Mmakgosi Tau: Choose a cause that is closest to your heart

Mmakgosi Ophadile Anita Tau is a performing, recording and literary arts specialist who recently released her poetry single titled “Popcorns.” She recorded a Jazz ensemble album in Pretoria, South Africa with “It Has to be Jazz,” in 2016.

Mmakgosi is currently a scriptwriter for the ‘Colors’ Drama Series which is in production. Previously, she was the Head Scriptwriter for ‘Property 4U Television Show’.  Mmakgosi also co-founded  Sekei girls and MO Scripts which are both Arts activism organizations.

As a mental health awareness advocate, Mmakgosi fuses performing arts and film to sensitize people on mental health issues and social concerns. She also has an annual show, “Mmakgosi Live,” which raises awareness and funds for her initiatives.

Mmakgosi loves travelling, networking, experiencing different cultures and sharing her truth through film. Her passion has seen her perform across Botswana, Zambia, and South Africa. 


What led you to becoming a poet?

Destiny! My life is a composition of God’s gifts bundled up to serve humanity.

 

Poetry is a medium that has cultivated my oratory skills, boldness, creativity, confidence and mental agility. I perceive poetry as my springboard, a channel that has pieced together the fragments of my purpose in life.

My first poem was published at the age of ten and I have never put the pen down since. Art is the truth that enables me to live through words and create works that change lives.

In art, there is no oppression or grief. There is healing, power and although personal, art has a ripple effect of impacting other people’s lives. I survived and overcame bipolar and depression through writing. It is through writing that I have found my purpose in life.

Art has a ripple effect of impacting other people’s lives - Mmakgosi Tau Click To Tweet

Tell us about the social impact you’ve created through your work.

My art is a healing platform for every unspoken emotion that my fellow countrymen have been subjected to. It’s a collage of different art forms that enable artists to collaborate and generate income as a united front.

Being vocal about overcoming bipolar and depression has catapulted me to platforms that reach masses of people. People from all walks of life can relate to my experiences and draw inspiration to rise triumphantly in the midst of their trials.

This has allowed me to encourage and counsel those I speak to about mental health. It has also sparked conversations about patients, the mental health care system and policy refinement.

Have people been receptive to your art or work?

Yes, I find that the years I’ve spent writing, reciting and dreaming were all building my audience.

My storytelling comes in the form of various art mediums and which have pleased the souls they ministered to. My short films have received positive reviews, so has the “Words Unspoken,” album and my latest single “Popcorns.”

I cherish everyone who has granted me the opportunity to take them on a journey with my mind and words powered by the Holy Spirit.

What challenges have you faced in an industry that is not popular in regards to our context?

Firstly, as a professional poet, I found my art used to cost me more than it made me. Though people love poetry, not all of them consider the depth of its monetary, social and holistic intrinsic value.

As a tool for social advocacy, poetry is an art that attracts those waging wars on social ills. Despite not feeling the gender disparities in poetry, I realized that there were few women writers and directors in the film industry. I opted to study this course because I wanted to bridge the gap and influence more young women to pursue careers in filmmaking.

Thirdly, creating awareness for mental health issues is difficult when there are financial limitations. There are not many corporate social investment policies that fund mental health campaigns and tours.

What fears did you overcome to get into the business?

  • Taking risks, which I now do almost daily
  • Rigorous networking
  • Bearing my scars in their nakedness to the world
  • Not being able to spend time with my family

What were your biggest regrets and biggest achievements?

My biggest regret was not attending the five international invitations I received in 2017 to perform and facilities workshops. It moved me to realize that my work has captivated the hearts of art enthusiasts around the world.

Yet, I learned to accept the things I cannot change, and when I don’t have the strength to do that, it’s God I look to. I am a firm believer in my intentional God and know that my life is ordered by His authority.

My biggest achievement was my first ever live show held on 8th September 2017. For a long time, I organized shows for people, performed for various audiences yet never once held my own exclusive poetry show of this magnitude.

It is my greatest achievement because it signified my evolution from being a poet combating social ills. Botswana’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Honorable Dorcas Makgato, officially launched me as a mental health activist.

The show was a fusion of poetry, film, music, fine art and fashion. I collaborated with various artists of great repute. I also made powerful connections that relayed my intentions to the people I was born to serve.

What advice would you give someone who wishes to venture into creative arts as a business?

Recognize your value, gifts and potential before you expect the world to do that - Click To Tweet

Once you do, never sell yourself short for anything or anyone. Empower your mind, read and research about strategic tools that will position your brand purposively to your target audience.

Don’t ever think like an artist when you handle business deals. I struggled with that for a while, when I had merchandise it always wound up as someone’s gift. Creativity is impulse and spirit oriented. What you give freely with your art is not a trait you need in your business.

As a creative, choose a cause that is closest to your heart. Pour into it with your intellect, resources and as you grow, sow into it financially. Learn from other established creatives but also take the time to mentor those who are rising.

Finally, develop some self-discipline. Take care of yourself with the knowledge that you are the brand, however, do not splurge unnecessarily.


If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

WEBINAR WITH HODAN NALAYEH: HOW TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL DIGITAL PLATFORM (APR 5)

Digital platforms are taking the world by storm and as a digipreneur, leveraging these platforms can help you to connect with your audiences in a natural and personal way.

