SHEAMOISTURE SPOTLIGHT ON THE FASHIONPRENEUR: SEKINAT AMOO – CEO OMBRE WOMAN

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

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

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

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

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

About Sekinat Amoo

Sekinat Amoo is the CEO and founder of Ombré Woman.

Despite having an academic background in science and research, Sekinat made a switch and started Ombré Woman to provide classy ready-to-wear pieces for women.

Ombré Woman is a female-led and for women fashion brand that empowers women by helping them look and feel their best without compromising on style and comfort.

After spotting a gap in the fashion industry for ready-to-wear pieces, Sekinat decided to start Ombré Woman to provide stylish and comfortable ready to wear clothes infused with African prints.

Her goal is to make very fashionable pieces to help women become more confident and look their best, without losing their comfort.

You can connect with Sekinat and her business on Instagram


What motivated you to start Ombré Woman?

I started my brand because I had a passion to empower and build confidence in women through their everyday looks.

I also spotted a gap in the fashion market for work and casual wear infused subtly with rich African prints, which really inspired my fashion journey.

My desire to help women look and feel their best also led me to add an extra touch to the clothes I make. I made a decision to infuse the fabrics with rich African prints in order to create unique, trendy pieces that can be worn over and over again.

The clothes are specifically made to flatter the feminine silhouette and be multifunctional so that they can be worn in the workplace or elsewhere.

SheaMoisture

What makes your brand stand out?

There are quite a few things that have helped Ombré Woman stand out, from our unique business type to how easy and accessible we’ve made our clothes for our clients. We are also very committed to giving back to the community and helping other women with our business.

Some of the ways we’ve ensured our brand stands out in the saturated fashion industry are:

  • My brand is built as a “for women and run by women only” business.
  • Our business has a prime, central and accessible location for our clients.
  • We offer customization services for our Ready-To-Wear (RTW) items, which gives our clients control over how they look and feel in our pieces.
  • Also, we ensure that our clients receive their clothes when and how it was promised. Absolutely no disappointments!
  • We empower other women through direct employment and artisans by giving them scrap materials to make their designs with.

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

One major issue we had was getting the right people to build the business. After a few fails, we took a step back and started to recruit our staff through trusted government agencies. On our own part, we provide them with incentives that add value to their lives.

Another thing was getting high-quality materials for making clothes. This was a big issue because not having the materials we needed meant that the clothes won’t get made. So what we do now is use a few local vendors whom we found. We also supplement with international alternatives when we can’t find what we need locally.

When it came to business finance as well, I wasn’t the most knowledgeable person and I didn’t want my business to suffer. To combat this, I did a lot of reading, took courses and sought external input as well where necessary.

SheaMoisture

How have you been able to stay or rise above the noise in this industry?

For me, I have remained very focused on our “why,” which is to ensure that we are helping our clients look and feel beautiful every day.

We also ensure that we are delivering the best quality they can have at an affordable price. Lastly, we are constantly evaluating our business processes and training our staff to ensure that our service is top-notch.

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

When I just began my business, I had a big issue with budgeting and it almost affected my cashflow.

Since I all of a sudden experienced a rise in my personal expenses, it was a bit too much to handle at first and almost became an issue. When I got the situation under control, it taught me how to plan better. I now plan my yearly budgets and funds allocation for the business ahead so that there are no surprises.

SheaMoisture

How have you impacted your community since starting this business?

As I mentioned earlier, my brand is very invested in giving back to the community in general and women in particular.

Some of the ways we have done this is through providing employment via direct and indirect forms of labour. We also offer paid internships for our newly trained staff.

To reduce any form of waste and help with sustainable recycling, we also send our scrap pieces back to local artisans. The artisans are able to use them to make a living by making items like pillows, rugs and carpets.

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

I had two major goals for 2019 and they were to first launch and promote a ready to wear line and the second is to launch a school uniform line.

For the first goal, we currently have an ongoing campaign to promote our debut collection. For the second goal, we are currently visiting schools with samples for uniform production.

