Kene Rapu: Find something that makes your brand different from everyone else

Kene Rapu is the founder and CEO of ‘Kene Rapu’, the No.1 Nigerian footwear brand championing local production, established in 2011.

Her brand has played a significant role in changing the face of ‘Made in Nigeria’ footwear. Kene is a fully qualified lawyer with an LLB law degree from the University of Bristol, UK and a Masters Degree in Fashion Entrepreneurship from the London College of Fashion, UK.

In 2016 she was selected by the Tony Elumelu Foundation as one of 1000 African Entrepreneurs who’s idea could “change Africa”, in 2017 as one of 100 ‘Most Influential’ women in Nigeria by Leading Ladies Africa and most recently listed in the prestigious Forbes Africa ’30 under 30’ class of 2018, in the business category.

All Kene Rapu slippers are proudly made in Nigeria for the global community.


Dream big but start small, grow as organically as possible - @KeneRapu Click To Tweet

What vision did you have when you started out, is it different from what you are experiencing now?

Our vision was to be the No.1 Nigerian footwear brand championing local production, and it has
remained the same.

We are excited about the progress we have made so far, and are looking forward to getting the nations wearing KR.

What is it like making it to Forbes 30 under 30 lists?

The journey so far makes me more excited for the road ahead. I’m passionate about what I do, and it is humbling and encouraging to know that something I started 7 years ago, has morphed into a business that is recognized globally.

How has this exposure impacted your brand?

Having a world renown brand highlight your business as one of 30 emerging brands in Africa, is definitely gratifying for a business owner, increases consumer trust and opens you up to a new network of professionals and investors.

How can an entrepreneur build a solid brand?

 

In whatever area you want to go into, do your market research. Find a unique selling point, find something that makes your brand different from everyone else in that market.

Know your customer, define him or her, have a clear vision of where you want your brand to go; stay focused and remember why you started.

Having come this far starting out in 2011, what important lesson can aspiring entrepreneurs take from your journey?

Dream big but start small, grow as organically as possible.

Understand that there is no such thing as an overnight success. Hard work pays. Consistency and integrity are important. Provide value; a quality product will market itself.

How do you deal with gender biases you encounter as a woman running an enterprise?

As a female in business, sometimes there are unnecessary issues you have to deal with, that
should not be the case. However, challenges make you stronger, whether gender-related or
otherwise; deal with them head on and move on.

When you jump past hurdles, it is a testament that indeed you are a survivor. I also believe surrounding yourself with the right company is helpful. I have female friends in the business, and we spend time discussing how to resolve our common challenges. Having strong ladies in your corner certainly makes the journey easier.

What message do you have for women who need the courage to follow their passion?

Go for it. The road is not easy, in fact, it is difficult, but it is certainly gratifying when you begin to break through. Seize the moment and start now.


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How to overcome the fright of starting a business

If you have decided to ignore all the advice of well-meaning individuals and friends and have still gone ahead to start a business this year, you must have some real guts. Starting a business is no easy task. There are endless challenges that often discourage you from even starting. 

When looking at all the challenges entrepreneurs face, it’s easy to question how your business would thrive. If your business was a soft, supple, newborn baby, your goals as a business owner is to see that this business survives its first years. 

But how do you achieve this and start your business like a boss?


1. Face your fears

Spending nights rolling on your bed, worrying about your business goals won’t make you cause you to achieve them. Unfortunately just thinking about your business will not turn it into reality. You may have several doubts about the likelihood of people getting your products and services, but until you put your business out there you won’t know for sure.

Start by creating your sample products, sell them to family and friends and get feedback about them. With every action, you take you to become less and less afraid.  Every action you accomplish will help your confidence grow and you’ll begin to see your fear diminish.

2. Surround yourself with positive people

Surrounding yourself with positive people can make a huge difference on the success of your business. There are people who would do nothing to encourage you and will not give any positive feedback. If you stay close to such people, you will begin to doubt your ability to reach your business goals. 

The truth is, the people closest to you may be more susceptible about your business than strangers. Expect it. They may not believe in your ability to drive your business to fruition, you shouldn’t make it your aim to prove that point to them.

