The free labour trap: Stop being a “yasss queen”

Practising social distancing and working from home as a mother of a one-year old has meant I have to be intentional with taking the time to rest and making time to be present with my family.

It has also allowed me to revisit some of the things which I’ve been meaning to do. You know, those things we hang on the ‘I will get to you when I have time’ shelf? Yup, things which we have been putting off for months now.

With the increase in online activity filled with Microsoft Teams or Zoom meetings, it came as no surprise when every other day I would have a friend or an acquaintance texting me for feedback on their website or requesting tips for self-care regimens. It was always this or the other odd thing, which they have started taking on with all the free time we seem to have at our disposal.

There is a super thin line between helping someone out because you’re homies and selling yourself short- Zimkhitha Mathunjwa Click To Tweet

I don’t mind getting on a call so that you can pick my mind on an idea you would like to try out or give input on a concept you’re testing. I equally have no qualms about connecting or plugging you to a great resource base to make things happen for you.

Where it gets a tad tricky is when I am asked to work on something and use my resources and expertise, without compensation. There is a super thin line between helping someone out because you’re homies and selling yourself short because of your ride or die ties.

The issue with being a free labour ‘YAAAAAAS’ queen

I am sure you’ve had acquaintances and colleagues asking you to proof-read their work and offer feedback on proposals or creative projects. Or friends who have asked you to work on their business plans or hustled you into a last-minute brainstorm sesh on their projects and because this is the sisterhood of the ‘each one help one’ mantra, we show up and shake it up.

At what cost though, do we continue to tap dance to this thankless tune of free labour? If you’ve been here, you know that once you’re done, some don’t even have the inclination to acknowledge the time, expertise and resources that went into helping them. That is a post for another day entirely.

This, however, is about how I have decided that my free labour has reached its quota. I am not available to perform these ad-hoc tasks unless I am getting paid for it. Sis, fatigue ain’t cute and I am not open to overextending myself any longer.

Make ‘No’ your ultimate BFF

We need to normalise handing out our rate card when asked to offer our expert advice or do work for friends and family. There is nothing wrong with this, we’re all trying to get our coins, Queens. Let’s not abuse each other’s generosity for self-gain, plus, it’s disrespectful.

Not only will taking a stand on how you spend your time and allocate your resources ensure that you do not overextend yourself, but it will bring you peace of mind.

A big part of self-care that we often overlook is knowing how to say no. No, is extremely liberating and it also makes sure that people do not take advantage of you.

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I am not saying be selfish and not leverage off of each other’s knowledge and skills. These are the tenets on which sisterhood and community are built. We look out for each other and put one another on. What I am advocating for, is being self-FULL. Stop treating yourself like an afterthought, be intentional about prioritising yourself. Give yourself the respect which is due to you.

Stop treating yourself like an afterthought, be intentional about prioritising yourself – Zimkhitha Mathunjwa Click To Tweet

3 things to avoid going forward:

  1. Saying yes to a strategy and brainstorming session which will require research from you and will be resource-intense without compensation.
  2. Do not consult on a project or provide feedback for work that will be remunerated but you receive nothing.
  3. Say no to friends and family requests to do free work that you ordinarily get paid to do.

Many won’t be happy with the decision I have taken to cut free labour. The beauty of this is that it isn’t about what people say, it is 100% about me. I will be happier for it; my relationships will be healthier as a result and my coins will stay popping. Surely, this is a good look! Remember that the work you do is important, and you are equally important.


Want access to more resources and articles to get you ahead in your career? Visit SheLeadsAfrica.org!

ScaleUp Africa Ignites A Global Growth Movement For Black Enterprises

Press Release

ScaleUp Africa organised one of the biggest diaspora targeted entrepreneurship events in August 2020 attracting Entrepreneurs, Business Growth Experts, Investors, Creative Artistes and Innovators from North America, The Caribbean, Europe and across Africa. 

