Here are 5 reasons why you need a personal website

Have you ever seen  a myname.com website and thought “oh that’s so cool but it’s not for me?”

Well let me shock you, if you want to stand out online whether in the corporate or business world as a slay queen in the 21st century, then you best believe it’s for you.

Still in doubt, let me give you 5 reasons why you need to grab your domain name and have a beautiful website designed to suit your goals and personality.

1. Your paper resume is about to go extinct!

A recent study by OfficeTeam shows that more than one-third of companies feel that resumes will be replaced by profiles on social networks. What this means is that prospective employers and clients are and will be searching for you online.

Having a personal website that is optimized for search will ensure that they find you when they need you – @OlubunmiFaj Click To Tweet

2. You get a home for all your online activities

It means that even if all social media platforms crash, there’s still something to your name on the web.

It also means that there’s something to link to when people mention you on the web.

3. Worldwide exposure

Having a personal website allows you to be able to express yourself, your gifts and your thoughts online thereby building thought leadership in your areas of experience and expertise.

This makes you more attractive to people seeking to work with you.

4. Make digital sales

“I don’t want another source of income,” said NO ONE EVER!

Having a personal website makes it easy for you to create and sell virtual products without messing with your job or business.

You can host products such as ebooks, online courses, pre-recorded songs and albums, webinars and so much more on your personal website and make passive income from them.

5. Build your personal brand

Having a personal website helps you get conscious about building your personal brand.

You can retire or resign from a job or business, but you can never resign or retire from being you. So don’t build your career or business and forget to build your personal brand.


If you’d like to learn more about building thought leadership and online visibility for your personal or business brand, please click here to get access to my FREE online visibility checklist on my personal website 😁.

POSITIONING YOURSELF FOR THE JOB MARKET

For any job posted out there, there are several candidates interested in it. Some of these candidates will be as qualified as you are, others are less qualified than you are, while several others are even more so.

So how do you stand out from the crowd?

With such a myriad of challenges, you need to sell yourself by indicating why the company should consider you than your competitors.

Most people feel uncomfortable with the notion of selling themselves, but it is very essential. If you don’t fight for yourself, who will?

Here are a few pointers on how to place yourself at the top of the ladder when searching for a job.

Set your USP

What is that unique thing that you promise to bring to the organization that other candidates don’t have?

Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is part of your brand name.

As such, you need to be careful when picking what exactly makes you tick and stand out in a pool of competitors.

Develop your brand

There is no better way to emphasize the need to develop your brand.

While you could go all out with witty tweets and posts, you do not have to feel pressured to do this. A few tricks, such as having a career statement/ objective could work.

Your statement might be as follows: “A highly motivated and technically competent communication expert with strong interpersonal skills and proven record in writing, and editing seeking to empower individuals and communities through storytelling”.

In an effort to build your network, be clear about your goals and what you are searching for.

Depending on your background, you can create your career statement to complement your brand. You could use this statement on your CV or on your LinkedIn profile.

Create an online presence

Ensure that you create an online presence that supports your brand.

One good example is LinkedIn – where you not only have an opportunity to sell your skills and talent but also expose yourself to those who are hiring.

If you are a writer, photographer, or a person who needs a portfolio create shareable samples and post on your social media.

You have the option to create a blog or a website that details your experiences and credentials. Alternatively, you could utilize free-to-use platforms such as LinkedIn’s Medium among others.

Get yourself referred

With the world becoming interconnected (a global village), more and more people are relying on recommendations to get what they are seeking.

Recommendations can come from family, friends, colleagues, classmates, or acquaintances.

If you are interested in a particular job within a particular industry, find out among those that you associate with who could recommend you.

In an effort to build your network, be clear about your goals and what you are searching for.

Attend job fairs, alumni events, or workshops that could expose you to even more people.

Be Flexible

We all want things to go according to our plan. Unfortunately, this always isn’t the case.

Don’t give up though. Accommodate flexibility in your plans to avoid disappointments.

Initially, you might not get your desired salary, but instead of rejecting the job offer try negotiating it.

If you are sure the value you are bringing to the company can fetch you a good package, then stick to the salary package.

As you seek a job either as a graduate or just changing jobs, apply these to convince your employer that you are the right candidate for the job.

"Instead of rejecting the job offer try negotiating it". Click To Tweet

Live the Life You Want: Become a Successful Remote Worker with these tips

Do you like having a flexible schedule? Want to be able to attend a yoga class in the middle of the day? Do you like wearing your PJs until 4 p.m.? Do you want to be able to travel and two weeks paid leave is simply not going to cut it?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you should consider working for a remote company or on a remote team.

Personally, I have chosen this lifestyle, and I am building a remote company called Baobab Consulting. My team spans four countries (USA, Senegal, Nigeria and South Africa) and even people based in the same country do not see each other very often.

