1. Make two lists; a Must-Have List and a Nice-to-Have List. Grab your fiancé to do this with you.
Your Must-Have list contains things you know you need to make the wedding the most successful to you. Your Nice-to-have list is for anything else that will be good to have but does not determine your wedding’s success or your happiness. Let’s not deceive ourselves, not everything is a must-have so be true to yourselves as a couple and make that clear from the beginning.
2. Review your Must-Have list and put a timeframe to each item with the corresponding cost. Thankfully, I have created a wonderful Wedding Budget Template to help.
3. Make notes of when the next stream of income will come and plan for it. If you earn monthly, plan ahead on how much of it goes into your wedding.
4. According to priority, review your Nice-to-Have list and add the maximum you can spend on each item.
5. When money comes in, check off something on your Must-Have List. Repeat until everything is checked off.
6. Use extra income to start checking things off your Nice-to-Have list, in order of priority.
7. When help is offered, as long as you have items on your Must-Have list, channel all help to this list first before anything else.
8. Repeat as often as required. In my line of business, I’ve realised that the smartest brides are those who always stay on top of their finances.
Remember, the whole essence of this is for you to take one day at a time. There is no need getting so frustrated about what isn’t available or living beyond you.
You’re on your own budget! #NoComparison.
Always remember, you’re not alone and I’m always here to help.
If I was asked what my special skills were a year ago, it would definitely differ from now. 2020 came with a twist and remote work forced every one of us to learn how to Do It Yourself (and I don’t mean cooking).
Here are some of the must-have skills for 2021 that will make you more sellable to recruiters, and an asset in your current workplace.
1. Data Analytics: The workplace today requires us to think in data. This requires us to do a bit more research, crunch those numbers, understand raw data and drive business growth based on concrete analysis.
2. Content Creation: Your ability to produce entertaining or educational material that not only caters to the interests and challenges of a target audience but increases engagement and conversions definitely sets you apart from others in your field.
The content you produce can take many forms, including blog posts, videos, graphic design and newsletters.
3. Marketing: Businesses worldwide need analytical people who understand what sort of tools are available in the growing digital toolbox, and know how to dig in through trusted channels.
4. Sales: This can pass for both a hard skill and a soft skill as sales involves persuasion, but with a specific commercial end in mind. Your ability to convert leads to revenue would give you a spot in any workplace.
6. Product Development: This involves managing the process of developing a product or enhancing existing products in order to meet customer expectations effectively. If you haven’t noticed, times are changing and the direction of products being developed is too.
Soft Skills for the Workplace
1. Creativity: Developing new ideas, applying new solutions to address existing problems. Some people are naturally creative on their own, but a lot of us need to bounce ideas off others to get the creative juices flowing.
An ability to learn continuously and willingness to adapt to change is essential to boost your creativity.
2. Communication skills: Interpreting information through speaking, listening and observing is a must-have skill for 2021. Organizing thoughts and data points into a comprehensive, holistic narrative will get you where you need to be in your career.
3. Collaboration: Collaboration suffers when roles and goals are not defined. The next time you take on a group project, strike up a conversation about what success looks like, and who’s doing what. This simple act can get everyone rowing together faster and more effectively.
4. Adaptability:Manage your mindset. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances starts with a mindset that’s willing to adapt to changing circumstances. If you tend to balk at change, reflect on the reasons why — and then see if you can reframe your perspective to help you see things differently.
5. Emotional intelligence: Practicing control, knowing when to push, expressing yourself and observation of interpersonal relationships among people in a workplace is very important when working with people.
6. Leadership: Leadership in the 21st century is much more about influence than authority, learning to appreciate and adapt to people with different perspectives, priorities, and personalities is a key skill to develop.
Having a difficult time figuring out your superpowers?
Here are three questions you can answer to guide you:
What unique contribution do you bring to projects, conversations, and meetings you attend?
Why do team members come to you for help?
