess yourself or put yourself in a vulnerable position where the lines can get blurry. If you know that drinking alcohol clouds your judgment, avoid drinks altogether or sip a mocktail at a business meeting.

We can all teach men to treat us with respect… as human beings who are not interested in being pawed or propositioned when we approach them for advice, mentorship or funding.

Let’s start by taking responsibility for our own expectations and actions so that we can create a better environment for all involved.

What did you think of these tips? Did you find them useful or were you offended? Let me know at @PriyaFlorence

 © Priya Florence Shah is an author, CEO of Blog Brandz, and publisher of Naaree.com.

Top 10 Tips For Dressing For Success

A great product will not get sold if it doesn’t come well packaged. You might have all the soft skills, brilliance and academic qualifications necessary to land the job, but there are chances that someone else would be selected because you weren’t dressed right.

The sad part is the one who was selected might not be as competent as you. It matters what you are wearing to the interview, how you look and present yourself.

No, we’re not talking about your looks. That’s not something you can change. But yes, you can always dress to impress.

According to a survey, 37% recruiters don’t hire a candidate because she wasn’t well dressed. Further, 65% hiring managers believe that dressing becomes a crucial factor when it comes to selecting between two candidates with similar proficiency.

So, what does it take to dress right and impress your interviewers? It doesn’t need to be an expensive task. In most cases, you certainly cannot afford designer clothes when you’re yet to land the job!

Consider these 10 tips for dressing for success in the workplace.

  1. Solid colors that aren’t distracting

When you’re sitting in an interview, you’d want the interviewers to focus on what you have to say and on your personality rather than the pink paisley shirt you’re wearing.

Floral and busy patterns are not recommended for an interview or, for that matter, any kind of client meeting or any job that needs you to speak to people.

Instead, stick to solid colors that aren’t too loud but go well with your personality and looks. A bright red might look great on any woman, but it’s distracting for the interviewer. You might be taken to be too aggressive for the job. Try the standard blues.

Black and white is a standard choice when it comes to professional attire. A dark blue is also an option you can trust. This makes the interviewer take you as a trustworthy, secure, controlled and calm individual.

Grey too can work well, as it represents sophistication and confidence. It really depends on what kind of interview you’re going for, and what is expected from your role.

  1. Invest in a bespoke suit

It won’t be a one-time investment. A well-fitting and tailored suit is always the best choice when it comes to professional attire. However, going for those ready to wear suits might not be a good idea.

Make sure that the dress perfects fits your form – the shoulder pads ending at the shoulders, the sleeves ending where the wrist meets the thumb, the jacket fitting close to your body and such things.

Women should avoid suit pants that pucker and are tight in the front. A tailor-made bespoke suit is the best option because it adds confidence and elegance to your form.

  1. Smart casual sophistication

Not all jobs require you to go for a suit, especially if you are trying something in the creative field. Smart casuals, in this case, can easily outperform a strict formal outfit.

For women, it’s easier to get away with decent skirts or trousers but it is necessary to avoid wearing costume jewelry or fabrics that are too flashy.

  1. Ink, hair, and piercings

Today, nearly 40% of people in the age group of 19 and 29 have a tattoos, studs or piercings. But some employers, especially more conservative ones, can hold an unfavorable view of your ink or piercing.

Your selection will greatly depend on the kind of industry you are working in or looking to work in and the company policies on tattoos and piercings. Or it could just depend on the individual interviewer’s preference.

If you already have visible tattoos that cannot be hidden, compensate with your shining personality. For facial piercings, it is always safer to take them out and cover up the damage, until you’re aware of how they’re perceived in your new workplace.

With your hair, it is always recommended to keep it clean and neat. At work, it’s always better to pin up or pin back unruly locks than letting them distract you from the task at hand.

  1. Dress for the job you want

As Jennifer Aniston’s boss says in the movie, Picture Perfect, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” The best way to find a successful dress code is to imitate your boss. If your boss is a jeans and polo t-shirt guy, you can try the same.

That way, you can hope to be in the same league and the same form of mind, at least when it comes to attire. When you’re wearing something that your boss likes, you could be perceived as trustworthy and friendly.

  1. Overdress, don’t under-dress

Plan your outfit like you have a very important meeting, regardless of your schedule for the day.

This makes sure you’re prepared for anything. The worst thing that can happen is that you are the best-dressed person at the meeting!

However, if you’re just wearing regular clothes that cannot be made presentable in a pinch, you may be in trouble.

  1. Quality over quantity

Invest in a few good quality outfits, as it will not only add value to your investment in the long run but will also make you look and seem more elegant and stylish.

Quality outfits are worth the cost, rather than fast fashion and cheap throwaway clothes.

  1. Comfort rules

When all is said and done, it is also necessary that you’re comfortable in the clothes you wear. If you’re not comfortable, you’ll be more focused on keeping your form than on the interview or with your client.

Well-fitting lingerie is the start of being comfortable. Make sure you wear comfortable lingerie so you’re not constantly fidgeting with your bra straps. Measure yourself correctly and buy the best fitting brassieres and panties, so that your mind is not distracted all day by poorly-fitting underwear.

If you’re not a suit person, you don’t need to wear them. There are so much more options for women in India than just Western formals. A formal saree or salwar kameez is just as suitable in the Indian environment if comfort is paramount.

In some cases, confidence and charm can prevail over your choice of dressing. That also doesn’t mean that you can go right out of bed to the office! Don’t go for something outlandish if it isn’t you, but don’t be too formless in your dressing either.

  1. The devil is in the details

Things like a polished shoe, wrinkle-free clothes, ironed pleats, and hair-free jackets (especially if you have pets at home) matter. The devil is in the details and many interviewers and clients will notice if you’re not well turned out.

  1. Be you

At the end of the day, it is important that you don’t lose focus on yourself while trying to decide on a dress code. In the world of fashion, rules can be broken and personality is ultimately all about your sense of style. After all, you don’t want to look boring and you do want to get noticed!