Can you share 3 interesting facts about yourself?

Well to start with, I have a purely science and research background (from secondary school to my Masters Degree). Another is that I love to cook and organize spaces.

Lastly, I love to travel and try new types of food (I’m quite adventurous with food).

SheaMoisture

What’s your favorite skin, hair or self-care routine?

I’m a low maintenance kind of lady, so anything that gets me out the door quickly is my favorite routine.

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

Ecstatic! It’s a great opportunity to showcase our brand to so many Motherland Moguls and we are very grateful to SLA and SheaMoisture.

Mention one word that should come to people’s minds when they think about your product/service

Classy

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Meet Lynda Odoh

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tell us how you started Healthify Africa.

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

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

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

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

SheaMoisture

What was your motivation for finally starting your business?

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

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

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

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

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

What makes your brand stand out?

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


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

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

SheaMoisture

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

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

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

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

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

SheaMoisture

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

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

How do you stay above the noise in your industry?

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

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

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

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

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

SheaMoisture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are three interesting things about you?

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

SheaMoisture

What’s your favorite self-care routine?

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

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

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

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

Authentic!

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


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6 Reasons Entrepreneurs are Vulnerable to Mental Health Issues

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

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

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

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

Let’s talk about Mental Health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The mental health crisis in start-ups

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

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

1. Fear of failure/uncertainty

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

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

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

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

2. Social isolation

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

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

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

3. Stress

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

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

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

4. Impression management

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

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

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

5. Inadequate resources to address mental health

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

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

6. Too many expectations

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

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

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

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


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

How to rise above disappointments like a boss

There is this weakness that comes with disappointments or failure. One cannot really tell if it’s that kind of ‘general body weakness’ or something that goes beyond that. Something inexplicable.

That kind of feeling that makes one feel static, with little or no zeal to move forward. No doubt failure is often accompanied by disappointments and a lot of pain, which leads to unfulfillment or even depression.

Here are some ways to deal with and rise above these situations


Never Give Failure Power Over You!

It’s important for us to note that failure only has as much power as we give it. No! This is not saying you should immediately be filled with joy, slot in your best song and start dancing like nothing happened. (Well, you can do this if it works for you)

However, the point here is, the day we determine to deal with those failures and move on, is the day we actually move on.

Dealing with failure entails dealing with the dark clouds of disappointments, and the pain that comes with it.

Until this is done, every other thing will seem stagnant, as one may not have the drive to move on to the next phase of life.

Life is a Teacher! Take Notes

We see books on ‘Secrets To Success’ here and there, but I think there should also be books on ‘Secrets To Failure’.

This is not to guide one ‘into failure’ but ‘across it’. Knowing the bumps, as well as dos and donts of getting across where true success lies.

When we know the secret to failure in a particular field, it will be easier to either avoid or overcome it. For now, life remains the one school that teaches all, with no exception to failure.

This is the reason, moving on doesn’t just require leaving a particularly rough phase without taking anything along. Most failures leave us with nothing but lessons.

Whether these lessons are positive or negative doesn’t matter. What matters is for one to take note of these pitfalls, in preparation for the next phase of life.

Learn To Move On!

There is never a time life would take a pause because of one’s disappointments. So, the greatest evil we can do to ourselves after experiencing failure is to hold on too tight to it, that life leaves us behind.

Yes, bring it out! Pour out the emotions even if it means letting the tears escape your eyes, but after all these, move on! Even if you have to start inch by inch.

Change Your Narrative Now

Life happens, but how often do we happen too, after a particular setback in our relationships, businesses, careers or just our overall private life.

Often times what we do when life happens negatively is sit in the pain, perhaps in the midst of sympathizers and wait for things to keep happening to us, as it pleases.

The table can be turned around when you join the league of people who change their narratives. They may fall at some point, but they choose the better option of rising again.

They take their lives in their own hand with a sense of purpose.
They do not remain ‘nouns’ in a world that is a ‘verb’ itself. They move!