So since digital storytelling has become a popular channel for curating various narratives, how best can you, as a digipreneur and Motherland Mogul, maximize on platforms like YouTube to tell amazing stories?

We’ll be chatting with Hodan Nalayeh, on Thursday, 5th April, who will be sharing strategies on how to successfully build a digital community using platforms like YouTube – through storytelling.

Hodan has over thirteen years of experience in client management, sales and production in radio and television. Before founding Integration TV, she also worked on a number of TV shows, including the popular TV shows American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.

She has changed the society with refreshing content that uplifts the spirit and shares pioneering stories of success.

Join @HodanTV for a webinar on April 5th, to learn about building a digital community. Click To Tweet

Some of the topics we’ll cover

  • Building a community with the power of storytelling
  • Tips for innovative storytelling using YouTube
  • Building your confidence as a digital entrepreneur and African woman

Register below to get access to this opportunity and submit questions that you would like Hodan to answer.

Webinar Details:

Date: Thursday, April 5th, 2018

Time: Toronto 5am // Lagos 10am // Johannesburg 11am

Watch here:

About Hodan

Hodan Nalayeh is a media entrepreneur, a social media powerhouse and the Founder of Integration TV, which reaches millions of viewers across the globe.

Known for her commitment to self-empowerment, entrepreneurship, and Somali communities, Nalayeh has changed the society with refreshing content that uplifts the spirit and shares pioneering stories of success. As a trained journalist, she is captivated by the power of stories to change lives.

Born in Somalia and raised in Canada from the age of 6, Hodan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of Windsor and a Postgraduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism from Seneca College. Nalayeh is also a strong advocate for education, but more importantly, life education.

She’s also a mom of two boys and believes changing society starts with changing our narrative of success for Africans.

Lifelong Learning: 5 Lies You Tell Yourself

What comes to mind when you think of “lifelong learning”? Oh, wait. Did you just roll your eyes and give a defeated sigh? Girl, we know the feeling.

Some of your feelings might be valid but here are some thoughts you might have that are definitely wrong.

Here are some of the lies you probably tell yourself all year round which eventually hinders your growth:

I have a degree. What am I still learning?

Big mistake, sister. When did you graduate? 2, 5, 10 years ago? The world is changing fast and we need to evolve.

 Standing in one spot only means that others are going to overtake you and take opportunities that should’ve been yours.

Look at Nokia. How long did it take for them to lose their position as Number 1 phone maker? To be a successful Motherland Mogul, you need to keep learning the new trends in your industry.

I am an expert in my field

It’s very easy for us to settle for what we think we know is best. But does learning ever stop? If you have plans to branch out and innovate your brand, you need to prepare yourself!

Are there other things you learn from other industries that may be linked to yours?

There is so much more to learn about your passions, hobbies, and interests. Ask yourself questions such as ‘how badass is my excel skills’? When was the last time I gave a presentation that was wowed my audience?

Take the time to improve and build on what you already have and what you need to make yourself better.

I don’t have money for courses.

In this day and age, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to learn! With a stable internet connection and time, you can access so many free resources online.

From Coursera, Udemy, Skillshare, YouTube and the many blogs and articles out there; the options are endless.

But once you choose to make this investment, you start the journey towards a successful and educated life.

I don’t have time to learn.

Let’s rephrase that as “I don’t make out time for learning new things because it’s not a priority.” Doesn’t sound nice, does it?

Well, it’s true. We all make time for things that we consider priorities. Catching up on social media, binging on Netflix, attending owambe parties. But if we think about it, we spend many hours every week on things that aren’t really adding to our bottom line.

If you’re one of those superwomen who resists all such temptations and still can’t find the time to learn, what about the time you spend in traffic? With the developments of education and technology, you can learn anywhere and everywhere!

So, don’t make excuses for wanting to learn. If you believe in investing in yourself, then you will make the time to learn more.

I’m too old to learn

Lol! Did you know the oldest person to graduate college was 95 years old? We’re never too old to learn. Even if you have started a family and gotten 7 children, it’s never too late! It’s all about prioritizing. We can always learn new tricks!

You’ve probably run out of excuses now. But don’t let this daunt you. The trick is to start small. Pick one skill and set yourself a target of one hour a week to develop it. If you don’t know where to start, Google resources and create a learning calendar.  

Once you set milestones and give yourself small treats every now and then, you’ll be surprised by what you learn in a few months.


If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

Lola Denga: Intensifying your Inner Beauty

As a seasoned businesswoman, Lola Denga has been in the beauty space managing her own business for the last nine years.  She offers exclusive services that can be enjoyed from either her own home or that of the clients. Her services include Swedish Massages and manicures among others. 

Over the years Lola noticed that these beauty treatments enhanced women’s self-esteem and decided to take a step further. Instead of just focusing on external beauty she decided to write a devotional called G.LO.W (God’s love overwhelms women) to help women intensify their inner beauty. 

In a 7-day devotional, Lola helps women foster a deeper connection with God and in doing so, focus on their internal beauty. 

She believes that beauty has to come from within and by connecting to the maker, God himself you will achieve wholeness.