.@lizgrossman87 shares some tips on how she's living her best life as a successful remote worker. Learn more... Click To Tweet

This structure has allowed the company to grow sustainably, cutting costs like office rental and transportation, which can allow for more exciting company retreats and meetings surrounding our projects.

While there are clearly many benefits to working remotely, there are certainly challenges too. Here’s how to set yourself up for success, produce results and make your mark in a remote position.

Be a self-starter

If you are someone who needs constant reminders or supervision to complete your tasks, you should find an office job. Remote work means you will not have coworkers eyeing your screen, and you will not have office chat or visible competition that will push you to get your work done.

You have to be able to motivate yourself to get up out of bed on time without an official 9 a.m. clock-in. (Although you can always check in from your bed when you work remotely!)

Be able to work random hours

Especially if you work on a global team, you will need to be prepared to take calls at strange hours. When everyone is home, our team time difference spans nine hours, and it gets even more tricky when we are traveling.

In order to make meetings happen, someone usually has to get up extra early or stay up very late. It is not uncommon to receive work calls/texts at midnight. Just make sure to balance your personal/work time and set yourself limits that make you and your family feel comfortable.

Have exceptional digital communications skills

 My team is constantly connected via WhatsApp, Google Suite, email, you name it. We are building systems that will allow us to all remain on the same page and keep our productivity.

If you are someone who prefers oral communication or hates texting, you will need to flex the digital muscles to be successful on a remote team.

Be disciplined and force yourself to have a routine

When you make your own schedule, it can be easy to have weekends flow into weekdays, to take long breaks in the middle of the day and work late hours in the night.

This is one of the major perks of remote work, but it can often be a trap that decreases productivity. Even though some remote companies may maintain a standard 9-6 workday, they do not build in a routine.

Decide on one that you can stick to that makes you feel professional and productive, but will allow you to live your flexible life.

Build a community at home

Most of our friends and family in more traditional office jobs are around other people for a minimum of 40 hours a week. It can become easy to rely heavily on them for normal socialization or to discuss work-related issues.

We are not trying to put too much pressure on our loved ones, so it is critical to find another social or professional outlet.  Go to a local coffee shop and meet other remote workers, join a co-working space, or even join social clubs to build relationships with like-minded people.

Build a community with your remote coworkers

At Baobab, we predominantly use WhatsApp for this. We send birthday shoutouts, selfies, articles and news that relates to our company values and team.

Also, the team uses social media to encourage one another and to share news about our team and teammates. We also plan biannual team retreats, where we bring as many people together as we can for work and recreation

Remote work is the future, and I encourage everyone to consider the benefits, but also the potential pitfalls.

If you are interested in joining a remote team, Baobab Consulting is always looking for talent, so please check out our website for more!


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Chiedza Museredza: Making the move from Zimbabwe to Canada

Moving to a whole new country, a whole new continent may seem like the scariest choice you could ever make. Will you like your job, will the move be worth it, or what if you never manage to settle in?

These are just a few questions you may ask yourself. On the upside, what if it becomes the best decision you will ever make, what if you find a great group of friends and your job is the best career choice you could have made?

Chiedza has previously detailed her experience on immigrating to Canada to be a lawyer. Starting as a Masters student, she got an internship at one of the biggest law firms in the country and currently is completing her articles at McMillan LLP. She details below her experiences moving countries to kickstart her career

There are various ways you could immigrate to a new country – as a student or as a professional. The choice may lie with your experience and qualifications.

Professionals who qualify have the option of applying for an Express Entry Visa into Canada whilst students have the opportunity to qualify for a post-graduate work permit. Consider what your best option could be.

Making the move…

Going in blind when making such a seismic change to your life requires preparation. Moving to a new country takes a lot of research, time and money.

Plan what you need to do to, how you’ll do it, then take the huge leap and DO IT! Sometimes it means finding new ways to create opportunities for yourself and opening doors through your own initiative.

Chiedza describes the experience of moving to another country as challenging. In particular, moving to a country where she did not know anyone. It felt like starting all over again.

“To prepare for my move I connected with people on LinkedIn who had made the same move as I wanted to make. They, in turn, connected me to other people. I was very lucky to connect with helpful people.”

The power of networking…

Qualification and experience from back home may not always be recognized by potential employers. Some may prefer someone with Canadian experience and those with prestigious work experience or attended Ivy League or Oxbridge universities may fare better on the job market but not everyone has this experience.

Networking has a major impact on the impression you could make to your future employer. Before approaching someone to discuss opportunities it is definitely worth it to research the company and anything else you can find out about the person off LinkedIn (i.e. Google them).

This helps you determine how to approach them- what do you have in common and more importantly what do you specifically need help with.

“I found the best way was to network with someone in the company/firm/organization and they would recommend me.

Most companies trust recommendations from their employees. I have noticed that broadly worded networking emails are not very helpful.