What would be missing if you were to leave your current place of work?
If you are unable to answer these questions yourself, ask a colleague or friend. If your answers do not reflect the skills listed above, don’t relent or give up. The internet is packed with so much information, take some short courses, seek guidance from a work buddy, mentor or your boss.
A superpower isn’t just a skill but a perspective, a mindset and a way of working that enhances everything you touch. The requirements for success in the workplace are changing and what matters most is your ability to adapt to change/trends as they come.
Do you believe that out of sight is out of mind? Is remote work affecting your visibility in the workplace? When remote work was introduced, it was perceived as a step in the direction of work-life balance.
For many people, it allowed them to combine carrying responsibilities and work more easily while others struggled with remaining visible. In this article, I will be sharing the importance of increasing visibility in the workplace and some of the potential ways to achieve this.
The importance of standing out from the crowd at the Workplace
Exclusive access to opportunities
If you are constantly hitting those numbers, delivering results and solutions, everyone would want you on their team. Let’s face facts, everyone wants to work with the 5-star performer. It gives you that reassurance of success. If you have exhibited great skills and abilities and other people in the organization are aware of them, there’s a high likelihood that you will be picked for the next opportunity in your company and beyond. I speak from experience when I say, great work reputation travels fast in the job market. So work hard on building that visibility so when next there is a big-money event, you are top of the list.
Continuous learning and improvement
Good work requires that you work with people often. Most times, you might be working across teams with different people and this, in turn, exposes you to more learning opportunities. As you work on something new or take on new projects, you can acquire valuable learnings that add to your experience.
Stellar Appraisal Ratings
When an employee gets very good appreciation and job appraisal after working for the year, the chance of their stability involuntarily increases alongside promotions. People would always advocate for you during those meetings and this helps your manager justify your performance. The quality of work comes first i.e. your performance on tasks will get more weight but an endorsement from other managers in the organization can go a long way in your cause of getting a good rating or promotion.
In summary, the benefits include exclusive access to opportunities, stellar ratings, promotions, and an opportunity to learn.
Tips on how to go from invisible to visible
Speak up in Meetings
A closed mouth during meetings does not provide recognition or visibility. Do your research well in advance before team meetings, ask good questions, make solid recommendations, push back on ideas that you do not find feasible during meetings. Contribute, speak up, and let your voice be heard.
Participate in Learning Opportunities
Make time to be part of team learning sessions, individual training sessions, and utilize resources that have been made available to the team. Acquiring more knowledge would not only improve your ability to function effectively but improve your expertise in a particular product, service, or process. Once you’re an expert on something, people will always come to you to ask for help in that matter. This is effortless visibility.
Demonstrate Your Expertise
Most organizations admire employees who can bring something unique to the company. If you have some creative idea/skill which could improve organizational processes, reduce cost, bring more revenue, increase employee satisfaction, or reduce cycle time, etc. do not hesitate to bring your skills to bear. If the idea is implemented, you become a star in the organization. There are chances the idea may not be implemented, don’t feel discouraged because management will appraise the fact that you’re making an effort to do something different and unique.
Strengthen your relationship with your boss
A good relationship with your boss is one of the most important parts of your success story. It may be helpful to align on goals and see things from their perspective. Understand their priorities and preferred mode of communication. Focus on the positive, everyone has something worth respecting. Try to get to know your manager on a personal level by engaging them in conversation on topics beyond work.
Participate in team activities
You might work or an organization where different teams are working on different projects/tasks. Try to find an opportunity to collaborate (on a specific project/task) with other teams than your existing one. You can seize this opportunity to highlight your skills and abilities in different teams. Besides, this will show your drive for initiatives and developing a positive image for yourself.
In the world today, being good at your job isn’t the only requisite for getting ahead in your career. If key people aren’t aware of you, you’ll likely miss out on opportunities to improve your skills and take on interesting assignments, despite your hard work and good performance. This is especially important if you work remotely because people might forget about you if they don’t often see you in person.
