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.

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.


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Eva Toby: How To Stay Empowered When You Feel Life Sucks!

Eva Toby is an Amazon Bestselling author, media personality and presenter. With a degree in psychology and Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan, and an MBA, Eva is passionate about helping women and young adults bring clarity to their purpose.

She is the creator of The Purpose Blueprint: 7 Easy Steps to Clarity. Eva has been featured in Genevieve Magazine, Afro Elle, Spice TV, LA Talk Radio, WHPR and more!

Eva is 6ft tall and has modeled part-time for the past 10 years as a car model for Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, getting premier access to some of the fastest cars in the world. 
In this article, she talks about overcoming challenges and finding her purpose.

 On creating “The Purpose Factor” book…

If someone had told me several years ago I would be a best-selling author and purpose pusher, I probably would have laughed.  However, it’s always fascinating how God truly knows things way ahead and has greater purposeful plans for us even when it comes out of tragedy.

I was led to create The Purpose Factor book after the sudden death of my dear cousin in 2014.  With my emotions being all over the place from a state of shock, sadness, and confusion. I found it really hard to cope after experiencing such a significant loss.  

I remember one day picking up my bible to read for encouragement, and it was at that moment these notes had fallen out. The notes were actually from a message, two years prior, that I’d shared with a youth group at church about the significance of living life to the fullest and making your time here on earth count!

There is no growth in your comfort zone - @evatobyXE Click To Tweet

 Notably, I’d read my bible so many times prior to that and never realized I kept those notes tucked away in my bible binder. It just goes to show the significance of the timing.

At that point, I remember this resurgence of passion and desire of sharing with the world the Power of Purpose. And I wanted to get the message across that each person on this earth is valued and has an assignment. I realized how life is so precious and fragile.  

And that ‘Time’ is not money but life! Hence, it is imperative that we maximize our time here in order to be of value and impactful.

The Purpose Factor book was dedicated to my cousin who indeed lived life to fullest and impacted so many lives.

On facing life challenges…

The past few years have indeed been life changing and challenging to say the least.  From the loss of my cousin, and then another cousin. And then, I lost my father in 2016. Experiencing such significant losses in a span of a few years has been indescribable.  

Couple that with trying to stay focused on building my brand/business, it was not easy. But one thing I learned through this process that keeps me going is that even in pain there is still a purpose.  As painful as the process has been, I realized God still has me here for a reason and wants me to keep going.

I firmly believe that passion is for “yourself” while purpose is for “others” - @evatobyXE Click To Tweet

Perhaps there may be someone out there that will hear my story and be encouraged to keep going despite the circumstances and challenges they are facing.  

I learned that in life we all have seasons, and every season has an expiry date. It is the endurance during those seasons that prepares and makes us stronger for the rest of our journey in life.

3 ways women can stay empowered…

Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, broken relationships, loss of job, or personal struggles, rough times happen to everyone at some point in life.  

Trying to remain hopeful and positive through it all can be challenging. Especially when overshadowed with feelings of confusion and loss which begin to resonate so deeply.

Never curse the process! Your purpose is a product of the process - @evatobyXE Click To Tweet

While you may feel like you are in a hopeless space it is essential to be reminded you are not.  You are in a season of transition and need to remember there is a breakthrough on the other side of the breakdown.

Below are 3 ways you can stay empowered when you feel life is taking its toll on you:

1.  Acknowledge Your Feelings 

Almost everyone at some point has had that feeling of hopelessness and despair. The truth of the matter is that it is OK.

We are all human and embracing your vulnerability is the first step to reclaiming your power.  Remember acceptance is not a sign of weakness and by no means an indication that you don’t desire change.

But rather than suppress those feelings, acknowledgment gives you the confidence to deal with them and start making a way for something new to emerge in your life.

2. Have An Attitude of Gratitude

 There is so much power when we cultivate an attitude of gratitude in our daily lives.  Research studies have shown the positive impact on people who focus on gratitude.

Gratitude facilitates increased self-esteem, optimism, happiness, improved mental health, progress towards goal achievement, increased energy and more.  

Therefore, it is important to start making gratitude a daily ritual. You can start by creating a gratitude journal for yourself.

Each morning and/or evening tries to think of at least two things you are grateful for in that moment.

3. Look for Opportunities of Growth

When life hits us hard, we are often led to start with “why me?” or “why is this happening?”  It’s natural at first but if we dawdle in this space for too long, it can lead us further onto the pathway of self-pity.  

Hence the importance of changing the narrative from “why” to “what”. Start thinking about “what” you can learn from this moment and season of your life.  