What inspired you to open a beauty business?

From the time I was 14 years and went and got my first manicure, I have always wanted to be in the beauty industry. After going to beauty school, I’d go to certain places and see the standards were not the same as those taught in school.

That’s literally where my passion started; I really wanted to bring beauty’s standard and dignity back. I wanted to create an ambience where clients would feel like they are getting the best service and are relaxed.

Beauty school focuses largely on the outside. Why did you decide to go a step further with your devotional? 

I realized that after speaking to more women, a lot of them were dealing with inner issues.  Yes, they were coming to enhance their outside beauty which consequently led to a temporary sense of confidence. But, the truth is, only when the inside is in harmony with the outside, do you enjoy beauty to its maximum.

What has opening a business taught you about yourself?

It has taught me that I really love people. It has also helped me showcase my creativity and organization skills. I have managed to pick up a lot of other skills through this experience.

What setbacks have you faced while starting and continuing your entrepreneurial journey?

There’s been a couple. It has taken me longer to get off the ground as I personally finance everything. I’d be saving to try and buy equipment by doing other jobs on the side.

Also, people’s attitudes have also posed a challenge. They are becoming more receptive to luxury beauty but largely it is seen more as an unnecessary indulgence rather than a necessity. It has made me see a gap in the market for education.

Educating people on everything from the healing properties of beauty treatments like a massage. I also educate people on how a good regular self-care routine can help reduce stress levels and create a work-life balance.

Where do you seek encouragement during those moments?

I am fortunate to have a strong support system.  I have my parents, my husband and my friends and definitely my relationship with God.

When I feel like I am about to give up, I remember why I am doing this in the first place. - @lolaruZW Click To Tweet

How important do you think a relationship with God is to an entrepreneur?

Honestly, it’s very important. Number one, it will keep you sane! There are a lot of things you’ll come across that you didn’t expect to come across. Business competition notwithstanding, there are people you expected support from that disappoint you.

Having a strong relationship with God ensures you know that this is not just a business idea. It is actually a gift and you need to understand that you are using it to worship Him and to impact lives.

At this point, your business should have a purpose and should not just be to make money. The purpose part makes sure that you don’t give up easily.

What are your proudest moments during your nine years as a businesswoman?

One of them was when I published my book. I was very proud of that! Over the years I have been involved in numerous photoshoots as a makeup artist. Those were enjoyable experiences.

I think overall, every day has something that makes you feel like it’s worth it. Even the small things like when a client expresses their gratitude are enough for me.

Do you feel that in Zimbabwe there are enough structures put in place to assist women to open businesses?

Until recently no. But so far, it looks promising. There are quite a few women in business organizations that are starting. The government is also coming in with funding.  I am excited to see how this will translate for future business owners.

As a seasoned businesswoman, what are you doing to support women in the entrepreneurial space?

I like to host prayer lounges. During this event, I keep in touch with women in business and keep encouraging them. I also offer career guidance tests if people are unsure of which direction they should be heading in.

I definitely do want to grow these ventures and I have intentions of being a facilitator and speaker in this year.

How do you balance it all?

I’d say time management, though I am not perfect at it yet! Prayer too, because that’s where I get my energy from. I also believe in incorporating things that you love to do even if it’s just reading a book. You need that time to distress and reflect.

That’s how you balance and you don’t end up breaking down or cracking. You have to make sure you get that allocated time for just being you and not thinking about business, not thinking about being a wife and just zoning out.

 

How do you unwind?

I like journaling, sometimes I’ll just journal for no reason. Occasionally, I enjoy either reading a book or watching a chick flick with a bowl of ice cream. I’m simple like that!

Definitely, I do try to spoil myself when I can. I go and get pedicures and foot massages done by someone else.

What are your top five tips for achieving wholeness?

1. You need to discover your strengths and weakness and accept them!

2.To realize your dreams, set goals and timelines for yourself.

3. Check your relationships with God, family and friends. Make sure that if there are any gaps, try to fix them. Also, let go of things that hurt as they will only hold you back.

4. Work on your self~esteem and general image. Once you find your personal style, you will avoid the pressure to follow trends and be a certain person.

5. Do stuff for others. Sometimes when we are hyper-focused on ourselves we can become closed off. Find something you enjoy doing that will bring impact to someone’s life.

Check your relationships with God, family and friends. Make sure that if there are any gaps, try to fix them.- @lolaruZW Click To Tweet

What does success look like at the end of everything? How will you know you’ve achieved your dreams?

Tangibly, it will be when I can see that loads of people have been impacted and there are many beauty shops open.

However, for me, impacting people is more about having a legacy than shops. So when my following has really grown and people come to know who Lola Ru is, then I shall know I have had an impact.

Finally, I intend to take the beauty industry by storm and develop a range of products from beauty school, shops, spas and others.


If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

Chantal Fraser: When I switched careers, I began looking at design as more than just a hobby

Chantal Fraser is a fashion designer and house singer based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.  She started her fashion label Chante Clothing in 2010 as a side hustle and transitioned it to full time in 2014.

Her clients comprise of everyone from local celebrities, to brides and bridesmaids and any young lady wanting to look chic and well put together.