According to Einstein Ntim, the CEO of Global StartUp Ecosystem, main sponsors of ScaleUp Africa’s Festival, ”ScaleUp Africa has truly set the bar for curating an impactful international convening of the entrepreneurship ecosystem. We just witnessed a powerful, well-organised Africa-focused virtual business event and we’re very proud to have been able to sponsor such a historic event.”

With over 40 Virtual Panels, Workshops, Interviews, Presentations and Artiste Performances featuring seasoned experts from a wide range of fields, the Festival put the spotlight on bottom-up Policy Frameworks, Tech, Agriculture and Creative industry opportunities as well as business insights from African music labels, artistes and professionals from around the world. 

On The Role of Corporations: 

African Angel Investment veteran, Tomi Davies of the African Business Angel Network (ABAN) said: ”Corporations must understand that one of the best ways to innovate is to tap into the early stage entrepreneurial ecosystem. This is not to be viewed as old fashioned CSR or Charity. Engaging with and supporting the entrepreneurship ecosystem should be viewed as an integral part of Innovation, R&D and overall Strategy.” 

Joe Mensah, former President of the American Chamber of Commerce, Ghana and Country Director of KOSMOS Energy said,”We must all lend a hand to support this effort and encourage more boards to report on entrepreneurship and innovation programmes as part of their Environmental, Social and Governance metrics.”

For Amma Gyampo, the Co-Founder ScaleUp Africa, a women-led entrepreneurship advisory and business support firm based in Accra, Ghana and the conveners of this event, the message is simple: “Let’s build up the trust, systems and partnerships required to grow stronger, profitable, job-creating businesses while delivering on social impact.

“There’s an entire community of entrepreneurial leaders that have built world-class talent, tech and solutions but it’s important to connect them to distribution channel opportunities that governments and corporations hold the keys to. Even investors are innovating to boost the growth and performance prospects of this community. This ecosystem has so much value, data, insights, new business models and potential solutions to offer. We facilitate deeper engagement with corporations, foundations and DFIs to promote the growth of our most cutting edge small businesses.”

ScaleUp Africa: A New Breed Of Black & African Business Leaders

The Festival attracted over 3000 registered attendees and streaming viewers including active Investors that shared their insights about their current deals in Africa during the Pandemic. In attendance were a number of leaders and influencers from the African creative sector and Black entrepreneurship ecosystems from countries including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Ghana, Nigeria, Mauritius, South Africa, UK, Canada, USA.

Attendees were encouraged to study macro-trends like digitalisation, self-reliant agriculture, tech and industrialisation as a way to boost their chances of growth and sustainable business success.  There was also an emphasis on building profitable businesses from the start and promoting venture investor community building to improve access to funding for Black founders globally.

International venture investors that were present at the event included Maya Horgan Famodu, Eric Osiakwan and Rodney Sampson.

Global brands, affiliates and personalities in attendance were Fuse ODG, Paul C Brunson, Chocolate City, Afropolitan, Ubiquitous Games, RocNation, Afrochella, OHUB, Africa Business Angel Network (ABAN), IFFAC (Roberta Annan), The Adinkra Group, Year of Return, Africa 2.0, The Office of The President of Ghana (Diaspora Affairs), The Tony Elumelu Foundation (Parminder Vir, former CEO) and GUBA (Dentaa Amoateng MBE) among others.

Support organisations like ScaleUp Africa play an important part in the global, African and Diaspora conversation around bridging the racial wealth gap and the need to provide better, longer term support for Black and African Entrepreneurs. 

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How to resign and run your business full time

Congratulations! You’ve decided to make a full-time commitment to your business.

Before you give your notice and burn bridges your work enemies, remember that your network and relationships are especially important to you as an entrepreneur who is just starting out.

Leave smart.


Testing the waters—To resign or not to resign?

If you are going to be a full-time entrepreneur, you have to make sure you’re financially and legally in the clear

The golden rule before quitting your job is to make sure you have 3-6 months worth of your fixed-income saved up before leaving. If your finances are not in check, you should reconsider resigning.