Despite the misconception that team building is lame and barely seen as relevant, did you know that team building is the most important investments you can make for your team?
It builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration. Effective team building means more engaged employees, which is good for company culture and boosting the bottom line.
In this article, I will be talking about the importance of team building and sharing some valuable tips on how to plan effective team building activities.
Why Team Building?
1. Networking and socializing
Socializing and getting to know your team in the workplace is one of the best ways to increase productivity in the office. Team building boosts morale and also allows for team members to work better at solving everyday workplace issues.
2. Teamwork and boosting overall performance
Employees tend to understand each other better after completing a team-building activity. It becomes easier to identify each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests. This collaborative spirit and team effort helps everyone work even better together on future projects vital to a company’s progress.
3. Fostering of innovation and creativity
Successful team building events not only bring people closer together, but they also contribute to a more successful and creative workplace. Games and competitive exercises become more challenging as people tend to have a larger imagination when they are around people they are comfortable with.
To no surprise, communication and working better together is the top reason why people choose team bonding. Everybody desires a friendly work environment, where people are comfortable and happy to talk to and collaborate with anyone. One of the results of team bonding is that the activities actually work to improve communication.
Are you looking to improve your team’s communication skills, collaborativeness and performance? Why don’t you try these tips when planning your next team building soiree:
Identify the goal of this event
This includes identifying what you want the focus to be on. It is best to plan an entire team-building session around key objectives. For example, if you want to foster better communication among group members, then your activities should include initiatives that call for various combinations of players taking a leadership role in giving directions, commands, or ideas in both verbal and non-verbal mediums.
Replace the usual team dinner with something new
Choosing something unique and slightly outside of people’s comfort zones can encourage them to come together in new ways. Take your team paintballing or maybe to a boxing ring to let off some steam. A little physically challenging activity might be all you need to get people to destress.
Quit looking at it as a favor but as an investment
Most team-building events fall flat because it’s a one-time activity that is done and then forgotten. It’s key to find ways to keep organizing these events.
The challenge is creating opportunities for people to connect and interact in meaningful ways, outside of regular meetings or presentations. One way we do this is to have a monthly team hurdle. At this event, team members can celebrate achievements and show appreciation to their co-workers.
After team bonding exercises, you must evaluate and measure impact. For you to measure a team member’s ability to collaborate with other departments on projects, I would recommend that this be evaluated or assessed during performance appraisal.
This can be done in the form of a questionnaire, survey or during 1-on-1s with other team members. This is the easiest way to track improvement when it involves showing team effort.
How do you know you’ve gotten team building right? If there was laughter, a sense of excitement and accomplishment, and maybe a few Instagram moments, you’re definitely on the right track! A little adventure can unlock many levels of creativity.
As women, we take our reproductive health seriously. With our periods coming in every month, a lot of us are faced with a lot of discomfort and irritation. In the long run, this paves the way for disruptions to our daily lives.
While taking a painkiller and/or using a hot water bottle may work for many women, it is not as simple for some of us because we may suffer from the following disorders:
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Depending on the severity of the disorder, we can experience symptoms before, during and after our monthly menstrual cycles. This makes it hard for us to function optimally in our daily lives and careers.
If you suffer from a reproductive health disorder, here are some tips to help improve your reproductive health so it doesn’t affect the world:
Consult a doctor
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), sexual and reproductive health problems are responsible for one-third of health issues for women between the ages of 15 and 44 years.
The first step in taking charge of your sexual and reproductive health is to consult a medical doctor and get professional help. This will help you diagnose and find a solution for your disorder.
A healthy you can only make you more productive and successful. The best way to achieve better reproductive health is to learn as much as you can about your disorder. This includes knowing all the do’s and don’ts and what short term and long-term treatments are most advisable.
Consult your doctor and also do some in-depth research on the best diets, treatment, herbal remedies and exercise regiments. The more you know, the better.
