How Tamiko Cuellar monetized her gift and launched her business

Tamiko Cuellar is the CEO and Founder of Pursue Your Purpose LLC, – a global coaching, consulting and training firm for emerging entrepreneurs, corporate intrapreneurs, and leaders.

She spends at least 6 months each year traveling throughout the continent of Africa where she speaks, coaches, and trains leaders, entrepreneurs, students, and women.

In addition, Tamiko was appointed as a mentor to emerging entrepreneurs in Africa as part of the Tony Elumelu’s Entrepreneurship Programme in 2016.

Tamiko has been a guest contributor on Forbes, The Huffington Post, amongst other publications.

In this article, Tamiko shares with us her journey to becoming a smart boss lady, and how she’s helping ladies on the continent do the same.


What made you decide to launch your own business?

There were multiple catalysts that compelled me to launch my own business I had survived three rounds of layoffs (retrenchments) at my corporate job in the United States as a result of the 2008 economy.

My job was becoming more stressful and adversely impacted my health, and I was only given a $700 bonus after helping to acquire a $30 million client for my company.

Besides all of that, I felt that my potential was being stifled and I was not fulfilled.

I then decided to monetize my gifts and skillset on my own terms, by launching my business to help other women transition from corporate and grow their businesses.

On your journey to becoming a Smart Boss Lady, What are some exciting things while launching your business?

Since there weren’t many coaches that were doing what I was doing when I first started, I looked for as many existing coaches as a template and tried to emulate them.

I later realized that it was my uniqueness that caused my brand to soar internationally.  I would encourage aspiring and emerging boss ladies to harness what’s unique about you.

That’s your sweet spot. People don’t need a clone. They need you to show up in your authenticity

“My uniqueness has helped my brand to soar internationally. Harness what's unique about you, that's your sweet spot.” – @PursueurPurpose Click To Tweet

What are some of the common problems entrepreneurs hire you to solve? 

The most common problems that women hire me for are helping them to narrow their focus, defining their target market, creating/refining a brand that attracts their target market, and also how to sell and make money consistently

Established larger organizations usually hire me to develop their leaders.

Why did you choose the business name – Pursue Your Purpose LLC? 

My company’s name was birthed from a common answer to a question that I would often ask people, which is, “What would you be doing if you could do something other than your current job?” 

The answer was always something different than what they were currently doing! Then my follow-up question would be, “Then why aren’t you doing that?” 

This was usually followed by a blank stare because people didn’t know why they weren’t getting paid to do what they love. It was then that I realized that most people that are working are doing what they have to do rather than what they want to do.

I’ve mastered a system that creates entrepreneurs who get paid to do what they love and I simply coach others on how to profit from their God-given purpose.

Tell us about your experience working almost exclusively on the continent of Africa.

 I absolutely love it!  I am called to Africa. The Africa I see is very different than the Africa that is portrayed in the media. 

Africa is rising

It’s ripe with potential because the majority of the population in many African nations is very young (ages 15-25) and emerging leaders are going to be at the helm of solving Africa’s problems very soon.

Someone needs to develop and train these emerging leaders.  I also feel a deeply personal and cultural connection to Africa being an 

African-American women of the Diaspora who can also bring a high level of skills to the continent that I’ve acquired in the States.

Who is your dream client/partner? 

First and foremost, my dream partnership would be with SLA in some way to build capacity in its community of professional business women from a global perspective.

As a former Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management in the U.S., I also love working with Universities throughout Africa on entrepreneurship curriculum development as well as being a guest lecturer to business and entrepreneurship students. 

Additionally, I love working with agencies and the Ministries of Trade & Industry to teach sub-Saharan African businesses on how to export their products into the U.S. duty-free. 

Lastly, I love training corporate leaders and HR managers on how they develop innovative entrepreneurial thinking in order to be on the cutting edge of what the rest of the world is doing. 

I would love to do more of these three types of training and coaching.  I’m very open to being contacted by your readers for partnership and speaking opportunities throughout Africa.

What’s the most exciting project you’re currently working on? 

I’m very happy to say that my fourth book, “Cultivating An Entrepreneurial Mindset” should be out by the fourth quarter of 2019. 

This will help thousands of aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs both inside and outside the classroom to develop the right thinking that leads to having successful, profitable and sustainable businesses. 

My calendar for 2020 is filling up quickly with organizational partnerships, speaking and training opportunities with universities, corporations, and government agencies throughout Africa, so I welcome as many strategic alignments as my company can accommodate.

I am also adding new Global Brand Ambassadors to my team all over Africa who are highly influential and can help us impact more people.


This article was put together by Lungiswa Mzimba

The Queen of Representation – From Botswana to the world

“The A-Girls are exceptional, black vinyl dolls that appreciate the African girl of today, with all her versatility and diversity”.

Dolls are part of a girl’s introduction to what is considered ‘beautiful’. According to Bakani, creating the brand was essential in order to excavate and resuscitate what African beauty is. 

Until August 2016, Bakani July Johnson was a Lecturer at the University of Botswana (UB) in the Social Work Department. She holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work and has worked intensively in the psychosocial field since 2004, gaining experience with Botswana Baylor Children’s Clinic as a social welfare case manager.