On the other hand, having a supportive people chip in a suggestion or two will stir your faith in your business, you’d start to believe in this brand becoming tangible as you hear them talk about it like it already exists.

3. Be Patient

If there is one thing you will most likely encounter, is roadblocks! And when you do, you will need lots of patience. When things get tough, don’t through your hands in the air and shout “I don’t have time for this”.

Firstly, try and understand that the problem you face is not always your fault. If you cannot go through the problem, find a way to go around it. Do not compare yourself with what you see on the news and social media. Seeing everyone move on a much faster pace may be discouraging. 

When you do his a roadblock on your journey, figure out how to deal with it while putting other aspects of your business in track. You should always be ready to take off when the roadblock is removed.

4. Dance upon disappointment

As an entrepreneur, managing disappointment is a skill you can’t afford to live without. So what if things do not work out as you plan? What if a key team member decides to leave at the last minute, or a trusted supplier fails to supply your ingredients on time? What would you do when people fail you?  

You cannot always control all circumstances when working with people. When things go wrong, you shouldn’t beat yourself over. Try and come up with new alternatives. Though this may be tough, it will become a lot easier if you stay positive about it. 

Take a break, play some music and dance away your disappointments. You can also create a warm environment where everyone can come together and decide on the next steps for the business will be.


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Ekemini Dan Abia: I decided to help people identify potential abusers through Abuse survivor

Ekemini Dan Abia is a legal practitioner who got inspired by her work in the criminal justice system to create a community which supports and educates victims of domestic abuse through her Instagram page, Abuse Survivor

Abuse survivor aims to create awareness of the damaging effects of domestic abuse by educating members of the public, using Narcissism as a subject.

She believes that helping individuals understand narcissism can greatly reduce domestic abuse in the home and its result in the larger society.

Through Abuse Survivor, she identifies potential abusers and identifies abuse dynamics. She also provides materials and support for the recovery of survivors and counsels victims of all forms of abuse.


 What has been your biggest achievement as a prosecutor?

Watching adults, children, as well as pre-teens who are victims of sex offenses, look their abuser in the eye and testify against him or her in open court.

I am filled with a sense of accomplishment because I know that the person is taking back his or her power and getting out of the abuser’s control.

What prompted you to start the platform Abuse Survivor?

I was deeply shaken by the death of Ronke Shonde in 2016, who was allegedly murdered by her abusive husband. Reports of spousal abuse/homicides seemed to increase in 2017, and I recall asking myself “why couldn’t they heed the red flags before walking down the aisle”?

So I decided to help people identify potential abusers and also highlight the long-term effects of remaining in abusive relationships on adults and children.

I came to realize that a large percentage of those convicted for violent crimes are products of dysfunctional home environments and are people with unresolved childhood trauma.

The pain and anger they carry around makes them gravitate towards crime or other anti-social behaviors. Knowledge of the above facts propelled me to create Abuse Survivor.

Are you an abuse survivor yourself?

Yes. I have been a victim of malignant narcissistic abuse.

How do you vet the authenticity of the stories people send to you since its all done virtually?

Most stories sent to us are accompanied by imageries which are very compelling with the victims pleading for their anonymity. I ask certain question which aims to validate their assertions without leaving them feeling we disbelieve them.

It calls for tact and sensitivity, else we could leave a victim of abuse with invalidated feelings which is against everything we stand for.

Would you consider yourself to be a social entrepreneur and if so, what would you say is the most challenging part of this role?

Yes, I do.

We live in a society where an in-depth discussion of abuse is given a passing interest, thus accessing funds to have more impact has been really challenging. Like most start-ups, this is the biggest challenge I have faced so far.

You use NARCISSISM as a subject to educate your community. How has this impacted them positively?

Lots of people have undergone narcissistic abuse without knowing it. As a result, they lived in utter confusion, depression and other health complications which is characteristic of victims of narcissistic abuse.

Watching some members of our community gain clarity, stop blaming themselves and take control of their lives has been very fulfilling.

Since starting the platform ‘Abuse Survivor’, have you had any support from anyone?  And how has this contributed towards your success?