Chantal also works with locally based international brands like Edgars which is part of the Woolworths Group of companies.

Following the family tradition, Chantal finally decided to venture into music in 2017 and released her single Better than Yesterday. 


When did you fall in love with fashion?

I’ve always had a passion for it since I was young – like seriously young. My passion started with creating beadwork and eventually sketching fashion ideas. 

What gave you the courage to pursue Chante Clothing full time?

Passion full stop! My passion was burning so much that I just could not ignore it. I was miserable, working and doing other things. Even though I was getting paid well, I just didn’t have the passion. 

I said to myself, if others can dive into their passions and do it, why can’t I?

What setbacks did you have during that transition period?

Definitely, finances.  I was jumping into an unknown business. Yes, I had passion but obviously, I was still trying to weave my way through it.

In addition, I had to patiently grow my clientele which took a lot longer than I anticipated. When people are committed to their designer you know that’s it. It is hard to convince them to try someone new.

Before setting up Chante Clothing, what were you doing and how did it help you later on?

I was doing accounts. I hated it! But for some reason, I’d find myself doing accounts in jobs. But when I did switch careers, I began looking at design as more than just a hobby – but a legitimate way of making an income. This made establishing the business easier.

Do you feel like there are enough structures that help women build a business?

Yes and no. There is still a mindset that it depends on what the trade is. Some people don’t look at design as a business; they still see it as a plaything. But if there are women seeking financial assistance for something like chickens they are able to source funds much easier than us. I believe that there is a bias against fashion to some extent. 

Have you had any mentors help you in your entrepreneurial journey?

Yes, I have. I’m privileged to know loads of people in the same business as me. My fiancé has been in the fashion industry much longer than I have. Since we collaborated on C and C Clothing, I have been able to learn a lot from him and his support.

I also have friends who helped me learn to sew. While I did have the passion, I needed to acquire the skill. This led me to camp at a friend’s house and eventually learn how to sew. I really appreciate her for doing that for me.

What has opening a business taught you about yourself?

It’s taught me that I can have discipline when it comes to money lol. Initially, I didn’t think I would be this disciplined, but opening a business had really exposed me to some of my strengths.

Fashion fades but style never fades - @chanteclothing Click To Tweet

What do you want Chante Clothing to represent as a brand?

I want it to represent elegance and style. 

It’s about bringing out the inner you. It’s about genuinely feeling confident and beautiful and not conforming to what people say is the latest trend. That’s what my business is all about!

Who are your style or fashion icons?

I really like David Tlale and his tenacity. Dolce and Gabbana are also inspiring as they are a team like my fiancé and I. We look up to them. If they can do it, so can we!

You currently have a single out, Better Than Yesterday. How did you get into singing and why a motivational track specifically?

My parents are actually musicians, they had a band ages ago. I didn’t choose music, music chose me! It was in the blood!

I’ve always had the passion and have been singing from forever. When I released my track, I chose motivational music because there’s a world out there that is extremely confused. A lot of people do not know who they are really.

If media says this is the style everyone moves to that. No one has a backbone to stand on. So, with my motivational music, I hope to inspire people to be who they are no matter what situations they are going through.  

The themes vary but basically, it’s about you being you being proud of who you are! 

So where did you get your obviously innate sense of confidence?

I think I got it from my parents (Not I think, I know!) and especially my mum. She was a very bold person and I learnt a lot from her.

I was fortunate to have parents that allowed us to be who we wanted to be. No matter what you wanted to do they supported you all the way.

What advice can you give about being true to yourself and following your dreams?

Every child is born with a dream, and as time goes on, people that surround you can slowly discourage you.

Don’t forget what that first love was. Go back to it and don’t allow anyone to stand in your way. Even if it seems hard just keep going, keep at it because at the end of the day, that’s what you were born to do.

There’s nothing as depressing as doing something because it’s a trend or because family is pressuring you.  Misery is the most disheartening thing ever. Indulge your passion and you’ll get there eventually.

How do balance two careers (and a personal life!)?

It can get difficult at times. What I’ve learnt to do especially with two careers is put timelines and plan to do specific things within certain time frames. Planning is essential.

I go as far as saying when I get home, there will be no work talk but it can definitely get hectic.

What does success look like to you at the end? How will you know you have achieved your dreams?

Success is when I can look back at my life and say well-done Chanty and I’m happy and I have tried everything. If you haven’t tried it all how would you look back and truly be satisfied?

That’s where I find success even in failure. Failures can be a success because you made the effort. You don’t want to have a what if in your mind. What ifs are horrible!  

Success should be about inner satisfaction and being happy. It’s not something that can be equated to a particular amount of money or how many likes you get on Facebook or how many people follow you on Instagram. It’s about self-contentment and being able to say at the end of it I tried it all.


If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

Joy Eneghalu: Using Strategy to Conquer Social Media

Joy Eneghalu is a social media strategist. She helps businesses and teaches individuals how to leverage social media to boost their brand awareness, increase their sphere of influence and make a profit.

She is also the founder of the Influencer Marketing platform called Influensah.


Can one thrive in today’s marketplace without social media?