Use an ovulation calendar app
An ovulation calendar helps you track your period. Knowing when your period starts, helps you plan your work in time and meet deadlines.
With an ovulation calendar, you are able to take note of inconsistencies with your monthly period, note your symptoms, the heaviness of your menstruation flow, mood and the kind of vaginal discharge at different times.
Ovulation calendar apps are available on the Android and IOS App stores.
Talk about your disorder with your manager or co-workers
This may seem rather daunting and uncomfortable, but disclosing your disorder to your manager or co-worker(s) benefits you. Through discussion with your team and disclosing your symptoms, you can discuss available options such as working from home on certain days, negotiating your hours for certain days of the month or moving your deadlines to earlier days so that your work does not suffer.
Sis, let’s be real. Since you created that budget, you probably haven’t used it more than once or twice. If you are like me, you sat down when you were extra broke and created that “wonderful” budget that accounted for every single thing- including chewing gum. Once you got a little money, you forgot all about it.
I know it is tempting to spend. Most of us have the spending bug somewhere in our systems but we must learn to control it, especially now that Ms. Rona is out and about.
Here are 5 budget mistakes and tips on how you can fix them.
You made it too generic
So, remember how you went online to download xyz’s budgeting template and never bothered to make it suit your own spending habits? Yeah, this is a common budget mistake. On a general level, we may have the same basic needs- food, housing, transport- but Akosua from Ghana’s expenses can never be the same as Sheryl’s from Houston.
You have to modify your budget according to your location, lifestyle, and personal needs. Should you be budgeting for a gym membership when you work out at home right now?
Planning your day helps you recall those activities that will eventually require you to spend. Create a daily plan around work, chores, cooking, and transport and see if that impacts your budgeting.
Your budget is set in stone
Ah, this one. I’ve been guilty of this too many times to count. I would piously create the most frugal budget known to man and then wonder why I was so miserable after. See babe, budgeting like every other planning endeavour, ought to make your life simpler. Create a realistic budget that factors in enjoyment. That aspect of your life is hella essential too!
The danger of creating a frugal budget is that at 2 AM one day, you may snap and treat yourself to natural hair products you don’t even need. At the beginning of each month, add a treat to your budget- a book you want to read, fancy skincare stuff, bralettes, etc. Pick one thing and treat yo self!
You still have the same budget since last year and you wonder why it is not working for you. If you work from home or you are bored in the house, bored in the house, bored, I am guessing that certain expenses are on pause while others (like grocery expenses) are being incurred.
If this is true for you, then you obviously should not budget the same amount that you did for transportation last year. Evaluate your budget at the beginning of each month to see if it is realistic to your current lifestyle.
You have barely used it since you created it
This is another common budget mistake you could be making. What is the use of having a budget if you won’t use it?
If you barely use the budget after creating it, consider setting a good ol’ reminder for checking your budget. And girl, when that alarm goes off, make sure you check, okay?
Join our community of young, ambitious African women to step up your budgeting AND money game!
I know that these past few months have been challenging. Business sales are declining, pay cuts at work, bank accounts are turning red and being indoors is getting the best of us. For some of us, thinking of how to succeed is the last thing on our minds. We’re more about how to survive.
There is SO MUCH going on and I bet we are all looking for ways to stay sane during and after this pandemic.
But the truth is, bags still need to be secured and money has to be made- pandemic or not! So here are a few tips on how you can succeed in the new norm.
1. Stop feeling sorry for yourself
If you really want to succeed, you will find ways to change where you are right now. Self-pity won’t take you there. If your mood is not right, take a brief meditation break or dance to your favourite song. Shake off that bad energy because better days are here!
2. Create a gratitude journal
Get your notepad and list out a few things you’re grateful for today. Think about your family, friends, things that went well, the growth you’ve experienced and any other positive parts of your life no matter how big or small.