A survivor of narcissistic abuse, who is also a member of our community reached out to me sometime in February 2018. Although living in the UK, she volunteered to build a website for our community.

I am very grateful for this gesture.

She has also become one of our resource persons. She is always on standby with brilliant and innovative suggestions. Having her as a support system right now propels me to keep doing what I do.

What is the one motivation that gets you up every morning?

I wake up every morning with the zeal to put out more information in order to reach more people. The knowledge that far too many people in our society are ignorant about narcissism motivates me.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a woman suffering from domestic abuse?

I would tell her that she is stronger than her abuser is trying to make her feel. All she needs to do is to see herself the way God sees her and learn to love herself.

Only then will she have the strength to walk away for herself and to provide a better environment for her children (if she is a mother).

How do you juggle your full-time job with managing your platform?

To be candid, it is very tasking. However, it is easier because I am passionate about this topic and my full-time job inspires me too.

I make time in the early hours of the day from 4 am to 6 am to plan my content. That way, members of our community never experience content drought.

You currently run Abuse Survivor solely on Instagram. Any plans to move it to another platform? (Website, blog etc).

Right now, we are working on our official website. We plan to make use of other social media platforms while retaining Instagram as our primary means of reaching out to members of our community.

Do you ever meet with the women whose stories you share?

The vast majority of those who share their stories in our community are impossible to meet geographically because they do so from all over the world.

However, I have met a handful of them and they are the most resilient women I have ever met.

What future plans do you have for ‘Abuse Survivor’?

My vision is for Abuse Survivor to become the number one support system and resource outfit for victims of any form of abuse in Africa. We plan to innovate along the way.

What’s your favorite book / Ted Talk of all time?

My favorite book is Chimamanda Adichie’s ‘Purple Hibiscus’. I think that is where my interest in domestic abuse was aroused. I was 19 when I read that novel.

My favorite Ted Talk was given by Warren Buffet. If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.


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Smangele Nicolette Ngwenya: I am Enough

Born in the east of Johannesburg in Ekurhuleni, Smangele Nicolette Ngwenya is a self-motivated, systematic and confident woman.

Having grown up in her grandmother’s green shack, she sums up her background as colorful and supportive. 

This background inspired her to start the WomenYouAreEnough organization. Through her organization, Smangele hopes to empower and inspire women. 


What was the motivation behind your organization? 

I’ve always wanted to be involved in meaningful & fruitful things. My prayer has always been, God helps me to give more than I can receive. Being raised by a giving grandmother made it natural to me.

When the organization started, I only wanted to help take a disadvantaged girl child to school. Then suddenly, I also wanted to collect sanitary towels so that no girl child could miss class because of something that occurs involuntarily.

The organization has since become a movement with a hashtag #WomanYouAreEnough which reminds all women that it’s okay to be imperfect, that it’s okay to help other women without taking the glory once they reach to the top. WomanYouAreEnough means that when Queens(Women) gather, wonderful things happen.

What does confidence mean to you?

Personally, confidence means complimenting another woman’s beauty & understating that their beauty is not in the absence of mine. It means recognizing the strength of another woman & knowing but also knowing that I too am enough.

So confidence is about being happy in my own skin and also appreciating the strength of those around me. 

Has your confidence ever been compromised? 

Women have often compromised my confidence every now and then. I have had a very strong personality which has often mistaken for being a miss know it all.

I was teased for my body weight and facial features. However, despite all these negative comments, I have never felt any less confident. In fact, I have been fortunate enough to attract confident women who see each other as Queens and not threats.

What is your mantra?

My daily mantra is reminding myself that I am enough. Even on my worst day, I wake up and dress up knowing that without any reasonable doubt, I am enough. I don’t have to force what’s meant for me as it will find me.

Are women empowered today?

I have to say that women empowerment is definitely on the rise. Especially with the use of social media, we are seeing more women in the corporate world holding higher positions. Different organizations and movements are making sure that women empowerment is on the rise.

