Meet The 2019 She Leads Africa ACCELERATOR Participants

Its been 3 months since She Leads Africa launched the 2019 Accelerator program in Nigeria and this year’s boot camp is about to come to a close.

The SLA Accelerator program is designed to identify, support and fund the next generation of Nigeria’s brightest female entrepreneurs.

This year, the program went digital and out of about 300 applications, 16 women with innovative businesses were chosen to be a part of this 3-month program.

The top 5 finalists will pitch their businesses on Demo Day (November 2 from 11 am – 1 pm) in front of Judges and a virtual audience all across the globe, where the winner will be selected.

The winner of the Accelerator program will receive a 2 million Naira funding grant from SLA.


Find out all you need to know about the participants and their businesses below.


Mariam Ofeh-Sule

Business: TheBookDealerNG

Mariam is a writer and the founder of TheBookDealer.

Her prose has appeared in the Guardian Ng, Brittle Paper, Arts and Africa, ITCH Creative Journal and Litro Magazine UK.

She writes monthly articles for ArtxJuJu, a brand committed to challenging the demonization of African culture, which Mariam also co-founded

In 2016, Mariam had a major depressive episode that caused her to fold inward and spend a lot of time alone, and avoid people. Books were her only companion.

In each book, there was a new story with new characters whose lives were different from hers. She had the liberty to travel far and wide within a book. For Mariam, reading a book was a form of therapy.

In a bid to share that warmth with people, Mariam realized that the average Nigerian is faced with inaccessibility to books.

TheBookDealerNG is an online bookstore that provides access to African Literature. African literature because the only thing better than the warmth of a good book is a book that sees and validates your existence. 

Dr. Rebecca Achokpe Andeshi

 Business: Awe Farms and Consult

Dr. Andeshi is the founder of Awe Farms and Consult.  A cloud-based digital platform that provides farmers in rural areas in Nigeria with instant financing solutions and veterinary services with the use of a drone for efficient disease diagnosis and delivery of veterinary supplies in remote livestock farming communities.

She was motivated to start her business because of the inability of smallholder farmers to afford high-quality input.

This has always been a pain point for her as a third-generation farmer. Thus discovering that farmers live on less than $1.25 a day was a rude awakening for her.

Dr. Rebecca now provides digital input financing to smallholder farmers in Nigeria from recycled agricultural waste increasing productivity by 33%. 

Nafisah Oseni Wahab

Business: NUFAESAH

Nafisah is the founder of Nufaesah – a fashion line that provides workwear for the urban Muslim woman.

Her products range between pants, dresses, skirts, jumpsuits, shirts/blouses, jackets/blazers, scarves, and turbans. 

As a working woman, Nafisah has had two major negative experiences in her career.

A judge at the High Court of Lagos State once sent her out of court because of her headscarf.

Secondly, it was so difficult finding workwear that made her look the part for work, that was fashionable while keeping within the Islamic guidelines of dressing.

These episodes made her design her workwear for religious women – both Muslim and Christian.

Cynthia Omokhekpen Asije

Business: The Adirelounge.

Cynthia is a multi-award-winning textile designer passionate about eradicating extreme poverty using capacity development and entrepreneurship, by infusing old cultural practices and technology.

She learned the trade from her mother who used her Tie & Dye making skills to get her family through school.

Cynthia has been recognized as the top textile artist by World Bank & International Finance Corp as one of the Next African 100 startups for building a sustainable textile industry in Africa. 

Cynthia’s desire to sustain and promote Nigeria’s cultural heritage and indigenous method of hand-dyed fabrics, uses this method to empower women and the empowerment is reflecting in these communities by creating a sustainable industry.

She wanted to help others like her mother get more out of life, curb unemployment and preserve the Nigeria cultural textile heritage.

Omoh Alokwe

Business: Street Waste Company

Omoh is the founder of the Street Waste Company – a social enterprise in the environmental and waste management sector.

Their core focus is on waste recycling collection and waste upcycling training.

The company’s business goal is to encourage people to embrace a culture of waste reduction, reuse and recycle to attain a sustainable environment.

Her company also gives advisory services to corporate clients, collect recyclable waste and partner with organizations through their corporate sustainability programs.

Omoh’s motivation for starting the Street Waste Company was borne out of a passion for making an impact and creating a solution to the endemic waste problem around us.

Having studied environmental management at the masters level, she realized the basic solution to this menace is attitudinal. So she Co-founded SWCL where they encourage people to imbibe the culture of waste recycling through our incentive-based scheme. 

Tola Oyinlola

Business: Interg

INTERG brings to children the Fun and Learn Tablet.

This tablet comprises smart games with several stages of learning and engagement, providing an exciting new way to change the learning content as children grow.

In 2018,  Tola volunteered to teach with an NGO to give back to her community. She realized how difficult and boring learning can be for the average Nigerian Child. 

She spent a lot of time trying to find teaching aids online and eventually decided to create an app for mathematics, which was well-received by all her students.

Even though she was unable to create an app for all subjects, she had found a solution that she was determined to monetize. In many ways, INTERG is simply building a product that speaks to a historical problem with learning.

Lilian Chinweotito Uka

Business: EduPoint

EduPoint leverages on Artificial Intelligence.

It is an innovative online platform that connects students with verified local teachers who deliver one-on-one lessons in any subject, skill or exam, to help students or learners meet their learning expectations and also enable passionate tutors to earn extra income.

As a little girl in primary school, Lillian struggled with learning and understanding in a class of over 40 students. Her aunt decided to take her to a personalized class.

This involved a peer to peer learning and within the shortest period of time, she emerged the best in class and since then has been an advocate of peer to peer learning. 

This overwhelming class population density coupled with differences in student’s learning pace has resulted in a significant decline in learning outcomes of students in Nigeria over the past 10 years, reducing exams success rates from 40% to less than 20% in major exams.

Globally, conventional methods of education are transitioning from centralized to distributed, and from standardized to personalized. 

This is why she created EduPoint, which serves as a solution that bridges the gaps between helping learners meet their learning expectations while improving the livelihood by providing employment for these professionals. 

So far, they have delivered over 30,000+ hours of learning to over 100 learners directly and over 1000+ learners indirectly in Nigeria which includes K-12 children, youths and adults and has generated over $30,000 in revenue. 

Andrea Kamara

Business: The Balance Bowl

Andrea is the founder of The Balance Bowl.

She was motivated to start after she realized there was a lack of convenient, healthy, and affordable food for the busy African. 

Balance Bowl is a tech-enabled health and wellness company that offers busy Africans access to delivered meals, licensed dieticians, fitness coaching, as well as other healthy living content from the convenience of the mobile app.

Ifeoma Benjamin

Business: isabiDeliver

isabiDeliver started due to the increase in consumer’s need for on-demand delivery.