3. Never stop marketing yourself
If you’re a business owner, start treating every piece of communication you send out as another chance to market your product. Show your best pieces and update that Instagram account with your latest products or discounts. Most importantly, remind family and friends about your business.
4. Don’t be stagnant
We’ve been forced to conform to changes that we have little or no control over. If you’re thinking about how to succeed, this is the time for you to re-evaluate your business goals in relation to the current economy. Find ways to thrive girl! The world is evolving and so should you. Don’t just exist. Live. Explore. Challenge yourself.
You need to have a vision of who you want to be. Succeeding in the new norm means breaking through the hard shells to come out renewed and rejuvenated. It means doing it your own way and making the best out of everything.
To build that amazing business or career, you need access to resources that can help you. She Leads Africa has consistently delivered valuable content and experiences for women to live their best lives over the years.
Where did the pandemic hit you the most? A decline in business sales, a pay cut or you’ve exhausted your savings. Whatever it is, you need a strong support system to push you to exceed limits and take on opportunities you never thought you would. These are some benefits of being a part of the SLA community.
Grab your squad and join the train of successful women in the 21st century. Join the SLA community!
There are a couple of important things to note when you’re writing an email. The average person receives about 120 emails each day and only opens 25% of them. This is approximately 30 but I guarantee you that it’s probably way less. I for one only open about 5 on a good day. You need an email that doesn’t get lost in the noise of the receiver’s inbox.
When the receiver opens, the goal is to get them to read your email instead of adding it to spam. Here’s how to write an email in 5 easy steps:
1. Start with an eye-catching subject line
Your subject line is the make or break part of your email. If you’re competing with 130 emails for attention then you want to stand out in every way possible. Make sure your subject line goes straight to the point. NEVER send an email without a subject line.
If it’s a job application, sometimes employers give guidelines for what your subject line should be. In this case, follow the rules. It’s not the time to get creative. Keep your subject line short and sweet- should be 55 characters or less.
Here are a couple of good examples of good email subject lines:
Job Application: Application for the role of Marketing Associate Cold email: Career growth training opportunity for your employees Follow up: Re: Application for the role of Marketing Associate
2. Time for salutations
‘Dear Ms. Z’ Or ‘Dear Mr. Y’ is really your safest bet in formal situations. If you’re sure about the gender of the person you’re sending to, you can use ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Madam’.
For less formal companies and organisations, you can just say Hello X. If you’re in doubt, always use Mr., Ms., Dr. or Professor to be on the safe side
3. Ask how they’re doing
This is just a one-liner that makes a good difference in your email. It’s a tad rude to just go straight to what you want. When you’re sending an email, you want to ask how they’re doing before saying anything else.
4. Introduce yourself and get straight to the point
So you’ve gotten the receiver’s attention, good job! It’s time to give them a brief but concise introduction of yourself and what you do in relation to the email you’re sending.
Here’s a great example:
My name is Sola Adebakin and I’m a software engineer at XYZ solutions. I am writing to apply for the role of Chief Technology Officer at She Leads Africa.
If you’re writing on behalf of a company, you should introduce yourself first and say your role before introducing your company and what your company does.
My name is Sola Adebakin and I’m a software engineer at XYZ solutions. I am writing to give you a better and faster alternative to 4G internet for your company through a new solution provided by XYZ
XYZ is a wifi solutions provider that gives companies up to 5 times faster internet services. We’ve helped companies like Sterling Bank, Frosty Bites and MalcolmTrust get up to 5 times faster internet and we’d love to do the same to you.
You can then go on with your ask but keep it as short as possible never let your email exceed 4 paragraphs unless absolutely necessary.
5. Close it out
For your closing words, Warm regards is one of the safest options to use. You could also use Best or Regards in a more informal email.
Warm regards, Tiffany Aku
That’s it! your email is ready to conquer your receiver’s inbox!