WomanYouAreEnough is one of those. We have different empowerment programs such as the matric dance campaign where we dress up disadvantaged girls for their big day. We also host seminars and share personal struggles to continue encouraging women. Therefore, females are inspired by everything we’ve done.

Where do you draw your inspiration?

My late grandmother Salamina Mafoka Molakeng Mimi truly inspires me. Though life has dealt with her, she has remained hopeful. My mother NoNhlanhla Ngwenya who from the age 18 has worked double shifts at various restaurants so that we can have a normal childhood also inspires me.

Finally, every other female who decided to go for it even though their background didn’t allow them also greatly inspires me.  

Does overconfidence cause more problems than under-confidence?

There’s nothing like being overconfident according to me. So, I’d say there are more problems caused by being under confident. Society still tries to tame females.

They tell us we are too old, too confident or too much. At the end of the day, these things make us doubt ourselves & we end up in a certain box hating each other as females.


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Master the art of Hunting for Opportunities: Adeng Leek

Many people believe that getting opportunities is just about luck. This is true to a large extent. But most times, getting opportunities is about hard work.

You cannot afford to be lazy when searching for opportunities. In life, it is your responsibility to develop yourself first before others do.

Adeng Leek, a passionate young African from Sudan and founder of Opportunities for South Sudanese Initiative shares a few steps on hunting for opportunities.

You need to make sure opportunities are running behind you and you are not running behind them - @adengmalual Click To Tweet

But what does it take to find opportunities?


1. Know who you are and what you want

It is very easy to say I know who I am. But the truth is, it takes ages to discover yourself. Knowing yourself is a process that requires you to sit down and answer a few important questions. You need to ask yourself questions such as:

  • What is my purpose?
  • What are my goals and objectives?
  • How will I bring them to reality?

Once you have answered these questions, then it will be much easier to execute your goals. It will also ensure that when you get distracted or sidetracked, you will still have a way of getting on track.  

2. Read, Read and Read

I don’t think I can emphasize the importance of reading enough. How many times do we ignore reading articles, stories, and other material because we don’t have the time or are not interested?

Reading is quite important as it can widen your experience. Many people such as bloggers share inspirational stories and tips that if you read, they can help impact your life.

Through reading these articles, you may find solutions to help you overcome any obstacles and challenges you’ve faced in your journey. 

3. Network

Networking is very essential. From meeting people in the same field you are interested in or meeting other diverse people, it is important to widen your sphere of influence. These different people can help and mentor you towards achieving your goal.

On the other hand, networking is not only about getting but also about giving. If you can, it is important to also be of help to others.

Perhaps you have a connection that can help a friend or a networking event that you could invite someone to. 

4. Share the opportunities you receive

When we get opportunities and succeed, it is often quite easy to forget that others are searching for the same opportunities. Once you see an opportunity that others would benefit from, always try and share them with as many people as possible.

This is what inspired the creation of my blog ‘Opportunities for South Sudanese Initiative’. Through this blog, I share opportunities from different websites. These opportunities not only benefit me, but they benefit a wider group that will eventually impact the whole nation.


[bctt tweet=”No matter how old you are now. You are never too young or too old for success or going after what you want – Pablo” username=”SheLeadsAfrica”

This article was written by Adeng Leek.


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Francisca Ogunlade: My Scars are My Strength

Francisca Onyinye Ogunlade is a car crash survivor who decided to make her second chance at life very impactful and interesting.

She is also known as the “Side Business Queen” because she helps corporate employees leverage their strength to start and grow a profitable side business in 90 days or less.

She is a banker with 12 years experience, a founder of an event tech company and a business coach.

In this interview with Francisca, she talks about surviving a car crash, and how she got into the business of event planning and management.


Your location should not be a hindrance to your dreams. The internet has made life easy Click To Tweet

Having being involved in a car crash, what impact did this have your life and business?

The car crash turned my whole life around. I had two fractures in one leg and also a cranial injury. As if that’s not enough, I had to carry my pregnancy to term on crutches and a cane.

The biggest blow was that I lost the use of one eye – imagine having to be very careful when applying eyeliner because you only have one eye!