Success has no tribe, race or gender. Ironically, failure is even one of the major factor binding the history of most winners all over the world today.

When you fall, there are two choices- either you sit on the ground (till a good Samaritan come to pick you up) or rise and move on.

Moving on doesn’t mean one won’t feel the pain or shame of falling.

Moving on only indicates you’re in control of life, rather than life being in control of you, and this will definitely facilitate reaching your intended desired result.

Start happening! Stop waiting for things to happen. Change your narrative and live again!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Tolu Adeleke-Aire

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

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

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

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

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

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

ToluTheMidwife Healthcare Solutions, how did you start?

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



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

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

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

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

What was your motivation?

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

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

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

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

What makes your brand stand out?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We also constantly monitor maternal needs and trends.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can you share with us three interesting facts about yourself?

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

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

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

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

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


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


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Manage Your Money Effectively with these tips from Ifeoma Okoli

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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How To Launch & Get Paid for Your Freelance Writing Career

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

So, you want to dive into freelance writing?

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

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

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


My Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Research About Freelance Writing

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

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

2. Become Familiar With the Writing Skills and Tools Required

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

Some skills you should definitely have for freelance writing include:

> Organizational Skills

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

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

> Writing Skills

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

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

> Confidence

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

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

> Graphics & Design skills

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

> Proofreading

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

3. Practice Writing

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

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

4. Create a Portfolio of Your Work

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

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

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

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

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

5. Start Pitching to clients

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

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

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

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

6. Hustle Queen!

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

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

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

7. Stay Learning!

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

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


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Can Your Business Survive Without You? Here’s How To Be Sure

If we were sitting down for coffee and I ask what you believe to be the most important factor for success in business, what would you say?

If you’re like most people, you might respond that it’s something along the lines of perseverance, determination or talent.

What if I told you that while these things are valuable, they do not determine success? There is a more telling factor.

The true key to a successful business lies in the strength of its infrastructure – @andrena_sawyer Click To Tweet

But, what exactly is infrastructure? The simple answer is that it’s your design and blueprint.

It is made of the basic facilities and structures of the business and includes everything from software and services, to operational procedures. It is the work you do on the business that allows you to work in your business.

Imagine taking a one-week vacation. What happens to your operations? Would your team know what to do in your absence?

Would your customers panic? If the answer to the last two questions is yes, then you’re currently lacking a sustainable infrastructure.

I get it: most of us do not like creating systems. They can be boring, tedious, and may appear unnecessary.

If you’re a clothing designer, you went into business to bring your designs and creativity to life.

However, if you’re a life coach, you want to help others improve their quality of life, not to work on systems.

Again, I get it but imagine not being able to do the thing you love because most of your time is spent putting out fires, experiencing burnout, or making up procedures on a whim.

Creating good business systems allows you to automate your processes, increase productivity and improve effectiveness – @andrena_sawyer Click To Tweet

For example, think about the transportation and tax systems in our country.

While we may not like it, we have to pay parking meters, tolls, and vehicle taxes to commute within our communities. The expectation is that the money is used to build and maintain our streets and neighborhoods.

Similarly in your business, developing an intricate infrastructure creates sustainability through interdependent processes.

There is a common adage that is not wise to put your cart before your horse. That has never been more relevant than in this context.

Your cart is your thriving business—in a state that allows you to do what you love to do. Your horse is your infrastructure. The more robust it is, the more likely your business can go the distance.

I have had the pleasure of consulting with hundreds of entrepreneurs. The concern I hear most often is that people feel like they are reactively going through the motions, rather than positioning themselves for proactive oversight.

My advice is always the same: build your business from within. The time and resources spent on this approach will determine the health and success of everything else.


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High-Level Networking 101: How to Spark a Conversation that can Lead to Long Term Impact

Everyone knows that high-level networking is a critical part of building a successful business, project, or brand.

Decision-makers at all levels want to feel confident in the person they are hiring or bringing on board for their projects, and in many cases, all it takes is one chance meeting to seal the deal.

