6 ways to break down boundaries to becoming a successful entrepreneur

There is nothing women can’t do.

Surely, there are so many hindrances that women in business face. However, when it comes to race, the number of black women entrepreneurs have greatly increased over the past decades.

According to the Census Bureau, eight million businesses in the United States are owned by people from minority groups, and 2.5 million of these are owned by African-American (which makes them the only racial or ethnic group with the highest number of business ownerships).

Also, in the very recent State of Women-Owned Business Report, the number of firms owned by black women grew by 164%. 

We all know it, there is nothing women can’t do. While the stakes are higher, you can break down the boundaries and become a successful entrepreneur.

How?

1. Embrace diversity

Before you make other people believe in you, you first have to believe in yourself. Instead of seeing it as a barrier, you have to embrace your diversity and use it as a competitive advantage.

Take note that diversity goes beyond gender, nationality, color, or race. We have to embrace our uniqueness, be proud of our strengths, and turn our weaknesses into opportunities. 

2. Be passionate about what you do

When you love what you are doing, you gain the courage to look past the challenges and the discouragement from other people. To succeed in business, you’ve got to have a strong mission.

Why do you want to start a business?

Successful entrepreneurs have many things in common. One is their sense of purpose. Of course, an obvious reason is to gain profit.

But there certainly has to be a reason much higher than that which motivates you to pursue what you do.

3. Accept that failure is part of it

You’ve heard stories about business tycoons bouncing back from their failures and have turned out to be better entrepreneurs.

You won’t believe how founders of giant companies like Twitter, Huffington Post, LinkedIn, and PayPal all went through massive failures, costing them millions of dollars.

Here’s the thing – 75% to 90% of all startups fail. It only shows that failing in business is normal.

At some point, you will commit mistakes, you will make wrong decisions, and you will fail. The secret is to never give up.

4. Plan ahead

Behind a successful business model is a solid plan. You don’t jump into the river without knowing how deep it is.

Create a detailed business plan. Identify pain points. Pool your resources and know your options. For example, where will you get the funding? Will it be from your savings or through business financing?

Will you still need investors? How will you reach out to them? List down all your ideas. Do your research. Invest in knowledge. And be ready to start something.

5. Embrace Change

No matter how comprehensive your business model is, at some point, you will have to make adjustments or perform a total shift.

Changes in business are inevitable. Market demands and trends change from time to time. It is scary to confront changes. That’s a normal reaction.  But you have to be flexible and adaptable. Otherwise, you could be left behind.

6. Don’t Forget that You Are Human too

As you establish and grow your business, you will find yourself devoting most of your time to it.

You will miss some important family affairs for client meetings, endure sleepless nights for endless paperwork, and forego weekends to beat deadlines. The key is to strive for balance.

Drink your water. Eat your veggies. Sleep. Pamper yourself. Get your hair done. Go for a mani-pedi.

For you to keep up, you have to be physically and mentally healthy.

Becoming a businesswoman is not an easy feat. Striving for success is much more challenging especially when people kind of judge you for your race or gender.

But don’t let anything or anyone stop you from becoming a top-notch entrepreneur. Remember, in business success, there are no boundaries.


This article was written by Lidia Staron

Lidia Staron is a part of Content and Marketing team at OpenCashAdvance.com. She contributes articles about the role of finance in the strategic planning and decision-making process. You can find really professional insights in her writings.

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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.

The Queen of Representation – From Botswana to the world

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connect with Bakani and her business on social media.


Why it is important for me to make the dolls…

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

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

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

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

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

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

The effect representation has on young Batswana /African girls…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How I manufacture my dolls…

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

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

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

How the dolls have been recieved by people so far

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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8 Essential Skills Every Business Owner Needs to Learn

As an entrepreneur, I make sure to educate other ladypreneurs about the importance of investing in themselves.

While investing in yourself and business might cost you a lot of money, it gives you long-term benefits such as the advantage of building valuable skills that would benefit your business and improving your strengths over time.

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Let’s face the truth- the business world has changed from the way it was operated 20 years ago. Running a business on just sheer instinct isn’t enough anymore.