This accident taught me that life and business are always full of twists and turns. Sometimes, you lose almost everything (like I almost lost my life) and you are left with deciding either to remain conquered or rise up to fight the storm. For me, I chose to live and live well. I charge you to do same.

From your experience, how can young women maximize their locations?

On July 16, 2017, I changed the narration of the events and wedding industry in the Southwest of Nigeria. My team and I planned and hosted a beauty and bride exhibition, and this event has created so much ripple effect within and outside the many states in Nigeria.

The interesting thing about launching out from your location is that you are probably one of the few people with that idea and boom, you are in the limelight. In the last year too, I created Nigeria’s first events budgeting app on the Google play store (Eftinzz Events and Budget Planner).

All this taught me that your location should not be a hindrance to your dreams. The internet has made life easy. Make your dream clear enough and your location will be your Launchpad.

How do you create a balance between your day job and your business?

I must confess that this has not been a box of chocolate. I had to identify my support system and carry them along with my plans. They are a part of life.

On my part, I had to make some sacrifices which include reducing my social life. Unfortunately, I lost some few friends who couldn’t understand the new direction I was going but we are now on the same page.

What are some key lessons from your journey you’d like others to learn from?

I could never have imagined that I would go through some of the things that I have been through. However, through every experience I learned the following lessons:

  • Your scars are your strength
  • Your dreams are valid
  • You must be crazy enough to believe in your craze
  • You are human – it’s okay to ask for help

What advice can you give young ladies building their careers or businesses?

I won’t tell you it will be easy because it won’t be. But the good thing is, even if it is easy, you can do it. Be true to yourself. Never be scared to dream and make sure you live an enjoyable life because your dreams are valid.

 


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Vivian Atenaga: The Gospel isn’t Enough Without Impact

Vivian Atenaga is a pastor, conference speaker, and an educationist. As a preacher, Vivian believes that the message of the gospel is not complete without making a physical impact on peoples lives. 
Driven by this, Vivian co-founded a project named Smile Naija. Smila Naija is a platform that is used to reach out to the indigent in the society. In this article, Vivian tells us more about her passion. 

What inspired the Smile Naija Project?

Seeing the sufferings of people in our society has truly touched me. I thought to myself that though I was encouraging people through preaching the gospel, this was not enough. So, with a team of other passionate people, we began collecting food items, furniture, and kitchen utensils to donate to those who needed them through Smile Naija.
Through our diverse team of professionals, we offer free legal counseling and medical checkups from experts. After the medical checkups, patients are given free drugs also. The services we offer are open to any member of the society and so far we have reached a number of people.

What is your plan for the project in the future?

By the end of this year, we are hoping to feed and clothe at least five thousand families. It sounds ambitious but we strongly believe that we can achieve these goals. When looking at the future, we hope to have empowerment programs. Through these programs, we hope to give startups the training and funding they need to be able to start their businesses.
We also plan to establish scholarship programs that will especially benefit children in the Northern part of Nigeria as it holds a larger population of children that are out of school. All in all, we have many plans for Smile Naija and hope to make it more impactful.

Can you tell us more about your mentoring program?

I have often heard about this phenomenon that the younger people will outlive the older generation. Therefore, I believe that impacting the youth is a deliberate effort to designing the desired future that we want.
Through our program, we look into all the aspects of life that affect young people. We then deal with these aspects through teachings and dialogues. I’ve realized that the reason we keep having challenges in society today is that young people usually lack the requisite skills and tools to deal with challenges as they face them.
Therefore, I hope through mentor-ship, young people can get the help they need to face challenges.

How do you stay motivated with your various projects?

I understand that I am here on an assignment, and mediocrity is not one of the kingdom traits, which means that excellence is a basic mark I must meet. I keep setting new standards based on the vision God has given me for my life.
I know my purpose, and I ensure I stick to it through prioritizing my life, whether it is focusing on the home front, pastoring or even running my business. However, I have prioritized my life in a way that my home comes first, ministry second and my business third. With this order, I give to Caesar what belongs to him.
There is life after your wedding day, you are more than you think you are. - Vivian Atenaga Click To Tweet

What will your legacy be?