Being specific with emails always shows that you know what you want So in essence what makes one the best candidate as a foreigner is effective networking that will result in getting recommended for the job you want.”

Be mentally prepared…

The job hunt is one of the hardest processes you could go through, but remember, perseverance is key.

“You have to have a thick skin and be resilient. You will be told “no” more than “yes”. Don’t take it personally – just keep going until you achieve your goal.”

Nobody deals with rejection well, but one small setback does not necessarily mean you should give up.

“I believe that what is meant for me will be for me and that rejection is not a denial of my dreams. So, I keep it moving. In terms of managing my expectations, I hoped for the best and prepared for the worst.”

Managing the corporate world has been extremely busy. “I struggled with impostor syndrome the first days. I had to remind myself that I worked very hard to get where I am so I deserved to be at the firm just like everyone else.”

Chiedza shares the key lessons she has learned from her immigration to Canada:

  • Failure is the best form of feedback because it forces you to change and grow – so failure works for you and not against you;
  • Don’t let your achievements set you back. It is very easy to relax after getting successful at something; and
  • Be grateful. Each time you want to complain (even when the complaint is valid) – just think of what you’re thankful for. This is one of the best ways to deal with stress.

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Tips to a winning introduction during your next interview

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I’ve realized that a lot of people find it difficult to introduce themselves during an interview. That ‘Tell me about yourself’ question is the ice breaker and most candidates are scared to break it because they are not too sure of themselves.

Before I go into tips to a winning introduction, I would like to address a foundational problem that hinders us from selling ourselves properly and the “Lack of CONFIDENCE”.

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it.

On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” Mahatma Gandhi

Are you a fresh graduate or a prospective intern and not sure what to say when asked to Introduce yourself? Here are some things that would guide you:

Think through what you want to say before opening your mouth to talk

Mental preparation and a mirror exercise would do.  You don’t need to cram a speech or start reciting it verbatim, rather it should provide a guideline on what how each point should be said.

Avoid distracting words

Words like ‘urm’ ‘erm’ ‘izz like’ ‘you know’ etc could be distracting for your interviewer and may imply you’re not prepared for the interview. If those interjections are too much, it can be a huge turn-off.

Keep it concise and simple

I remember one of the interviews I sat in a few months ago, this guy legit talked about himself for a whole 30minutes.

Do you know that’s where the interview started and ended? At a point, he was just blabbing and we didn’t understand what he was saying but didn’t want to be rude and interject him.

Besides, we already knew he was a NO and allowed him to land before saying we had no questions and dismissed him.

Self-awareness is important

If you are self-aware, it is easier for you to understand other people and detect how they perceive you in return.

How well do you know yourself and the kind of direct or indirect message you are passing? Here are some things you need to build on to prepare for the next interview:

1. Your Bio

Start with your name, your school and course of study, the aspect in your course that interests you and why (this is not compulsory if it’s not related to your course of study).

2. Your Strengths

This could include something like being very organized, being able to manage your time and setting priorities, being able to communicate in a clear manner, being able to manage people regardless of their temperament, being able to work in a team.

Take note that while talking about this strengths, you should include one or two examples of how you have demonstrated them while in school as a leader in your school project, school activism, Student union or department association and finally through religious bodies you have belonged to.

3. Your Value Proposition

Talk about the value you would be adding to the team or organization. I would advise that you do extensive research about them and ensure what you are saying is relevant and relatable. If you have done your homework properly, they will fall in love with you!!!!

Finally, this is a piece of golden advice that is like the icing on the cake for people who want to give a winning introduction.

4. Humility won’t help you

I have met superb people who have great skills which companies are looking for but because they haven’t worked in a formal organization, they think those skills acquired through volunteering, internship, and personal development aren’t relevant.

Sister, if you don’t sell yourself, who will ??

Be proud of your little achievements and don’t be too humble about them. In the end, the best salesman gets the contract!

I hope you digest this information and deliberately work on your confidence. It may not happen overnight but with time, you can grow and become better.


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If you want to GLOW in your next Job Interview, avoid these Red Flags

A lot of candidates get a rejection mail and are confused about what went wrong in an interview process. Working as a recruiter both as a consultant and an in-house staff has exposed me to various interviews across all levels.

I have compiled some things that candidates should beware of when attending an interview. Here is a list of things that would most likely get you a rejection mail:

Dressing badly

This includes rumpled clothing, unkempt hair, provocative dressing. Ladies you are not here to sell boobs and fine legs! Please be moderate!

We call them DOA (dead on arrival), it means your interview has ended even before it started because you can’t fit into our company.

Bad sitting position

Slouching position shows a lazy and pessimistic personality. Sitting up straight shows a confident person. These are important non-verbal cues.