Focusing on the now and learning from it is such an empowering lesson and opportunity for growth when you feel like life has beat you down.

Remain Encouraged and Empowered! No condition is permanent. Keep reaching and thinking of the desires you aspire to. Start with each hour, then each day.

Purposeful living requires you to act upon your intentions.- @evatobyXE Click To Tweet

On easing stress…

In my free time I really enjoy traveling (especially if the place has a beach and some sun, LOL), shopping, reading, laughing, learning, and spending time with family and friends.

I do like exercising which is an amazing stress reliever.

 


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GENDER PAY GAP: HOW TO NEGOTIATE THIS UP

The World Economic Forum Report 2017 states that women are paid less than men. This figure reflects the global amount and differences in the wages of men and women for the same work.

Even men and women with equal qualifications earn differently. This phenomenon is highlighted now that more women are entering the job market.  Why does this happen;

    • Fewer women in top management position earning huge salaries
    • More educated Men in the job market getting the high paying jobs
    • Fear of sexual harassment
    • Fear of termination
    • Non-payment of domestic work done by women
    • Cliques and Boys Club culture in most corporates
    • Poor  legislation and enforcement to ensure equality at the workplace

The reasons may be varied but the net effect is that women earn less than men in the workplace. How can any woman climbing the corporate ladder ensure that this gap is reduced and eventually eliminated?

The Corporate world is a typical example of “A MAN’S WORLD”. For a long time, women did not participate so the structures, rules, and culture are very male-centric.

With the increase of women who have fought their way to top management how can they survive and thrive in this “Man’s World”?  The main issue is CULTURE at the workplace that results in the Gender Gap.

How can you manage and mitigate this when entering the job market?

1. Measure of performance

The work culture of how output is measured is key. Work output should be based on results and not on hours spent. Using hours as a basis is not advantageous for women who may require time off to attend to children and family obligations.

Women in Corporate positions should influence the matrix for assessment of performance to be more favorable to women. The measure should include the natural strengths of women e.g. customer retention, team cohesion, dispute resolution and sustainable growth.

A reality is that after giving birth productivity is lower due to the natural hormonal response of our bodies to prioritize the child. This usually affects productivity.

Perhaps, a different scale for 6 months (while breastfeeding) after pregnancy would help to equalize the scales further. Progressive jurisdictions provide extended maternity leave or flexible hours of up to 2 years without losing your job.

2. Flexible hours

This is a strategy that can be used to ensure that women can contribute/work even while out of the office. Further, it allows the woman more balance in her life.

This strategy however attractive should be used strategically as it can be used as a further tool to increase the gender wage gap. How? Women outside of mainstream job hours may be excluded from projects and decisions as they are not present.

Until the culture of teleconferencing or virtual working is embraced fully, being in the office during work hours remains strategic. As a woman, you can negotiate times for meetings that are in tandem with your personal schedule.

 

3. Equal pay for same grade and qualifications

The policy on job Grades should be based on responsibility and qualifications. For promotions, the name of employees should not be in the shortlisting process.

Basically, the process should be purely merit-based. Further, policy on equal pay for the same grade and role should be implemented. A requirement to disclose salaries of co-workers could be a negotiated point.

Another strategy is a cap on overtime as often women are not able to work overtime due to family life while their male counterparts can.

4. Promotion policy

Negotiate the promotion policy to ensure progress/growth of the company. You can negotiate a promotion every 2 years based on appraisals.

This is a sure way to ensure that you access the higher levels of management as years move forward. A maximum period to be in the same job group can also be a strategy to open up space for women in the top management.

5. Skills enhancement 

Skills enhancement and education incentives and opportunities should be included in the employment contracts. This allows women a chance to advance further and towards the higher job grades.

This policy allows women to continued training on the job to increase their chances of being qualified for the top management jobs.

6. Boy’s club membership

Women need to ensure that they can access all places that their male counterparts access to network and influence change e.g. private members clubs, sports clubs and golf clubs to name a few.

Further, women need to network aggressively. For now, it may be a necessary affirmative action strategy to resort to GIRLS’ CLUB. Women need to support women in the corporate world.

Influence is the catalyst for change. Women in top management need to be deliberate about getting influence and using it to get more women at the boardroom table.

 

7. Include the cost of domestic care

While negotiating your pay, including the amount of support you will require to perform the domestic care while you are at work. Women do not include this cost of their time when negotiating pay and leave packages.

This should be factored in. You may also negotiate Day Care facilities paid by the company or within the company facility.  Many women say this is beneficial and could be a useful negotiation point.

