As women, we are notoriously [in]famous for carrying big, huge stuffed purses & totes.  Just think about it…you know you are guilty!

This got me thinking – what do we really need (and NOT need) in our small biz bag-of-tricks?

I took a long hard look into the deep dark depths of my blue tote bag that I drag everything around in, and realized it was a total mess.  Upon noticing this, I made a deal with myself — I could NOT go for my afternoon cup of coffee until I cleaned that sucker out.  The goal was to clean out items that I did not need to carry around and determine my must-haves vs. the non-essentials.  Of course, while I did this, I decided to make a list of my very own startup women in biz essentials.

With many of us splitting for the holidays, you never know what can happen or who you will meet.  Beyond travel, just heading out of the house or office on errands or appointments can be surprisingly fruitful.

Women in Small Business Bag-of-Tricks

Business Cards

True Story:  Last year, I was trying on dresses in a department store for an event and I had a wardrobe malfunction.  Obviously, I had to purchase a new unmentionable item, so the salesperson brought the manager of the lingerie department to help me find my new item.  Not sure if you know this or not, but I have been working long and hard on inventing lingerie-related products, and I had NO biz cards on me this particular day.  Of course, I made a lasting impression on the manager, but I would have been much better off to have my card to give her.

Moral of the story – you never know when you are going to make a connection, so keep your cards in your bag.

Current Biz Reading, Presentation, or Project

There are many occasions when you are waiting.  Waiting for an appointment, an airline flight, or during your kids’ activities.  Time is precious, and you will be surprised how much you accomplish in the 15 minutes of waiting for something else.  I like to keep a file folder with a few current items that I am working on for these times.

Notepad & Pen(s)

You can never be sure of when ideas will come to you for your blog, your business, or even an email that you must send later.  I try to write down a quick little reminder to myself, so later I can go back and pick up with my great idea.  I have been known to use the voice recording function of my phone (when no one is looking) now and again to do this, but you never know when you will be in a room full of people.  This is an example of when you do not want to be making a voice message, so keep your notepad handy.

Stamps & Stationery

I know, more relics of the past like my notepad.  The old-fashioned handwritten note & snail mail is becoming a thing of the past, but there are times where a hand-written note is still well-received.  If you connected with a huge contact or sealed the deal on a big negotiation, appropriate thanks cannot be expressed in an email or a 140 character tweet.  Get out your pen, paper, stamps, and jot down a quick thank-you note, and put it right in the mailbox.


Whether you keep your contacts in your phone, on your computer, in the cloud, or dare I say – address book, make sure that you always have them handy! You never know when you need to take care of business on the fly.


Do NOT ever leave home without ‘em.  There are some great charging products available including car changers, portable charging packs, and cases that charge.  Just make sure that you are not left without extra ‘fuel’ for your phone, tablet or laptop.

Last but least – Rachel’s Women in Biz Rescue Pack

Breath freshener of choice, tissues, hand sanitizer, hairbrush, lip gloss, quick snack (a hungry biz woman cannot be successful) are all essential to have in your bag.

Make sure to go into every meeting, putting your best foot and freshest breath forward.