It is not unusual to start your own business journey while being employed. If you want to keep your “day job” while starting a business, please ensure you’re not violating your employment contract. If in doubt, seek legal counsel and/or inform your current employer about your new venture. 

If your new venture violates any employment contracts, STOP!  You do not want to start your business with a cloud of litigation hovering over you. Click To Tweet

Employers and courts take contractual agreements seriously, so do not call your employer’s bluff.

For example, there was a case in Nigeria where an employee entered into a service contract where he was not to engage in a business similar to the employer’s business within a certain geographical area for one year.

Less than 3 weeks after he started work, he breached the contract by resigning and joining a rival company in the same area. The Nigerian Supreme Court held that contracts that prevent employees from engaging in a similar business as the employer are enforceable as long as the contracts are “reasonable with reference to the interest of the parties concerned and of the public” (Leventis Motors Ltd. v. Andreas Koumoulis (1973) 1 All NLR (Part 2) 144 at 146).


Diving in – Your resignation

Before you resign, review all your employment contracts, if applicable. The contract usually details the resignation procedure, how your resignation must be presented, and the necessary resignation notice period – 2 weeks, 1 month, etc.

It is important that you follow the rules sis! You do not want to expose yourself to unnecessary legal liability by ignoring those words in black and white.  

Secondly, check if you signed a non-compete agreement with your current employer. Will your new venture involve the use of your employer’s proprietary information?

If you did sign one, make sure that the scope of your new venture does not fall within the scope of services your employer offers, and that your new venture will not apply your employer’s proprietary information.

Finally, are you planning to start the new venture with a coworker?

"If starting a new business with a coworker – review all your contracts and your employer’s employment policies carefully! There may be a little something there about poaching…" Click To Tweet

Ensure that you and your co-worker’s departure will not result in a breach of your contract or your employer’s policies. Also, ensure that your potential business partner is not subject to any non-compete agreements and will not be using any proprietary information in the new venture. 

Keep your start-up team in legal tip-top shape.


It is important to dedicate time to thinking through your resignation. There is no point in rushing to the finish line without laying the right foundation.


Got a question? Send a message or voice note to +2349078653509 on Whatsapp anywhere in Africa for our new video advice series – #AskASis.

Contributing Editor: Diana Odero

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.

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.

learning1.jpg

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.

content.jpg

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.


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.

Grow & Glow: How to find love again after numerous heartbreaks

I still remember one cold January a few years ago, the Harmattan was still yet to fade away after the Christmas and New year celebrations. Everything felt cold and life seemed to be at a stand-still.

I couldn’t believe that my adorable relationship of two years was finally over. We had fallen in love and had promised to live happily together. We both used to exchange poems, love notes and surprises.

We had the best relationship I have ever experienced.

My friends envied us and no other person could understand the same way we felt. Ours was made in heaven and the stars kept shinning at our lovely hearts on a daily basis.

There was nothing wrong with us except that I had just started adding some weight. Who wouldn’t? After spending 6 months in my mum’s supermarket during the ASUU(Academic Staff Union of Universities) strike.

I didn’t think a little addition could reveal the true intent of our relationship. He loved my slim body and wasn’t ready to accept another. So after some days of deep thought on his side and a big push for me to join a gym, he decided that it was time to take a break.

That landed in the wrong place for me. I wasn’t expecting it. Our love was divine, I mean.

BTW, this looks like the only reason I can attach to the break up since there was no specific reason he mentioned.

But anyway, his mind was made up and after fighting so hard to win us back for close to a year, I decided to accept my new fate and move on but it was hard. I cried for several nights. I wanted him to come back and give me a reason for the breakup but none came.

I kept stalking him online to see if he was doing fine without me and yes, he was. I dreamt and imagined a lot but nothing changed.

After a few months of tears and regrets, I decided to finally take some chill and give my brain a reset.

So what are the steps I took to recover and start again? Let me share some with you and I hope it would make you start afresh again.