8. Sexual Harassment 

The higher up the corporate ladder, the more acceptable sexual harassment is. Women are made to feel incompetent and unworthy when they complain of sexual harassment at such high levels.

This causes many competent women to opt out of the corporate world due to this or accept to be passed over. It is important for there to be a clear sexual harassment policy.

Further, there should be sensitization seminars often especially for top management to reinforce a positive culture.  This can be a negotiation point for getting employment.

9. Gender training

An awareness of gender issues including Gender Wage Gap allows for conversations, understanding and less resistance to gender mainstreaming strategies and policy.

Negotiate this into the training schedule of the company to sensitize the team and increase acceptance.

Some of these strategies can be negotiated at the time of getting into the workspace or while in the workspace. Women in senior decision-making positions need to make this issue an agenda to be discussed, negotiated and agreed upon.

The progress may be slow but we need to be aware of this and put the policies in place to bridge the gap. The gap has a ripple effect on the economy as work does not reflect to earning of a country and standard of living.

In the long term, the corporate landscape needs to change to be more accommodating to women taking into account their role in the family. A Family is an integral unit of our society and cannot be ignored.

The new landscape must also allow top management to balance their time between family, work, and self. Use of technology has helped this along but a deliberate strategy to even out the Corporate environment would bear more and better results.

In the meantime, I  encourage the women climbing the corporate ladder fearlessly and relentlessly. We are proud of you. KUDOS!


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Juggling post-grad studies, family, a briefcase and the world

You need a tribe of humans who will be there when you need some downtime and rebooting Click To Tweet

What exactly does this mean for us when juggling work, studies, and the world? It is a universal assumption and truth that women are the backbone of every family. We are inherently prepared for a purpose. Prepared on purpose.

What does this entail and do we have any choice in what we allow to take up space in our lives? How can we better channel our energies into affirming our loved ones, building empires and pursuing our innermost desires and dreams?

I am a Womxn. What is your superpower?

Firstly, a solid support system is necessary. You need a tribe of humans who will be there to listen, extend a helping hand and generally hold you down when you need some down time and rebooting.

It is imperative that we know where to go or when to refuel so that we can do the things we are equipped to do. Contrary to popular belief; this is not at all selfish, this is a reminder to oneself that you are a soft thing and that you should breathe. Inasmuch as life is often a juggling act, one needs to attend to the body, mind, and soul.

With a consistent circle of support, it is easy for one to focus and achieve the objectives you have set out for yourself. A great way to stay on the ball is to write up a set of goals and hold yourself accountable to them.

tumblr_oecmnnxwwo1r24hxpo4_250

A human being actually…

How does one strike the work-life-balance? Is this even an attainable feat?

This would undoubtedly be a pertinent question for working mothers as one would want to be there for the kids’ milestones whilst breaking new ground on the work front. There have been ongoing studies regarding how one can achieve all this and then some.

Ultimately, you should live a life that doesn’t require that you need a vacation from your day to day existence. Sometimes all it requires is doing the things that really get you going, like reading a book, going cycling, having tea with your mother or just having a night out with the girls and/or date night with your partner. Down time is really necessary.

You should live a life that doesn’t require that you need a vacation from your day to day existence Click To Tweet

Sometimes the lemonade may taste like medicine

It is not the end of the world, some experiences are lessons that need to be learned along the way. At the end of it all we need to make decisions about the kind of partners, colleagues and parents we want to be and stop self-sabotaging ourselves.

Facebook COO and author of Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg shares, “If more women lean in, we can change the power structure of our world and expand opportunities.” She further states, “Shared experience forms the basis of empathy and, in turn, can spark the institutional changes we need. More female leadership will lead to fairer treatment for all women.”

Whenever in doubt, or when we question if we can lean in; we ought to remind ourselves that we are the magic and the medicine; and most importantly, we were born for such a time as this.

lemonade

We can be selfless whilst putting ourselves first, it is possible Click To Tweet

The world was never ready for your juggling prowess

We can be selfless whilst putting ourselves first, it is possible. We can be there for our humans – juggling our itinerary, to-do lists and still have an endless reservoir of love and sustenance for ourselves.We have the power to be whomever we want to be and with the assistance of a steady routine, consistency and positive affirmation, anything is within our reach.

Thus, one cannot stress enough the importance of engaging with activities which reaffirm your calling or destiny. It’s also important amidst the juggling to remember that self-care also means giving yourself permission to go through the ups and downs of life and get within your feels.