Lack of eye contact

I had a recent interview with a manager that had a superb profile and from the interview, it shows he actually did all he wrote. However, his role was to face customers and he barely looked us in the face which was a big red flag for the role.

Bad mouthing your previous employer

Even though you have justifiable reasons for leaving, say it in a good way that doesn’t make your last employer look bad! No organization is perfect so be careful what you say!

Short stay in various organizations without a reasonable reason

If you are on this table, I’m not saying it’s entirely wrong to have short stays, but they should not be flimsy reasons. Think through the explanation you want to give.

Using an Inaudible voice

Yes, using your bedroom voice during interviews is totally unacceptable. You need to be audible even if your voice is naturally low. Try to speak up and don’t wait for the interviewer to cajole you. It can already be a turn-off.

Using non-professional language

Avoid switching to pigeon English or vernacular because you feel too comfortable with the interviewer. Please don’t switch, it’s a TRAP. Keep it professional always.

Not doing your Research about the organization or the role before the interview

You would end up talking off-point. You would also turn off the hiring team because it shows a nonchallant attitude. ALWAYS do your research and think of the value you intend to add before an interview.

Being Rude to the Receptionist

This is a big NO. Even if you’re a Senior Director or whatever, you need to be polite and courteous to ALL staff. Don’t begin to feel like a ‘god’ even if you have a leg inside the company. It would backfire.

Clownish looking Make-Up

Unless you’re going for a make-up artist interview, I would advise you to wear moderate make-up. I have sat in an interview where the lower eyeliner was bright green and she was a fair lady so you can imagine the distraction.

Rolling your eyes

Some candidates think they are talking to their boyfriends/girlfriends. Don’t forget to be a PROFESSIONAL. I realized some people do it unconsciously. I would advise you to practice in the mirror and ensure your eyes are not flying everywhere.

Feel free to ask questions, I’ll watch out in the comment section to make some clarification.

I sincerely wish you the best in your career.


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Mwandwe Chileshe: My career in nutrition stemmed from my own struggles with ill health

Mwandwe Chileshe is a Global Health Corps alumni who has carved out a meaningful career path in Zambia’s health and nutrition sector.

In this interview, she speaks on how to trailblaze a career that’s both challenging and rewarding—while working to ensure the safety and health of generations to come.


  What inspired you to build a career in nutrition/health?

My work in nutrition and global health stemmed from my own struggles with ill health. As a university student enthusiastic and eager to learn, I was suddenly struck with multiple abdomen complications.

This led me through many hospital corridors and multiple surgical procedures. The experience included severe pain, days of no food, and wards where I saw people in even worse conditions. After three years of this situation, I realized that my opportunity to access health services gave me the best shot at life.

The experience took a financial and emotional toll, which would have been hard to survive without the goodwill of my family.  In the meantime, many women and girls are living through worse, and some of their lives are cut short as they are unable to access the health services they need.

When I started to work on nutrition I was exposed to the dire effects of hunger and malnutrition on women, girls, and children.

Children who lack access to adequate nutrition and consequently suffer from chronic malnutrition (stunting), their fates are decided even before they can make their own decisions. A stunted child is more likely to fail at school, fall sick with other conditions, and struggle to find work as an adult.

My first-hand experience of the heavy price of inequitable health services coupled with my early work experience in nutrition motivated me to build a career in global health advocating for improved nutrition.

What does the future hold for this sector? How can young leaders plugin and cultivate their own careers here?

So many people worldwide are affected by hunger and malnutrition. More than a billion women and girls do not have the access to the adequate nutrition that they need. It is a health and development issue that requires a critical mass of young minds to solve.

Political will has been stated, global commitments have been made, and yet nutrition remains insufficiently funded globally. For an issue that affects so many of us, it is important that we get involved and we pursue careers that will have lasting impacts.

It is a space that still needs people to see its importance and its linkages to so many other health and development issues.

What does it mean to be an anti-poverty advocate? How does this show up in your daily life?

It shows up in the little and the big decisions in my life. Straight out of undergrad I started to work for one of Zambia’s leading commercial banks in a high-density area.

What stood out for me at the time was how during a 30-minute bus ride, the landscape changed from posh malls to people living in shacks. The disparity was so apparent and jarring. Every morning was a trek to where the people strung along their savings. Within four months I knew I couldn’t stay.

I quit at what was considered a prestigious and income-secure job and went right back to work on nutrition and health. For me, being an anti-poverty advocate means that I cannot be satisfied with just my own income security.

When faced with the small choices or the big ones, I will always choose that which impacts more than just me.

After my work at the bank, I went on to lead and contribute to efforts to raise the profile of nutrition and increase political will to address it. I played a significant role in the startup and growth of Zambia’s Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition Alliance (CSO-SUN), the first organization in the country solely dedicated to advocacy on nutrition.

