Overwhelmed? Here’s How to Succeed in these Times

For a start babe, how are you feeling today?

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.

There are many hidden opportunities right now. You just need to put yourself out there! Click To Tweet

5. Keep the vision alive!

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!

Fields marked with an * are required

You better get your Hot Girl Summer on, Motherland Mogul

Summer or no summer, you MUST live your best life.

You are a boss and keeping up with the trends in the digital world is the major key!

You must have come across the term Hot girl summer over the past month. If you’re not sure what everyone is on about, we’re serving you the tea in this article.

What is #HotGirlSummer???

The phrase #Hotgirlsummer was coined by American rapper, Meghan Thee Stallion. She used the term to tell women (and men) to be unapologetically themselves and fiercely go after their dreams and goals.

It simply means that summer or no summer, you MUST live your best life.

The term first appeared on Twitter after one of her fans posted a photo with the caption “I hear it’s a #HotGirlSummer”. Since then, the term has since caught on like bush fire.

Men and Women around the world are now posting fun and happy photos of themselves on social media with the same caption. The phrase represents women living out their best lives at their own terms, to make it the best thing to ever happen to them.

If you are looking to have your own Hot Girl Summer season like the Motherland Mogul that you are, here are some tips to get you started.

1. Review and Define Your Goals

In order to live life unapologetically, there must be a goal or vision that you are looking to achieve.

It is important that you have a vision of where you are going and come up with a plan of how you will get there. This may involve improving your current skill set or going back to school.

Choose your path and glow while pursuing your goals.

2. Put Your Best Foot Forward Where You are

In most cases than not, it will take time to get to your dream job/businesses/bosses and/or clientele.

While you are building towards your goals and dreams, it is essential that you grab every crucial opportunity that comes by. The journey to achieving your dreams is a culmination of all the work and effort that you are putting in now.

Use your current position to build a richer network as this will make your journey much easier.

The phrase, Your Network is Your Net worth should come in handy where you are now and when you finally get to achieve your goals.

3. Put In the Work

Nothing works unless you do.

To achieve anything in life, you must be willing to put in the effort and work required to get where you want to be.

It is also important to ensure that your voice is heard in meetings and in boardrooms. As you put in the work and effort, it is also very important that you are taking credit for your achievements.

You are much more memorable when your voice is heard, therefore, going forward ensure that you are the lady who takes credit for her work, contributes ideas and always have engaging thoughts in any meetings and conferences.

An organization or client will always value someone who adds value. Your work is then to add value. 

4. Have Fun While Doing It

Girl, work hard and play hard while you’re at it.

Going after your goals and choosing to be outstanding is definitely not always fun.

There is a lot of unseen hard work and in some cases, you are your own biggest cheerleader.

But, how about making it fun for yourself by having a weekly gratitude list?

Each week, write down something you are grateful for and also tick off a goal that you have accomplished. It is the consistent cumulative effort that eventually pays off and keeps a smile on your face.

5.Take a Selfie and Don’t Forget to Hashtag #HotGirlSummer

Lastly, while putting in the work and securing the bag don’t forget to take a bomb selfie as you live your best life, on your own terms.

It is always relaxing to get the perfect selfie and keep the movement going for all the women who are making it happen for themselves and their communities.

Have yourself a Hot Girl Summer.


Join our Facebook Live on August 22nd to learn how to drive social change through your business/ Career. Click here to sign up.

That money you want is in someone’s account: Amba Eyang – Ajakaye

Not every “celebrity” is known. There are powerful women who are not just breaking glass ceilings, but also impacting the lives of people they meet.

One of such extraordinary women is Amba Eyang-Ajakaiye, a Brand Storyteller and Business Strategist.

She is the founder of iDare.NotDread Nigeria, a social engineering platform promoting innovation, creativity, and enterprise through storytelling and value sharing.

She is also team lead of the Build My Business initiative born out of iDare.NotDread’s enterprise. Centered on building skills and capacities for young people in the business.

This project launched grand ideas such as the BMB Expo and BMB Training school (online) in 2017.

Amba has gone from transforming ordinary people who would have never thought of writing their own books, to making them authors.