Prior to that, she worked with the Government of Botswana as a Social Welfare officer. After years of ideating, planning and testing, Bakani left the UB and started her doll-making business.

Bakani is a social entrepreneur and is constantly looking for ways to enhance the lives of others.

She is also a founding trustee of Musani Family Care Foundation, an organization that focusses on the restoration of Botswana’s family unit, and offers accommodation to families in transition, mostly caregivers of hospitalized patients who come from far off villages.

Musani Family Care Foundation seeks to bridge the gap by providing temporary housing and support for these families who need it most, at no cost. 

Connect with Bakani and her business on social media.


Why it is important for me to make the dolls…

I have always loved children. I am forever looking for ways to enhance their wellbeing and this led to the realization that there were no black dolls to use during clinical sessions with my little patients.

As a social worker, dolls are some of the symbolic tools used for communication during sessions. However, more often than not, the dolls that were donated looked nothing like the children I worked with.

This became a query, to manufactures and it was not a pretty feeling as it was seen from the point of exclusion. 

I realized that I could continue with the feeling of being ‘left out’ as a black African girl, or I could do something about it.  The research allowed me to see that I, and others like me, were never a concern for doll-makers; they had their own market and concerns.

Whatever I could find was by sheer luck.  I refused to use divisive story-telling or to accept that it was ‘someone else’s fault’ that as Batswana – and Africans – we don’t have black dolls.

The more I searched, the more I was challenged to create the doll I was looking for. I worked from thought to product, beginning in 2007.

The effect representation has on young Batswana /African girls…

We have for the longest time been portrayed as ugly, and not a representation of beauty.

If you research dolls throughout history, you will not like what you see. We have been ‘caricatured’ through the years and our features ridiculed. Our natural hair is still a full-on debate today.

With the dolls, I am simply excavating and resuscitating a black girl’s beauty.

The idea of the @AGirls15 dolls was to trigger an emotional response and to ensure that we put African girls faces on beauty, with a clear understanding that it is our responsibility to raise a new, confident African girl. – Bakani… Click To Tweet

The idea of the dolls was to trigger an emotional response and to ensure that we put African girls faces on beauty, with a clear understanding that it is our responsibility to raise a new, confident African girl. 

The development of The African Girls Dolls is a winning communication tool targeting children.

These are one-of-a-kind vinyl dolls that appreciate the diversity of African girls and were created with the realization of a lack of representation both commercially and in messaging for African children.

Most props and toys used are of girls and boys are not of African descent. Through the African girls’ collection, I am constantly helping organizations to create a unique language of truths, trust, and symbols as part of visual storytelling and visual messaging.

I understand that symbolically, images help us to understand abstract concepts that cannot always be translated into words and dolls have throughout history been symbols to communicate, appreciate and represent.

Dolls are part of a girl’s introduction to what is considered ‘beautiful’, and speaking to that aspect we want to be able to say ‘she is so pretty, just like a doll’ – and actually talk about a doll that looks like her. 

Children are visual beings. They connect to things visually and will remember things seen more than things said. They connect with objects or pictures from memory.

Africa and Botswana are about symbolism, or what things represent and communicate.

By giving girls @AGirls15 dolls that look like them, we are communicating a million things without words. Silent messaging works well with children – Bakani July Johnson Click To Tweet

If you listen in on doll play, your child communicates with what she sees. If her dolly is wearing beads she will have a conversation about that. The idea was to have dolls that are relevant to the children, thus when one looks at the dolls, they will realize that some have tutu skirts and modern symbols which represents a ‘modern girl’ whereas others are dressed in traditional Tswana regalia.

Great dolls bring the thought of history, self, and admiration. Children from different ethnicities benefit from playing with dolls that are a different skin tone, make and versatility.

Though dolls are not photocopies of the individual, we believe that to a small child the most important thing is that her little dolly is beautiful just like her, validating who she is and how she relates to herself.

The role I see my dolls playing in a Motswana girl’s life

This product, created by an African woman for African children is girl-centered for now and is self-esteem/self-efficacy based.

More than play, the dolls are seen as communication tools that instill gender and ethnic pride as a foundation for social skills. What you see and is preached becomes a norm. If everyone talks about ‘light-skinned’ being better, children will want that.

I want parents to hand the dolls to the children without influencing the children’s taste about them. 

I have involved a few people in the crafting of the dolls from those that design the clothes to those that do the hair and packaging.

I am very committed from an economic point of view to create an ecosystem that will hire many people because the project has a lot of potential for growth.

I want a situation where the dolls will have ambassadors so that the young ones can appreciate the mortal presentations of the dolls, just the way they experience the princesses that they see at places like Disneyland.

I will build the momentum and I am open to ideas to help develop the brand even further. I am sending out a call to all African and Botswana girls to join the brand as re-sellers and distributors for their countries.

How I manufacture my dolls…

I have involved a few people in the crafting of the dolls, from those who design the clothes to those who do the hair and packaging.

Unfortunately, in Africa we don’t have companies that work with vinyl for doll making, so we have been forced to outsource.

However, we do have tailors and designers, crochet ladies and shoemakers working on other aspects of the dolls locally.