Inasmuch as it takes more than nights away or hours lost in a book; but you can certainly be assured that any dose of self-care can and will go a long way for the spirit, body, and mind. Go out there and SLAy!

The struggles of being a stay-at-home mom

shehive joburg

A reluctant stay-at-home mom shares her experience and why she came up with an exit plan Click To Tweet

Any time you see a woman who tells you that her main job is to take care of her children 24/7, know that you just met a stay-at-home mom. The definition for this term is someone who stays at home all day to raise her children and manage her household, while her spouse gracefully assumes the position of a provider.

This term has become a cliché in some countries —thousands of women proudly wear this badge in a show of their sacrificial parenthood. In many societies outside Nigeria, stay-at-home moms are often seen as good models of motherhood because it is not everyday you meet a woman so selfless and willing to let go of her financial independence. But the question remains; what does a stay-at-home mom do all day? Is cleaning and doing laundry a daily routine or is she watching ‘Zee World’ or ‘Telemundo’?

dont-judge-meIn this part of the world, there is something so ordinary and basic about being a stay-at-home mom. Out of personal experience and data check, most stay-at-home moms in Nigeria take on this role out of frustration of not getting a job after childbirth or lack of zeal to further pursue career goals. It is, sometimes, very easy to give up trying but the consequence of this decision is a grave one.

Most stay-at-home moms in Nigeria take this role because they can't find a job Click To Tweet

If by staying at home all day and writing occasionally qualify for being a stay-at-home mom then, I label myself a reluctant one. The state of not being able to be financially independent is one of the lowest that I found myself in. Nigeria happens to be a peculiar country where the depth of one’s pocket determines who the boss is.

These days, it is not safe to solely depend on one’s spouse for everything —financial independence is a must for every woman regardless of marital status. Nigeria is a patriarchal space, where being a woman is enough trouble, talk less being a jobless mum.

Loss of who I am

There are three things that I lost in the period of being a stay-at-home mom. I lost myself, my voice and my bravado. As someone who has previously worked in several highly structured organizations, full time motherhood threw me off balance. Day after day, tiny pieces of my self-confidence began to ebb away as I helplessly watched other women excel in their careers be it as entrepreneurs or career women. Nothing robs us of our joy like the helplessness of not being able to determine one’s fate.

I would feel inferior every time I heard the success stories of my colleagues. I began to look for excuses to stay indoors and revel in self-pity. Before I know it, I became a recluse instead of the strong, extrovert and go-getter I used to be.

I lost 3 things being a stay-at-home mom; myself, my voice and my bravado Click To Tweet

Being a full time mother opens a door of vulnerability; it reduces us to helpless creatures. I had a rude awakening of this in my second year of marriage when an in-law came around and subtly hinted at my ‘jobless condition’. He constantly tore at any suggestion I made during our family discussions. To him, I was just “an entity whose main job was to breastfeed a child”, as he put it then.

The mere fact that I wasn’t bringing in any income was enough reason to shut me up. To him, I didn’t exist, likewise my thoughts, in his mind, I was just a human with mammary glands and a womb to frequently push out babies.

One day, I decided that I had had enough, I began to outline ways to get out of this pathetic state.

Have a time line

It sure doesn’t matter what made me a stay-at-home mom, what is important is the time line for my exit.

A frustrated stay-at-home mom, like me, definitely needed a detailed plan on how to put an end to the cycle of helplessness. Questions like these should be included in your time line:

  • When do I pull the plug?
  • How do I integrate myself into the chosen career or business?
  • What are my new strengths?

These questions will best guide you on the next step to take when considering an exit.

Never stop learning

Don’t ever be deluded into thinking that motherhood takes all your time and energy. There are millions of women who are beautifully juggling child rearing with careers; so even while you are stuck being a stay-at-home mom, compel yourself to take lots and lots of self-development courses.

Nothing stops an online course or even a distance learning course. These courses will one day help to advance your career. I must confess that it is hard to get back into a career or a business after a hiatus, but it is doable. Since I decided to get back to the corporate world, I have constantly learnt how not to take NO for an answer —I don’t get fazed by the number of rejections, I just keep on pushing.

beyonce strong gif
Keep on dreaming

This is one thing that kept me sane in my five year stay-at-home mom experience. I never for once stopped dreaming about who I would be in my chosen career. This vision kept me awake at night and gave me a clear perspective on how to attain my career goal.

Children need to see their mothers in places of strength and independence Click To Tweet

Never allow anything or anyone to rob you the power of dreaming big. I once read online about how children of career women excel in life compared to children raised by stay-at-home moms. Children need to see their mothers in places of strength and independence and let’s be honest, being a stay-at-home mom will never create that reality.