She’s also supporting small businesses to achieve scalability and growth especially, by helping them identify and understand the importance of “target markets” and “market validation”.

In this interview with SLA contributor – Wuraola, Amba Eyang-Ajakaiye bares it all about IDare.NotDread and highlights why small business owners should “do it afraid”.


Do it Afraid. Fight your limitations – Amba Eyang-AjakaiyeI Click To Tweet

Tell us about your company – IDare.NotDread

iDare.NotDread is a social Enterprise promoting innovation, creativity, and enterprise in Nigeria.

Our focus is primarily to build women communities and empower them with creative and innovative skills for business growth.

What’s one business tip you wish most business owners knew and could wield to their advantage?

Network. Meet people.

That money you want is in someone’s account. That unspoken challenge can be solved by someone. Attend workshops, events, and meet people. Most people don’t bite.

How can entrepreneurs begin to understand the power of conducting market validation, and collaboration with other SMEs?

I believe in collaboration. This is why I try to build communities. We started the Abuja food community in May, and its amazing to see how much collaboration has happened in a group full of women.

Yet, we probably thought women prefer to fight. No. The moment businesses understand that collaboration first means ‘here is what I can give you’, before ‘give me what I want’, they will lead better businesses.

With a lot of fake business coaches around, what makes your brand different?

We didn’t just arrive. We’ve been here a while. In 2013 we started with creating a platform for entrepreneurs to share their stories and inspire others.

Over time, we realized stories weren’t enough. Capacities needed to be built.

So we went all in to try to understand the real needs of the entrepreneurs we wished to serve, and since 2016, we started contributing to conversations around digital technology and creating a good impact in the digital space.

Since then, our efforts have birthed super brands.

In the past 3 years we have successfully trained 4,000 entrepreneurs on digital strategies as well as provided opportunities for business visibility.

Many thanks to the opportunity Google granted us through the Digital Skills for Africa programme and a host of other partners who have trusted us to work with them.

Why should SMEs understand their target markets before making an entrance into the market?

Because if we don’t, we would be hitting our heads on rocks. Hard rocks.

You can’t sell to everyone, and this is why research is key to identifying who your market is.

Ever tried selling a #ManchesterUnited jersey to an #Arsenal fan? It's just blind selling. Read more from Amba Eyang-Ajakaiye Click To Tweet

Tell us about your Ebook Challenge

Its amazing! I launched my first ever ebook on March 2019, titled ‘How to write your first eBook‘ and that’s where the ebook challenge began.

We are currently on our 3rd cohort and it’s been amazing!!! Every 2 months we launch a new set of authors who are super proud of their achievements. It feels great to empower people to create wealth with their knowledge.

We are looking to expand the community beyond eBooks to help more women create diverse digital products and generate more income.

How does the “Do It Afraid” catchphrase relate to entrepreneurs who don’t like taking risks?

We all have fear in us. It’s an emotion. I am still learning to tame my fears. And we all should. The best way to go about it is to go ahead and do that very thing you fear.

I have coached a number of businesses and one of the areas I tend to focus on is to help them fight those limitations – the little voices and beliefs that make them feel less of themselves and limited.

It’s important we act despite fear. Accept your fears but act.

What’s the worst that could happen? Failure? Then show me one person who NEVER failed.


Why Your Business Ideas Aren’t Working

By ensuring that your goals are S.M.A.R.T, you set yourself up to experience the thrill of an achievement that will become a motivation for future successes.

Did you know that you can give 110% effort and fail miserably, even with a good business idea?

I’ve seen it more times than I can count. An eager entrepreneur has a brilliant idea and quickly forges ahead, only to come back disappointed that things did not work out.

By the time they come to that realization, they have likely invested a lot of money, energy and time that they will never get back.

Entrepreneurs going through this experience usually assume that they are simply not cut out for entrepreneurship.

It is at this point that I dig a little deeper into their execution process and I find that the real problem was that the idea or goal was underdeveloped, leading to poor execution. It was a set-up for failure from the start.

I then have the task of talking the entrepreneur off the ledge by explaining that there may have been nothing wrong with their effort, resources or intentions. The reason for the apparent failure was likely that the goal was an inherently bad goal.

When it comes to execution in business, a good goal is not just noble in its intention, but it also S.M.A.R.T.