How the dolls have been recieved by people so far

The success of the dolls has transcended borders and continents, and they have reached international markets.

Botswana has been amazing! The relevance is clearly understood, the need is very apparent and we can only express gratitude for all the support.

Media has been keen at each stage of their development, and young, hopeful Batswana are eagerly working to join the brand and with open arms, we are welcoming ideas and collaborations.

The dolls are currently available across Botswana, as well as re-sellers in Johannesburg, the Netherlands and the United States of America.

We have worked with brands like the Netball World Youth Cup, International Women in Sport, Botswana Tourism Organization and we are currently working on a project with Botswana Netball.

The growth of the business will definitely be stimulated by partnerships.  Partnering at different levels with others is beneficial.

I am working with so many individuals who want to run with certain aspects of the product and I have never been as relieved as the agreements come to fruition. I know now I cannot do it alone! 


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

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The Tourism Queen of Botswana


Reinventing tourist experiences in Botswana

Cynthia Mothelesi is blazing a trail and carving out a unique space with bespoke experiences in the tourism landscape of Botswana.

She is somewhat of an ‘evolving soul’, constantly seeking out ways to deepen her life experiences and provide an opportunity for others to do the same with her travel agency, Happy Soul Adventures.

Trained as a graphic designer, she spent three years lecturing before deciding to expand her horizons. She applied for a job at the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO), where she served as Marketing Manager for seven years.

Her experiences at BTO were an opportunity for her to travel, sharpen her marketing and PR skills and forge valuable relationships.

She then realized that there was a gap in the tourism sector, which became the catalyst for her foray into business. 

Cynthia Mothelesi uses her creativity and business savvyness to create bespoke experiences that allow her guests to engage with the soul, beauty and people of Botswana in an unimposing, intimate way. 

Connect with Cynthia and her business on her website and social media


What inspired you to go into tourism?

I saw so many opportunities and I realized that there were a lot of gaps in the industry that we were not tapping into.

In Botswana, we see tourism as going on safari, and we really only see it as valid in the Chobe or Okavango. However, I think that tourism has so many facets – @mothelesi Click To Tweet

While I was at BTO, I followed the AirBnB culture because I love hosting. Then in 2017, I decided to venture out on my own because I realized that I could grow. It could be enough for myself and I could do more with the experience and passion that I have.

How did you come up with the idea for Happy Soul Adventures?

I began by focusing on my Airbnb listing, and every week I would have guests from all over the world coming to stay with me. Most times, I would host them at my house, but I didn’t just want to give them accommodation.

I wanted to share what Botswana is all about – @mothelesi Click To Tweet

I wanted to tell them my Botswana story, especially in terms of our people. Not wanting them to just see Botswana as wildlife and safaris, but rather for them to come away knowing that we were more than what the Western media depicts us to be.

That experience taught me a lot and I decided that I would focus 100% on Happy Soul Adventures.

What kinds of tours / experiences do you offer?

Sometimes I take my guests on a city tour. It would include going to nightclubs like Zoom, or to a local pub, George’s, for karaoke night. We may go to Kilimanjaro, which has a place that sells really amazing local food.

I also have clients who come to learn how to milk a goat or bake bread the traditional way. Guests can learn how to do pottery or make a tapestry. It really goes to show that we have a beautiful story to share and that there is value that can be found in it.

What do you keep in mind when you design your tours?

I really want my guests to immerse themselves in our stories. I feel like we Africans can do more to celebrate who we are as people. We tend to shun our own culture and I want to rather celebrate what makes us unique.

Happy Soul Adventures also engages with communities. I don’t want to run a company that is only about me making a profit. So it is more of a collaborative effort.

With collaboration, we are able to build and grow more. Happy Soul Adventures is about connecting people.

What is the most important thing that you want your guests to take away from your tours?

I want people to be able to interact and break down social divides. I feel that at the end of the day, we are all human. – @mothelesi Click To Tweet

I want my guests to be able to experience this. I realized that people are looking for something new for the soul. People love simple, soulful and enriching experiences and I am happy that the responses have been great.

What does Botswana have to offer the world that is unique?

I realized that what we at home think is ‘backward’ or ‘unsophisticated’ is actually something that is unique about us. The fact that we take things slow, and keep things organic is something that people actually love about Botswana.

Guests who visit Mogobane village for example, really love the peace and quiet because it isn’t something that they get to experience often. They really get time to connect with themselves.

So, the most unique selling point about Botswana is that we are very peaceful, quiet and laid-back. It gives people the opportunity to reconnect with their soul and really get to love themselves even more.

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


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That money you want is in someone’s account: Amba Eyang – Ajakaye

Not every “celebrity” is known. There are powerful women who are not just breaking glass ceilings, but also impacting the lives of people they meet.

One of such extraordinary women is Amba Eyang-Ajakaiye, a Brand Storyteller and Business Strategist.

She is the founder of iDare.NotDread Nigeria, a social engineering platform promoting innovation, creativity, and enterprise through storytelling and value sharing.

She is also team lead of the Build My Business initiative born out of iDare.NotDread’s enterprise. Centered on building skills and capacities for young people in the business.