Social media has taken over and has the potential to expose one’s business to a larger audience. It is highly important to have your business on social media so you don’t lose out on the goodness.

However, there is the offline part that people also have to maintain. Social media has become a must-have tool for every business to thrive in today’s marketplace.

So, if social media is here to stay, what are the career opportunities open to young people?

There are tons of career opportunities open to young people and the beautiful thing is that some of them are largely untapped and it costs almost nothing to get started.

Young people can now go ahead and become some of the following professionals:

  • Online TV Hosts
  • Online OAPs
  • Social media and community managers
  • Online event planners
  • Influencers
  • Data specialists and Facebook ad experts
  • Funnel experts
  • Website designers and social media graphic designers
  • Content creators 

All you basically need is a phone, internet, knowledge, skill, and visibility. If you are wondering if people do these as actual jobs and cash out, there are many of them and they aren’t even enough for the market.

What were the mistakes you made when you started out? How can others avoid them?

When I started out, it was basically trial and error. Eventually, I invested in courses that helped sharpen my skills.

The number one mistake I made was not documenting an agreement with a client and that cost me lots of money because of the lacking proof. This lesson was very important for my success.  

Before discovering the essence of a community, I played a lone game for a while. However, I now belong to about 6 communities that have provided me with immense support and knowledge.

With many people coming on to the social media space, what would you advise to stand out amidst the noisy marketplace?

This may sound cliché but nothing beats being authentic, genuinely caring about people and adding value. These have been my own sauce and it works pretty much for everyone you see doing great things.

If you are fake, people will find out. Let your style of delivery on social media speak for you.  

Overnight success doesn’t exist as a social media strategist or manager; you have to put it in the work - @joyeneghalu Click To Tweet

What are the myths in your line of business?

Overnight success!! It beats my imagination when many say to me ‘Joy, I want to blog or I want to start managing an account. They said this thing is like oil money. If I do it like this now, by xxx time, I will have xxx amount of money’. 

It baffles me a lot. Overnight success doesn’t exist as a social media strategist or manager; you have to put it in the work. Some people even take 10 years! Money doesn’t grow on trees in the online world. 

Secondly, just because one is visible and popular online doesn’t mean the person has billions sited in their account. It can be very annoying to have people asking you for money because of your online fame.

If one is being visible on social media, please understand that it is part of the journey and not the destination.

 

Could you briefly share with our Motherland moguls on WhatsApp for business?

WhatsApp for Business is a highly innovative tool that businesses can use to offer fast and efficient customer care services to their customers.

With a range of different features such as analytics and labels for pending payments; WhatsApp for Business is a highly effective tool for online business. 

I personally advice having the ‘Click to Chat’ feature on your website or social media platform. This feature enables people to easily chat you up and maintain a human relationship with your business. 

Final Words

You can do this. You can achieve anything you want with the right mindset.

Hone the skill of recognizing opportunities and jump on it before the crowd does - @joyeneghalu Click To Tweet

I look forward to having lots of young ladies kicking butts in the social media/online space.

 


If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

Joyce Daniels: Stay in your lane, Enjoy your journey, and Raise others

Joyce Daniels is a professional Master of Ceremonies, a senior trainer at the prestigious Dale Carnegie and Associates, and a budding entrepreneur at her own “TAKADEMY” – Africa’s Premiere Training School for Masters of Ceremonies. 

With all these accomplishments under her belt, Joyce is a force to reckon with. Through her passion for speaking, Joyce has turned her skills into a profitable business hosting events and training others in the field. 

Despite a degree in Human Anatomy, she has excellent skills in communication and event planning. These skills have enabled her to work with clients from multiple industries and high net-worth individuals. 

Through her work, Joyce hopes to inspire others to stay in their line and develop their passions and skills. In this interview, Joyce Daniels talks about her passion and how she’s managed to build her brand.


What led to you becoming a Master of Ceremonies?

I believe I’ve been talkative from my mother’s womb. So, I decided to capitalize on my natural talent and gift of the gab.

I wanted to explore a career in a field which requires no inventory, no start-up costs, and no rent. With this in mind, I found a career I enjoy, I love and I fit into PERFECTLY.

How can young women refine their gift of gab as a source of income?

Young women can self-train or be trained by professionals to serve in various ‘speaking’ capacities, such as TV/radio personalities, broadcasters, voice-over artists, voice actors or join my line of work, as event host MCs (Red Carpet or Main Event).

Some of these can be experienced on a full time or part-time basis, in tandem with other interests or full-time job.

In your opinion, how can young African women stand out in the marketplace?

In my experience, my clients keep coming back and making referrals, because I ALWAYS deliver and on several occasions, surpass their expectations.

For young African women, standing out requires understanding and meeting what the client wants and needs.

On top of impeccable delivery, the following values can also help young women stand out in the African and global marketplace:

  • Ensure you have top quality wrapped in unquestionable and undeniable excellence in service delivery
  • When quality and excellence are in place, a healthy campaign of branding and marketing should be pursued.
  • If you are top notch, yet unknown, attracting clients and income could be a problem. Therefore, strive to build your brand and make it known.
I strongly believe in raising and supporting other women as best as I can - @iamjoycedaniels Click To Tweet

What support did you get from other women when you started?