It is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Ensuring that your goal meets these criteria increases the likelihood of success.

It eliminates wasted time and hones in on the best strategy for success.

Specific goals break down your general goals into manageable pieces so that they are easier to achieve. A great example of this might be to increase your annual revenue.

“Increase revenue in 2019” is a noble general goal.

An even better goal is to “increase revenue in 2019 by identifying profit leaks and creating monthly marketing campaigns in order to obtain new clients.”

Using that example, it’s easy to see how an entrepreneur can go from casting a wide net and taking a chance on what sticks, to identifying a specific strategy for success.

Even that specific goal can be further developed as you think about other factors that will affect the outcome.

By adding metrics and changing the goal to “increase revenue by 40% in 2019, by identifying profit leaks and creating monthly marketing campaigns in order to obtain new clients,” the direction and initial action steps are even clearer.

This way, there is little room for wasted resources and time.

The attainable and realistic factors in the S.M.A.R.T. formula are subjective factors determined by the individual’s readiness to start working on their goals.

An entrepreneur who does not have a marketing budget needs to first raise the money or create a budget for marketing before embarking on the goal above.

Without a budget for a robust campaign, attempting to increase revenue by creating marketing campaigns will prove futile.- @andrena_sawyer Click To Tweet

It seems obvious enough, but many entrepreneurs still do not count the cost before they set their foot on the pavement.

The last piece of the formula is timeliness. This ensures that the person setting the goal has a sense of urgency and can fend off complacency when working toward their goal.

It is easy to overlook this final piece, but it is just as critical as the others because it has two extremes: too much time allotted for the goal, and not enough time.

When there is too much time, it is easy to fall into traps of procrastination and complacency. These are traps that force individuals to believe they have more time to do the work than they actually do.

They lose their sense of urgency, which opens the door for others to leverage their ideas, or for a competitor to get to a product launch before they do. The other extreme is not to give yourself enough time.

No goal is perfect, and neither is every process, and there is room for imperfection. – @andrena_sawyer Click To Tweet

By rushing toward the goal, entrepreneurs stand the risk of sabotaging by not properly assessing the risks and all of the factors necessary for success.

After all, there’s value for the entrepreneur in trial and error and even failure.

However, by ensuring that your goals are S.M.A.R.T., you set yourself up to experience the thrill of achievement that will become a motivation for future successes.

3 ways to boost your likeability in business

Every person struggles with how to deal with people better. In business especially, the struggle is even more challenging as you not only need to win customers over but also make profits. Dale Carnegie observes in his book How to win friends and influence people that…
“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.”
This is to mean that we are more likely to win people over by treating them better. Instead of criticizing, the legendary writer, Carnegie, says that the only way to get people to do anything is by giving them what they want. With this background, business people should thus ensure they provide what their clients and employees need. Here are three ways to increase your likability among your employees and clients.

Don’t kick over the beehive

Do not be obsessed with getting what only benefits you alone. As an entrepreneur, it is very rewarding if you shift out of focusing absorbedly on yourself and what you can gain from others. Instead, be genuinely concerned about those you are in contact with irrespective of their rank or background. Be open to other people and listen to what they say keenly and with curiosity. To be a good listener, try slowing down and look into your employees or colleagues eyes, and be truly concerned about them and what they are saying. It will not do you any good if you are the kind of person who only focuses on the goal without paying attention to the process of goal achievement. As a leader, drop the ‘just get it done’ approach.  It leaves those you socialize with feeling drained and used. Additionally, the ‘expert’ role among entrepreneurs breaks the line of communication between them and their employees/colleagues. Playing an expert makes you big headed and closed minded to other people’s opinions, thereby stealing from you the opportunity to grow your business to the next level. How to boost your likability in business: 1. If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive. Learn more... Click To Tweet

Diversity is a blessing

We cannot all be the same. It would be unexciting to work or socialize with clones of yourself. Embrace diversity and differences, as it is through them that you learn who you are and what you want to become in the future. Engaging with those that are different from you sets you to becoming a better person, stronger and richer in knowledge and skills. By being open to diversity, business owners can be more tolerant, understanding and respectful of other people’s perceptions, practices and who they are. To be a good listener, try slowing down and look into your employees or colleagues eyes, and be truly concerned about them and what they are saying. Click To Tweet