This project launched grand ideas such as the BMB Expo and BMB Training school (online) in 2017.

Amba has gone from transforming ordinary people who would have never thought of writing their own books, to making them authors.

She’s also supporting small businesses to achieve scalability and growth especially, by helping them identify and understand the importance of “target markets” and “market validation”.

In this interview with SLA contributor – Wuraola, Amba Eyang-Ajakaiye bares it all about IDare.NotDread and highlights why small business owners should “do it afraid”.


Do it Afraid. Fight your limitations – Amba Eyang-AjakaiyeI Click To Tweet

Tell us about your company – IDare.NotDread

iDare.NotDread is a social Enterprise promoting innovation, creativity, and enterprise in Nigeria.

Our focus is primarily to build women communities and empower them with creative and innovative skills for business growth.

What’s one business tip you wish most business owners knew and could wield to their advantage?

Network. Meet people.

That money you want is in someone’s account. That unspoken challenge can be solved by someone. Attend workshops, events, and meet people. Most people don’t bite.

How can entrepreneurs begin to understand the power of conducting market validation, and collaboration with other SMEs?

I believe in collaboration. This is why I try to build communities. We started the Abuja food community in May, and its amazing to see how much collaboration has happened in a group full of women.

Yet, we probably thought women prefer to fight. No. The moment businesses understand that collaboration first means ‘here is what I can give you’, before ‘give me what I want’, they will lead better businesses.

With a lot of fake business coaches around, what makes your brand different?

We didn’t just arrive. We’ve been here a while. In 2013 we started with creating a platform for entrepreneurs to share their stories and inspire others.

Over time, we realized stories weren’t enough. Capacities needed to be built.

So we went all in to try to understand the real needs of the entrepreneurs we wished to serve, and since 2016, we started contributing to conversations around digital technology and creating a good impact in the digital space.

Since then, our efforts have birthed super brands.

In the past 3 years we have successfully trained 4,000 entrepreneurs on digital strategies as well as provided opportunities for business visibility.

Many thanks to the opportunity Google granted us through the Digital Skills for Africa programme and a host of other partners who have trusted us to work with them.

Why should SMEs understand their target markets before making an entrance into the market?

Because if we don’t, we would be hitting our heads on rocks. Hard rocks.

You can’t sell to everyone, and this is why research is key to identifying who your market is.

Ever tried selling a #ManchesterUnited jersey to an #Arsenal fan? It's just blind selling. Read more from Amba Eyang-Ajakaiye Click To Tweet

Tell us about your Ebook Challenge

Its amazing! I launched my first ever ebook on March 2019, titled ‘How to write your first eBook‘ and that’s where the ebook challenge began.

We are currently on our 3rd cohort and it’s been amazing!!! Every 2 months we launch a new set of authors who are super proud of their achievements. It feels great to empower people to create wealth with their knowledge.

We are looking to expand the community beyond eBooks to help more women create diverse digital products and generate more income.

How does the “Do It Afraid” catchphrase relate to entrepreneurs who don’t like taking risks?

We all have fear in us. It’s an emotion. I am still learning to tame my fears. And we all should. The best way to go about it is to go ahead and do that very thing you fear.

I have coached a number of businesses and one of the areas I tend to focus on is to help them fight those limitations – the little voices and beliefs that make them feel less of themselves and limited.

It’s important we act despite fear. Accept your fears but act.

What’s the worst that could happen? Failure? Then show me one person who NEVER failed.


Why Your Business Ideas Aren’t Working

By ensuring that your goals are S.M.A.R.T, you set yourself up to experience the thrill of an achievement that will become a motivation for future successes.

Did you know that you can give 110% effort and fail miserably, even with a good business idea?

I’ve seen it more times than I can count. An eager entrepreneur has a brilliant idea and quickly forges ahead, only to come back disappointed that things did not work out.

By the time they come to that realization, they have likely invested a lot of money, energy and time that they will never get back.

Entrepreneurs going through this experience usually assume that they are simply not cut out for entrepreneurship.

It is at this point that I dig a little deeper into their execution process and I find that the real problem was that the idea or goal was underdeveloped, leading to poor execution. It was a set-up for failure from the start.

I then have the task of talking the entrepreneur off the ledge by explaining that there may have been nothing wrong with their effort, resources or intentions. The reason for the apparent failure was likely that the goal was an inherently bad goal.

When it comes to execution in business, a good goal is not just noble in its intention, but it also S.M.A.R.T.

It is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Ensuring that your goal meets these criteria increases the likelihood of success.

It eliminates wasted time and hones in on the best strategy for success.

Specific goals break down your general goals into manageable pieces so that they are easier to achieve. A great example of this might be to increase your annual revenue.

“Increase revenue in 2019” is a noble general goal.

An even better goal is to “increase revenue in 2019 by identifying profit leaks and creating monthly marketing campaigns in order to obtain new clients.”

Using that example, it’s easy to see how an entrepreneur can go from casting a wide net and taking a chance on what sticks, to identifying a specific strategy for success.

Even that specific goal can be further developed as you think about other factors that will affect the outcome.