I took the lead within CSO-SUN in ensuring creative approaches towards advocacy efforts.  I became a Global Health Corps fellow working at 1,000 Days in the U.S. as a Global Advocacy and Outreach Associate, working to mobilize greater resources for nutrition initiatives.  In early 2017, I became a global citizen campaigner and was recognized as one of their leading youth advocates.

Through this role, I have led and supported significant campaigns and advocacy on nutrition. Most recently, I was part of the Global Citizen team that worked to secure commitments for the Mandela 100 festival in December 2018.

Why is it important for young leaders to build careers that are socially-minded? How has your career shaped your identity?

The problems arising from hunger, malnutrition, poverty are not new at all. The world needs new solutions to these old problems! It is so important that young people get involved.

We are open-minded, and we have fresh voices and new ideas. We cannot sit by and wait for phantom changemakers – it is us that we need.

My friend joked to me just a few days ago that when someone asked what my hobbies are and what I do for fun, she responded by saying “That’s easy, her nutrition advocacy work.” We laughed, but I interpreted the exchange as a sign that my career deeply shapes my identity.

Perhaps more importantly, I believe it means that the joy that I get from the work I do is evident.

The work you do isn’t easy. How do you stay focused, committed, and well?

There are moments when fighting for health equity is overwhelming and challenging. I imagine that this is true for all careers working towards a better world.

I find that it is important for me to always remember why I do what I do to stay focused and motivated. However, this also includes acknowledging burn out and cultivating time for self-care, which allows me to always bring the best version of myself to my work.


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Oluwatoyin Egedi: From Stay at Home Mom to Piloting Women Empowerment

Oluwatoyin Egedi is a Civil Engineer by training but an entrepreneur by decision. She currently sits as the CEO of Rullion Capacity Builders Foundation – a social enterprise that seeks to empower women with skills to start profitable businesses right from home.

The vision for her is to use the vehicle of skill acquisition to ameliorate women’s capacity and enhance their chances for economic enrichment.

 Why did you start a women empowerment center?

 

I started Rullion Capacity in 2014 – a women empowerment center from a personal encounter and insight into the need for women to be skilled and have the capacity to generate income as stay at home moms.

 

This center was born at a time when I also needed to be empowered – I had just had my third baby and the few job interviews I attended didn’t expressly say, but once they learned I was married and had children, the odds tilted away from me.
Later, I realized that in an employers’ eyes, a married woman with children meant more off days, more sick leaves, the bottom line, fewer work hours. Without getting any offers, I decided that rather than just sit at home idle, I would learn a skill. I settled for small chops and cocktails.

 

The program was very affordable as it was subsidized by the church and I was amazed at the number of women who attended the skill empowerment. With the knowledge, I garnered from working in the advertising industry before being a stay at home mum, in no time I was selling my finger foods at events and was making some income even though I was working from home.

 

Soon, I discovered that a lot of the other women who attended that program with me were not grounded in basic business skills and were waiting to get funds to rent a space before they start a business. Instantly, I knew this was an error, and thought about how I could change this.

 

I gathered a group of friends and with further discussions, we saw there was a need to change the mindset of so many women who think being a stay at home moms meant being without avenues to generate income.

 

We launched a skill acquisition program laced with business skills in financial literacy, customer service, brand management, legal aspects of business, marketing and sales.

 

Our first program was a flop as we were still quite unknown but we persisted and created more awareness. Using social media as a very strong marketing tool, we had more attendees.

 

So far, we have trained over 400 women who have largely gone on to start their small businesses and some who do not have the financial capacity to start, are currently employed until they can.

 

Our first skill acquisition program was a flop as we were still quite unknown but we persisted and created more awareness using Social Media Click To Tweet

There are quite a number of women empowerment organizations, what makes yours stand out?

In striving for excellence in a sector where there are so many mushroom operators, in 2016, we became an accredited vocational center for Trade Test 1, 2 and 3 and NABTEB (National Business and Technical Examinations Board) exams which further qualifies our trainees to work anywhere in the world.

Last year, we observed that a critical challenge our trainees had was having access to capital to purchase equipment. This led us to seek and partner with MISS – Micro Investment Support Services (an equipment leasing company led by Mrs. Elizabeth Ehigiamusoe).

With this, our trainees can purchase equipment on loan of up to N500,000 over a tenor of 12 months with a very affordable interest rate.

Furthermore, we observed that though our students now had the equipment and technical know-how for business and already had products, a bigger challenge was getting ready buyers. The answer to this was The Women’s Entrepreneurship Fair (WEF) with the vision to connect our women to customers, investors and the government.

 

We had 2 editions last year with women-focused brands such as Access Bank Women banking, Molfix Diapers, Guardian Life, Nobel Carpet and rugs (Lush Hair), Cake World, Orijin Zero, Bella Naija, Fero Mobile, De-united Foods Limited, Cadbury, United Capital Limited, LSETF, among others throwing their weight behind the massively successful event.