 At the end of the day, I hope that my legacy will be that I served God through everything that I did. I also want to have impacted humanity without any reservations.

Any inspiring messages for women seeking to start pursuing their dreams and fulfilling their purpose?

 You only live once here in this world. I know the period of giving birth and raising the kids are quite challenging, but I also believe that you can find time to document your ideas and sketch your plan to execute them once the kids are a bit older.
Don’t ever allow being married to be your life’s last dream.There is life after the wedding day and you are more than you think you are.

Do you have a story you would like to share with She Leads Africa? Let us know about yourself and your story here.
 

Kagiso Madibana: Our generation desperately needs hope

Our SLA community knows Kagiso Madibana as the founder/ chairperson of Nayang Association, a social venture that she founded in 2014. She is also an entrepreneur who owns a communications company called MD Africa Communications.

Kagiso is also a self-published author of the book ‘Tales from the heart of Botswana: Baareng’s journey’. She is currently working on finishing her second book which will be centered on her traveling adventures and actual journey to self-discovery.

Her passion for telling stories has also pushed her to seek partners in the theatre world to try and turn her first novel into a play. In this chat, we look into Kagiso’s writing journey, and the successes she has encountered. 


What influenced your decision to become a writer?

Over the years, I have learned that I can communicate and express myself better through writing. I also have an obsession with sharing and creating stories about experiences that could change lives or make an impact.

What was the inspiration behind ‘Tales from the heart of Botswana: Baareng’s journey’?

I grew up reading a lot of books and I learned a lot about the world these books. However, I never found characters that I could relate to. None of them sounded like my story or that of my neighbor.

So, I wanted to write a book that the ordinary Motswana/African could relate to. I also wanted to write inspirational stories about hope because our generation desperately needs it.

Your book examines relatable topics. Why was it important for you to write about these issues? 

The work we do at Nayang Association exposes us to a lot of poverty and people who give up on life because they have no hope for the future.

Through our mantra of “community building“, we want to change the mindset that one has to rich in order to help build their communities. We seek to inspire kids and help them believe that they can become whoever they want to be and also be involved in community building.

Through the book, I was able to bring to life characters that have the same challenges that people in our country face and show how they were able to overcome their obstacles despite their environment.

How did your debut novel end up being adopted for the Botswana standard four class syllabus? 

From the early age of 8, children begin discovering things that develop their personalities and form who they will be. When I wrote the book, I made the decision to use English in its simplest form so that anybody from the ages of 8-60 could read the story. 

My breakthrough came a year after I had traveled to different government schools (primary to senior). During these trips, I would give talks and donate books to outstanding students at prize-giving ceremonies.

I would also be reaching out to different schools to see if the novel would be a suitable read for the children.

Bathoen I House in Orapa, a Debswana private school was the first school to order the book as part of their syllabus for standard fours. Thereafter, other schools and Bridge Books Bookstore,  in Maboneng and Commissioner Street in Johannesburg, bought the novel for their libraries.

How did you get nominated for the Social Entrepreneur of the Year at the Africa Youth Awards? What did you gain from this experience? 

I believe in sharing the activities of Nayang Association with our network because it helps us remain relevant. Through our Facebook page, we update our network and reach out to more people to help us attain our goal of touching lives. 

One day, I received an email from the Africa Youth Awards Committee, notifying me that 5 social entrepreneurs from across Africa along with members of the Committee had nominated us.

The process was then open to public voting. Competing against very deserving and inspirational individuals was quite an honor. In the end, I didn’t lose anything, I gained a continental network.

How was your journey as a Batswana literary artist/creative? 

Leaving an 8-5 job to focus on writing in a country that doesn’t have much of a reading culture was a gamble. However, I knew I had to take this path. 

My challenging journey often made me think of giving up. There is a popular saying that “passion doesn’t pay the bills”. However, faith and the confidence in what I was doing guided my experience. Eventually, doors started to open.

During my journey, I had nobody to look up to or guide me. Don’t get me wrong, there are amazing writers in this country but I didn’t know their story. I choose to share mine to aspire young writers and help them learn and improve from what I did.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Learn as much as you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Search for entrepreneurship workshops in your area and online but most importantly NETWORK.