Ifeoma discovered that there will be a need for a more affordable and available service that meets that need which is what isabiDeliver is doing.

In 2016, Ifeoma decided to turn her hobby (Food blogging) into a business venture called iSabiFood.

iSabiFood is an online food ordering and delivery application where she experienced some inherent limitations of dealing with restaurants as a single vertical.

In 2018, she took the same last-mile delivery principle and applied it to other verticals.

It matched the expectations consumers have of the on-demand economy and smoothed out all of those inefficiencies in the operating model and that’s how isabiDeliver started.

Nyemachi Alexis Wokekoro 

Business: Welima Tea

Welima Tea is about transforming rich African medicinal recipes into teas that would combat different levels of pain ( menstrual cramps), promote well-being, and actualize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)Goal 3.

Nyemachi got the opportunity to do her pre-clinical rotations in The Gambia. 10-15 days every month, pains were the order of the day because of the menstrual cramps she suffered.

For a while, she thought something else was wrong because the pains were unresponsive to any medication prescribed.

This continued till her doctor suggested she research on alternative medicine and analyze it with her knowledge in medicine and that was how Welima Tea began.

Oyindamola Adesina 

Business: Simbi Interactives 

Oyindamola is the founder of Simbi Interactives – an edTech startup that is solving the problem of poor education in Africa by using Simbibot.

Simbibot is an artificial intelligence-powered product- that can give every child access to quality education and equal learning opportunities.

Oyindamola Adesina’s childhood ambition was to study medicine, because as an individual living with sickle-cell, she felt she needed the medical knowledge to help herself and others living with the disease live better lives, and, if possible, eradicate it.

She ended up studying Water Resources, Aquaculture and Fisheries Technology in the university motivated Oyindamola to help every pupil get access to quality education and equal learning opportunities regardless of the conditions that might hinder them.

Oyindamola is using Simbibot to ensure that quality education available, accessible and affordable to all kids.

Omobolanle Esther Oladapo 

Business: Farm Hire 

Esther started Farm Hire to give farmers access to the latest farm equipment, input, and information around them towards fully mechanizing agriculture in Africa and boosting food production.

Esther started farming with her co-founder in 2018 following the clamoring for youth involvement in Agriculture.

She had several challenges which included; where to hire equipment, get modern inputs and hire workers for the farm.

She later observed that millions of local and intending farmers in Nigeria have similar problems, which is why Farm Hire came to life.

Cynthia Keku 

Business: SafeHaus-UKNigeria

Safehaus-UKNigeria is a concierge service which provides working mums with young children thoroughly vetted staff to look after their home.

Cynthia was motivated to start Safehaus-UKNigeria as a result of the inability of her older siblings, their children, expatriates/investors to visit because of the insecurity in the country.

Safehaus-UKNigeria also helps expatriates and Africans living in Diaspora, with a trustworthy and security-conscious logistics service, so they can focus more on their business and less worry about their personal safety and security.

Jennifer Eneanya 

Business: Amaranthine Media 

Amaranthine Media is an indigenous storytelling machine, a content development firm and a production company that produces indigenous live-action and animated content.

They particularly focus on easily-accessible, entertaining and educational content for children and teens.

Jennifer started Amaranthine Media because writing, storytelling and creating content is second nature to her and she had worked in this industry for over a decade.

In addition, as she grew her family, she realized that there is a dearth of indigenous content for children and teenagers.

Jennifer then decided to transmute her life-long passion into a medium that would serve the dual purpose of providing educational and entertaining made-in-Africa content for children and teenagers.

Adaorah Momodu 

Business: Oncopadi 

Oncopadi is Africa’s 1st digital clinic improving access to “medically verified” information and survivorship services via integrated social features.

Oncopadi is a health-centered initiative that leverages data, research, digital technology and impact of scale to reduce the cancer burden in Nigeria.

In Adaorah’s 4th year of medical school, she lost a friend to hepatocellular carcinoma, 6months following diagnosis. 

She remembered feeling helpless, as she watched him become socially withdrawn and its effects on his family.

During her LUTH clinical rotation, even higher numbers of cancer mortality were recorded. It was in this pain Adaorah found the strength and purpose to pursue a career in Oncology.

As a grassroots cancer physician, she has learned that patients have sensitive topics surrounding their diagnosis & care which they preferred discussing with survivors, as many were misinformed and some just needed a less bureaucratic means to access their doctors.

Ifeanyichukwu Obidi-Essien

Business: EduLead Concept

Ifeanyichukwu saw the need for children to learn more effectively and express their innate creativity and that is her driving force.

Her business is solving the problem of unavailability of animation training platforms, with which children could learn more effectively and creatively. 

EduLead Concept is a company that provides Educational Technology Services to children in the nursery, primary and secondary schools.

Their core service is Animation Kids Club, an after-school training activity for primary school children where they are equipped with animation skills with which their creativity can find expression and also improve in learning.

Follow She Leads Africa on Facebook and Twitter to get notified when we go LIVE on Demo Day


Find out more about the SLA Accelerator Here.

6 Things You Missed From SLAY Festival 2019

Warning: This article might leave you with a lot of FOMO. 

SLAY Festival went down on September 28 in Motherland Mogul history as the one that brought more madness!

While you can now enjoy the best of the festival with the SLAY Festival 2019 Digital Pass, there are a couple of IRL moments you might have missed.

Here is a list of everything you missed from #SLAYFestival2019. 


Anita Brows shared her secrets to the perfect look with Maybelline NY

No one could stop the makeup enthusiasts who wanted to see The Makeup Surgeon at work. Anita Brows shared her secrets to creating the perfect brows at the Maybelline Beauty Masterclass.

All attendees went home with exclusive Maybelline NY gift bags.


Google helped 50 Motherland Moguls shoot their shot with mentors

What would you ask if you got a chance to have lunch with your role model? 

Women Will, a Google initiative, gave 50 women the chance to connect and get advice from women in leadership across industries. Talk about a networking opportunity that will change your life!

The initiative also powered the Redesign Stage which brought in panelists like Akah Nnani, Fisayo Fosudo, Lola Masha, and Onyeche Tifashe.


Jemima Osunde gave fans a little bit of herself with Lux

Jemima Osunde came glowed up and hung out with her fans at the Lux Meet & Greet. Fans raved over the exclusive gift bags designed with Jemima’s face and free samples of Lux Even Complexion.  


Motherland Moguls secured the bag… literally  

Motherland Moguls got a headstart on their personal and professional finances. 

FSDH powered the Refresh Stage and brought in their experts to share investment advice and help Motherland Moguls open new investment accounts.

Get access to all Masterclasses from SLAY Festival 2019


Celebrities showed out for the fans

If you wanted to show out on the ‘gram, SLAY Festival was the place to be. 