 

The support I have gotten from women has helped me grow and succeed. My support base included women such as Chiaku Ekwueme of AZ4Kids, Ndidi Obioha of Enthyst Events, the Ugochukwu sisters of Sleek, Amie Georgewill of Kolor Kraft and Madam Josephine Anenih.

These women believed in me and highly recommended me to other clients, some of whom hired me based on my exemplary work and because I am a woman – they support women too!

Why do you always advocate for business owners to ‘Stay in their lane’ on social media? 

To explain my ‘Stay-In-Your-Lane’ philosophy, I’d like to use a few examples.

Bill Gates stayed in his Software lane until he became an enigma. Serena Williams stayed in her Tennis lane until she became an unquestionable force.

Mother Theresa stayed in her Charity lane until she became a saint. Oprah Winfrey stayed in her TV Show lane until she became a global phenomenon.

Ibukun Awosika stayed in her corporate furniture lane until she gained enough credibility to become the Chairman of Nigeria’s oldest and biggest bank. Alibaba Akpobome stayed in his Comedy lane and made standup comedy a notable profession in Nigeria.

Chimamanda Adichie stayed in her literary lane until she has become an international icon and multiple prize winner.

The list is inexhaustible. Many people get distracted from their lane for many reasons. These factors include finance (or lack of it), fame (or craving for it), instant gratification and popularity (or non-popularity).

I have taken it upon myself to remind people, especially those like me in ‘unpopular’ lanes, to remember despite the challenges, we are unique and different. With the same amount of time, commitment, self-development and optimism, we would reach great heights.

Don't ditch your lane just because it is hard or unpopular! Stay in your lane and enjoy your journey. - @iamjoycedaniels Click To Tweet

Final words to young ladies

Whatever your profession or career path, try your best to leave a good trail for others to follow and make conscious and deliberate efforts to contribute positively to your community and society at large.

What To Do When You Hit A Wall

Earlier today I was minding my business and driving back home and just as I hit the turn to my place, I saw the rear end of Porsche Panamera 4 sticking out of my neighbor’s wall.

After I got over the initial shock, I was like “Yup, that’s an accurate depiction my life”.

Since 2009 I have dreamed of visiting Lagos, Nigeria and every year I passionately talk about it, to a point of breathlessness. In 2017 after I took part in the Mandela Washington Fellowship (“MWF”), my determination hit an all-time high as I got to meet some incredibly smart, fun, talented people from the rest of the continent and I added 10 more countries to my list places I wanted to visit.

In October 2017, I saw the She Leads Africa SLAY Festival would take place on 17 February 2018 in Lagos, Nigeria and I decided that “THIS IS IT”.

I sped off to write the event organizers and put myself up for any type of speaking opportunities that were available and was given the “thank you for getting in touch, we will get back to you.”

But they didn’t know who they were dealing with. I kept idling like a Porsche, waiting to make my move and then it happened!

As I was idle on Instagram I saw an insta-story of a friend/ client and he was with one of the co-founders of the She Leads Africa publication! I decided it was time to switch up lanes and accelerate this process by making a client an offer they can’t refuse, reduced legal fees in exchange for an introduction to the co-founders.

In December, a few days after Christmas I emailed the co-founder with my spiel and she said yes! Then on the other side, I started my application for a Speakers Travel Grant (“STG”) which is one the perks for alumni of the MWF and I was like “Yassss, I am cruising!!”.

So how did I go from cruising to hitting a wall?

Over hustling

The quality of your hustle will determine the kind of results you achieve. Over-hustling is like over-revving the engine, its fun and creates noise but you actually aren’t going anywhere. I turned every trick in the hustler’s handbook! I am resourceful as heck and got some good results:

  • The event organizers invited me to the event as a speaker hosting a masterclass and sent me a Visa application letter.
  • The Southern Sun hotel in Ikoyi agreed to sponsor me with accommodation for the duration of my stay.
  • I was able to negotiate with customs officials to leave me 2 blank pages in my passport which is almost finished.

Some hustles fail:

  • When my STG application was bounced, I decided to send sponsorship requests to every single airline that flies out of OR Tambo and I put them on notice on Twitter. Putting companies on blast on Twitter only works when you can go viral. I had 11 retweets. No bueno.
  • I had 2 pages left in my passport! Travelling under those conditions is very difficult.

The contingency

I put a lot of my eggs in the STG basket instead of working on other leads that would lead me somewhere.

When the STG responded to me I had exactly 1 week to shoot a new shot, which led to the frantic ‘spray and pray’ approach with almost 15 airlines, rather than a targeted approach I had towards Southern Sun which led to success.

Counting the Cost

Applying for a visa generally takes 2 weeks, or it can be more but I decided to travel 9 days before I would need to apply for the visa which was really cutting it thin.

As I would be taking this trip during a work period, which is a time to make coin- I hadn’t set up coin generating targets for the trip- if anything I was going to spend time and money in non-income producing activities.

I didn’t account for the cost of time and the cost of money in undertaking this exercise from the beginning to the end. I believe in miracles, but God isn’t in the business of covering up for laziness and folly!

Know Your Audience

In applying for the STG I wasn’t able to show the people controlling the purse string what they wanted to see, which was a high impact business event that would change and improve my business in a measurable way.