Listen and learn

It is not enough to listen with an open mind and heart. Using the information you get to grow yourself and the business is even a greater gift. By being curious to listen to other people and show affection towards them, you get to understand their world, and thus opening up yourself to other perspectives on life and work. Such knowledge is not only good for business but also for your well-being as a social human that needs genuine connection with those around you. Dealing with people is difficult. Learning the art of increasing your likability among people can increase your chances of becoming a better entrepreneur and a better person among your social circles.
 How are you growing and glowing this month? We want to share your story! Click here to share.

Your why’s and how’s to embracing growth

Living in a world where we wake up each morning to new innovations and improvements on how things were, just a night before shows beyond every reasonable doubt that life is ever changing.

Phases fade out because even life grows. Therefore, it is a huge risk to remain stagnant in a world ruled by pace and ace.

Here are some factors that can aid your growth...

Change

It’s high time we realized that change isn’t just a theoretical phenomenon. Change isn’t a part of life, but change is life.

Change is life itself. It's either we live it or it leaves us behind. Click To Tweet

This means that we should constantly be on the move, in our journey of personal development. This requires the totality of our lives, being conscious of the fact that every move either made or not made reflects in the scale of our progress.

Build your capacity

How ready are we for the opportunities that we seek?

Most times we have great plans on how we want to make a huge positive impact in the lives of others. We have dreams of how we want to make a difference, how we want to change the world for the better.

All fine and beautiful! But how often do we resolve to change ourselves, become better with our skills, our talents and our endowments in general?

It’s important to note that true success and lasting positive impact in the lives of others begin within us as individuals. For we cannot give out more than the content of our worth. Therefore, in order not to be left behind by life, we must by all means, consciously and consistently…

  • Improve our skills
  • Fuel and refuel our knowledge tank
  • Learn something new each day

Tell your story

There is the foundational piece of every success story. It is a never-ending phase of moving from where we are, to where we want to be. By owning your story, you appreciate how far you’ve come.

It may be a period of rejections, so many imperfections. Perhaps, a period of falling and rising, a period of self-discovery or even a period of just taking one step at a time, but in all, it is never a period of stagnancy.

Beyond all the ups and downs, one must keep at a certain pace, even if it means moving inch by inch.

“We have an innate desire to endlessly learn, grow and develop. We want to become more than what we already are. Once we yield to this inclination for continuous and never-ending improvement; we lead a life of endless accomplishments and satisfaction. – Chuck Gallozzi

Be Clear and Specific

In the words of Jack Canfield, an all-time success guru…

” Whatever your goal, decide where you want to improve and what steps you’ll need to take to achieve that improvement. To keep yourself focused on constant and never-ending improvement, ask yourself every day, “

  • How can I improve today?
  • What can I do better than before?
  • Where can I learn a new skill or develop a new competency?

If you do, you’ll embark on a lifelong journey of improvement that will ensure your success.”

Take one step at a time

You do not have to suddenly mature into a particular phase of life. That’s why it is called ‘GROWTH’. It’s a process! It involves stages. You don’t have to rush in and out.

Plant yourself in a healthy and environment void of chokiness.

Water yourself, open yourself to the sunshine, breath and enjoy the process because this will lead you to the YOU of your desires.
Remember! Grow into your next level, do not hop into it and watch ‘you glow before your own eyes’!


  How are you growing and glowing this month? We want to share your story! Click here to share.

Nobuntu Webster: I let go of the parts of my business that were not aligned with my purpose and values

Nobuntu Webster is Director of African Pursuit, a social enterprise using media and story for economic and social development and Avad Media, a content production, content distribution, and content marketing company.

She has extensive leadership experience in development organizations such as the International Women’s Forum, Businesswomen’s Association of SA and KZN Youth Chamber of Commerce.

She holds a BPhil Honours degree and postgraduate qualifications in Strategic Leadership and International Trade Management.

Nobuntu Webster expresses her joy of living out her purpose through her business and career and contributing to meaningful work on the continent.