By adding metrics and changing the goal to “increase revenue by 40% in 2019, by identifying profit leaks and creating monthly marketing campaigns in order to obtain new clients,” the direction and initial action steps are even clearer.

This way, there is little room for wasted resources and time.

The attainable and realistic factors in the S.M.A.R.T. formula are subjective factors determined by the individual’s readiness to start working on their goals.

An entrepreneur who does not have a marketing budget needs to first raise the money or create a budget for marketing before embarking on the goal above.

Without a budget for a robust campaign, attempting to increase revenue by creating marketing campaigns will prove futile.- @andrena_sawyer Click To Tweet

It seems obvious enough, but many entrepreneurs still do not count the cost before they set their foot on the pavement.

The last piece of the formula is timeliness. This ensures that the person setting the goal has a sense of urgency and can fend off complacency when working toward their goal.

It is easy to overlook this final piece, but it is just as critical as the others because it has two extremes: too much time allotted for the goal, and not enough time.

When there is too much time, it is easy to fall into traps of procrastination and complacency. These are traps that force individuals to believe they have more time to do the work than they actually do.

They lose their sense of urgency, which opens the door for others to leverage their ideas, or for a competitor to get to a product launch before they do. The other extreme is not to give yourself enough time.

No goal is perfect, and neither is every process, and there is room for imperfection. – @andrena_sawyer Click To Tweet

By rushing toward the goal, entrepreneurs stand the risk of sabotaging by not properly assessing the risks and all of the factors necessary for success.

After all, there’s value for the entrepreneur in trial and error and even failure.

However, by ensuring that your goals are S.M.A.R.T., you set yourself up to experience the thrill of achievement that will become a motivation for future successes.

Adelaide Odhiambo: The experience I gained as an employee has helped me run my own business

If sitting at your desk, working on the same thing month after month year after year, chips at your soul, it can feel like Lingchi, the Chinese form of murder where 1000 small cuts are made all over someone’s body over a period of time, a very slow painful demise.

Or perhaps, your job is constantly threatened and you are not sure if you will survive the next decimation. In the face of all this, it is tempting to dump it, take a leap and start a business.

As you contemplate becoming self-employed, read how Adelaide Odhiambo, left a prominent position to start Bluewave Insurance.

In just two years, this firm, in partnership with Kenya’s biggest insurance company, has launched Imarisha Jamii a micro insurance product targeting low-income earners.  


On taking the leap…

Taking the leap is not easy it means coming out of your comfort zone and forging into the unknown. What ‘would-be’ entrepreneurs do is, they toy with the idea and talk about it endlessly to everybody and anybody.

They never move to conceptualization mainly out of fear. Jim Carrey in his commencement speech of 2014 said, “we choose fear disguised as practicality. We think what we want is impossible to reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never ask.”

That is the tragedy of ‘would-be’ entrepreneurs, they see the leap as one move which increases their fear, understandably, because of the risk. Instead of thinking of the leap as one massive move to launch the business, it could be several baby-steps made over a period of time that finally realizes the dream.

As Adelaide was studying actuarial science at Nairobi University, and even after getting her first job, she dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur.

“Jubilee insurance asked us to come up with ideas that could improve the insurance space, I immediately started thinking and begun to notice problems in the insurance industry. We were using an archaic system that still relied on people working the back office to manually key information into the computer.

Then driving to and from work I noticed how poor people were the most vulnerable yet could not afford insurance.”

Then the idea hit her, to use technology, to provide cost-effective insurance for the poor. “I decided, instead of submitting the idea, to develop it.” It would take 15 years for the business to take off.

On gaining experience

“The experience I gained as an employee has helped me run the business. At Jubilee Insurance, I was shadowing two CEO’s so every time they went for a strategic meeting I would be with them.

It demystified running an organization, for instance, I realized that simple decisions were sometimes sufficient to move forward the largest insurance company in the country.”

After a while, Adelaide went to Apollo worked as head of products then landed a prestigious position with Microensure as country manager.

“Microensure was an eye opener because they do insurance in the most unconventional way. While working there I would give my spouse, who was a software developer, concepts to develop,” she said

But her employment history was not without its challenges…

“When I was put in a hostile environment, I just saw the good side. So I absorbed everything and learned as fast as possible,” she continued

Then when she realized she was not growing and the environment became untenable. so she left to start Blue Wave insurance.

“The most valuable experience I ever got as an employee was to cultivate confidence. Because when running your own outfit, at some point you may feel like you are bullshitting but I have learned to be bold despite this feeling.

The most valuable experience I ever got as an employee was to cultivate confidence - @AdelaideOdhiamb Click To Tweet

When I was employed, I remember I went for a meeting with executives of a leading telecom company. I sat in the room listening as everyone was speaking jargon, like whole sentences in abbreviations.

Truth is that I had no clue what they were saying. Then, they turned to me, as the insurance expert, because no one in the room had any idea. I spoke confidently and it was okay.

So that’s how I approach business meetings with boldness because whatever I know is of value to someone in that room, there is that one thing you know and they do not.”

On getting the business up and running in a short timeline

It is said fortune favors the prepared mind which is true for Adelaide. Because she had been working on the business, little by little, days after leaving Microensure, she was already working on a website and reaching out to past clients, relationships she had formed as an employee.