Celebrities who came for this year’s festival included Smart Money Arese, Chigurl. Dimma Umeh, Juliet Ibrahim, Osas Ighodaro, Deyemi Okanlawon, Akah Nnani, the cast of Men’s Club (Ayoola Ayolola, Baaj Adebule, Efa Iwara, Daniel Etim Effiong), Mama Burna and more. 

Imara Africa Consulting hooked up the VIP and Speakers lounge where all celebrities and influencers stayed.


It. Was. Lit!  

SLAY Festival would be incomplete without the fun, food, and freebies!

Foodies found their haven with Maggi Nigeria‘s free jollof rice bar. Moms kicked back knowing their babies were in good hands with The Baby Lounge. No music lover left Vaseline’s Karaoke session with ashy skin.

Thrill-seeking Motherland Moguls enjoyed This Day’s funtopia featuring the bouncy castle. Molped got everyone hyped and competitive with the spinning wheel of freebies. Rexona had everyone swagged out and smelling right. 

MAX brought the ultimate photo booth for creating social media FOMO for that cool biker chick post. 54 Gene hooked it up with free reproductive health tests and educated attendees on the importance of early diagnosis in detecting cervical cancer.   

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Feeling the FOMO? Experience SLAY Festival 2019 with your LIFETIME digital pass. Get it here.

SHEAMOISTURE SPOTLIGHT ON HEALTHY LIVING QUEEN: LYNDA ODOH – CEO HEALTHIFY AFRICA

SheaMoisture is the enduring and beautiful legacy of Sofi Tucker. Widowed with five children at 19, Grandma Sofi supported her family by selling handcrafted shea butter soaps and other creations in the village market in Sierra Leone.

Sofi became known as a healer who shared the power of shea and African black soap with families throughout the countryside.

She handed down her recipes to grandson Richelieu Dennis, who founded SheaMoisture and incorporated her wisdom into the brand’s hair and skincare innovations.

SheaMoisture products and collections are formulated with natural, certified organic and fair trade ingredients, with the shea butter ethically-sourced from 15 co-ops in Northern Ghana as part of the company’s purpose-driven Community Commerce business model.

SheaMoisture has partnered with She Leads Africa to support and showcase Nigerian women who support their communities.

Meet Lynda Odoh

Lynda Odoh-Anikwe is the CEO and founder of Healthify Africa.

She is a Medical Doctor from the University of Nigeria and started Healthify Africa. Healthify Africa is an enterprise that strives to tackle the dietary risk factors for non-communicable diseases.

In the course of her daily interactions with patients, she realized that people were most driven by convenience and availability when making healthy lifestyle choices.

Lynda decided to start a fruit delivery service. She hopes this will create an enabling system for busy urban dwellers, to conveniently meet the World Health Organization’s daily fruit recommendation for a healthy life.

Her vision is to see an African continent where adopting a healthy lifestyle is easy, practical and sustainable.

You can connect with Lynda and her business on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Tell us how you started Healthify Africa.

When I began to practice as a medical doctor, I saw that there were so many instances of non-communicable diseases that could have been avoided by a simple dietary change.

I started Healthify Africa because I wanted to create a solution to the problem of non-communicable diseases. My goal with Healthify Africa is to address dietary risk factors.

I do this by providing a service that helps busy people adopt healthy eating habits. This is done through a simplified system and healthy lifestyle advocacy.

At Healthify Africa our focus is on increasing the consumption of fruits for busy urban dwellers through a delivery platform. By providing affordable fruit boxes, fruit cups, fruit and dip platter to school children, homes and offices, we’re building a healthier Africa one person at a time.

SheaMoisture

What was your motivation for finally starting your business?

For me, it was because I had been in similar situations and I understood the challenges people face in trying to adopt and sustain healthy dietary habits.

I grew up in a health-conscious family and I grew accustomed to having a very healthy diet. However, when I became a young adult and my schedule became tighter especially during my internship, it became extremely difficult to eat the right things.

It was a situation of knowing the right thing to do, but being unable to do it. I knew then that there must be other busy young people like me, men, women and even mothers who wanted their children eating fruits but were pressed for time as I was.

"I realized that just like myself, people were most empowered by convenience and availability rather than just knowledge." – dr_lyndah Click To Tweet

That for me was a huge community need that I passionately wanted to see addressed. So I made the decision to become the change I desired by creating an enabling platform. A platform that supports healthy food choices so as to help myself and others with the same challenge.

What makes your brand stand out?

Healthify Africa is not just another food company, that caters to only satisfying hunger. Instead, my brand is particularly focused on ensuring that everyone has access to the daily consumption of 400g of fruits, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).


The vision is to create a world where healthy eating is most practical and the dietary risks of non-communicable diseases reduced to the barest minimum.

That, as well as our commitment to healthy lifestyle advocacy, has been a huge attraction for our clients because they can see it.

SheaMoisture

What are three things you struggled with when your business kicked off and how did you overcome them?

When I first started my business, a lot of people did not understand what we were trying to do and that equated to zero orders. We had to create a lot of awareness about the health benefits of patronizing our convenience-based service.

Also, through our follow-up and feedback system, we tried to encourage our clients to make referrals and this has continued to help our brand.

Secondly, being a fruit delivery service, food hygiene, presentation and safety during transit were some of my topmost priorities. It was a challenge finding the ideal packaging that met all the criteria and would still fit into our production cost.

I did my online research and eventually was able to find a reliable supplier that we now work with.

SheaMoisture

Finally, it was important that our fruit packs get delivered in a cold temperature range for a great client experience. This was a challenge when we had to deliver long-distance orders. This was an issue because there is currently no thermostat equipped delivery services operating in Abuja where we operate from.

To overcome this, we currently partner with a reliable express delivery service and improvise with ice packs in the chillers for long-distance deliveries. Hopefully, in the near future, we can have our very own thermostat equipped delivery bikes.

How do you stay above the noise in your industry?

We made sure to implement a system of receiving and acting on feedback, from early on in the business so that we know what exactly our clients want and tweak our approach to offer them that.

This has been really helpful in building a business that our clients love and customer retention as well.

Did you have any personal experience that taught you a business lesson?

Before I started my business, I had a few unpleasant experiences with logistics. On one occasion, I was to make a trip and I had made an earlier arrangement with a cab driver. However, on the morning of the trip, he was a no show, which made me have to find another one. To cut the long story short, I ended missing the bus I was to get on.

When I began my business, I took that experience with me and created a better delivery structure. I ensure that all delivery arrangements are made on time to avoid communication-related challenges. As a second step, I also make backup plans to ensure that I don’t disappoint my clients.

SheaMoisture

Can you tell us of any impact have you made in your community since you started your business?