You have to stay on top of growing trends if you want your business to survive and succeed.

And that’s why I have put together this list of business skills and resources that every business owner needs to boost their business.

1. Relationship Building

Building great relationships especially with customers/clients is one of the ways to differentiate your business from competitors.

As a business owner, your relationships will take various forms, as you’ll meet different people; and need to wear different hats to maintain a good relationship.

I’d advise that the major categories of relationships you need to build are with:

  • Customers/Clients;
  • Business connections/ fellow entrepreneurs who can grow and support your business; and
  • Mentors

2.  Storytelling

Let’s face it! Everyone loves stories, no matter the age or economic status.

Incorporating storytelling into your business infuses a human touch customers can’t resist. It helps customers establish a human connection with your business.

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Some of the advantages of using storytelling for your business include:

  • It captivates your customers;
  • It makes your business relatable and approachable; and
  • It makes your business credible and trust-worthy.

3. Content Creation

Content is king! Yes, that might sound cliché, but it’s true.

Please note that content doesn’t have to be restricted to words alone. It could come in other forms such as videos, infographics, pictures, podcasts, whitepapers, case studies, etc.

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Don’t just display the products or services you’re offering. Go a step ahead by also offering value to your customers.

For example, do you sell fashion items? Spice up your brand by posting style inspirations, care of the items you sell, how to rock that item for different occasions, etc.

By providing good content, you not only let your customers know that you have their best interests at heart but also assert that buying from your business is the best decision they could ever make.

4. Customer Service

How many of you never returned to buy from a brand just because of poor customer experience? Lots of you, right?

The same principle applies to your customers too. As business owners, you have to realize that your customers are king, and so, must be treated like royalty.

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Providing excellent customer experience is one of the easiest ways to make your business stand out from other businesses.

It’s also one of the easiest ways to retain customers and get referrals.  Therefore, ensure you develop your customer skills and treat your customers with respect.

5. Financial Literacy/Management

If you want to run a successful business, you must know how money works. Click To Tweet

This means having an understanding of how much you can spend and how you should spend it.

Every cent you spend and generate must be accounted for. If you don’t know how to calculate your expenditure and revenue, it’s definitely time to become financially literate.

6. Management

When your business begins to grow, it will require expansion. And expansion translates to hiring more people to support you.

Once you do this, you need to ensure that the people on your team are doing what they are supposed to do and that they’re are doing it efficiently. Therefore, don’t be just a business owner.

Add "being a good manager" to the list of skills you need to possess. Click To Tweet

7. Leadership

A good business owner needs to have good leadership skills to run a team of other people.

When you are a good leader, it becomes easy to motivate and inspire greatness in your employees.

With proper leadership, employees, contractors, and even customers will respect you.

Please note that to be a leader isn’t to be bossy to inspire fear. Rather, a good leader brings the best out of people, listens to other people, shows them respect and showing them that you’re capable of leading them to achieve victory.

8. Hiring

I see a lot of business owners make the mistake of hiring the first person that shows an interest in working with/for them or has the qualifications they are looking for.

Unfortunately, that isn’t enough.

While hiring a person with an exemplary portfolio and good work history is good, you have to consider other variables such as their personality, beliefs and whether they are a perfect fit for your business’ culture.

Running a business is very demanding. Identify your weaknesses and invest in skills that that will provide your business with solid foundations.


Here are 5 reasons why you need a personal website

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

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

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

1. Your paper resume is about to go extinct!

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

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

2. You get a home for all your online activities

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

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

3. Worldwide exposure

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

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

4. Make digital sales

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

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

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

5. Build your personal brand

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

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


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

Memoirs from the Google Developers Festival (DevFest) Lagos 2018

On Saturday, November 3rd, 2018, thousands of developers and tech-savvy young adults attended the annual developer festival (DevFest) of sessions, workshops, training, code labs and much more.

DevFests (Developers Festival) are community-led, developer events hosted by Google Developer Group (GDG) chapters around the globe. This event is focused on community building and learning about Google’s technologies.