Need a new job? Well in case you didn’t know, LinkedIn can be one of the best places to start. This is why we’ll be taking you through 5 major tips for how to find the job of your dreams on LinkedIn. Play your cards right and you’d be surprised when potential recruiters are the ones reaching out to you!
Update your profile
Think of LinkedIn as an online CV but with more. Don’t hold back, use this opportunity to detail the work you’ve done and the skills you have. Apart from a brief summary of your work experience, have a LinkedIn bio that’s interesting enough to read through with hobbies and a bit of what you’re passionate about.
Set up job alerts
You can set up job alerts on your career interests dashboard so that LinkedIn notifies you when a new job is open. With this feature, you can be one of the first to apply for jobs you’re interested in.
Build your connections
Be sure to connect and engage with things and people that interest you on LinkedIn. Following companies that you’re interested in and connecting with their employees and recruiters is always a good idea.
If you have a list of emails of people that you have connections with offline, all you need to do is upload a CSV file of those contacts and LinkedIn will automatically send connection requests to all of them. This can also help to give your LinkedIn profile a little boost.
When you’re looking for a job on LinkedIn, you’ll need to reach out to recruiters in your choice organisations. One way to make this easy is to have a message template that you can tweak
Here’s a good example:
“Hello Ms. Archer
My name is Lerato. My background is in software engineering. I’m exploring job possibilities and at this stage, am thinking that Maverick could be a fit for me because I can design systems exceptionally well. Can we meet for 15 minutes to discuss?
Recruiters are busy people so you want to make sure you give at least a week for a reply.
Let Recruiters Know You’re Open
Showing your profile to recruiters is another great way LinkedIn helps you find a job. To do this, enable the open to job opportunities feature on your LinkedIn profile. You can also choose to opt in to appear in recruiter searches that match your career interests.
LinkedIn tries to protect your privacy by not showing your preferences to recruiters in your current organisation but you need to know that it’s not a 100% guarantee that you will not be visible.
That’s it! You’re now on your way to applying for the job of your dreams!
Whether you are still on lockdown or not, working during a pandemic can affect your normal levels of productivity. You are not crazy or lazy or lazy. These are unique times none of us ever thought we would have to deal with. However, there are ways you can be productive at home.
Isioma Ononye is a YouTuber, writer, and fellow Motherland Mogul who founded WomenRising Nigeria, a forum to discuss and advocate for the rights of women and girls. She is currently focused on creating content to help other women get through the challenges of the pandemic.
In the struggle to stay laser-focused on goals, I have tried different ways to stay productive. Here are my personal tried and tested tips for staying productive while staying productive at home.
1. Wake Up Early
As everyone stays at home due to COVID-19, it is normal to feel demotivated. However, staying at home does not mean your goals have to suffer. While at home, you could still treat things like a normal workday. That means waking up early as if you were going to work.
I found that starting the day early really sets you up to tackle your goals.
2. Set A Schedule
Another way to be productive at home is to have a schedule. Writing things down has always been an important way for me to stay focused and be productive. Having a schedule really helps guide your day.
Having a schedule is especially effective if you’re feeling restless and unmotivated. You don’t need to have a long list to pile up in order to feel accomplished. You just need to have at least 3-5 things that you plan to do for the day.
3. Eliminate Distractions
When at home, there are so many things that can distract you. You can easily be distracted by social media, relatives, and anything in between.
You can deal with this by designating a time for your work. During your work hours, use apps like Freedom to avoid digital distractions for non-work related apps.
If you’re distracted by family or housemates, communicate clear boundaries and schedule quality time outside your work hours. If you have space, you can set aside a spot for getting your work done.
4. Remind Yourself Of Your Goals
At this time, you can easily lose sight of your goals and passions. You can get so caught up in the news, that forget to take time to reflect.
It matters that you continue to take time to reflect on your goals and passions. Remind yourself of what fuels you and what you aim to do. Though we are going through peculiar times, you can still adapt to the situation and remain productive.
Looking to take control of digital marketing for your business to connect with more customers and boost sales?