As a medical doctor, I am really passionate about helping people live healthier lives and I made sure to infuse this into my business.

Through my brand, I have been able to raise awareness about the prevention of non-communicable diseases. Also, we have encouraged people to sustain a healthy lifestyle by organizing health and fitness challenges.

Most recently, we actively participated in the 2019 global week for action against Non-Communicable diseases. We engaged in a social media awareness campaign (#enoughNCDs #healthifyafrica) and an educational video series with a team of Doctors.

It is of great value to me that my clients are enlightened and empowered to make the right decisions for their health. – dr_lyndah Click To Tweet

Can you share your 2019 goals with us and what you’ve done so far to achieve them?

Since we had already introduced our business, our 2019 goal was to broaden our client base. Our method was to strictly implement feedback from clients. Also, we started building partnerships that will ensure quality product delivery and unforgettable customer experience.

After doing this for some time this year, we have recorded an increase in the number of clients that have requested for our service. This is something we are going to keep doing since it’s bringing positive results.

We believe it has laid a great foundation for more successes with so many growth possibilities ahead and we are optimistic about that.

What are three interesting things about you?

The first is that I love DIY’s. I have actually painted my room from start to finish on two different occasions just for the fun of it. The last is that I love the power bikes but I’m too scared to get one yet.

SheaMoisture

What’s your favorite self-care routine?

I like to get soaked in a warm bath after a stressful day. I simply light my candles and toss in some petals. After that, I take a mental trip to wherever the CALM Meditation App takes me to, preferably the waterside.

How do you feel about this opportunity to promote your brand on SLA, sponsored by SheaMoisture?

I feel absolutely ecstatic! When I first saw the email from SLA and SheaMoisture, I was so excited. I had to read it over and over again to make sure it was really for me. Thank you so much She Leads Africa and SheaMoisture for this opportunity.

What is one word that should come to people’s minds when they think about your product/ services?

Authentic!

You can find SheaMoisture products at Youtopia Beauty stores nationwide and on Jumia.


Sponsored Post

6 Reasons Entrepreneurs are Vulnerable to Mental Health Issues

Entrepreneurs are known to possess specific skills that fuel their desires to start, manage, and succeed in a business venture. These traits, however, are also being seen as contributing negatively to their mental health at a given time in their lifetime.

Recent investigations indicate that entrepreneurs are more likely to suffer mental illness. According to Michael Freeman, a psychiatrist, psychologist, and former CEO, entrepreneurs are 50 percent more probable to report having a mental health breakdown, with some particular conditions being more prevalent among founders.

In a recent study, Dr. Freeman observed that up to 72 percent of entrepreneurs surveyed self-reported mental health issues.

The findings from the research indicate that entrepreneurs are:
  • Twice as likely to suffer from depression
  • Six times more likely to suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Three times more likely to suffer from substance abuse
  • 10 times more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder
  • Twice as likely to have a psychiatric hospitalization
  • Twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts

Let’s talk about Mental Health

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is not merely the absence of mental health challenges.

It is the “state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”.

Also known as mental well-being (MWB), mental health, which is traditionally studied in medicine, psychology, and public health, is increasingly gaining attention in other disciplines as well.

Scientists, psychologists, economists, management experts among many other experts are taking an interest in the mental health issues of entrepreneurs.

The experts have concluded that mental disorders are not only common but may, in fact, fuel the entrepreneurial spirit.

According to Michael Freeman – executive coach to entrepreneurs and clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine…

“Mental health conditions are accompanied by positive traits that enable entrepreneurs to excel.”

Take ADHD, a condition that research suggests is more prominent among entrepreneurial types.

“If you have ADHD, two of the positive traits are a need for speed and an interest in exploration and recognizing opportunities,” he says. “[you have] an ability to act without getting stuck with analysis paralysis.”

Entrepreneurs are recognized as contributing to economic growth, innovation, and job creation across the world. They do so by identifying and addressing the needs in a particular market.

The late Steve Jobs referring to entrepreneurs said, “People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”   

In the midst of stiff competition and many challenges, entrepreneurs have to employ strict and strategic measures to remain in business. By so doing, these business-oriented individuals often neglect their wellbeing in a bid to grow their ventures.

Although in the past, entrepreneurs’ mental health has not received much attention, recently, leaders across the world have begun discussing mental health issues to create awareness on the matter.

Earlier this year at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. World leaders including the UK’s Prince William, CEO of HSBC, among others, shed light on mental health problems in a therapeutic and non-stigmatic way.

The mental health crisis in start-ups

With such alarming and scary statistics, the question is: why are entrepreneurs more likely to experience mental health issues?

Speaking from his Nairobi office, director of Consulting and Training at People Centric Management Company, Ken Munyua shared with us insights on the following seven areas that make entrepreneurs more susceptible to mental problems.

1. Fear of failure/uncertainty

“Fear of failure has crippled many people even before trying,” observes Munyua.

Uncertainty and anxiety contribute negatively to our mental well-being. With so much competition, uncertainty is ever a looming phenomenon among entrepreneurs.

Remaining positive and pressing on in the time of our powerlessness should be the ultimate goal for any businessman/woman.

“Get out there and try; if it does not work, use the experience to improve on your next venture, Munyua advises.”

2. Social isolation

Incognizant of how they contribute to mental problems, those close to the entrepreneurs can create a social gap through alienation.

While entrepreneurs are excited about the new venture, often, the society including friends and family fail to offer the needed support.

Choosing to the non-traditional path can bring about social isolation as one focuses all energy and time into succeeding in the business. 

3. Stress

Munyua notes that in the formative stage, in particular, entrepreneurs require more time to start and ensure the business survives.

During this time, many people in business are pressed hard in managing both business and social life.

Over time, the stress leads to sleepless nights, overworking, and lack of appetite or skipping meals due to work and the problems keep spilling over, which can lead to depression if the stress is not addressed well on time.

4. Impression management

One thing that entrepreneurs do well is acting like everything is working even at the edge of failure.

By creating this facade, entrepreneurs do not seek help even when they need it as they do not want to appear weak.

This disconnect between personal experiences, and what they share with the public creates insecurity, and a sense of confusion, further leading to stress, and consequently depression.

5. Inadequate resources to address mental health

Mental health resources in entrepreneurship, as is the case in other fields, receive little or no support.

As organizations and firms come together to fund and support budding as well as existing entrepreneurs, factors such as mental wellbeing of the businessmen and women should be factored into the budget. 

6. Too many expectations

Munyua observes that Carl Rodgers, a renowned psychologist, warns that human beings are disturbed when expectations are not met. “Always hope for the best but prepare for the worst,” Munyua adds.

Our mantra should be “expect nothing, and be prepared for anything,” as the saying by the Samurai of ancient Japan goes. We should be open-minded about the eventualities that might come; both positive and negative. 