 

Find out what went down at the #DevFestLagos #DevFest18 organized by @gdglagos Click To Tweet

The Devfests which was launched  2007 had its first GDG Lagos Devfest event hosted in December 2013, and has been continuously become an annual event which developers around the globe anticipate.

Each DevFest is uniquely tailored to the needs of the developer community and the region that hosts it.

Just like several other years, this year’s Devfest Lagos was in clusters and had a collaboration of several chapters within the same region. There were several GDG chapters and Developer Student clubs by Google within the southwest region of Nigeria in attendance.

Ada Nduka Oyom – one of the organizers of the Dev-Fest  talks about her experience at the DevFest Lagos 2018:

Ada Nduka Oyom

“Knowing how far the entire team had come in preparations, it’s safe to say every session held was a highlight on its own. From having reputable speakers from Top Tech organizations like Google, Apollo, Andela, Interswitch, PayLater,  etc give insightful technical talks on several Technologies and products.

We also had a panel session on working remotely to help tailor one of the up and rising need for developers in Nigeria and Africa”.

 

“DevFest Lagos is always going to be an annual event and the 2019 event will be taking place on November 2nd, 2019. More information would definitely go out via our meetup page and twitter handle as we approach the date”, says Ada.

According to Ada, the DevFest 2018 Lagos chapter had about 2394 developers in attendance, with some participants coming in from other local GDG chapters outside Lagos.

Haven been actively involved in the developer community for a long while, she can attest to the growing network of developers in the Lagos chapter alone.

“ With several other developer events happening across Nigeria and Africa having attendees of 1000 or less, it’s always indicated the possibilities of us getting more. We just needed to bring them all in one place and that’s what we did”, she continues.

Ada is a software developer and Open source advocate who currently leads Developer relations at Interswitch group. She’s also the founder of She Code Africa and Open Source Community Africa where she’s focused on matters bothered around Women in tech and Open Source respectively.

At @gdglagos we knew we needed to bring all developers together in one place, and that's what we did - @Kolokodess #DevFestLagos #DevFest18 Click To Tweet

Many of the first time attendees were overwhelmed at how large the developer community was, and this was definitely a great networking opportunity for them to network with each other.

Attendees got access to speakers such as Lade Tawak –  a Design Researcher who has experience conducting strategic and evaluative user research in East Africa and West Africa and has worked on B2C & B2B products in various industries.

Lade Tawak

Lade spoke about why developers should be interested in the users of their products and gave practical steps for developers to take when it comes to understanding users.

During her session, Lade stressed about how developers are sometimes their own users.

Sandra Israel-Ovirih

Sandra Israel-Ovirih one of the facilitators and attendee of the DevFest shared her experience and highlights from the event.

“I had an amazing experience cause I got to meet other developers in the ecosystem and also learn about new improvements to technologies and the diverse ways developers are using Google technologies”.

Sandra facilitated a code lab on Firebase, where she taught participants how to use some features of Firebase in their web applications. By implementing and deploying a chat client using Firebase.

 

 

Below are her key highlights from the  Google DevFest.

  • Getting to speak to Kechy Eke, Product Manager at Firebase extensively about a certain side project and getting advice on how I could use ML Kit to achieve what a certain feature of the project.
  • Facilitating the code lab and getting feedback on my talk.
  • Seeing the Number of people gathered and eager to learn how to improve their skills and become better Developers.
  • Seeing companies that leverage on the ecosystem also give back heavily to the ecosystem.

I got to meet other developers in the ecosystem at the #DevFestLagos #DevFest18 by @gdglagos and also learn about new improvements to technologies - @SandraIsrael_O Click To Tweet

Besides learning about new tech and everything she mentioned above, Sandra’s key takeaway was realizing that the ecosystem of developers is growing fast and we need to organize meetups and groups to keep growing talent.

Sandra is a self-taught front-end Developer. She has experience in building beautiful and progressive web apps. She is enthusiastic about solving problems with technology through a combination of technical knowledge and a keen eye for design

Want to connect with other female developers and join the developers’ community? Sign up here.

See more photos from the Google DevFest Lagos 2018 below:


 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

6 Practices Every Entrepreneur Should Adopt In The New Year

As the year closes and everyone rushes to accomplish all their 2018 goals (and set the next ones for 2019!), now is a great time to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and what lessons we can take away.

