How did #mygirlsquad come about?
#mygirlsquad is inspired by women of colour. We are strong, diverse and beautiful but this isn’t shown enough in the media and in our daily lives. Women of colour are grossly underrepresented. I wanted to create a platform to show the positive in women of colour, not just as individuals but as a collective and a community.
There’s not enough being told about the growing positive trend of amazing women of colour breaking boundaries and collaborating on great things to uplift their community. We’re happy, loving and ambitious – that should be the narrative.
What challenges have you encountered in the past with your business?
The biggest trial for me was actually having faith in myself. Tackling self-doubt and steering with faith alone is a very lonely road. There have been many times I’ve been awakened from sleep by my fear of failure. It has made me procrastinate on deadlines and even made me lose opportunities because I felt that I wasn’t the person for it.
As an entrepreneur, I feel that even if you’re running a one-man show, many things can go wrong in one day. However, if you allow your self-doubt and fears to overpower your faith and ambition to get through the day, you have already sunk your ship. Fear is inevitable. It’s a natural reaction when you’re faced with something unknown. Just don’t let it turn into doubt. When I start to get doubtful I always surround myself with affirmations. If you don’t have anyone in your life who can give you affirmations, you have to create them yourself. You need constant reassurance that you can do what you set yourself up to do.
As someone who has worked with friends, is there a right and wrong way to it?
From my experience there is. I’ve worked with many friends before and even with my husband. You have to first understand what your friend’s strengths and weaknesses are. It’s all fun and great when brainstorming ideas get flowing and there’s excitement about launching something together. But knowing your friend as a friend, and knowing your friend in business is different.
Your friend may have your back when it comes to personal issues, but when you start dealing with money, things become different. So understanding their strengths and weaknesses puts you both in a better position to work cohesively in things that best fit each other. Some tips from me
- Always have a contract – this protects you both in case things go south.
- Communicate. A lot of misunderstandings can lead to bigger issues if they are unresolved. Conflict can carry into your friendship and things can go very sour very quickly if not resolved.
- Most importantly try to make time for your friendship. Sometimes, you become engrossed in the business side that the friendship gets lost. Remembering that you were friends before getting into business will go a long way.
You mentioned working with your husband, how can young African women balance marriage with working with their partners?
As an African woman, I found this a challenge when I started. I, along with many other women, have been raised to always put your husband first in your marriage. While that works within a marriage, it doesn’t always work that way in business. You sometimes have to go with your gut or put your husband last sometimes. In any business relationship, there will always be a difference in opinion one time or another, and when that happens – you have to deal with that pragmatically.
I’m a passionate individual and I tend to have strong opinions. In instances where my husband would disagree with me, I would not only argue my point in a meeting but I’d find myself randomly arguing the same point while we’re watching our favorite show. That’s crazy! Knowing when to turn that business switch off is important, especially when working with your spouse. In a 9 to 5 it’s easy to come home after a hard day and vent to your spouse about your annoying co-worker or boss, but when you work together and the annoying co-worker is your spouse – it gets tricky. So, leaving business at the office and keeping the marriage at home is the best way to balance it.
Why is sisterhood important?
I’ve always believed in the power of numbers. No man is an island and you never succeed alone. As a woman of colour – why would you want to be alone, when you can be so much more as a collective? Collaborating with like-minded individuals, who share the same social and economical issues as you, in order to achieve something should be something sought after. We have a long way to go as women of colour – gender inequality, domestic violence, social and economic issues stunt our growth, yet we are the fastest growing demographic in several industries that include business and education. Imagine if we pulled all our resources together?
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