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.


Sponsored Post

Manage Your Money Effectively with these tips from Ifeoma Okoli

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

How To Launch & Get Paid for Your Freelance Writing Career

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

So, you want to dive into freelance writing?

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

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

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


My Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Research About Freelance Writing

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

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

2. Become Familiar With the Writing Skills and Tools Required

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

Some skills you should definitely have for freelance writing include:

> Organizational Skills

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

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

> Writing Skills

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

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

> Confidence

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

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

> Graphics & Design skills

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

> Proofreading

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

3. Practice Writing

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

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

4. Create a Portfolio of Your Work

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

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

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

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

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

5. Start Pitching to clients

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

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

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

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

6. Hustle Queen!

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

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

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

7. Stay Learning!

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

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


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

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.


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

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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Meet the four black women making a name for themselves in the wine industry through ‘Wine-ish’

“We’ve spent the last three years coming together every Wednesday to connect over our future plans and our shared love for beautiful experiences – always in the presence of wine. From this, Wine-ish was born.”

Wine-ish is a dynamic group of 4 black women occupying the world of wine, one glass at a time.

Palesa Mapheelle, Obakeng Monamodi, Buhlebezwe Ndaba and Hlumelo Williams came together as friends on a casual Wednesday, also known as ‘Winesday’, to share their goals, dreams and everyday experiences.

156 Winesday’s later, they decided to form Wine-ish; a platform that has become a hub for all things wine and business, soon to disrupt the industry.

Wine-ish takes you on a visual journey of South Africa’s rich world of wine and related experiences through the lens of young, vibrant women of color.

The name choice is quite unique and has an interesting meaning behind it. Not only does the team focus on the technical understanding of viniculture and “Wine”, but the “Ish” in the name is also just as important to them; representing the side of them that is simply 4 young women navigating life together with all of its ups and downs.

Wine-ish is deeply rooted in and propelled by the connection the four of them share as friends, before anything else.

To us, our ‘Ish’ is just as important as our ‘Wine’. We’re not only about Merlot vs. Sauvignon Blanc, notes & flavours – we’re also about sisterhood, creating a hub for people to connect and relate to our experience – @wine__ish. Click To Tweet

As a business, Wine-ish aims to debunk wine and the drinking of it, all while making it more accessible to an emerging market who want to learn and experience more about it.

They don’t want to be seen as experts, but as people who are constantly learning and challenging the norms of the industry.

The zestful, youthful and vibrant energy of the team has always been what differentiates them from the firm and rigid industry they’re trying to create a space in, and it has been nothing but refreshing.

Infiltrating the industry has had its challenges but seeing the growth of people of color creating their own brands and wineries has left the team hopeful in making sure they will transform and create a positive disruption for themselves and in partnership with like-minded, forward-thinking collaborators.

“We remain true to a core mission of ours which is to expose ourselves and people like us to the world of wine” 

So, watch this space, because Wine-ish is going to be coming in strong with a lot more to show you.

For more on Wine-ish, their incredible brand, and upcoming projects; follow them on Instagram and Twitter.