A lot of our women are still reaping the dividends of those shopping exhibitions and we are looking forward to having more in the near future

Without getting any offers, I decided that rather than just sit at home idle, I would learn a skill - Oluwatoyin Egedi Click To Tweet

What Challenges have you encountered on this journey?

 

Remember I mentioned I was thrown into this journey not of my own will but because of circumstances around me at the time. So it has not been a smooth journey but I’ve been determined as I currently enjoy what I do. Below are some challenges I faced:

1. Wrong Structure:  We are a registered social enterprise with the CAC but without any formal educational background in the team, we struggled with the structure a bit before we found our footing.

Working with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity’s trade test modules and syllabus likewise NABTEB’s has helped us put a proper structure in place

2. Getting skilled workers:  This was difficult for the courses we offer at Rullion but we had to overcome. Courses such as Cosmetology ( hairdressing, nail fixing, makeup and gele tying, Fashion design and accessories, catering and hotel works, and so forth) but as trainers, we have embraced the importance of training and re-training.

 

Some people are of the opinion that if you train your staff, they’ll leave you and become competition. But what if you don’t train them and they stay? It comes back to hurt your brand and what you aim to achieve. Besides, collaboration is a new competition.

 

We can’t do all the work, so if our ex-staff leaves and sets up hers, that’s great as we then have a branch in that other location where we can refer willing  trainees
3. Inadequate Funding: We initially set out to offer our training programs at no fee at all but without a fund base, we couldn’t keep up with the standards we seek to deliver.

 

Therefore, we asked our trainees to pay a small fee which we use to cover the overheads of running our programs but even with that we still require help to bolster the training programs we deliver and further enrich our capacity as learning is quite dynamic.

 

We also offer small short-term loans to the women we train. We want to include an internship program to our curriculum which we believe will further help deepen the knowledge of our students. A deterrent for an internship is funding – employers are willing to take on interns but are not willing and/or ready to give them an allowance to cover even their transportation.

 

If we could access funds, we can do this and much more

 

4. Online access:  We are based in Lagos, Nigeria. Though we’ve held training programs at Ogun State, Edo state and Rivers state, there is still a lot of work to do. With the explosion in the use of technology, it’s necessary and import to now migrate some of our training programs to online learning platforms and offer a Blended Learning curriculum.

 

If we can do this, we will have more reach. Funds have been the deterrent to properly execute this as we have inquiries from all over Nigeria which we cannot cover.
5.  Partnerships: If only a lot of us embraced collaboration rather than competition, we can all do the work better and faster.

 

We have approached a number of organizations who are doing similar work in the women empowerment space to partner with us especially outside Lagos state so that more women are economically empowered and in the process, mitigate and eventually eradicate poverty but the response has not been so encouraging as financial gratification is a key factor for a lot of them.

 

Do you think Government involvement can help with the challenges?

 
Yes, of course. There is almost no business that does not depend on infrastructure from the government – power, water, roads, etc.

 

At the moment, there is no room for growth in the micro business space because the cost of setting up even such a business is so high. You consider things like accommodation (there’s no regulation – the landlords are the alpha and omega and decide whatever rent they want), power.

 

You have to purchase your own power generating plant because you can’t rely on government’s supply, transporting yourself from one location to the other to offer service to customers eventually becomes a chore with bad roads and many man-hours lost due to traffic gridlock!

 

If all the government can provide for us is an enabling work environment with a stable economy, I tell you, we aren’t a lazy bunch – we will really go far.

 

Do you think there’s room for more women empowerment centers?

 

 

Of course! It is not enough! Women are quite pivotal to the transformation of any nation’s economy- history has a lot to say about this. We at Rullion have carved a niche for ourselves by targeting women, who have a minimum education of O’Levels, are somewhat computer literate and can communicate in Basic English.

 

What about illiterate women who only speak pidgin or just their local dialect? How about younger girls in secondary school who need to embrace the culture of entrepreneurship even before they go on to higher institutions to study?

 

The jobs they target are all the top corporations like Dangote, Nestle, OandO which were all started by entrepreneurs.

 

We also have to think about those outside Lagos and in other states of the Federation. So, the answer is Yes! We need a lot more women empowerment centers.

 

The challenge I see however is how to ensure the quality of what is taught at these centers. Because we wanted a certain standard, we had to push ourselves to put in some structure and we keep updating that as we go along.

 

A lot of these centers have just one facilitator teaching 100 people per time and then you wonder what exactly the people are learning because they don’t go further to carry out any practical sessions and the next thing is a graphic designer/printer issues them certificates.

 

There needs to be a body that ensures that centers comply with a certain minimum standard.

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Living Life with a Full-Time Job and multiple Side Gigs: 4 Commandments to adopt

6 months ago, I decided I needed to get a day job.