5 things you must know before starting a business with your husband

married couple husband wife

What could possibly go wrong when you start a business with your husband? Everything! Click To Tweet

Relationships have a lot of milestones, and one you could add to your cherished-memory collection could be of starting a business with your husband. You may be thinking, “We’ve been married for five years now”. You’ve obviously thought of the cons, you have even imagined how much of an adventure it would be —what could possibly go wrong??

Now, you may have a point, but before you go on and tell hubby you want to start a business together, here are a few things you may want to have in your knowledge basket…

tyra-banks-excited-gif1. Compatible marriage partner does not mean compatible business partner

So you dated the man for 3 years, and have been married to him for the past 4 years. You’re thinking “we make a great team!” Sure you do —but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will work out the same way in the office too.

When thinking of a business partner, regardless of whether they’re your husband or not, a lot of things come to consideration; such as your personality types and your skill sets, and personality traits for success. Does he want to take charge everywhere? Would he be willing to let you be an equal partner and leave the ‘head of the family’ cap at home? And your skills; are they complementary or overlapping??

If you both love to do paperwork, there will be a problem because no one will want to do some fieldwork. Who is sitting behind the desk and who is meeting the big guys? While complementary skill sets are a bonus in marriage, the same just doesn’t apply in the work field.

2. He will still need his wife…

This is definitely something you need to talk about along with your job descriptions. You probably already have some rooster at home  for who is taking out the trash or picking up the kids from school and what have you. The same will need to apply in the office.

Who makes the final decisions? Who talks to the employees (if any) in meetings? Having the who-does-what conversation will be fruitful, and will help you carry out your wifely and/or motherly duties effectively. After all is said and done, you are his wife and he will still need you to be such before and after work.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that just because he saw you slaving away at work he will understand not having his favourite meal on the day it’s served. Will you need to hire a maid? Will you be too tired to cook? Talk everything out, but remember to not neglect the fact that you are his wife above everything else, and that as lenient as he may be, he’s still your man and his needs are yours to cater for.

You'll need time alone...and other things to consider if you want to start-up with your husband Click To Tweet

3. Your marriage will take strain…

Your funds and the time you spent together being a couple will take strain, and it will show. Is it manageable? Totally. Are you and your partner strong enough to weather the storms that will hit?

That is a decision you should both be willing to make because things can get ugly…In the meantime, be warned my sister.

4. You’ll need alone time

If you decide to start a business with your husband, consider the fact that you are spending pretty much all your time with him. To add on to that too, you are married to the guy, so you’ll be living like this forever, God-willing. Believe it or not, you will get tired of your husband.

To avoid this, make sure you find hobbies and activities outside of your marriage and work. Get that work-life balance. This way, you avoid having your conversations revolve around work and home. You get to spice it up with some news about how you beat your girls to the tennis game you had that weekend. Spending too much time with him should not be an excuse to neglect your life, or not keep him on his toes.

5.There is no guarantee it will work out

Start-ups can fail, and having your husband as your business partner does not make you an exception. Work on a contingency plan before you start your business.

Besides, who says the fear of failure should hold you back? You can always bounce back!

Christine Khasinah-Odero: You can live out your purpose even after becoming a mum

Christine Khasinah-Odero Supamamas she leads africa

Ever heard of “Mumpreneur”? This term captures the essence of being a mum and entrepreneur.  At the forefront of inspiring Mumpreneurs in Kenya is Supamamas, founded by Christine Khasinah-Odero.

At first glance, Supamamas is a marketing and events company but when you look further, you find a company that inspires mums. Through events and their website, Supamamas encourages mums to remain in business by imparting the skills needed to thrive.

An award winning entrepreneur, Christine created this platform specifically for mums to let women know that they can continue to move towards their dreams even as mothers. If you’re looking to be a flawless Mumpreneur, this one is for you!


What makes a woman a Supamama?

What makes a woman a Supamama is living your life with intent. To live out the best version of you as a human, as a woman, as a mum and as a professional, whether in business or employed.

It is also about striving to be the best version of you. Just because you have become a mum, doesn’t mean that you cannot live out your purpose or dreams.

Being a Supamama is about giving your family, your children and society the best of you but not forgetting to invest in yourself. A Supamama continuously learns and strives to achieve her goals.

She is also that mum who accepts that she cannot be a super woman. She knows that it’s okay to ask for help and accept help.

Tell us, how do you inspire mums in business?