@NikeFolagbade ‏shares some tips on how to grow and glow from past heartbreaks...Read more Click To Tweet

Admit that it is truly over

This was the hardest phase for me. I was living in self-denial for a long time. I truly loved him and never envisaged that we would break up.

I had no alternatives or backup, I simply gave my all and now he was gone without a reason. So I had to start telling my mind daily that it was time to move on.

I thought about him sometimes but I didn’t let it ruin my day again. I started taking charge of my thoughts by diverting my thoughts into something else.

This took a lot of practice though and I failed many times but I kept rising up.

Divert your time into other activities

I have always loved writing so I decided to start penning down my daily experiences and life lessons. I call it journaling. I tried writing a new book that I ended up losing but at least, that got me productive.

Get some alone time with God

I spent time in prayers and study with God believing for the best for my future. I decided to trust God to pave a new way for me and He surely did.

Go out more

I became more social and open with friends instead of staying hidden and indoors. Try to hook up with new friends or stay connected with old friends and hang out together.

Give back

I started volunteering and giving myself more to service and project done by other people I considered as mentors. I used my skills and passion to serve.

Reflect on the past

I did a sober reflection on all that happened and evaluated how the relationship went so that I could pick my lessons, form new and better perspective and open up myself to new opportunities.

Embrace personal development

I began to work on myself by attending seminars, reading books and making research.

No more regrets

I stopped blaming myself or living in the past. I became positive and less critical of myself. Be willing not to remain stuck in the past. Get out there and allow yourself to experience love again.

Now, these are just some of the things I did and you can pick from them but you should also do things based on your unique self.

You may love drawing, painting, singing, acting or any other hobby that can keep you busy. There was so much I also did which helped me become more intentional when I finally met my husband.

Though I shared most of my experiences in my book which has helped lots of singles too you can start with these tips above for a fresh start.

So what phase are you currently in?

  • Denial phase?
  • Moving on phase?
  • Or the recovery phase?

Always remember that your experiences don’t define you, they only make you stronger and wiser. Don’t give up on yourself. It’s time to invest in yourself and upgrade your attraction level.


 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

Boss Lady Series: How to Keep Track of Goals and Stay Fit with Ethel Cofie

Do you have a routine or a way to approach your day? Setting the tone for your day has a massive impact on how much you accomplish.

This month I will be showcasing the routines of several boss ladies who work on the continent. Learn how they balance working hard with staying on top of their physical and mental health.

By sharing our experiences, learning from others and deciding what works for us as individuals, we all can have a good life.


 Ethel Cofie has always admired people who had multiple jobs.  She has multiple interests and is involves in several companies.

Her work fits within three main buckets: women in leadership, entrepreneurship, and technology. In addition to having personal consulting work, running a technology company focused on digital strategy and transformation, she also runs an organization that empowers women around the world in the tech space.

How does she stay on top of her work and make her health a priority?

Ethel, constantly tweaking her approach to her professional and personal life, let me in on her secret to staying motivated.

To stay healthy and avoid binge eating, @ethelcofie travels with her own snacks and even hits the gym during work trips. Click To Tweet

Know what motivates you

Like many entrepreneurs, Ethel describes herself as ‘uber-competitive,’ but at the same time, no one tells her what to do.

She is always trying to be more effective, efficient and productive.

If you enjoy keeping track of your professional and personal goals like Ethel, you should consider using software like excel to keep track.

Ethel uses a spreadsheet to make sure she is on track with her goals and scores herself. Monthly she gives herself a score and daily she creates a to-do list that has up to 3 priorities.

All her workouts are tracked in Apple Health so she can maximize the 30 minutes she dedicates to running each day.

Visualize your success

Success means different things to everyone but being clear on what you want will make it easier for you to attract it.

Ethel takes this one step further by spending a few minutes each day before she starts work to visualize things that she will be able to do when she achieves her goals.

Recently, Ethel has been spending time imagining how much fun it would be to take her immediate and some of her extended family on holiday. This keeps her motivated and focused.