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Joy Eneghalu: Using Strategy to Conquer Social Media

Joy Eneghalu is a social media strategist. She helps businesses and teaches individuals how to leverage social media to boost their brand awareness, increase their sphere of influence and make a profit.

She is also the founder of the Influencer Marketing platform called Influensah.


Can one thrive in today’s marketplace without social media?

Social media has taken over and has the potential to expose one’s business to a larger audience. It is highly important to have your business on social media so you don’t lose out on the goodness.

However, there is the offline part that people also have to maintain. Social media has become a must-have tool for every business to thrive in today’s marketplace.

So, if social media is here to stay, what are the career opportunities open to young people?

There are tons of career opportunities open to young people and the beautiful thing is that some of them are largely untapped and it costs almost nothing to get started.

Young people can now go ahead and become some of the following professionals:

  • Online TV Hosts
  • Online OAPs
  • Social media and community managers
  • Online event planners
  • Influencers
  • Data specialists and Facebook ad experts
  • Funnel experts
  • Website designers and social media graphic designers
  • Content creators 

All you basically need is a phone, internet, knowledge, skill, and visibility. If you are wondering if people do these as actual jobs and cash out, there are many of them and they aren’t even enough for the market.

What were the mistakes you made when you started out? How can others avoid them?

When I started out, it was basically trial and error. Eventually, I invested in courses that helped sharpen my skills.

The number one mistake I made was not documenting an agreement with a client and that cost me lots of money because of the lacking proof. This lesson was very important for my success.  

Before discovering the essence of a community, I played a lone game for a while. However, I now belong to about 6 communities that have provided me with immense support and knowledge.

With many people coming on to the social media space, what would you advise to stand out amidst the noisy marketplace?

This may sound cliché but nothing beats being authentic, genuinely caring about people and adding value. These have been my own sauce and it works pretty much for everyone you see doing great things.

If you are fake, people will find out. Let your style of delivery on social media speak for you.  

Overnight success doesn’t exist as a social media strategist or manager; you have to put it in the work - @joyeneghalu Click To Tweet

What are the myths in your line of business?

Overnight success!! It beats my imagination when many say to me ‘Joy, I want to blog or I want to start managing an account. They said this thing is like oil money. If I do it like this now, by xxx time, I will have xxx amount of money’. 

It baffles me a lot. Overnight success doesn’t exist as a social media strategist or manager; you have to put it in the work. Some people even take 10 years! Money doesn’t grow on trees in the online world. 

Secondly, just because one is visible and popular online doesn’t mean the person has billions sited in their account. It can be very annoying to have people asking you for money because of your online fame.

If one is being visible on social media, please understand that it is part of the journey and not the destination.

 

Could you briefly share with our Motherland moguls on WhatsApp for business?

WhatsApp for Business is a highly innovative tool that businesses can use to offer fast and efficient customer care services to their customers.

With a range of different features such as analytics and labels for pending payments; WhatsApp for Business is a highly effective tool for online business. 

I personally advice having the ‘Click to Chat’ feature on your website or social media platform. This feature enables people to easily chat you up and maintain a human relationship with your business. 

Final Words

You can do this. You can achieve anything you want with the right mindset.

Hone the skill of recognizing opportunities and jump on it before the crowd does - @joyeneghalu Click To Tweet

I look forward to having lots of young ladies kicking butts in the social media/online space.

 


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

Samah Zingran: I’ve struggled to be an entrepreneur in Sudan simply because I am a woman

Samah Zingran is one of those rare women often spoken of but rarely encountered in these modern times, kind of like a unicorn! Maya Angelou once described this type of woman as, “a woman in harmony with her own spirit”.

This Khartoum born entrepreneur, who aspires to learn 7 languages- Russian being one of them, is interested in history, anthropology studies and psychology and is currently working on obtaining a masters in Folklore from the University of Khartoum.  

Samah is the founder of the eponymous brand, Zingran, which creates gorgeous handcrafted leather accessories and bags.


 

What led you to start your own business?