“I left paid employment with a lot of drive, and hunger to make it. I was scheduling meetings and even got a contract from one of the old customers that paid me fifty thousand.”

Building a successful business takes time and multi-billion deals don’t happen overnight, so Adelaide celebrates the small victories.

“I celebrated surviving a whole month without a salary. Celebrated the website going up. I celebrated sending 10 emails and receiving 2 responses, out of my sheer hard work.

Infact, I even celebrated that I was doing what I wanted, that was a success to me. I did not set high expectations. When people do not meet their high expectations, they get upset”. 

I did not have that ‘fear of failure’ because failure would have been not following my dream - @AdelaideOdhiamb Click To Tweet

Lean startup

Although Adelaide had an insurance background, she needed a developer to set up the enterprise.

“My husband who is a programmer, and entrepreneur, encouraged me to design the user experience, which is the initial part of programming. I learned through Google but I am still learning because every solution is different.”

The first time she put the lessons to work, fired by the drive to succeed, she did it overnight…

“I remember my husband telling me all the different elements he needed to begin programming and it sounded like Greek. So I put the kids to bed at 10 pm and I started conceptualizing the program, I slept at 3 am, it was the best night of my life.!”

On developing products on a shoestring budget…

Short of money Adelaide did what all entrepreneurs do, develop cost-saving techniques, “I had to do programming at night and business development during the day.

I was trying to do as much as possible to save. I only hired an administrative assistant who only helped out occasionally. So one needs to gauge the amount of work they can do alone but still remain sane.”

She applied the same system when testing the product, “I looked for 10 university graduates and gave them a small stipend to go out with their phone and ask people to test the product.

I would give them money for lunch, transport and paid them if they hit specific targets.  

On staying learning

All entrepreneurs have an insatiable quest for knowledge. They are consistently trying to acquire information that will grow their business,

“I love criticism. I listen, reflect and if I realize there is a problem, I change. Also, I have been part of some very interesting programs that have helped me along my entrepreneurial journey like the destruction camp at IHub incubation center where I got a mentor in the telecom field who helped me think through some ideas.

Then I have been part of GrowthAfrica hub acceleration program that taught me how to, literally, ran a business, they helped me voice out the things I had in my head.

I also got an angel investor who has been in the Telecom space for 17 years, who can be difficult to manage, but I know when I am done with him my business will be at a very different place.”

On dealing with copy cats…

Tech entrepreneurs became popular after the Global Entrepreneurs Summit was hosted in Nairobi in 2015. Many innovative solutions were created, scaled up and consequently improved lives because of an influx of funds that came as a result of the summit.

But as many innovative solutions as were created an equal number of copy cats begun flooding the market hoping to make a killing.  

“Do not let copy cats physically and mentally consume you because it can stifle your progress. But do not ignore them either. Know what is going on and strategically change. The copy cats are there to make you better because you realize that you are not in a safe space and need to work harder and move faster.”

On finding a balance

One of the hardest things for any startup entrepreneur is to take time out, since there is always something that needs to be sorted, yet it is necessary because if one collapses so does the business.

When faced with an overwhelming problem Adelaide has discovered one thing that never fails, “there is a night I slept with so much pressure because something had happened in the business that was making it very shaky.

I did not sleep pondering the situation, then I woke up feeling burdened. So I decided to pray then I felt so happy and eventually found a solution.”

Like any girl, Adelaide has that one girlfriend who supports her through thick and thin…

“I just walk to her house, anytime, for a chat. She spoils me. I am always trying to solve other people’s problems: clients, kids, husband’s, but when I go to her house she makes me feel like a child, which is nice.”

Instead of grumbling to your friends about how bad your job is, start mapping out your exit strategy - @AdelaideOdhiamb Click To Tweet

Like Hillel, first-century Jewish scholar, said, “If not now, when?”


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Your lifestyle is what determines your fitness levels: Evonne Mudzingwa

Evonne Mudzingwa is a Group fitness coach trained and certified in the Asia Pacific.  She has been successful in completing several, marathons, ultra marathons including Two Oceans 56km and Comrades 90km medals.

She was born and bred in Chegutu, a small town in Zimbabwe and currently has two girls.

Eve decided to change her career in 2008 after she realized hiring a fitness coach for an event she was planning was expensive, she decided to equip herself with the skills in Fitness and exercise.

In 2008, Eve who was a professional at the time embarked on her career change in Malaysia and Singapore over a 10 year period.  Here she was trained by LesMills International.

In her spare time, Eve loves to travel, Adrenaline sports like zip lining,  bungee jumping, mountain climbing and riding her motorcycle.

In this article, she speaks about her early journey and her career as a fitness professional.


A healthy, fit entrepreneur is more alert and focused - Evonne Mudzingwa Click To Tweet

On why she choose the Asia Pacific…

‘A friend recommended the LesMills Training as it was unique, there wasn’t anyone offering it in Zimbabwe and Southern. Africa back then,  so I went for it,’ says Eve.

She went on to train as a Zumba instructor and personal instructor. She has Lesmills Certification in their training modules body combat, body step, body pump and RMP (studio cycling ).