It is also common knowledge that high-level networking is awkward. That uncomfortable feeling of scanning a room and deciding who to walk up to, what to say, and how to present yourself.

High-Level Networking is a true art form, that requires both practice, and trial and error in order to find your own secret sauce.

I attend lots of events, so I am always on the giving and receiving end of that first greeting.

Here are some high-level networking tips that can help you break the ice, keep a good conversation flowing, and ensure a rapid follow up -@lizgrossman87 Click To Tweet

Dress your best, be unique and spark confidence:

Simply put, when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, your confidence shines through.

Need I say more? I also recommend wearing something unique that grabs the attention of others.

In my case, I typically wear one of my custom made African pieces because it’s both flattering, and also always acts as a conversation starter allowing me to share a bit about myself right off the bat.

You may have an article of clothing or accessory that always gets complimented, wear that and it will almost always serve as an icebreaker.

Do your homework

Make sure you find out as much about the event as you can before going. Who is organizing it, who is attending and what opportunities are you looking for?

Prepare different pitches you can potentially deliver to attendees, bring the appropriate materials (brochures, pens, business cards, etc), and focus on your goals.

Knowing what you want to say and showing up prepared will increase your confidence, showcase your level of seriousness and leave little room for frivolity.

Be natural, not transactional and pushy

People like to joke, smile, converse and mingle without feeling pressure, and the most impactful connections start like that. 

You want people to be attracted to your personality, and not feel hounded by business right from the get-go. The key is to place an emphasis on relationship building.

Earlier this year at a crowded event, I ended up sitting next to a lovely woman, sharing a few laughs over coffee while the event carried on.

Later, I learned that she is a very high ranking official at the UN, but our relationship had already been solidified in a friendly, convivial tone. When you get to the event, go get yourself a drink or a snack, relax.

Don’t focalize on the VIPs. 

Please, you do not want to be the first one to bumrush the speakers after they immediately after they finish their presentation- they will not remember you.

I have watched attendees wait fifteen-thirty minutes for their chance to simply say hello or offer their praises to my clients, wasting an opportunity to make more meaningful connections in the room. 

Networking Tip: Meet the people sitting next to you, because those are usually the ones who will be on the stage at the next event – @lizgrossman87 Click To Tweet

If you would like to introduce yourself to one of the heavy hitters, patiently wait your turn. Know what you want to say, find a reason to follow up, and find the best method to get in touch.

Have an appropriate business card etiquette.

Effective networking is not about collecting or distributing a million cards, so the first thing you do should never be to hand out or ask for a business card.

After you have established a connection and potential for collaboration, that is a good time to hand them your card. If they do not have one, but you wish to follow up, ask them for their email address or phone number on the spot.

If that does not happen, connect immediately following the event on social media with a follow-up message.

Follow up within 24 hours

Most people forget that networking does not stop at the event, it requires diligent and thoughtful follow up.  Jot down notes during the event about the people you have met, and write them the next day to recap your conversation and propose a next action point.

This could be as simple as staying in touch, suggesting a meeting, or a direct ask about something which was discussed.

Since people are busy and attend many functions, it needs to be done within 24 hours to ensure they remember you and your conversation. 

Finally…

Always remember to stay calm and cool. Chances are slim that you will land your dream job or sign a big investment deal at a high-level networking event, but they are great places to plant the seeds that can grow into your next opportunity. 

Always remember your value, make friends, and have some fun. It may turn out that people start lining up to hand you their business cards!


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7 ways to make your space more liveable without breaking the bank – by Banke Ajagunna

Banke Ajagunna is the Founder of Decor Nigeria; an interior design company that specializes in designing functional and aesthetically appealing spaces for corporate and individual clients.

When you hear young professional, the first thing that comes to mind is budget. We’ve all been there and some of you are still there.

That being said, with the minimum wage in our Motherland, design for a young professional may seem far-reaching and unattainable.

In this article, Banke shares a few ways to make your space more liveable without breaking the bank.