Being an entrepreneur has its ups and its downs.

The low when your proposals do not pass through or a client decides not to re-sign you. The high that you get when you finally sign a contract for a new project or when you win big for a client.

For me, this year has been one of immense growth. I visited new countries, launched new projects, finished old ones, won clients, and lost clients.  

I have recruited and trained a reliable, loyal team across six countries. Throughout this year, I have learned several lessons which I hope will serve entrepreneurs — myself included — in 2019.

1. Build your support system and nurture it

The reality is some days you will feel like crying, some days you will feel like celebrating, and some days you will feel like quitting.

Find people who help you keep your balance, give you honest feedback, and cheer you on. These can be friends, family, fellow entrepreneurs, teammates, neighbours, mentors, or mentees.

No matter who they are, make sure to dedicate time to nurture these relationships and make sure they are mutually beneficial.

2. Know your value, and what projects are worth your time

This is one of the most difficult things I have faced as an emerging entrepreneur this year. As I am selling services, not products, it can very hard to put a price tag on my offerings.  

Many times instead of money, potential partners will offer you “a platform to sell yourself” or “connections” to new business. But at the end of the day, accessing these platforms may be positive, but will also require more work to close revenue-generating deals. In 2019, set your minimum rate and stick to it.

Decide which platforms are really worth offering your precious skills — and have a clear idea as to what outcomes you wish to have.

Change your mindset and remind yourself you are a trailblazer, a changemaker, and the only one with your unique experience - @lizgrossman87 Click To Tweet

3. Have a routine

 Even if your schedule is often crazy, and you may have to jump on a plane or train with 24 hours’ notice, do your best to stick to a routine.

Maybe that means having your cup of coffee while checking emails first thing each day, doing yoga, or taking a midday walk. When you are in your home base or abroad, find workspaces you can come back to that give you a sense of regularity.

I recommend joining coworking spaces such as Impact Hub or using the Croissant app to find cool spaces in different cities across the world.

4. Let business be business

Sometimes, friends or colleagues will come to you asking for help with something which will require your time, expertise, and resources.

By nature, I am someone who cares about others and wants to see other people shine but this year I learned I simply cannot always give my time and energy away for free.

Remember, your true friends will understand if you say no to their requests, and you can always try to help in other, less consuming ways. Furthermore, be bold in demanding what you deserve from your clients and partners. Asking for timely payments or resources to do your job is not being greedy — it’s business.

5. Unplug

This is the most difficult rule for me to follow, as I am someone who always wants to get rid those red notifications on my iPhone and always wants a clean inbox.

Fact is, as an entrepreneur, your to-do list will never end, so sometimes you have to know when to stop checking and unplug. When you are with friends, be with friends.

When you are exercising, put on a podcast and just listen. Do not work 24/7, because that is simply not sustainable.

6. Celebrate small wins and don’t sweat the failures

 As entrepreneurs, we are visionaries. We see the big picture impact we could be having, and often feel frustrated we have not signed the multimillion-dollar deal.

We forget that entrepreneurship is a journey, a series of small wins and big failures we learn from that will lead us to the end goal. Along the journey, make sure to celebrate at every step, and give yourself the opportunity to learn and grow.

I encourage everyone to apply these lessons to your own careers and lives, set goals, and track your progress throughout the next year.

Change your mindset and remind yourself you are a trailblazer, a changemaker, and the only one with your unique experience. Use it to be the catalyst sparking the change you hope to see in the world.


 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

Adedoyin Omotara: I tapped into resources that the Government made available to immigrants

Adedoyin Omotara is a Beauty Entrepreneur, Women’s empowerment advocate, Speaker, Life Coach, Business Coach and the leader of the unmask your beauty movement.

Born in Manchester, UK to Nigerian parents, her passion to live a fuller and more expressive life made her leave her successful Corporate Engineering career to become an entrepreneur.

Seeking the spiritually creative fulfillment missing in her successful corporate career, she was determined to resolve the concern that beauty today, far from being that poetic ‘joy forever’ is, unfortunately, a source of insecurity, shame, and stress for countless women.