Munyua calls on entrepreneurs to have a go-to person (s) who is ready to support and invest in your well-being.

Moreover, establish a routine that allows you time off business or any other work-related duties. Use this time to rest and rejuvenate physically, spiritually, and mentally. 


This month of October, our theme is Girl Talk. We’re touching all topics relating to your personal life, mental health and so much more. Got something to discuss with us? Send us a DM to ASK SLA here.

The Tech and STEM pioneer of Botswana

The goal is to have a national coding competition where all the students will come to Gaborone and showcase their projects. 

Captain Kgomotso Phatsima is best known in Botswana for her pioneering work as one of the few women pilots in the country. Her career began in the military, and she diligently worked her way up to becoming a real force to be reckoned with. 

Captain Phatsima’s work as a pilot and her passion for youth development led her to discover that there were very few girls who were adept at – or even interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, which are key for the aerodynamics space.

Not only are STEM subjects integral for becoming a pilot, or engaging in the aerospace industry, they are also essential for the development of human capital and the future of business in Botswana, Africa, and the world.

She founded the Dare to Dream Foundation (of which she is the President) in 2008 which deals with the advancement of youth, women and girls in STEM, aviation and aerospace as well as entrepreneurship development, with the intention to get young people interested in STEM-preneurship and the aviation and aerospace business.

Connect with Kgomotso Phatsima and her business on social media.


Why I founded Dare to Dream…

When I was growing up, I never had the chance to sit like this with a pilot or get into an airplane until I had the chance to fly one.

After I qualified as a pilot, I sat down and thought: ‘What can I do to give the upcoming generation – especially those who grew up in a village, like me – an opportunity to do that?’.

I started Dare to Dream to give back to the community and to try and open up their eyes to opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to.

On the ‘barrier’ to girls’ entry into STEM & traditionally ‘female/male-dominated’ subjects…

I will talk about myself and my own experience here.

When I told my parents that I want to fly and be a pilot, my mother said ‘In our time, a girl could never fly a plane. You cannot be a soldier!’

Sometimes it goes back to our upbringing and the culture. A girl must be domestic, and boys also have prescribed activities.

So we separate ourselves from engaging in these things. The same mindset goes on to say that ‘Some things are hard, and are only for men’, like piloting or engineering.

With some of our families, their backgrounds are what can hinder the involvement of girls in certain subjects and limit girls to certain careers.

But as the times and technologies change, and with other women and organizations such as ours showing that it’s possible, there is more of an acceptance that you can be and do anything you want.

Is Africa / Botswana in a good position to keep up with the world’s “breakneck’ speed?

I think so because the demographic dividend of the youth in Africa indicates that young people make up most of Africa at 60 percent.

I think that the whole of Africa is at a good advantage to participate in the technological changes that are taking place right now.

There are a lot of young people who are interested in technology. I also think that Batswana are in a good position to take advantage of what is happening.

We just need to channel the youth in the right direction to take advantage of the technological era, and prepare them for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and the businesses of tomorrow, which will be different from the businesses of today.

How Botswana (and Africa) can prepare for ‘The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR)’…

In other African countries such as Rwanda, you’ll find that coding and robotics are taught in schools and they are part of the curriculum.

Recently, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa stated that coding will be taught in schools. We in Botswana are a little slower in catching on to these developments.

At Dare to Dream, we partnered with Airbus to sponsor 1,500 students across the country in rural places and trained them in robotics in order to prepare them for 4IR.

We need to channel the youth in the right direction to take advantage of the technological era and prepare them for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) – @KPhatsima Click To Tweet

It was also important that they know that there are careers in the aerospace industry that are STEM-related that they can take advantage of.

We are looking forward to partnering with the Ministry of Education, but there have been some delays, which I hope will be overcome in the future.

Dare to Dream’s most engaged stakeholders…so far…

We have engaged Airbus and also partnered with Botswana Innovation Hub, the University of Botswana and Botswana International University for Science and Technology – BIUST.

BIUST created an initiative to encourage young girls to get into STEM subjects because they realized that the number of girls applying for these subjects was low. They had called 100 girls from Central District schools to participate. 

We form partnerships with organizations with the same mandate as us. For example, Debswana is interested in the 4IR and getting young people engaged in it, so we have partnered with them and they have assisted us to roll out our programs.

We have also done work with Major Blue Air, who own planes. The girls get a chance to get onto the planes, and I fly the children.

It’s not just about STEM, it’s about exposing the girls to new experiences and igniting the passion within them. There are other organizations doing work in the same area, and we are looking forward to also having them on board.

There is something very powerful about collaboration.

We have also recently partnered with EcoNet, who have chosen me to lead the Youth Development Programme in coding and entrepreneurship.

What we are doing differently is that we are teaching the kids how to code and build websites, but also entrepreneurship and leadership skills. We have enrolled the first 500 participants and we are starting in July this year. 

The role Dare to Dream is playing in the conversation (and action!) towards Africa’s readiness for 4IR…

Even though we have trained 1 500 students, we realized that there is a gap with the teachers, and so we are preparing to train teachers in order to fill that gap.

After going around the country and doing work in 40 schools, I realized that the teachers themselves don’t know about 4IR, coding or robotics. Coding isn’t part of our curriculum at the moment; only a few schools have robotics kits, but they don’t know how to use them.

So, then we pulled in Debswana and other sponsors to train the teachers for a week at the University of Botswana. From there, the teachers will go back to their respective schools and train the students.

The goal is to have a national coding competition where all the students will come to Gaborone and showcase their projects. 

How young African women can be a part of The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR)…

We want young people to solve African problems using technology – @KPhatsima Click To Tweet

Also, we want to teach them that they can look around for themselves, and identify where the problems are, and create devices and apps to overcome them, and make money out of them.

The fact that we are training teachers and students is a good step because we are pushing them towards appreciating the importance of 4IR and the power of technology in building businesses.


Botswana is one of Africa’s success stories, from one of Africa’s poorest countries to a vibrant, developed, middle-income African state.

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SheaMoisture Spotlight On Award-Winning Midwife: Tolu Adeleke-Aire – CEO ToluTheMidwife

SheaMoisture is the enduring and beautiful legacy of Sofi Tucker. Widowed with five children at 19, Grandma Sofi supported her family by selling handcrafted shea butter soaps and other creations in the village market in Sierra Leone.

Sofi became known as a healer who shared the power of shea and African black soap with families throughout the countryside.

She handed down her recipes to grandson Richelieu Dennis, who founded SheaMoisture and incorporated her wisdom into the brand’s hair and skin care innovations.

SheaMoisture products and collections are formulated with natural, certified organic and fair trade ingredients, with the shea butter ethically-sourced from 15 co-ops in Northern Ghana as part of the company’s purpose-driven Community Commerce business model.