When it comes to mums in business, there are specific events we put together that provide an opportunity for Mumpreneurs to come and learn from notable speakers who have been there and are thriving.

Our speakers share their personal journeys from which mums are able to learn from. Our invited guests also share practical business tips gained from their experience running businesses.

At Supamamas, we also inspire mums in business by sharing their journey on our website. This gives them an opportunity to share how far they have come, while at the same time giving their businesses visibility and connecting them to possible customers.

What do young mothers get wrong when it comes to raising children?

  1. Helicopter parenting: This means hovering over our kids and being there at their beck and call. We want our kids to have it easy and not fall in any way. So, instead of letting them experience adversity, we clear the path. We remove obstacles to make their life easy, forgetting adversity is a part of life. Only by facing it can our children build life-coping skills they’ll need down the road. So while it seems like we’re doing them a favour, we’re really stunting their growth. We’re putting short-term pay-offs over long-term well-being.
  2. Compensating for what they didn’t have as children: Some parents provide over and above the basic needs of their children. Whenever the child asks for something, they give in, literally to everything. This way the kids never learn the value of delayed gratification and not getting everything now.
  3. Not spending enough quality time with their children: This is because our lives have become so busy. We either spend many hours working or when at home, get easily distracted by other things. Mums need to make a conscious effort to be present when with their children. It’s best to realize that it’s not the quantity of time we spend with them but the quality.

christine-4What makes Supamamas stand out from other marketing and events companies?

What makes Supamamas different as a company is that we have created a platform that provides an opportunity for companies to connect specifically with mums. Providing an opportunity for companies and brands to engage and have meaningful conversations with their customers or potential customers.

Our events are also different in that they are conversational, experiential and interactive. This provides an opportunity for brands to go beyond selling and marketing but also to receive feedback and meaningfully engage.

Our events are personal and intimate. Mums who attend them feel special because they can be heard and express themselves. It’s like being part of a big family of mums where we all have a common goal to be the best we can be. The warmth that mums experience at events organized by Supamamas is exceptional.

Beyond business we also are keen on mentorship and community service and have organized numerous initiatives mobilizing mums and corporates to give back. One of our notable CSR was a red carpet event for cancer survivors.

In 2013, you were a finalist in the “Most Influential Women in Business in Africa SME” category in South Africa’s CEO Magazine. In 2015, you were Country Winner 2015, what do you think changed at Supamamas to cause this win?

It was an honour being selected as one of the Country Winner 2015, CEO Magazine Africa’s most influential Women in Business.

I believe what played a big part is staying consistent and continuously learning. I’m always looking for what I can do to improve and grow the events, as well as grow our online following and engagement.

As an entrepreneur you need to continuously improve, knowing that there is always room to do better.

christine-6

What four skills do Mumpreneurs need to master to avoid burning out?

  • Make your well-being a priority: Setting up a business and growing it is tough. It can really take a toll on you, not only physically but mentally.  Mumpreneurs need to make a conscious effort to take care of themselves to push through and prevent burnout. That means eating well, exercising and getting adequate sleep.
  • Nurture friendships and create a support system: For instance, your support system can be with other entrepreneurs. With them, you can share your experiences, frustrations and celebrate the little gains. Being around like-minded people helps to ease the pressure and gives you a sounding board and room to exhale.
  • Creating focus and having a plan: This gives you an idea of what you want to achieve without running around in circles. It prevents you being always busy but never effective. Allocate time to what needs to be done. When need be schedule a break or mini vacation to step away, reflect and come back refreshed.
  • Delegating: This is a skill that Mumpreneurs struggle with. They are so much attached to the business they they find it hard to let go and tend to micromanage. In the formative years of the business, Mumpreneurs need to create a mental picture of growing a business that will grow beyond them . This way, you begin to accept that you will need to have a team and equip others who will complement your skills and even do better. Delegating helps ease off the work load and having an effective team is good for growth.

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

10 reasons you should be your own #MotherlandMogul before and after marriage

I remember the day it dawned on me that my husband would have his own income. After a long day on campus, I got home tired and needing a long hot shower but feeling so fulfilled.

It was in this long shower that I suddenly had this thought, “Somewhere across the world my husband is coming home from a long day of grinding too”.

This was the first time that I realized that I could one day enjoy the fruits of my husband’s labor. I have thought of how tall I want him to be, how I want him to be chocolate like Idris Elba and intellectual like Nate Parker but I had never thought of the kind of money he would make.

I guess I have never really felt like I was entitled to his labor. I have always thought; I can’t change my own tire or kill a roach on my own but darn it I can make my own money.