She promotes beauty, inside and out, to an audience of women at all stages of life. Adedoyin believes in investing in the dream of girls and in the strength of women.

In this article, she talks about how she’s fought against the odds of being an immigrant and built a beauty brand for herself in Canada.


 What would you say is the innovative idea behind Adoniaa Beauty?

 Adoniaa beauty started from having a deep hunger within me to fully engage with who I was, my hunger for living a fuller and more expressive life. I was doing great in my career but felt dis-engaged with myself and the world as a whole.

I felt I was born for more so I decided to start a company for women doing what I love and fulfilling my purpose while doing it.

It was founded on four fundamental pillars: To uplift, validate, equip and inspire women to be their best selves at every stage of their life. We do this by using makeup and skincare products and services as a platform to connect with women.

People constantly ask me how @adoniaaworld intend to compete with Sephora, Loreal, Mac and the likes, my response is that those are not my competition. - Adedoyin Omotara Click To Tweet

How have you been able to maintain your brand consistency?

We have only one vision- To connect women to their individual and unique beauty through our brand. So everything we do aligns with the vision.

It’s easy to be consistent when you have a vision. It is the same vision I sell to my staff and the Adoniaabeauty tribe.

How have you grown your client base?

I have grown a tribe of women as my client base by focusing on why I started my company, which is our vision to connect women to their individual and unique beauty.

We have different vehicles to get to our vision, and we naturally attract women that want more out of life, women that want to re-write their stories and women that do not want to fit into society’s contrived image of beauty but create and define their own.

What challenges have you faced that are unique to your business idea?

Starting a business in the beauty industry is very challenging. The beauty industry is run by billionaires that own big companies.

People constantly ask me how I intend to compete with Sephora, Loreal, Mac and the likes, my response is that those are not my competition.

Makeup and Skincare are the physical products that we sell and that’s what people see, however, for me, makeup and skincare is only a vehicle or a platform to reach the Adoniaa women that want to unmask their beauty.

Since I developed the vision for my company @adoniaaworld, I started creating and got really innovative - Adedoyin Omotara Click To Tweet

Where there challenges owning a business in a foreign country?

Starting a new business as an immigrant in Canada has definitely not been the easiest of things. It’s easier to get a job and work 9-5. But this is not just a business for me, it’s my vehicle to fulfilling my purpose and changing the world.

I have embraced all the challenges and focused on my vision.

At times, I tell myself that if I were in my home country, I wouldn’t need to work this hard to be profitable. What I have done though is to change my mindset and focus on the vision.

I have also tapped into so many resources that the Government has made available to immigrants.

Do you believe in Feminism?

My take on Feminism is simple… It is the Adoniaa dream -The Adoniaa dream is a dream that is deeply rooted in every woman’s heart.

  • I have a dream that girls and women will have the resources and opportunities they need to reach their full potential.
  • I have a dream that girls and women will live free from violence ·
  • I have a dream that girls and women all over the world will have access to good education·
  • I have a dream that there would be equality in the workforce.
  • I have a dream that child brides will no longer be a thing.
  • I have a dream that female genital mutilation will become history.
  • I have a dream that girls and women will stand in their power and be empowered to defend themselves.
  • I have a dream that gender-based violence will stop be it domestic abuse, rape, or sexual trafficking.
  •  I have a dream that women will embrace their fears and be courageous enough to shine as their most beautiful self.
  • I have a dream that girls and women will no longer need to fit into society’s image of beauty but create and define our own beauty.
  • I have a dream I believe that we can only achieve this dream by taking action!

This is not just a business for me, it's my vehicle to fulfilling my purpose and changing the world - Adedoyin Omotara Click To Tweet

Adoniaa Beauty recently launched a campaign towards the above causes. Our 24hr Lipsticks of hope are our flagship product and we have partnered with non-profit organizations that address these issues.

$1 from every Adoniaa 24hr lipstick sale will go to our Non-Profit organization partners that actively work to end these problems.

When you buy the Adoniaa lipstick, know that you are empowering a woman. When you empower a woman, you have empowered a whole generation.