SheaMoisture has partnered with She Leads Africa to support and showcase Nigerian women who support their communities.

About Tolu Adeleke-Aire

Tolu Adeleke-Aire is the CEO and founder of ToluTheMidwife.

She is an internationally trained, dual-qualified healthcare professional. Tolu is an accomplished senior midwife and nurse. Tolu has over ten years of clinical and management experience.

She completed an MSc in Healthcare Management, after which she worked with the reputable UCL (Department of Nutrition).

Tolu founded ToluTheMidwife to create a holistic experience for families. One that included preparing, supporting and empowering expectant parents as they transition to parenthood. She does this through evidence-based health education.

One parent at a time, Tolu is living her business mantra, “save a mother, save a child, save a community.”

To learn more about Tolu’s business and connect with her, visit her Website, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube.

ToluTheMidwife Healthcare Solutions, how did you start?

I started ToluTheMidwife Healthcare Solutions (officially) in 2018. The aim is to prepare, support and empower expectant parents as they transition to parenthood through evidence-based health education.



Birthing a baby is a life-changing experience,and services rendered must offer a holistic approach. – @ToluTheMidwife Click To Tweet

At ToluTheMidwife, we offer Antenatal Classes, Postnatal Classes, exclusive “With Woman” services and Dads Antenatal Classes #DadsAntenatalNg.

Through effective health education, we can influence a positive change in health behaviors. This will drastically reduce Nigeria’s maternal and neonatal mortality rates.

We truly believe that informed and empowered parents will Save a mother, Save a baby and Save a Community.

What was your motivation?

While still working in England, I visited Nigeria often because I always wanted to move back.

So during one of these visits, I read an article about the atrocious maternal and neonatal mortality rates. I instantly became obsessed.

That article made me struggle to understand why so many women die just because they are having a baby. On further research, I noted many women lack basic evidence-based health education.

As a result, I created Tolu the Midwife to fill this gap, with the hopes of saving mothers, babies, and communities.

What makes your brand stand out?

I would say our dads antenatal classes, #DadsAntenatalNg. We are the first to incorporate antenatal classes for dads in Lagos and possibly Nigeria.

Society expects men to understand the beautiful yet challenging changes that happen to women during pregnancy. To support their partners in labor and in the postnatal period.

All that without being taught, educated, informed or even supported.
This is grossly unfair, drives men away and generational patterns are subconsciously repeated.

Our holistic approach covers the transition to parenthood right from conception for both men and women.

Another thing we do is offer our couples, round the clock online maternity support through our exclusive “With Woman” packages.

Couples feel very reassured knowing there is a midwife available to answer all their questions and alleviate any anxiety or refer them to the hospital (if required).

Can you tell us one 1 to 3 things you struggled with as a business owner and how you overcame them?

1. Time management: I had a demanding full-time job and was starting a business in Nigeria.  It was very challenging and I found no matter how hard I tried, the “naija factor” would disrupt my plans.

I am currently working part-time, as this gives me enough time to focus on building ToluTheMidwife and The Maternity Hub (Nigeria). 

I am also able to attend various courses which have been extremely helpful in building my brand.

2. Funding: I was unable to secure a personal space as I had planned and this threw me out of sync. I froze the plans I had for the classes for a while.

However, I am currently leasing spaces as required for my classes (pay-as-you-go) and this is working out really well.

How have you managed to stay above the noise in this industry?

As a brand new start-up, we are trying new and exclusive services such as dads antenatal classes and baby massage classes and evaluating the response we get from our clients.  

We also constantly monitor maternal needs and trends.

Do you have a personal experience that taught you a business lesson?

I didn’t consider the third party factor and it left me devastated at the start of my business. 

As an example, I write the handbooks for the classes and have them updated throughout the year.

I gave the first book to a printer and I didn’t receive them on time for the very first class. It made me upset because when I did receive them, they were not fit for purpose.

So when I updated the books again and sent them to the printer, I monitored every single step to avoid a repeat of what happened before.

It was a really helpful learning experience for me because as a startup, I can’t afford to have a stain on my reputation, so I take all the necessary steps to ensure it doesn’t repeat itself.

What impact have you made on your community since starting this business?

I would say being able to make pregnant couples feel informed and empowered about their pregnancy, birthing options, and postnatal care. Most of them report feeling less anxious and worried because they know we are one call away.

They also ask the midwives and doctors to complete all aspects of their antenatal check-up. The women have their personal antenatal handheld notes, so they keep track of the important numbers in pregnancy.

All in all, I have been able to support more parents and help them become more informed and prepared to welcome their children to the world.

What is your major goal for 2019, and what have you done so far to achieve it?

My major goal is to add new services to ToluTheMidwife. This is partially completed but we would love to regularise the frequency of the classes.

We are also working hard to open The Maternity Hub. A one-stop hub for maternity, with services from conception to 6 weeks postpartum.

Can you share with us three interesting facts about yourself?

I am a real foodie and funny too, so you’ll usually catch me chilling and laughing.

Another interesting thing about me is that I prefer a good movie and company, over living it up in the clubs and bars on a Friday night.

How do you feel about this opportunity to promote your brand on SLA sponsored by SheaMoisture?

Absolutely ecstatic. SLA is an awesome platform for amazing African women.

To have our services featured on your sites, sponsored by SheaMoisture is truly an honor.


You can find SheaMoisture products at Youtopia Beauty stores nationwide and on Jumia.


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Want to Join an Investors Club With a Low Budget? Here’s what you need to know

Ever heard of the term Plutophobia?

Plutophobia is derived from Pluto (wealth) and Phobia (fear) is the fear of wealth.

Yes, it is actually a thing that there are people who are afraid of being rich. It sounds funny, I even feel like laughing out loud as I type this, but looking at it deeply makes it not so funny.

Like, how can someone be afraid of being wealthy when we all know that money answereth all things? (We are well aware of immaterial wealth but for the sake of this article, all mention of wealth refer to money and all the riches that come with it).

There is also something called Chrometophobia. Chermato (money) and Phobia (fear) which is the fear of money.

The key triggers of phobias are external events which might be heredity or life experiences.

You might have heard time and time again that investment is not for the rich only. But then, you don’t know how exactly to invest with a low budget.

What if I told you that you do not need huge amounts of money to invest in portfolios that can give you beautiful rewards.

All you need is to have the right information and go where the opportunities abound.

Before you invest, first decide if you are willing to invest either for a short term or a long term.

This will enable you to look in the right places, thereby saving time and being decisive from the onset.

Pay attention to the following before your first investment:

  • Beware of “too good to be true” offers. Examples are investments that offer high returns just after two days.
  • Understand the risks that come with the investment you are taking up.
  • Do your own proper research.
  • Always get the second opinion from friend, family or an investments expert.
  • Ensure that there is physical paperwork stating all the terms of investment.