In this interview, we asked her how other aspiring Motherland Moguls can use their businesses and careers to do work that fulfills them and impacts lives.


 What is your purpose and how are you using your career and business to fulfill it?

I’m a storyteller and I am moved by injustice. I want to see economic justice, economic equality, and social justice.

You’ll find me using stories to create narratives for justice and to bring in new thinking and ideas. I develop Media strategies and content for social justice and economic inclusion through African Pursuit.

I am also perturbed by distorted narratives. With Avad Media, we create content that challenges people to question the narratives that we have been taught.

My heart is for Africa, so we create platforms and content to engage, grow and build Africa.

We are building towards an Africa that has enough for its people - @NobuntuSA Click To Tweet

What steps did you take to turn your career and business to fulfill a purpose?

My faith drove me to pursue purpose. The first step was looking to God and growing my faith.

The second step was to sacrifice. I had to let go of the parts of my business that were not aligned with my purpose and values.

The next step was going for it! I discovered that where my purpose would be fulfilled is in Media. I had to make the bold, courageous steps towards Media.

Go boldly into what and where your purpose is. Be humble and willing to learn from others if you’re getting into a new craft.

Learn the technicalities of the craft, and know what your specialty is. Also, know what the business model looks like in that craft and then think about how you turn that craft into a profitable business.

Using business for a purpose is a long journey, you have to be willing to be in it for the long-haul. It is going to unravel layer by layer, you just have to keep taking the steps as you discover them.

Learn the technicalities of your craft, and know what your specialty is - @NobuntuSA Click To Tweet

What meaningful work on the continent have you been able to contribute to and which have you found most fulfilling? 

One of the projects I am working on currently is Abundant Africa. We are building a narrative for a restorative economy in Africa; saying, ‘how do we create an economy that is influenced by our own unique African values?

How do we go back to Ubuntu and create an economy that is good for people; to making sure that the poor are given opportunities to pull out of poverty?’

I am part of building teams that create content that moves from policy ideas to stories that people can relate to. We are building towards an Africa that has enough for its people and that protects its environment.

How does one discover their purpose and identify meaningful work they can contribute to, as a business?

The clues to knowing your purpose are in the things that you do without trying hard; things that you would be willing to do for free.

To identify meaningful work you can contribute to, you have to know your calling. Ask yourself, ‘what moves me?’ What can you not ignore? What do you want to change?

There is so much need on the continent and that need is an opportunity - @NobuntuSA Click To Tweet

How do we grow from a survival and profit mindset to a service and purpose mindset?

There is so much need on the continent and that need is an opportunity, and you can still have a profitable business. Every entrepreneur should have a service and purpose mindset.

As Africans, we are people of ‘Ubuntu’. If we go back to who we are and we go back to the need around us, we easily move to a service and purpose mindset and build sustainable businesses that contribute to the continent.

How do you turn your business to fulfill purpose without losing profitability and your current clients?

I had to let go of clients whose work did not align with my values. There is always a risk in these kinds of bold and courageous steps. The greatest rewards in life come with sacrifice. There are things that you are likely to lose.

How do you secure your team’s buy-in into the new purpose and vision of your business?

A great leader is someone who is able to bring the people that they lead with them on the journey and get them to buy into the vision and own it.

People though are also on their own journey. Give them the option to come along on the journey or not. The new direction of the business might not feed into their purpose and career.

I had to relocate anyway so I had to start new teams that are passionate and that buy into the new vision.

Go boldly into what and where your purpose is - @NobuntuSA Click To Tweet

“I have the blessing of living my childhood dream… It looks completely different than I thought it would but it is so much more meaningful!” – Nobuntu Webster 


How are you growing and glowing this month? We want to share your story! Click here to share.

Leave This Shit In 2018…

Happy New year Motherland Moguls!

2018 was a year filled with events and lessons for me. So, I thought I would share with you some of the lessons learned that apply to life, career, and business.

Life is full of surprises and often take unexpected turns. Our successes are a result of how well we respond and adapt to the life changes. My hope this year is that we are all able to embrace change and let go of what is holding us back.

Welcome to 2019!

Now let’s talk about the shit you need to leave in 2018. You don’t need that baggage with you in 2019!