Wall profiles

Wall profiles (also known as wainscoting) are usually seen as expensive because you only get to see them at high-end stores or homes but they are really not as pricey as you’d think.

They can be very affordable when made locally. Wall profiles make for a fantastic alternative wall finish than good ol’ wallpapers.

Additionally, if you are an old soul and intrigued about design in the 18th century – signifying a period of opulence and extravagance- wall profiles could give you that beautiful renaissance feels that you’ve always dreamed about.

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Space

Make the most out of every space, they come freely but like free things, you might not appreciate it till it’s gone.

You may be tempted to stuff a lot of unnecessary decorative pieces in your home but don’t fall for it; ISSA TRAP!

Declutter as much as possible to give your room the much-needed airiness. Also, the spaces that bridge the gap between inside and outside can become the greatest allies in designing.

Restyling your balcony, back deck with natural furniture, plants if you like, will create an added extension to your home.

Wall shelves

You can easily put this together with a piece of wood and wall brackets for support. This design tip is very flexible and adaptable as it gives you the chance to choose your preferred style and also paint it to any color that suits your taste, anytime.

Wall shelves can be placed in the living area or the bedroom. Books, accent pieces can be kept on this shelf, making it look full but beautifully arranged.

Mirror

Mirrors have earned status as an effective interior design tool used to fulfill practical purposes and a multitude of creative motives.

Whether you want to add a polished touch to your interiors, make a statement with wall art or amplify light and space, a thoughtfully chosen, a well-positioned mirror is an answer.

A mirror in your space simply lets the light in, placing it next to a window or opposite a window increases the amount of light cast inside a room, thereby making the space if small, appear larger. It can be used in a shallow room, hallway, bedroom, etc.

Pro Tip: Place your mirror strategically so it reflects the best part of your room.

Repurpose Furniture

Grandma’s bookshelves and tables are great items to repurpose. A good coat of paint will completely change the look of a piece and allow you to fit it into any space.

A pair of old end tables can be painted and given a contrasting top to make an entertaining coffee table or dining room table.

Using pieces that have been used before and reimagine them in a modern way, and depending on the design style, it can also be refurbished to look antique. Sofas and armchairs can also be reupholstered in a new fabric to give a more modern look.

Infuse Some Greenery

A lot of interior styles now includes bringing the outside, inside. It has become a full-on movement in interior designing and has tons of benefits, from mood-boosting to cleaner air.

Bringing natural plants it isn’t the only way to decorate with plants, you can still do so with a plant print wallpaper. Luckily this method is quite in vogue and gives you all the same peaceful and happy feelings as live plants.

Artificial plants are a plausible alternative to live plants because they require little or no maintenance and can also give your home a greenhouse vibe.

Art Prints

Art prints are a cost-effective way to bring color and texture into your space while also making you look like a connoisseur of fine things.

Here, you need to be a bit selective because some art pieces shouldn’t be seen on your wall; they are just too busy and distasteful.

Think of art as the stylistic icing on the cake that is your home and is sure to select what you like. Always consider the ideal scale and proportions when installing your artwork.

For instance, small art prints can be placed in clusters or you can centralize a single large piece of art at eye level thereby making it the focal point of your room.

White Beddings Are A Must

Hard to maintain but it’s a trick that keeps on giving. You are probably wondering how a couple of plain white sheets will make a difference in your home.

White is the lightest color, it is very achromatic and is associated with light, goodness, purity, innocence, etc. They may seem basic and boring but a most noteworthy benefit is that using white bedspreads helps soften and counter the other colors in a room; bringing it all together.

If you are not sold yet, you can add colored throws and cushions to make it look cozier.

On the plus side, it looks quite hotel-like and inviting.

Final Notes: If you follow these tips, you might be tempted to call in sick at work just so you laze around in bed but that might not be a good idea.

However, you can rest assured that you will always return to a warm and cozy home after a long day at work. Nothing beats this feeling!

For more interior design tips and tricks, visit www.decor.ng. Photo credits: Pinterest

This article was written by Banke Ajagunna.

Banke Ajagunna

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