Now that you have the information on what to do before you invest. Here are some investment opportunities you can start investing with as low as N5,000 monthly:

Image result for no way black woman gifs
  • Mutual funds
  • Money market funds
  • Real estates
  • Treasury bills via i-invest app
  • Agriculture
  • Invest in a friend or family’s business with properly drafted contracts
  • There are also private investment opportunities where you get up to 10% monthly on commitments from as low as N50,000

Remember that you won’t get rich by hoarding money in your savings account or leaving them in a piggy bank. It is by investing.

A change in mindset would help you navigate away from societal misconceptions about being wealthy as a woman.

It would also help you overcome the fear of charging your worth for services you render or the good you sell. And as time goes on, you will see yourself making the money that you were long due to make, but afraid to ask for.

Like I mentioned earlier, decide on the type of investment you want and why you want it then go for a suitable opportunity.

Now that you are well informed about investments and how it can help you become wealthy, do you still hold any reservations about it?


How are you improving your spending habits this month? Click here to join the SLA #SecureTheBag challenge.

Manage Your Money Effectively with these tips from Ifeoma Okoli

Managing money effectively is crucial for every professional woman. The ability to manage finances is what gives you leeway to have the lifestyle you want.

Not every woman would tell you that they are comfortable with managing their money.

The ability to manage your finances is what gives you independence and financial freedom. Click To Tweet

Ifeoma Okoli is an Audit Analyst with a degree in Economics and Statistics. She has a Diploma with the Association of Charted Accountants.

Ifeoma is also known to be a driven and enthusiastic Financial Analyst. In this article, she provides her tips on how women can effectively manage their money.


The finance world is typically a male-dominated industry. What led you on to the path?

I think the notion of the finance industry is typically a male-dominated industry was all in retrospect. Nowadays, especially in Nigeria, more women have begun to demand a seat at the table in this industry.

On what led me to this path, I think one of my first inspiration career-wise was my dad. He too worked in this industry and I loved number crunching.

However, one of the things that helped me was that my father insisted I do a lot of unpaid internships during my secondary school holidays. That gave me an early start to understanding the nitty-gritty of the industry.

How would you describe your day-to-day responsibilities as an Audit Analyst for your company?

I look at my role as more of control and compliance (Risk Mitigation), working constructively with finance and other departments to improve internal control across the organization.

How would you advise more women to become more financially literate?

First of all, to be financially literate does not mean you have to study finance in school.

In fact, studies have shown that most people whose job is to manage other peoples finance are actually very bad at managing their own personal finances.

With that being said, some of my advice to women is below:

  1. You don’t need a glucose guardian to be rich. Get a job and work towards increasing your net worth.
  2. There is dignity in labour and financial independence is one of the best gifts you as a woman can give yourself.
  3. This may sound very cliche but create a budget tracker. This would help you to know how much you should spend, how much you have spent in a month, variances and mechanical ways to save up from bargains.
  4. Whenever you are free, listen to financial podcasts. It will help improve your financial knowledge, plus if you have a side hustle, the podcast will teach you how to scale your business faster while learning from the mistakes of other entrepreneurs.

To check out some of my favorite podcasts, click this link .

How can the modern young working women budget and save effectively to cater to all her needs?

Most career women who are salary earners oftentimes earn way less than their male counterparts at the same level. Yet most times are the ones doing more of the smart work.

So as a young lady, be diligent and find out if you are long overdue for a salary increase. Arm yourself with facts and go forward to renegotiate your salary.

To be able to cater to all your needs means you have to increase your income and to increase income means you have to increase the money coming from your revenue-generating unit(s)

  • Like I said before, use a budget tracker it would save you a lot of headaches.
  • Have at least three bank accounts. One should be your expense account, one your revenue accounts and the last should be your savings account.
  • Do not spend directly from your revenue account. Separating your account would also help you track your inflow and outflows.
  • Try as much as possible to save up 40% of your monthly income especially if you are still single and have fewer responsibilities. Saving for rainy days cannot be overemphasized.
  • 20% of your six months income should be able to take you on a holiday trip. If not, it simply means the trip is a way too much above your budget and you are balling above your budget. Find a cheaper option. Trust me, you can have an amazing holiday on a budget.
  • Apps like Piggy vest are there to help you cater to your personal savings and investment.
  • Finally, one which most of us ignore. Always negotiate for your pension and health insurance in all your places of employment. Your pension may seem minuscule right now but it compounds and would eventually help to reduce the financial burden when you are old and frail.

Are there useful tools or apps that can support women in dealing with their finances?

Yes, there are. Apps like Expensify, Fudget even Google sheet can help you with planning and managing your finance

What is one thing that you want more women to be aware of when it comes to managing money?

Know that no matter how little you earn, you still can set aside a portion of your income as savings and the key to saving up is contentment. Click To Tweet

If you are contented, you would not go broke trying to prove to broke people that you are not broke. 


How are you improving your spending habits this month? Click here to join the SLA #SecureTheBag challenge.

Why your business may not have access to the funds it needs to scale

Being a financial analyst gave me the opportunity to relate with several entrepreneurs – some of whom I met during my undergraduate days at OAU (of the Greatest Ife!).

They all have one common problem – lack of funds to expand their respective businesses.

Please note that this article is not about me giving you money. However, one of my future goals is to set up a Private Equity firm alongside other partners and invest pooled funds in SMEs across Africa.

Until then, let us just focus on why small businesses are unable to access available funds.

To make this article as captivating as possible, I will assign three consecutive tasks to you and implore you to carry them out. If possible as you complete these tasks and take notes, new ideas may drop on your mind.

Wondering why you haven't gotten the funds you need to boost your business? Read this article… Click To Tweet

Task One – Imagination 

If you are a business owner, or you hope to start a business someday, I want you to picture this, as broad as you can.

[Insert the name of your business or business idea] as something you are proud of, a brand that transcends one country, something your unborn generation will bless you for, a trailblazer in its industry, and all the other good stuff you can possibly picture it to be.

Task Two – Reflection

Assume you are one hundred percent sure that task one will become a reality.

Then reflect on the possible factors (financial or non-financial – for example, regulatory, social, environmental, etc.) that could hinder your reality or drop the level of certainty to a much lower percentage.

That is enough!

Task Three – Reality Check

Ask yourself these few questions, especially if the factor from task two is a financial factor.

However, let me quickly inform you that there are several financial aids or grants, which are exclusively available to SMEs.

You just need to look in the right places and meet the requirements (if any).

Back to the questions…Ask yourself

  • Why am I unable to access the funds required to give my business (or business idea) the boost it deserves?
  • Why do financial institutions, investors (or even friends and family) turn me down when I approach them for funds?