Here are 5 habits you need to let go of this year #leavethatshitin2018 Click To Tweet

Resenting others

Nothing good comes from resenting others. I’m telling you this as someone who is guilty of holding grudges for long periods of time.

I resented the person who took this picture for a while. I blamed them for making me miserable. I wished them all the bad luck in the world because I felt they were somehow the origin of everything bad happening in my life (and it wasn’t the case).

I don’t resent them anymore and I am so much happier for it. Don’t get me wrong, I still highly dislike this person, but as soon as I was able to refocus the time and energy I was spending brooding over the situation, amazing things started happening.

Nothing good ever comes from resenting others. Take it from a champion in the resentment Olympics. #LeaveThatShitIn2018

Snoozing your life away

I am usually pretty good at waking up early and getting on with my day. But every so often I think that I could do with “5 more minutes” of sleep and hit the snooze button for the next 2 hours.

 

The problem?

When you snooze, you not only wake up more tired than you initially were, but you then spend your entire day playing catch up. You waste time, miss opportunities, and get caught up in a vicious circle. The same is true for life.

I didn’t get to see my grandmother one last time because of this viscous snoozing circle I had slipped in. So now, I try my best to make things happen ASAP.

One of the best trips I had this year was possible because I did not snooze (when I really wanted to). I was able to discover part of Cape Verde, meet great people, and have an amazing experience.Don’t postpone things you can do now.

Finish (or start) that degree you have been thinking about for so long. Take that art class. Visit with your friends and family. Explore the world. Launch that business.

And when that thing you want to do seems impossible, just remember that Rome was not built in a day, it was built one stone at the time. (And stop snoozing that alarm clock!)

You snooze you lose. #LeaveThatShitIn2018

Being a technology zombie

Technology is wonderful. It enables us to take great selfies (and groupies) and more importantly it enables us to connect with each other and the world.

We, however, have to be very careful. Technology is a double-edged sword. It can be a nice distraction. But it is a distraction nonetheless. It is a distraction that turns us into shallow versions of ourselves.I took this picture while I was waiting for my car to get fixed. And I was so glad to have my phone with me at the time. It made the wait so much more enjoyable.

But more and more I find myself scrolling on my social media feed while I’m on the phone or watching TV.

I like to think that technology is not the boss of me. But I have noticed lately that I miss pieces of conversations, movies, and I waste time that could be put to better use because of it.

Be present. Connect with intention. Don’t be a tech zombie. #LeaveThatShitIn2018 Click To Tweet

I feel this negatively affects the quality of my relationships. It turns me into a passive, absent-minded, and monosyllabic individual. And this is not the type of person or friend I want to be.

I want to be a friend that remembers what we talked about. That friend who is attentive, present and listens actively and with intention.

The friends we have and the relationships we build are what make life interesting and beautiful. So, we owe it to each other to be mindful, engaged, and attentive.

Be present. Connect with intention. Don’t be a tech zombie. #LeaveThatShitIn2018

Letting fear cloud your judgment

We often think of fear as this scary monster that makes us do crazy things. But more often than not, fear comes posing as a gentle and wise friend that has your best interest at heart.

Fear is eloquent and charismatic. Fear is (seemingly) insightful. Fear is convincing. In fact, Fear is so convincing that it will have you believe that your neighbor must be dangerous since they do not look like you. It will convince you to stay quiet in the face of injustice.

It will convince you that putting your head in the sand is the best way to solve your problems.

I have been there. Fear had me paralyzed. It made me watch a personal situation getting worse and worse and interpret anything as a sign of improvement.

I was very fortunate at that time to have a great friend who guided me through this fog of fear. But sometimes, you have to be your own guide and ask yourself: what would I tell a friend in the same situation?

Don’t let fear cloud your judgment. Be your own friend. Take fear out of the  equation. #LeaveThatShitIn2018

Traveling someone else’s journey

When we are young, it is the responsibility of our parents, our family, (and, to some extent, our community) to prepare us for life. They make choices for us, take decisions about our activities, our lifestyle, and our beliefs.

They do this hoping that we will be best prepared for adulthood, that we will be equipped to make our own choices and take our own decisions when the time comes. And for this, we should all be grateful.