Too many of our African movies depict the man leaving for work while the woman stays at home wearing her perfectly ironed dress (because we all wake up excited to wear a head wrap and make breakfast). It’s either that or my personal favorite, the scene where the girl’s best friend —or better yet her mother— tells her she is stupid for not liking the rich business man who likes her. Because God forbid we love a man for other things besides his money.

I think we can do better. Here are my 10 reasons why you should want to be a #MotherlandMogul before and after marriage.

Because Beyoncé said so

Beyonce bossy

Nuff’ said.

So that you can treat your man

giphyWhen you can say to your man, “Babe lets go out, my treat”…The only words sweeter to a man’s ear is “the jollof is ready”.

So that you can treat yourself

treat_yo_selfRetail therapy is a real thing.

No one would argue with you for buying 4 pairs of designer shoes in one shopping trip if you used your own money.

Because you don’t want to be stuck like Melania Trump

Trump gifHopefully the whole world would not be stuck with Trump as the President of the United States.

Because men are great…but they are not everything.

start-there

*Musters up the courage to repeat Rihanna’s words to every aunt who asks when I am getting married.*

Because we have every right to dream bigger and aim higher than men.

ambition
Auntie Chimamanda summed it up nicely. You shouldn’t hold back for fear that you’ll threaten a man.

All women should dream bigger and aim higher.

So that you can leave when you want to (or need to)

 

break up gif

Aren’t we all tired of the narrative where a wife stays with an abusive husband because he is her bread and butter and she has no other option? Motherland Moguls can leave when they need to.

Because a #MotherlandMogul is her own rich man.

cher gif

Studies have shown that parents will give their children more freedom to be single if their child is financially stable on their own.

Ok that study is my own personal wishful thinking. Also if your parent is African, it doesn’t work.

Because feeling your self feels better on your own dime

giphyI bet you Beyoncé and Nicki did not have that much fun on set because Jay Z and Meek Mill are rich.

It’s because they know they will be completely fine without their men.

Because a #MotherlandMogul’s best position is CEO

tumblr_mvt29oaj4w1qdax0jo1_500tumblr_mvt29oaj4w1qdax0jo2_500*Makes mental note to say this to every guy who asks what my favorite position is*

 

The Omotola way: 3 lessons on work and life

The Omotola way answers a basic concern. As a woman, the one question that has or will cross your mind is how to pull off a successful career and a happy family all at the same time. This is a question that does not seem to bother the opposite gender so much.

Anytime we see one woman doing it well, it’s always a wonder how exactly they do it. Omotola Jalade is one such woman; with 300 movies under her belt, several awards to boast of, a music career, philanthropy, four beautiful children and a happy 20-year marriage to boot.

This is definitely one woman that works hard and has got everything to show for it. In many ways, Omotola exemplifies all of the advice I have received about life from many different corners.

Let the countdown begin.

#3  Success follows hard work

For the number of movie appearances that she has made, coupled with her modelling and music career, not to mention her philanthropic activities, Omotola has had to put in a lot of man hours.

Omotola seems to prove Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule for perfecting your craft. In one article, she told how she went back to work barely a month after her first child was born.

While some might frown at this decision, it would seem Omotola knew all too well what she needed to do to get her career going.

omotola

#2  A happy family is a woman’s real success

Omotola has never been shy about showing off her beautiful children to the world. If the support she receives from them is anything to go by, then she must be doing something right.

A major piece of advice that I have never forgotten was from one of my aunts who told me that there was no such thing as a super woman. You can’t really pull it all off without making decisions that create room for you to do so.

Omotola shared with Ndani TV that one of the ways she was able to put in the needed time in her career was because her children were in boarding schools. It gave her time to focus on her career and trained her children to be independent.

Having her children at a young age also seems to have worked to Omotola’s advantage. She also says that she is not shy about disciplining her children as she was when she was growing up. Her tough mum act has produced some exemplary children who are off doing great things even at their young age.

omotola-3

#1 It matters whom you marry

‘’Your spouse can break or make you career, so it matters whom you marry.’’

One of my mentors told me that once. Omotola says that her husband has been her biggest supporter; 20 years into their union, it is no wonder she has been able to make such great strides.

Matthew Ekeinde, himself a busy and successful pilot, has not failed to give his wife the space she needs to grow in her career. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Matthew said he has never been threatened by her success.

He, in fact, met her when she had just one movie under her belt and he has seen her rise in her career.

These lessons from Omotola inspire on balancing work and life. What more lessons do you think Omotola can teach #MotherlandMoguls?

Solving the equation: Work + Life + Family = ?