What skills have you found yourself using/learning frequently since starting Adoniaa Beauty?

People Management Skill and team-work. I read a lot of business books and self-development books as well – I believe that as I am growing, the company is growing as well.

How do you intend to balance work life and the home front?

I am fully aware that Entrepreneurship is very demanding and if I don’t structure my business, my kids and family will suffer. I ensure that I take care of myself first so I don’t on empty.

Self-care for me is the most important part of balancing work and life so I can be available and present for the people God has sent me to serve.

I put a lot of structure around my business and I am still doing that so that I can have time for the things that are important to me.

 

 

What’s your 5-year plan?

My 5-year plan is for Adoniaa beauty to expand by franchising. I want Adoniaa to be in every city all over the world.

For the next 5 years, our focus is to establish our roots in Canada and then expand to USA, Nigeria & other African Countries by collaborating with other like-minded women to spread the dream.

We will consider other countries once we have achieved our initial goal.


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How to Hire an Attorney for Your Business

For the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of female entrepreneurs in Africa. In the 2017 MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) report, Uganda – as one of the only two low-income economies to be included in the report – had the greatest number of female-run businesses in the world, which corresponds to 34.8%. The country even superseded high-income countries like New Zealand (33.3%), Australia (32.4%), and Russia (32.6%).

2017 has been an amazing year for many African women who chose to take the entrepreneurial path, so as in 2018. If you’re thinking of launching your own business, now is the time to do so.

There are many kinds of business that require very small capital, some you can even start from home. Sometimes, a loan can help you get started if your savings are not enough.

Why Should You Hire an Attorney?

You’ve got a great business plan. A great product. A great concept. But how do you transform all your ideas into a tangible, operational business that is headed for success?

Of course, you need help from the professionals.

You probably have thought about hiring an accountant already. The reasons are pretty obvious. You need someone to help you with your books, make sure you’ve got the numbers right, and manage all your business taxes.

But how about an attorney? You probably haven’t thought about it yet. Or maybe, you think that it’s too soon to get one.

But the truth is that you will most likely need a good business attorney at every aspect of your business, from ensuring that you meet all the requirements set by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) to organize your business (what type of business is most suitable for you as well as your tax structure), getting copyright and trademark advice, and many more.

And as your business grows, a good attorney can help you carry out your expansion plans, understand the tax consequences of any changes with your business structure, prepare and execute contracts with your customers, suppliers and business partners, and file or deal with a lawsuit.

Do you have an attorney for your business? Read this article for steps on how to hire one Click To Tweet

Hiring an attorney is essential to achieving your business goals. Check out the following tips and suggestions in order to find the best lawyer to help you:

1. Look for an attorney who specializes in business law

Like doctors, attorneys are becoming increasingly specialized these days. Some specialize in family law, others in criminal law or real estate law.

Basically, you want to hire the attorney who has the experience and skills with corporate and mercantile laws. He or she should be skilled with making contracts, familiar with various business structures, understand real estate (you might have leasing issues for your commercial space), experienced with tax and licensing matters, etc.

Depending on the nature of your business, you will also need other legal services. For instance, if you’re into media, design or any other creative type of business, you will need a lawyer who will help you get copyright protection for your work.

2. Look for an attorney who is familiar with your industry

He or she may not know every aspect of the industry you’re in, but the right lawyer should be at least familiar with it. Don’t forget to check the track record of the lawyers you are considering.

He or she should have a pretty good understanding of the industry’s ins and outs. Also, make sure that the lawyer does not represent any of your competitors.

The last thing you want to happen is to have your confidential business info leaked to your competitors.

3. Find someone who educates

A good attorney does not just give you the results you want. He or she also keeps you well-informed about the legal concerns your business is facing.

The attorney should be willing to educate you and your staff about your current legal needs and situations, how it affects your business, and how similar problems can be prevented in the future.

Your lawyer should also be proactive about updating you with recent policies or changes in existing policies that affect your business.

4. Get a good attorney who charges a reasonable fee

Most lawyers charge an hourly rate, but some do a fixed rate. Good lawyers are willing to negotiate with their fees without compromising the quality of their services.

