What Is Self-Advocacy?
Self-advocacy is a passion of mine and an important aspect of my work. I love working with my clients and help them learn what is self-advocacy and how they can be a better advocate for themselves, in the context of their business.
Every time I speak to a client about their business, it relates to their ability to self-advocate for themselves, their business and the growth they want to work towards.
Self-advocacy, in the context of business, is your ability to stand in your truth about your business. It covers areas like how you want to run it, who you want to deal with, how you want to show up, what kind of people you want around you and how you want to make decisions for your business. Which is why I get my clients involved in drafting their contracts.
Being able to self-advocate will ensure that you don’t fall over at the first sign of someone disagreeing with you, or doing something different to you, or when you’re told you can’t do something.
It’s an important set of skills that runs in the background of your business.
Your ability to self-advocate will determine how well you can negotiate for yourself and your business. It will have a great impact on your growth as well.
Without self-advocacy skills, as an entrepreneur, decisions and choices you are making for your business may not come from a calm, firm, educated, informed and grounded place.
This is a rather big topic for a longer and more detailed discussion. Here I wanted to cover some of the basic things you can identify as self-advocacy skills. You might recognise yourself already applying some of these things, which is great. Or you might spot a few where you are lacking the confidence.
Asking for time to make decisions is one of the key skills I recommend for people.
Looking at alternative ways to do things differently is another.
Opening up the lines of communication to get clear on anything that you are not sure of. Feeling confident and picking up the phone and discussing any questions to get clarity on something the other person might have said or offered is another way to show up and self-advocate for your business.
Having your own contract and terms and conditions is another way of showing that is advocating for your business. The person providing the contract or terms of conditions is in the position of power because they took charge of how they want to operate and how to show up in their business.
If you are unsure or nervous about doing any of what I mentioned above, including:
- speaking to other people,
- negotiating a fee,
- asking for a discount,
- speaking up about being unhappy about a service,
- feeling nervous about a client’s expectations
These are all things that can be improved on when you learn about how to self-advocate for yourself in business.
If you’re a freelancer and are trying to juggle getting your bills paid with your clients’ expectations, self-advocacy is important to your bottom line.
The same applies to showing up, service development, expressing yourself and how people take on what you say and what you do.
Your ability to self-advocate will help you to avoid being run into the ground, while still being a brilliant business person who provides stand out service. You can protect your business and at the same time create a process for yourself that will get the work done and the bills paid. It’s a win-win situation.
The main thing about self-advocacy is that it’s not about confrontation. It’s not about fighting. It’s about clear paths to resolutions and decision making. It’s about being clear on what you want in your business, how you want to show up and what outcome you want for yourself and your business and then working towards it.
Improve your self-advocacy skills, work with Shalini: Powerless to Empowered Self Advocacy Sessions for Solopreneurs.
Lawyer, Contract Specialist, Speaker & Advocate for Women in Business.
Drawing on more than 15 years’ experience as a lawyer and a woman in business, Shalini Nandan-Singh helps Australian service-based entrepreneurs protect their businesses and their bottom lines with empowered legal advice and contracts.
Encouraging listeners to #loveyourlegals, Shalini firmly believes that business legals should be an authentic extension of your business. Her goal is to educate audiences that, rather than confusing legalese, business legals should be an authentic extension of your business, creating positive business boundaries that support you in working with your clients with compassion and understanding.
Disclaimer: This blog is written to support business owners to consider legal requirements and issues that may arise in business. The information provided is for general and educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice for your individual circumstances. Please consult your lawyer for advice specific to you and your business.