I launched my business on two separate occasions. The first was as a result of what I call “a graduate rush”. I wanted to start making a living as an independent fashion designer as soon as possible. Sadly, my business failed to grow. I was doing it part-time and had just begun my postgraduate studies.

During this time, I volunteered many times to do other artist’s projects from different fields, theatre, music bands, fine art exhibitions…I was even once a translator! I never said no to a job, and rarely considered the financial gain.

My second chance at business came in 2017. At this point, it hit me that I must depend on myself and do what I’m passionate about.

I quit my job at the Embassy of Venezuela in Sudan and with the help of a friend who became my retailer in Juba, I got the boost I needed.

I never said no to a job, and rarely considered the financial gain - Samah Zingran Click To Tweet

How has your journey been so far? 

This year, God awarded me generously by giving me the opportunity to attend a training given to selected creative entrepreneurs working in the East Africa region by the British council in Kampala and Nesta.

It exceeded my expectations and allowed me to connect with wonderful and enthusiastic teachers as well as students, build an essential network and learn many lessons- my greatest lesson being, “its okay if you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, you plan it anyway.”

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while running your business so far?

The most valuable lesson I learned was first taught by a friend, a very successful businesswoman in Sudan. She said to me:

No one will do the job for you, you should take hold of every detail of your work, only then, will your work be done the way you want it. - Samah Zingran Click To Tweet

I must say, from my personal experience, this has proven to be very true.

What drives you to achieve the goals you set for yourself?

Love to create, and my passion to create new things has kept me going. I also find myself continually motivated by my Father- the first supporter of my work, my friends with all their great insights.

I love the look on people’s faces when they see what I’ve made for them, it’s a wonderful feeling when I see they like my work. It’s also incredibly humbling and it’s where I get my satisfaction from.

What is the business environment like for young female entrepreneurs in Sudan?

I’ve struggled to be an entrepreneur in Sudan simply because I am a woman. People ruin professional relationships by harassing girls or making them uncomfortable. Many don’t believe in the possibility that a woman can actually make great achievements in business.

However, the few times I overcame these challenges resulted in great networking opportunities with suppliers, retailers, and buyers.  The experience has taught me to expect to be treated unfairly, to be undermined, not just because I am female but mostly because I am a female artist.

Through it all, the conviction instilled in me by my father, that I am no less than any other man kept my heart solid to these challenges.

Do you think being a female entrepreneur in a country like Sudan is an advantage or disadvantage?

I think it’s a huge advantage since recent studies show young women in our generation are more advanced both in higher education and work. Traditionally, in Sudan, women often times overtake the responsibility to provide- even if this particular fact is openly overlooked.

Therefore, despite the obstacles they go through, women in my country like all African women, are strong and thrive to work, invent, create and provide.

What I’d love to inspire them to do is to dream. To get inspired by recalling the heritage we have from ancient Feroh–queens (Kandake) who led wars and led nations, whose biggest dream wasn’t to simply provide for their families.

What has been your greatest challenge so far? How did you overcome it?

While a student in art school in 2017, I fell sick of Myasthenia Gravis.  My desire to overcome this pushed me to work hard in school and I completed with flying colors.

However, when business pressures rushed in, I struggled, being a solopreneur and working 14 -16 hours a day to deliver took its toll on me. I eventually had to scale back on my business.

To support myself, I started working part-time with other artists temporarily which exposed me to some of their struggles. Eventually, I also educated myself on the disease I had and trained someone close to me so that I wasn’t alone in my journey.

Keep feeding your passion because you are your own knight in shining armor - Samah Zingran Click To Tweet

If you could be mentored by anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

I admire Meryl Streep, a well-known actress. I believe she is strong and has a great body of work- she has been nominated several times for the Oscars and various other awards.

She is a living embodiment of pure talent and is clear about her political and social opinions.

What advice do you have for female entrepreneurs both in Sudan and across the African Continent?

Remember that dream of yours you once had when you were a little girl? Draw out its details and bring it to life.

You will struggle one way or another, you will meet pessimists and those who have given up on their own dreams-but never ever give up, keep feeding your passion because you are your own knight in shining armor.