Upon qualifying in Bodycombat, Eve realized that she needed experience and to acquire a clientele base before she could open her own establishment.

“I worked for a gym in Harare(Borrowdale Brooke) for 2 months thereafter I got my experience and enough clientele.

This experience gave me a glimpse of the void in the fitness industry. This gap was a center that understood and identified with the average, conservative voluptuous Zimbabwean woman.

This is what inspired me to open what initially was a Ladies only fitness center. The traditional gym was too intimidating and male-focused, ignoring the minority female gym goers. I wanted to bring a more personal approach to the fitness world,” she continued.

Eve states she looked around for space to establish her own center, then she came across a small building in a Sports club which had not been last used for 25years as a rugby changing room and was almost dilapidating.

“I contacted the property owners and asked to refurbish it, they were shocked but it worked. I used it for free for the first 6 months.  With this, Eve’s Fitness Studios was born.

Classes commenced in April 2009 hand the studio has evolved and grown over the past 10 years with our 10th anniversary coming up this April 2019”.

Eve’s Fitness Brand established in 2009 now encompasses the Eve fitness Studios – a quaint little fitness center that offers various training programmes.  It also has Eve’s Fitness Battles, Eves Wine Dash Series  – a lifestyle series in partnership Bushman Rock.

Eves 10km Obstacle Race Series molded on the Spartan Race Series and Vainona Running Club which hosts trademark runs namely Eve’s Mazoe Hotel Run and Eve’s Pink Marathon to raise funds for Cancer.  And recently Eve’s Fitness Training – a fitness training center for aspiring Group Fitness Instructors.

Some of her achievements…

Evonne Mudzingwa has been awarded several awards including Women Excel top 100 most successful businesswomen in 2018, ZNCC Service Industry Award, Award for Women who Roar in their Industry and Shero Women Entrepreneurship Awards.

On how body maintenance helps in day to day productivity as an entrepreneur…

A healthy, fit entrepreneur is more alert and focused.  Exercise releases endorphins which leave one feeling happier and more energetic. It also boosts one’s self-esteem, an important requirement in anyone in business.

As for me, I keep fit by doing 2hours of training every day and a 5km run on a daily basis.

My diet mostly consists of organic, high fiber food which I mainly pan-fry or boil, lots of fruits and vegetables, fish & chicken with beef or pork once a week. I also love herbal teas and snack on our mutakura (mixed boiled grains).

On how a career woman can balance between the gym, work and family life…

One only requires just a minimum of thirty minutes of exercise a day out of the 24 hours. A family working woman can go to the gym early morning whilst the household sleeps or soon after work.

Every woman needs this Metime to exhale, regroup and be a better mother, wife, and employer. I believe people make time for the things they deem important in life, one just needs to decide that their health is a priority.

There is always time.

On dispelling the societal notion that the gym is for rich people or luxurious activity…

Contrary to that misconception of the gym is an elite activity. Exercise is an important aspect of total wellness.

Understandably gyms are beyond most people’s budgets but there are various cheaper ways of exercising. Running and bodyweight strength training exercises do not cost anything and can be done anywhere.

On providing special sessions for pregnant women and people recovering from injury…

Our Programmes cater to various fitness levels including pregnant and recuperating clients. We offer options relevant to the clients special condition.

It is actually encouraged for women to train throughout their pregnancies. The ambiance at our studio inspires and motivates everyone to not give up.

I also have personal relationships with my clients making it easy to encourage them from losing their mojo.

On the Myth that frequent Gym Exercise makes women look masculine…

The myth that exercise and strength training, in particular, makes females look masculine has sadly been around for the longest time and strongly believed.

There are various kinds of training programmes to achieve different results. There are those women who actually choose to build a masculine look, these are usually bodybuilders and professional figure athletes.

To look that masculine however these women have to be on specific training programmes, restricted diet and taking the relevant supplements.

A woman just exercising is incapable of looking masculine as the female body does not have sufficient protein to build that much muscle.

Women fearing to look masculine should shy away from using heavy weights but instead opt for lighter weights but doing plenty repetitions of the same exercise. At Eve’s Fitness Studios we offer a variety of training programmes that complement each other for that balance total body workout to get a lean, fit and toned body.

A woman just exercising is incapable of looking masculine as the female body does not have sufficient protein to build that much muscle - Evonne Mudzingwa Click To Tweet

Advice for women in exercise and fitness programs…

“Fitness is not a size”.

There is this sad notion that if people are skinny then they don’t have to exercise or are automatically fitter than the bigger people. You can be a skinny unfit person, we call this skinny fat.

Equally a person can be of big built but fit. One’s lifestyle is what determines their fitness levels.

Women should support each other in business. I faced less support when I started my fitness Studios and had to work extra hard to show that what I do is the same or better than in male-led fitness Studios.


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Unlocking Success: The Advice Every Entrepreneur Must Hear

Ten years ago, if someone told me I would become a law school dropout who owns two successful businesses, I may have laughed in their face.

The only thing that may have sounded more ridiculous would have been to add that both ventures will put me in position to help hundreds of entrepreneurs start and run successful businesses every year.