They saw a one-day social event that happened under the guise of entrepreneurship and I was basically asking them to fund a weekend getaway!

On a side note: imagine how much fun it would have been to watch Black Panther in Lagos though!

Creating Value

I was very excited to be part of the She Leads Africa SLAY Festival, but I hadn’t really thought of how I would use this platform to create value beyond the day. My talk I prepared was fantastic, but I was going to end up in a sea of speakers because I hadn’t really finessed my differentiator.

The same applies to my relationship with the hotel I should have stayed at. Beyond tweets and pictures, I hadn’t really thought of a way to add value to their brand in return for their hospitality.

After the Porsche hit that wall, it was pulled back and reversed onto a tow truck. In the same way, I need to reverse and get back to the drawing board.

The driver of the car will have to repair that wall, in the same way, I have to explain and apologize to the people who were expecting me.I have set a 3-month target to go to Lagos and this time it will be a beautiful, paced and thought-out journey!


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Ivy Barley: With coding, I can create a powerful software that can transform Africa and the world

Ivy Barley is a social entrepreneur and currently shaping a world where more African women will be daring enough to lead in in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields.

She is the co-founder of Developers in Vogue, an organization that trains females in the latest technologies and connects them to real-time projects and jobs. In 2017, she was named as one the 50 Most Influential Young Ghanaians.

Ivy is also a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum and holds a Master’s Degree in Mathematical Statistics.


Tell us about yourself

Growing up, I always had a strong aptitude for Mathematics and Technology, and that has pretty much shaped my career path. I recently completed my MPhil. in Mathematical Statistics.

I believe that I have the potential to make a significant impact in Africa, and this is enough motivation for my work at Developers in Vogue. Aside from being a selfie freak, I enjoy hanging out with my best friend (my phone).

How did Dev in Vogue start?

About a year ago, I was working at an all-girls pre-university where my role included assisting the girls with Mathematics, Statistics, and Physics. I also taught the girls programming.

Before working in this school, I’d been hearing people say that women don’t like coding. However, I realized the contrary!

The girls were very enthusiastic about coding, they also had so many great ideas! My stay in the school was cut short but all the while after that, what never left me were the memories of the girls!

It dawned on me to start a sustainable initiative that will create the ideal environment for females to code, connect and collaborate.

What has been your biggest hurdle so far?

We pretty much didn’t have a lot of challenges getting our business off the ground. We’re glad we had support from interested stakeholders. A hurdle though is trying to create a community.

One of our unique value propositions is that we don’t only match our ladies to jobs, but also creating a community of women who support each other. It definitely requires a lot of time and effort to create such a sisterhood.

Coding and generally technology has so much untapped potential in Africa - Ivy Barley @devinvogue Click To Tweet

Has there ever been a time when you thought of giving up? What kept you going?

I think I have thoughts of giving up very often and I find that normal. I have however learned not to let my feelings dictate. If there is something that has to be done, I definitely need to do it and do it now!

My life is governed by one mantra: Pay Now; Play Later. That is, I would rather sacrifice now so that I can have a better future. Most importantly, I start my day with the word of God and listen to a lot of inspirational podcasts especially from Joel Osteen and Terri Savelle Foy.

 

What is your favorite thing about coding?

I particularly like that with my laptop and internet, I can create powerful software that can transform Africa and the world at large. Coding teaches you critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are very important skills for this era.

I won’t deny that it doesn’t get difficult. When coding, you’d realize the power of a ‘simple’ semi-colon because omitting that can sometimes cause you hours of no sleep.

 

Which season is the toughest for your job? How do you overcome this?

For now, it has been keeping the community engaged. Though it has been fun doing this, it definitely needs more time investment.

I’d like to call myself the cheerleader of the team, inspiring the ladies to dream big and work hard to make them happen.

What however serves as motivation in spite of the challenges are the stories of the impact we are making in the lives of these women.

 

What, in your opinion, is the future of coding especially for girls in Africa?

Coding and generally technology has so much untapped potential in Africa. For females, the future is even brighter. Day in and day out there are so many opportunities that come up to promote women in technology.

Relevant stakeholders are beginning to realize the gender gap in the tech ecosystem and are putting measures in place to bring more women into the room.

 

What advice would you give to any girl in Africa considering coding?

Keep at it, my girl! You need to work hard in order to stay relevant. You need to keep improving your skills.

Though it may get difficult at some points, think about the big picture. Also, make time to network with people in the industry to learn best practices that can make you world-class.

If coding is truly your passion, then you definitely need a lot of diligence and determination. In case you need some support with this, I’ll be glad to offer a helping hand!

Any advice for African women entrepreneurs?

I think one advice I’d always give to people is hard work. Also, have your visions and goals in writing and review them every single day.

As women, there are so many activities that are likely to take our attention from growing our businesses. This is the more reason why we need to stay focused. Let’s do this for Africa!


If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

Evelyn Ngugi: Hard Work Only Makes Things Better

The YouTube world has grown exponentially in the past few years thanks to more and more people using it as a platform for content creation.