The decision came after I had run my fashion design business and realized I needed firsthand experience running the kind of business I wanted. I got a job as a Personal Assistant in a big manufacturing company. The role is combined with several other unofficial roles.

6 months down the line, I can safely say I am not so over my head as was 2 months ago.

Between this full-time job, running my fashion design business on a small scale and freelance writing, it is safe to say I had no “me” time. I had no life outside of work.

I had finally done two things I dreaded: living for the weekend and working hard without being productive.

Two months ago, I told myself that this had to stop.

I finally came up with a routine that helped me do all I wanted realistically and still have a life.

Here are my four quick tips for having a life with a full job and side gigs.

Balancing two or more responsibilities with self-care is hard but not impossible. Here are the 4 commandments to follow: Click To Tweet

1. Thou shall keep a To-Do list and use it.

I found out that having a to-do list keeps me organized. With so much to do at work and in my side jobs, I find myself running around a lot and doing nothing much.

My daily To-do list is organized the night before. I factor prayer, working out, my main job, my writing, my sewing in the evening into the list.

I make sure I leave blocks of time to accommodate the unforeseen jobs that will come up at work. This is a daily occurrence.

The To-Do list increased my productivity by 50%.

2. Thou shall set realistic targets

3 months into the job I developed stress belly and added weight. My face broke out and I started to wear wigs, leaving my natural hair matted under the wigs. Forget mani-pedi.  That was gone.

When I took the decision to get my life together, the first thing I did was set goals.

Safe to say the targets were pretty high and I gave up.

I went back to the board and re-drew the plan.

Work out thrice a week as opposed to every day. Drink water, get my nails done bi-monthly. Braid my hair once a month and wear wigs for the other days of the month.

2 months in, my stress belly has reduced and I still maintain my hair and nails routine.

3. Thou shall factor in “You” time

I love going to the movies, green tea, and red wines. One of the first things I stopped doing was going to the movies. Weekends were tight. No more tea time and wine time.

I now find time on Sundays to savor a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Most importantly I fix movie dates so I will have to make time for them. This means I must close out official work by Friday and put extra time into the writing.  It is worth it.

Relate each work experience to your business. This way your work and life is balanced emotionally. Click To Tweet

4. Thou shall find a purpose in what you do.

If your job pays a bit low like mine, you might grow resentful over time. This will definitely affect your work-life balance. For someone who wants the experience, this will make a terrible experience.

One way I have managed to balance myself emotionally is to relate each work experience to my business.

One thing I have learned to do is to be grateful and positive. It gives more light to the work I do. I make the choice to cut back when I can.

Balancing two or more responsibilities with self-care is hard but not impossible and we are getting there.

Till next time. For now, drink a glass of wine or cradle a cup of tea and take care of you!


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Theodorah Manjo: Building a brand starts with being relatable

Theodorah Manjo

Popularly known as Miss Manjo on the Twitter streets, Theodorah  Manjo is a digital marketer and online influencer with a thing for helping the unemployed better themselves.

Her timeline exudes positivity and humility and through her social media content, her passion for guiding and assisting the unemployed through knowledge sharing and upliftment is hard to miss.

In this interview, she talks about building and maintaining a brand online and how to put your best foot forward with your CV.


 You are essentially Twitter famous, how do you get to 63k+ followers?

I came across a cool social media team called The Hand of Sas (now known as HOS) about two years ago and it was like having an online family. We spoke about everything social media, online etiquette and how to have an “online voice”.

I learned how to speak to “strangers” in a familiar way, showing my personality and allowing people to be a part of my life even when they didn’t know.

I started falling in love with the aspect of being able to reach & speak to people in provinces I have never been to, and it expanded to Africa. I’m now part of a team called #AfricaTweetChat where we discuss all things digital media with people from all corners of this continent. It makes me so happy!

Building a brand online starts with being relatable. - @MissManjo Click To Tweet

Building a brand really starts with being relatable, following and talking to people and understanding that everyone will always be “strong” behind a screen & you shouldn’t take what people say online to heart because you WILL break.

Don’t be reckless, if you say something online, make sure that you will be able to stand by that even 6 years from now because once it’s out there, somebody has already screen-grabbed it.

How do you use your influencer status to continue to build your brand?

It is all relationship building, making connections and again, being relatable to your audience. The biggest thing is being true to what your story is, you are either a food enthusiast, a budding entrepreneur, an artist or a student going through the motions.

People follow you because they can ‘relate’ or they can learn from you and enjoy your content.

I have always been vocal on unemployment, social media characters/influencers and how to conduct yourself online. Through my content on those topics, people got to know what makes me tick.

Yes, my content varies – I have jokes, I have rants, but most of all I engage with my followers. I want to know what other people are busy with, what makes their day and how I can connect with them NOW so that later, we can have a meaningful relationship.