I have three children ages 4, 6 and 12. I also run three businesses, my legal practice NKS Advocates, Law Query Kenya, an online legal resource portal with an android app and an entrepreneur empowerment company plus online directory with Mpower Limited. Then, I also have a social life.

As you can imagine, it is hectic. What surprised me a lot is that the hardest task is attending to my family. The needs of the family are financially, emotionally and time consuming.

My family need to be listened to, acknowledged, praised, and identified as individuals. This, I assure you, is quite time consuming. Yet, it is extremely rewarding when the family member feels happy and loved.

The number of hugs and kisses I need to dish out per day keep on increasing. I don’t complain because, I brought my children to this world and I must take care of them. They are a priority! Still, the greatest resource they consume is time!

The effect of being a mother is that, now, my hours are spent more on the children. My businesses are really affected by this. When it comes to this balance, a woman needs to decide what is important.

To me, my family and business are important. And yes, I have friends and social obligations that are important too. So, how can I possibly manage?

Focus on important things first

I struggle with this because I usually like to get everything done.

So, nowadays, I need to balance my day according to importance and urgency. Important means tasks that leave more impact or need more personal input. Sometimes, ME time trumps everything!

Make sure your to-do list not a wishlist!

How you execute your operations or business may need to be revisited. Do you really need to have physical meeting with a client? This takes up a lot of time in travel and may disrupt (in a positive way) your day.

Reducing physical meetings and focusing on deliverables can free up some time. Many companies now have self-help options to reduce physical contact while addressing routine issues.

Technology has helped reduce disrupted time and create more time for actual quality work. This should be used optimally as it can also become a disruption in itself or distance you from your customer.

to-do-listGet help

Without relinquishing responsibility, consider getting someone else to help you get things done. The domestic help can ensure homework is done so you only need to check it and sign the diary (clearly you cannot delegate this). I rely on school transport and lunches for my children. It saves me two to three hours a day.

For my businesses too, I get good help. It costs a lot but the peace of mind is worth it. Of course, I still take meetings but after putting my schedule on my phone calendar, I’m rarely double-booked. Also, I make sure my meeting locations are as near each other as possible or in a logical sequence. One of my top peeves is rushing through traffic.

What I have learnt with getting help is you can’t just instruct and wash your hands off it. There is need for supervision and direction. This requires periodic meetings and checking of all deliverables constantly. I manage this through emails and phone calls.  I have all my office emails transferred to the email on my phone so that I don’t miss anything.

One thing I don’t delegate is strategic planning, and money matters! Also, when there is a crisis you need to show up!

Have good systems in place

Having standard systems and templates helps to manage quality control and brand equity. The customer satisfaction should be the same whether you are serving directly or through your staff.

The system should be linked to your phone or home computer so that you can check on things at any moment. I have installed an internet based management system in one business, and I’m still trying it out.

Peer support

Talk to people who are successful in your field and get enormous insight. In particular, I realize that they have managed the same challenges I have and succeeded. It is amazing how mentors are ready to answer questions and give practical and workable tips. I used to stumble in the dark until I got a mentor who put on the lights for me.

Talk to peers (other entrepreneurs) who can share tips or information on opportunities and are more frequently available. Take thirty minutes out of your day and have coffee with your peers. You’ll always leave re-energized, not just from the coffee but from having learnt something new. Of course, I don’t mean idle chat sessions, that’s for your ME time!Beyonce 7-11 Balcony gif

Capacity building

Learning, networking and growing are key for any progress and success. You cannot know everything, there are new models and concepts coming out every day. Take some time to know current trends and news affecting your industry. Same applies to bringing up children, keep abreast with latest threats and trends.

When you have knowledge of what you are doing, it becomes easy and you can teach someone else. An entrepreneur must have knowledge on key aspects of the business human resource, operations,  procurement, customer care, marketing, finance and strategic planning.

Don’t have time to attend conferences and seminars (this is highly recommended due to the diversity of participants)? No problem, the internet is your university. There are loads of excellent programs online.

I personally love TED Talks, webinars, and online courses e.g. Alison, Coursera and EdEx. These are free resources that can build capacity and keep you abreast with latest trends.

Me time

Schedule ME time to re-energize and refresh. A tired mind is worse than a tired body. I refresh through service clubs, socializing, pampering/exercise, travelling, reading and quiet time. Schedule this and make sure it’s in your list of Things to Do!

oprah-bath gifTo have it all, the key thing is, “First things First, Important things First”. It doesn’t have to be either/or. You can have a life, a family and a business!