Make your health a priority

The first thing that Ethel does in the morning is put on her running clothes.  Once she has them on, she is ready to go.  She swears she is not a morning person, but that she has just adjusted.

She is just as dedicated when she is traveling.  The first thing Ethel does when she gets to a hotel is asking where the gym is.

She tries to keep her workout routine similar to what she does at home.  She spends about 30 minutes running on the treadmill and about 20 minutes doing weights.

Learn from others

Find people to look up to online and offline.  Ethel gives credit to productivity books for ‘curing’ her of wanting to do everything.

She recommends starting with reading Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown or Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results by Christina Wodtke.

Online she tends to focus on accounts that are effective in spreading knowledge and provoking conversations like Dr. Ola Brown (Orekunrin) and Victor Asemota.

Concerning working out, Ethel is inspired by Michele Obama’s arms.

Find someone that you look up to or inspires you to keep you on track with your goals - @ethelcofie Click To Tweet

Make the most of your trips

Ethel packs last minute for trips but plans out almost everything else including snacks. She tries to get in touch with people who will be at the conference she is attending.

About a week before the event, she will get in touch with other speakers and schedule meetings.  If she is speaking, she starts practicing about a week before as well. To keep herself from binge eating, Ethel travels with her own snacks.  If she is not able to get the cereal or energy bars she likes, she brings along milo.  Eating these snacks keeps her from eating unhealthily and drinking coffee.

By keeping track of her progress and planning ahead, Ethel is able to make the most of her time.  Even if you don’t like using elaborate excel sheets or tracking software, just knowing where you started can keep you moving forward.

How do you plan to push yourself? Do you do anything to hold yourself accountable? Read our Good Good Living Part 3 series w/ Maya Horgan Famodu


 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.

Meet MARIAM DIABY: Côte d’Ivoire’s top natural hair influencer

Mariam Diaby is a natural hair influencer from Côte d’Ivoire. She holds a degree in Marketing and International Business.

In 2011, she created Nappys de Babi, a community of more than 26,000 members mobilized to promote natural beauty, with a focus on nappy hair.

Under her entrepreneur’s cap, she launched the Kun’si Hair Centers chain in December 2017.

Miriam is one of the 5 She Leads Africa x Dark and Lovely Beauty Accelerator, finalists. As part of the program, she just completed a 1-week intensive boot camp at the L’Oréal HQ in Johannesburg.

In this article, she shares her experience and highlight of the program with us. 


About my business…

Kun’si is a hair care specialist brand providing quality services to natural women through a network of affordable centers.

My experience during the SLA x Dark and Lovely Beauty Accelerator residency…

It was very empowering meeting experts in different sectors, who shared the best practices to enhance our business development.

It was also interesting to discover multiple experiences in the same domain, each one adapted to a specific environment.

Highlight of the residency program…

Pitching my business was definitely one of the best moments! I learned to introduce Kun’si in 5 minutes and also highlight the best assets to retain attention. Working on my pitch deck was a very good exercise.

Now I understand my unique selling proposition. I’m a natural hair influencer, and I have the facility to collect essential information from an existing community and then adapt my offer to its needs

As a business owner, what would you say is your unique selling proposition?

I have the facility to collect essential information from an existing community and then adapt my offer to its needs.

Quality and consistency is important for consumers - Mariam Diaby Click To Tweet

What’s the most important thing the SLA Accelerator residency has taught you?

“Constant quality is important for consumers.” – Heard in the PR session.

For me, this sentence summarizes the essence of success, insights, content value, customers, and competition.

Constantly studying your environment and target audience will lead you to always produce the best solution to your target.

One of your exercises during the residency was to create a vision board for 2019. What’s that one goal you MUST achieve in 2019?

LOSE WEIGHT. If I do this, I will do ANYTHING.

What’s your secret sauce? How do you get your glow up?

Faith. It leads me to everything. Happiness, joy, strength, optimism.

 

Are you a Tea or coffee gal?

Tea all day, every day!


 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.