You don’t have to sweat if you have no answers.

A few weeks ago, I carried out research on these questions, with potential investors, business owners, finance practitioners and other informed persons as my respondents. If you are one of them and you are reading this, THANK YOU.

Most of their answers centered on the following:

  1. Lack of integrity: I know this is probably an underrated reason, but 80% of my respondents referenced this. Your lack of integrity could cover these areas:
  • If you divert the money you get to personal matters other than your business.
  • Do you over-promise the potential investors an unrealistic return on investment (ROI)?
  • Do you keep two sets of financial records – one for tax purpose (to evade taxes) and the other for the true picture of the business, and so on? The list is endless.

Most investors have been in the business of financing for long. They would have done their due diligence.

If you give potential investors any reason to doubt your integrity, you can as well wave their financial aid goodbye!

Just so you know, even a devious investor does not want to invest in a dubious person or business.

2. Inability to sell yourself and your business appropriately: This may sound cliché, but it is also a major reason.

If you are unable to convince me to invest in your business, how on Earth do you think I will give you my money on my own volition?

Is your business plan compelling? Or is it over-optimistic? Please note that over-optimism is not a bad trait.

However, this is business, and money is involved, so, you need to prove to the potential investor that you have done your homework or research.

Your business plan should reflect economic realities. Wait a sec! Do you even have a business plan? Read more… Click To Tweet

3. Lack of business management skill or experience: Most of us want to be our own boss – fair enough.

However, if you do not know how to manage a business, if you have not worked under someone before, if you have not undergone any training or if you come off as an incompetent person when it comes to that business and how you talk about it, then you limit your chances of getting funds or capital from potential investors.

A final take-home

You claim you need capital for your business. Fine!

If a potential investor asks how much you need to expand your business to “xyz” level; will you be able to respond with an amount (or a range) on the spot?

As an entrepreneur, you should have an elevator pitch about your business and a summary of what you would do with the money assuming you had immediate access to it.

Do you know why some businesses are not getting the funding they need? Please share with us.


How To Launch & Get Paid for Your Freelance Writing Career

Anyone can be a freelance writer. You don’t need any experience or degree.

So, you want to dive into freelance writing?

I get a lot of emails and DMs (on Instagram) from people asking me how to successfully start a career in freelance writing.

With the fact that there are tons of wrong advice out there ranging from excuses like the need for formal training to owning a website or blog, I thought to share my experience and sales strategies on this platform!

Here’s one thing though! If you think that you can’t begin a career in freelance writing as a result of no experience; well, it’s about damn time someone told you that: IT IS POSSIBLE! 


My Story

It’s been almost four years since I became a freelance writer.

When I first learned how to become a freelance writer, I made the mistake of thinking that I needed a blog or website. I also thought that the only way to get gigs was to sign up on freelancing sites such as Upwork, Fiverr, Guru, etc. 

Content mills provide cheap content jobs and they usually batch orders. Their goal is to get a lot of content for cheap. After a series of unsuccessful attempts to sign up on these platforms, I gave up.

Then, I switched to scouting for gigs on Nairaland. Most of them paid peanuts. Three years down the line earning little to nothing, I realized that this wasn’t for me!

I was worth more than that! I felt like giving up!

But, I didn’t. I re-grouped and started afresh. I signed up for training, pitched for freelance writing jobs; and gradually began to land high-paying clients. The rest, they say, is history!

If you want that for yourself, here are the steps on how to become a freelance writer you need to get started.

1. Research About Freelance Writing

When I first started, I did a lot of research. I found other freelance writers, read their blogs and learning as much as I could about this business.

While I had some clues about how to write blog posts, I didn’t know the kinds of jobs for freelance writers.

2. Become Familiar With the Writing Skills and Tools Required

While I’ve mentioned that you can start a career in freelance writing with absolutely no experience, you can increase the odds of success by learning a few skills and tools.

Some skills you should definitely have for freelance writing include:

> Organizational Skills

Having a system in place for your projects is key to growing your business. You don’t want to make a mistake or forget to do something.

I use my calendar to keep track of events, Evernote or my phone’s memo to jot down ideas and a list of things I want to do.

> Writing Skills

Writing for an online audience is different than writing in your diary or texting a friend. Know how to captivate readers with your blog topic and introduction.

You need to be able to create insightful, entertaining and educating posts.

> Confidence

Putting yourself out there and trying to land writing gigs is tough. You’ll get rejected, turned down or you may have a client walk all over you.

To become a successful freelance writer, you need to be confident and overcome your fear of pitching (I can’t begin to count how many clients I’ve landed via cold-pitching!) 

> Graphics & Design skills

There is no excuse for ugly photos, therefore this skill is very important to have. My favorite image editing app is Canva.

> Proofreading

While I offer proofreading services as well, it doesn’t hurt to use Grammarly or Hemingway app to give that document a final polish before it gets sent to your client.

3. Practice Writing

While you don’t have to be the best writer to become successful, you need to be able to write sentences and get your message across.

Improving your writing will not only help you become a better writer, but it will also help you market your freelance writing business because it makes you more credible as a professional writer.

4. Create a Portfolio of Your Work

Most job ads you’ll apply for will ask to see your work. They want to see samples of published work. If you’re new, you won’t have any published work – unless you already have a blog.

So, how do you show prospects you can actually write? Besides starting a blog, you can create samples.

Draft up a few pieces and either upload them as a Google Doc or publish them on Medium, LinkedIn or Quora.

Another alternative is to guest post. Search for blogs or websites in the niche you’d like to write about and pitch your blog idea to them.

Don’t think it’s possible? What do you think I’m doing here? Guest posting on She Leads Africa, of course!

5. Start Pitching to clients

Now it’s time to actively search for freelance writing jobs. But where do you go and how do you do it?

Go check out job sites like NG Careers, Jobberman, MyJobMag, etc for content writing positions.

When you find a job you are interested in the important thing to remember is to be one of the first few to apply and make sure your pitch stands out.

Are there other ways to find freelance writing jobs? Yes, there are tons of ways!

6. Hustle Queen!

Being a freelancer means you gotta hustle for work. But, this doesn’t mean you ALWAYS have to hustle. The goal is for clients to come to you.

However, when you’re new in the business, you have to get your name out there. 

Get on social media and network.  Guest posting not only to builds your portfolio but attracts potential clients as well.

7. Stay Learning!

The best thing you can do as a new freelance writer is to continue to learn. Whether it’s writing tips, business tips or pitching tips, hone your skills by learning from those who have done it before.

Are you interested in freelance writing? Connect with me on Instagram via my business page TheCopyWritingChick.


How are you improving your spending habits this month? Click here to join the SLA #SecureTheBag challenge.