It has proven to be amazing and I have met & befriended a lot of wonderful people online.

Don't be reckless, if you say something online, make sure to stand by that even 6 years from now - @MissManjo Click To Tweet

What is the ultimate story for Miss Manjo story?

Hmm, what a thought-provoking question. What’s my story? I want to be able to reach and teach at least one person a month, at least ten people in a year. I want my presence online to be relevant and make sense. It’s not about me, it’s about us – how do WE get better at this life thing together?!

Celebrate yourself. Are you happy, are you giving and are you helping someone be a better version of themselves? – These are my heart notes to myself daily.

What is your strategy for online brand preservation?

Think ahead! I want to be big in my industry, I want kids one day – will what I put out there make my future baby girl cringe? Will it result in me having a meeting with my CEO about being too expressive? If questioned about what I tweet personally, will I be able to look at the person in the eye, and stand by what I said without quivering?.

I am still a person at the end of the day, things make me angry, people make me angry but what will this mean for me tomorrow morning? Is this who I want SA & Africa to think I am?
Practice what you preach or change your speech. And sometimes, there is beauty in silence!

Practice what you preach or change your speech. - @MissManjo Click To Tweet

On helping the youth get jobs, and keep them!

How did the passion to guide and assist the unemployed come about?

I started working at a recruitment agency while I was in between jobs. I only stayed three months because my spirit didn’t really agree with how recruitment worked in this particular place and also, I am a creative so I felt like I was boxed.

The whole trend was that they would find people already in employment and headhunt them when in reality there are thousands of people who are unemployed and have the right skills.

Through my frustrations of not finding candidates for my roles, I created a Facebook page and I wanted to explore a medium that had a lot of “word of mouth” but with individuals who may not all be employed, and that was how “I Need Someone Who…JOBS” was created on a Tuesday afternoon, without my team leader knowing.

It was a risk in that I would probably get kicked out of my job or receive a warning, but my gut didn’t let me down; I was ready to fight for this cause even if meant I would have to be moved to an admin position due to disobedience.

This is where I discovered just how much heart I had for those who were unemployed, because a month ago, I didn’t know where to look for a job, nor did I have the means to, but thanks to friends and connections I was lead to this place that has allowed me to change potentially thousands of South African peoples’ lives.

 

When one reads a job advert, what are some of the red flags to be mindful of?

  • Company name and the grammar: Most things will stand out like using small letters at the beginning of a sentence or addressing names with small letters, sentences that use “WhatsApp language”.
  • Method of contact: The biggest one is the fax. Who still uses a fax? Why would a company email you just for them to ask you to respond via fax?
  • Contact…: “Contact Miss Mary or Mr. Victor” – nobody addresses people with a Miss or Mr and ‘first name’.

What are your top 5 tips for putting together a CV?

  1. Keep your CV clean, check your grammar & punctuation
    2. Make sure you put your role, company name & time spent there
    3. Bullet point all your duties, don’t be brief. In place of ‘admin’, say ‘took minutes at meetings, facilitated in budgets for company events, scheduled and arranged meetings etc. If you don’t sell yourself, who will?
    4. References – make sure your references KNOW that they are your references; make sure they will speak WELL of you. Do not put your manager who was trying to get you out, you will never find a job. Rather find another senior person who worked with you to vouch for your work ethic.
    5. Only add relevant things to your CV. Some people like to add hobbies, my hobbies of dancing will not add value to an Accountant position. So why put it in?

For people with no experience, what should be highlighted on a CV?

  • Make your personal summary (two to three sentences right at the top) tell the employer about your capabilities.
  • Add what skills you have and how they will assist in the advertised role. Align your skills with the job spec.
  • Add achievements, community work – this CV will be more of personality, skills, and traits rather than of your experience.

How do I best present my experience?

Don’t shortchange yourself, if you worked with your account director aligning strategies as an account manager, that is a skill & experience you would want people to know about.

In your comprehensive CV, make sure you detail the IMPORTANT aspects of your roles in such a way that a promotion in your next role is an obvious step up.

Most if not all recruiters will search via keywords, so include the important terms to be found easier.

What are your top tips to keeping a job

The biggest tip is basic and biblical, whatever work you do, work with EXCELLENCE and you shall be rewarded. It may not be in a week, or a year – but one day you will be grateful that you always gave your 110% even when you felt that nobody appreciated your efforts.

You should also follow the following tips:

  • Have a learning spirit.
  • Ask questions.
  • Volunteer to help. Even those tedious admin duties, do them and do them well. The more you learn the greater you will be when you get to the next level of your career.
  • Never talk about your work/colleagues on social media. It becomes messy even if they aren’t on your platforms, people are connected.

One day you will be grateful you always gave your 110% even when you felt nobody appreciated your efforts - @MissManjo Click To Tweet


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