Choose an attorney who is flexible with his billing. It is not all the time that you will need his or her services so paying monthly or hiring a company lawyer may not be a strategic idea yet, especially if you are just starting your business.

Hiring an attorney for your business should not be that complicated as long as you keep all these suggestions in mind.

Once you found the right one, keeping a good relationship with your attorney is the key to ensuring that he or she will be there when you need help.


This article was written by Lidia Staron

Lidia Staron is a part of Content and Marketing team at OpenCashAdvance.com. She contributes articles about the role of finance in the strategic planning and decision-making process. You can find really professional insights in her writings.

4 important signs you’re in a toxic work environment

Our work environment affects our happiness, productivity, and success. Through my experiences and discussions with colleagues, I understand how different workplaces can affect you positively and negatively.

If you’ve been contemplating whether your work environment is the right place for you, here are some key points that could help you: 

 

1. Low Employee Retention

If you realize most of the employees at a new workplace are new, this can affect how you fit in. Sometimes, for certain start-up environments, the case of low employee retention is prevalent.

The structure in a start-up environment is different. So before you make the decision to join an organization where most of the employees are new, you have to consider what your main goals are and what you hope to achieve at the company.

It’s best for you to take this into consideration before you make a decision. You should be prepared for how you can fit into the role and the organization.

At one of my former jobs, I noticed that a lot of employees were new. I remember a co-worker told me there was a “revolving door” at the organization. As the months rolled by, I understood why.

There was a lot of negativity in the office. After various discussions with my colleagues, I found out that most like myself were unhappy and also seeking other jobs. I eventually left that negative work environment. 

 

If you’re about to take a new job, I suggest you ask (in a subtle way of course) how long the former person held the role you’re about to take. Another option would be to ask generally the amount of time their employees stay with the company.

2. Lack of free speech/ expression of ideas  

One of my favourite work environments was an internship I had back in university. I was an editorial intern for the school magazine.

What I enjoyed most about the internship was my experience with my boss. She created a very open environment where I was encouraged to present my ideas and actively participate. Having an encouraing supervisor who supported my progress enabled me to accomplish quite a lot in that job.

Now, I’ve also been privy to work environments with a rigid structure, where you don’t feel open to discuss your ideas, and your superiors show no interest in your growth or progress.

Though one can still thrive in such an environment, I don’t necessarily believe it helps you be very productive. You may not feel content in your workplace because there’s no good rapport with your colleagues.

One way to fix such issues would be speaking up. You will have to make an effort to express your ideas and opinion. This matters because unless somethings are communicated, not everyone will pick up on whether there is a problem or issue to be addressed. Communication is key in contributing to a positive work environment.

Communication is key in contributing towards a positive work environment Click To Tweet

3. Constant Tension in the Office

In any workplace, there are going to be high-pressure days and low-pressure days. Pressure in the workplace is normal because different situations arise and demands have to be met. However, if you’re in a work environment with constant tension among co-workers, that is definitely not a good sign.

If there is consistent tension in your workplace, it would be best to bring it up to your supervisor or take it to the Human Resources department.

The HR department often addresses the communication issues between the management and staff. They can advise you and your co-workers on how to resolve issues.

4. You Always Leave Work Feeling Emotionally Drained

Yes, work is just a part of our lives and adulting really isn’t a vibe sometimes, but if you always feel terribly sad, drained, or anxious at the thought of going to work – that’s even less of a vibe and a major issue.

This negative work environment can end up seeping into your personal life and take over your mind. If most days at work are causing you depression, you have to consider if that’s the right environment for you. Word of advice: get a new job sis, you can’t come and die just to meet KPIs. Start looking for a new place of work and do intense research on the environments those companies possess, I promise you when you leave and start afresh, you’ll be much happier.

Another option, if the specific work is the problem, communicate with your supervisor about a challenge you might be encountering. They could provide you with some resources to make things efficient. If the negative emotions are due to the people around, also be open to communicate that with a mentor or your HR department. They could best advise you on how to move forward.

Have you had experience with problems in the workplace? What were the signs, and how did you rectify such issues?


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