YouTube has produced big names in the digital world such as Lily Singh, Patricia Bright, Jenna Marbles and the like. Kenyan-American YouTuber, Evelyn Ngugi is well on her way to the creme of the crop of content creators with her channel, Evelyn from the Internets which currently boasts 150k+ subscribers and even got the stamp of approval from the Queen bee herself, Beyonce.

Evelyn recently took a trip back to her home country for the first time in over a decade and spent some time meeting her internet cousins (her name for her subscribers) and discovering Kenya again as an adult.

SLA managed to get some time to chat with the hilarious Texas native on her growth in YouTube, her thoughts on the creative industry in Africa and what’s in store for her in the future.


You started making YouTube videos way before it became the IT thing to do. What got you interested in that medium of sharing?

Tinkering with different media has always been an interest of mine. As a child, I would dub my “radio show” over old cassette tapes.

As a teenager, I would enlist my little brother to record “TV shows” and burn them onto blank DVDs. YouTube/the Internet was just next up, in terms of accessible technology.

How has social media helped grow your brand?

I’m more interested to know what people think my brand is, to begin with! Social media changed the game because it makes people and their processes accessible. For example, we used to only be able to interact with musicians or actors when their work was released or they had a press interview.

With social media, those barriers are gone. It’s scary and cool but mostly cool. Social media helps grow brands by putting creators directly in touch with consumers.

Focus on making an amazing product first. Social media algorithms will have changed 10 times by the time you’re ready to advertise - Evelyn Ngugi Click To Tweet

We love that you stan hard for various Black Girl Beauty Brands. What advice would you give to young women out there looking to start and/or build their own brand?

Focus on making an amazing product first. These social media algorithms will have changed 10 times by the time you’re ready to advertise anyway.

So many people want to be a “brand” but they don’t actually have a product yet.

 

You recently took a break from the daily routines of life as explained in your recent video. Why did that happen?

The break was the decision and goal I made for late 2017 and the rest of 2018! Something about being 27, girl… it makes you realize that you are in control of your time.

Do I want to spend the tail end of my precious twenties feeling stuck, or do I want to pivot into something greater? I chose greater.

What inspires you as a creative and what drives you as an entrepreneur?

I’m definitely a creative, but not an entrepreneur (yet). I think that’s just a misconception of being on the Internet. I’ve been #TeamHaveA9to5 my entire adulthood (which isn’t long) and I’m only now figuring out if I want to work for myself.

What inspires me as a creative are how innate and infinite my imaginations are and how hard work only makes things better.

So toddlers are creative, but those toddlers eventually grow up and become Martin Scorsese or something and that’s just incredible to think about. Not even trying to be funny, but as an entrepreneur, I imagine not being homeless or hungry would be the biggest driver.

You cut your own check and that sounds stressful fam!

You recently visited Kenya for the first time in over a decade. What are your thoughts about the creative space in Kenya vs other African countries?

Hmmm – that’s such a huge question for a first generation kid-essentially-turned tourist! From my brief time there, I noticed creative folks were frustrated.

What does it mean for music to sound Kenyan? Fashion to look Kenyan? When we talk about Nigeria or South Africa or even neighboring Tanzania, some of those things are more clearly defined or accepted.

I think Kenyan artists need more financial, governmental, and societal support to elevate Kenyan creative works where they belong.

Who are your top 5 YouTubers?

I feel like these answers change every time – thanks to YouTube algorithm! So right now, in no particular order:

KickThePJ: He’s just fantastical and whimsical and embodies what I still admire about YouTube. Making stuff up. Making stuff with your hands. Combining the two. A multi-media filmmaker.

Beleaf In Fatherhood: As a single, child-free person, it is difficult to find a family channel that holds my attention. This family combines my love of dope music with an attention to detail and story that is unmatched.

Oh, and it’s #blacklove all the way.

Patricia Bright: She is OG YouTube. She is still here. And she’s killing it. I think she’s gorgeous and hilarious and if you can make someone who wears black 90% of the time (me) still be thoroughly entertained by a 30-minute video of you trying on clothes??! SUBSCRIBE.

F0XY: Jade has such a distinct comedic tone and voice and I just want her to win. Because if she wins, I feel like I can too. She’s relatable like that. Inappropriate and so, so relatable.

Lavendaire: She is a sweet whisper of lavender essential oil infused vapor that calms me down and helps me be productive all at the same time. Gorgeously branded channel and impactful content.

Do you plan on moving on from YouTube to mainstream television or the big screen?

My plan for 2018 is to do more screenwriting and share more stories – both my own and those of my fellow earthlings.

Where those stories end up for your viewing pleasure isn’t necessarily the most important part of my plan. But if a TV show or movie wants to holla, I’ll definitely clear my google calendar!! Shoot!

What would you be if you weren’t a YouTuber?

YouTube is just a platform. I’d be doing the same thing I’m doing now, just on whatever website ended up popping off instead of YouTube. I’m a journalist, storyteller, funny girl, and hopefully, a friend in your head.

What is your mantra in life?

“Be thoughtful and silly.” That’s a quote from Hank Green about what it means to be an adult. Growing up and becoming boring/bored terrifies me, so I find comfort in that idea.

Being silly is still allowed – thank God. Stay childlike, not childish.


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