At some point, however, we have to be masters of our own destiny. Being told what to do is reassuring but it deprives us of the essential ability that is self-determination. When we are used to being told what to do, we often forget to stray out of the pre-established path and look for our own purpose.

You are different and unique. And applying other people’s goals and expectations for your life will only result in heartbreak. Do not watch your life pass by from the passenger seat while wishing you were heading towards a different destination.

You are free to do anything. So, take charge and know when it is time to get out of the car and pave your own way. Don’t be afraid to say no and be comfortable traveling alone (for a little while at least).

This is an adventure. Your adventure. It might be intimidating and scary, but it will definitely be interesting and worthwhile.

Be the driver (and engineer) of your journey. Build your own path. Don’t be a passenger to your life. #LeaveThatShitIn2018

Enjoy the New Year.


 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

Unlocking Success: The Advice Every Entrepreneur Must Hear

Ten years ago, if someone told me I would become a law school dropout who owns two successful businesses, I may have laughed in their face.

The only thing that may have sounded more ridiculous would have been to add that both ventures will put me in position to help hundreds of entrepreneurs start and run successful businesses every year.

Thankfully, even things that sound ridiculous can actually become reality.

The truth is, I never had much of an interest in entrepreneurship. As a child, I watched my father work tirelessly to build businesses. Some were successful. Others were not.

What sets the successful and the unsuccessful entrepreneur apart is not luck, worth ethic, or even skills, its usually the power of flexibility. - @andrena_sawyer Click To Tweet

I now know my father was not alone in his plight because Bloomberg Research suggests that 8 out of every 10 businesses fail within the first 19 months. The Small Business Administration suggests that only half of new businesses survive the first five years, while only 35% are able to survive for 10 years.

Despite my early exposure to the unfortunate side of entrepreneurship, I have come to believe that what sets the successful and the unsuccessful apart is not luck, worth ethic, or even skill.

Most times, it comes down to the power of flexibility.

When you first become an entrepreneur, you are inundated with solicited and unsolicited advice.

There is an incredible adrenaline rush that comes from seeing yourself manifest what had only been a vision in your mind for weeks, months, and sometimes even years.

Most of the advice is given with good intentions and meant to be motivational. Yet, some have absolutely no significance to you because your primary concern early on is simply to survive.

Admittedly, I don’t remember much of what was said to me when I launched my first company. However, one piece of advice that has not only stuck with me but saved my business several times is to marry the mission and date the model.

To marry your mission is to remember your why, and to maintain your covenant -so to speak- with that why. To date your model is to make flexibility a bedrock in your business. It is your how.

I learned the true meaning of this after my first year in business. The excitement and adrenaline had worn off, and the money I’d saved up for the initial capital had depleted. I now faced “real” business issues like cash flow, leadership and human resource challenges, customer service and iterating our value proposition.

To marry your mission is to remember your why, and to maintain your covenant -so to speak- with that why - @andrena_sawyer Click To Tweet

While your mission – the reason you went into business and the need that your business solves should never change, the way your business does business had better change if it is to survive.

This includes your marketing strategies, your price point, and sometimes even your company culture. All of these things are still connected to the mission, but this how allows you to stay relevant and top-of-mind.

For some of us, we went into business to disrupt the industry. We were tired of inefficiency or annoyed that a few big players were monopolizing everything, leaving no room for anyone else to play.

For others, there was a glaring need that one too many people complained about, yet no one was offering viable solutions. Then there are those of us who started a business because we recognized our gifts and talents and saw business ownership as a way to walk in our purpose.

Remembering this is critical to success. It is your mission. It lays the foundation for the story that your business will tell. However, even that why is not enough sometimes. That is where dating the model comes in.

The reality is there are many factors that influence your success as an entrepreneur.

Some of these factors like industry trends, sales cycles, current events, economic upturns and downturns, and even your organization’s capacity are sometimes beyond your control.

By adjusting your model, you develop a culture of freedom that allows your business to adapt to these changes. Ultimately, this hones your business’ survival instinct in difficult times and leverages positive trends in good times.

This ability to be adaptable could very well be the deciding factor between being part of the success statistics or the failure rates.


 Got some advice that can help others succeed in 2019? Click here to share.

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.