Thankfully, even things that sound ridiculous can actually become reality.

The truth is, I never had much of an interest in entrepreneurship. As a child, I watched my father work tirelessly to build businesses. Some were successful. Others were not.

What sets the successful and the unsuccessful entrepreneur apart is not luck, worth ethic, or even skills, its usually the power of flexibility. - @andrena_sawyer Click To Tweet

I now know my father was not alone in his plight because Bloomberg Research suggests that 8 out of every 10 businesses fail within the first 19 months. The Small Business Administration suggests that only half of new businesses survive the first five years, while only 35% are able to survive for 10 years.

Despite my early exposure to the unfortunate side of entrepreneurship, I have come to believe that what sets the successful and the unsuccessful apart is not luck, worth ethic, or even skill.

Most times, it comes down to the power of flexibility.

When you first become an entrepreneur, you are inundated with solicited and unsolicited advice.

There is an incredible adrenaline rush that comes from seeing yourself manifest what had only been a vision in your mind for weeks, months, and sometimes even years.

Most of the advice is given with good intentions and meant to be motivational. Yet, some have absolutely no significance to you because your primary concern early on is simply to survive.

Admittedly, I don’t remember much of what was said to me when I launched my first company. However, one piece of advice that has not only stuck with me but saved my business several times is to marry the mission and date the model.

To marry your mission is to remember your why, and to maintain your covenant -so to speak- with that why. To date your model is to make flexibility a bedrock in your business. It is your how.

I learned the true meaning of this after my first year in business. The excitement and adrenaline had worn off, and the money I’d saved up for the initial capital had depleted. I now faced “real” business issues like cash flow, leadership and human resource challenges, customer service and iterating our value proposition.

To marry your mission is to remember your why, and to maintain your covenant -so to speak- with that why - @andrena_sawyer Click To Tweet

While your mission – the reason you went into business and the need that your business solves should never change, the way your business does business had better change if it is to survive.

This includes your marketing strategies, your price point, and sometimes even your company culture. All of these things are still connected to the mission, but this how allows you to stay relevant and top-of-mind.

For some of us, we went into business to disrupt the industry. We were tired of inefficiency or annoyed that a few big players were monopolizing everything, leaving no room for anyone else to play.

For others, there was a glaring need that one too many people complained about, yet no one was offering viable solutions. Then there are those of us who started a business because we recognized our gifts and talents and saw business ownership as a way to walk in our purpose.

Remembering this is critical to success. It is your mission. It lays the foundation for the story that your business will tell. However, even that why is not enough sometimes. That is where dating the model comes in.

The reality is there are many factors that influence your success as an entrepreneur.

Some of these factors like industry trends, sales cycles, current events, economic upturns and downturns, and even your organization’s capacity are sometimes beyond your control.

By adjusting your model, you develop a culture of freedom that allows your business to adapt to these changes. Ultimately, this hones your business’ survival instinct in difficult times and leverages positive trends in good times.

This ability to be adaptable could very well be the deciding factor between being part of the success statistics or the failure rates.


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How to Achieve your 2019 year resolutions

Happy New Year Motherland Moguls. Let’s jump right into the year, shall we?

More than half of all year resolutions fail, but this year, they don’t have to be yours. Many people find it difficult to maintain and accomplish their resolutions.

Here is a list of things you can do to help make sure you accomplish the goals you set for the New year, create a plan on how to reach it, and become part of the small group of people that successfully achieve their goal.

Believe in yourself

Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.”-  Samuel Johnson.

Your values in life determine your beliefs, about yourself and the world around you. When you believe in yourself and chose to be a good person you will find yourself to be more positive and successful in life.

Believing in yourself is the first step to success whether it means your life, your career, or simply your confidence, and in that lies your power.

Say it again and again

The more you say it, the more you believe it. The more you believe it, the truer it will become as you strengthen yourself and your confidence!

The beginning of a new year is a good time to make a resolution to change your behavior in some way because you know millions of people are doing the same thing. So you get positive reinforcement when family members, friends, and coworkers talk about making and trying to stick with resolutions.

You feel like you’re part of a worldwide self-improvement movement – and you are!

Be Accountable

People make better choices and perform at a higher level when they know they are being watched by others. The reasoning is simple when you are held accountable for your actions, you will work harder.

Share your goals with people around you. It’s important to have another person ask you about your progress. When there is someone else other than yourself holding you accountable, you are more likely to get your tasks completed

Track your  progress

What separates a person from achieving their goals and not achieving their goals is staying focused and being persistent in following through. There are many different ways to track your progress toward your goals.

Look at the big picture

Why do you wanna accomplish this certain thing? What is the purpose? Think about these things and answer these questions with the end result in mind. Take the time to reflect upon your goals and imagine what the big picture looks like. motivation.

Plan and Organize

Everyone has dreams and goals, but without planning and organizing what you need to do, you’ll get nowhere

Celebrate

Celebrating your wins not only feels great physically, but it reinforces the positive attitude and behavior you want to show up when you face a new challenge or opportunity.

Believing in yourself is the first step to success whether it means your life, your career - Makalela Kgotlelelo Click To Tweet


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