Investing Tips for the Millennial woman

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Our 20s are hard, but being in your 30s presents a whole new set of challenges. Women in their 30s are expected to achieve more and therefore, they find themselves going down life paths differently. The great thing is, your 30s bring a greater level of self-awareness and since rethinking about the future tends to take a centre stage for most, this is the perfect time to choose the best investment opportunities. 

We’ve all heard the stereotypes: Women are shopaholics racking up credit card charges to add one more pair of shoes to an already overflowing closet, while men bring home the bacon and are savvy investors that understand how to manage money and take advantage of opportunities. These clichéd images have overtime been reinforced by the media and popular culture.

When it comes to investing, a number of studies have revealed that men and women invest differently. Gender differences in investment approach, perspective and experience can enhance long-term investing success. Women have been classified as being less confident, not keen on investing in the stock market and massive spenders. Whilst on the other hand, the same women can be seen as being more open to seeking guidance, more patient and a trend has been seen on millennial women who are investing more than their predecessor. Well, to the millennial women in their 30s who are seeking to change the narrative this year and START, here are a few tips on investing:

Before going big on investment:

1. Educate Yourself

Before diving into strategies that claim to give you a better financial future, carve out some time to learn about money management and investments.

2. Set Clear Financial Goals

If you don’t have a set goal to work towards, it can be hard to find the passion or drive to save. Whether it’s a house you’ve been eyeing or your retirement, carefully defining these goals and figuring out how much you’ll need to save can help you craft a better plan for getting there. 

3. Make a budget and stick to it. 

The first step is to gather all your bills and pay remains, then plan your budget for the month according to your income and your expenses. 

4. Save for Retirement:  

Let’s get real, we are all getting old, why not start saving now so that we are not drowned in worry later!

5. Avoid Consumer Debt

Some debt like mortgages and student loans are OK to take on if they fit in with your overall budget. In a consumer-driven society, it’s incredibly easy to live beyond your means; a good rule of thumb is to try and save at least 15% of your income  and always spend less than you make.

6. Use Missteps to Help You Learn and Grow

As the famous saying goes, experience is the best teacher. Instead of being ashamed of past financial missteps, learn from them and make better decisions.

7. Put Your Savings on Autopilot

Have your savings contributions automatically deducted from your paycheck and/or direct deposit into an investment account. If you put money aside before you even see it, you’ll tend to not miss it.

8. Always Take Free Money:

You should never turn down free money—your nest egg will grow faster, if your employers march a percentage of your benefit contribution, take it up sis!

9. Don’t Let the Financial World Intimidate You

A good percentage of personal finance is not financial education, but financial behaviour. If you can modify your behaviour with your finances, you can modify your financial future. 

Contrary to popular belief you don’t need to be a financial expert to start investing, budgeting or preparing for emergencies. All you really need to do is work on building a solid plan and committing to it. As the American poet Carl Sandburg said, “Money is power, freedom, a cushion, the root of all evil, the sum of blessings.”

Have an investmentfull year! 

Why you need an Endowment Policy (even while you are Pre-Rich)

We’re all constantly thinking of new ways to save money, especially when it comes to saving towards a particular target. We use apps, banks, and even in 2021, our pillows.

Do you know what these all have in common? Your money is somehow still right in front of you, tempting you at every turn. Without a great deal of discipline, you’ll break into your savings and never reach your goals.

According to independent surveys by She Leads Africa, 73% of young women in our audience said that their top money goal right now is financial independence. In another survey, 58% of women highlighted their top money goal as ‘saving and investing for my future’.

Now if you earn a decent, steady income but you’re always breaking into your savings, when are you going to achieve financial independence, or even save towards your future?

Luckily, there’s a more efficient way to save towards your goals that you’ve probably not heard of in the past- an endowment policy. Never heard of it? Well, you’re in luck, because that’s what this article is all about.

 

So, what is an endowment policy?

An endowment policy is a plan to help you meet set financial targets and obligations at a particular date in the future. You set a goal, pay periodically towards that goal and your policy provider pays you your set target amount plus a pre-fixed interest sum on your target date.

With an endowment policy, you’re able to put money aside with a trusted institution and get a specified amount back at your target date.

An endowment policy could also double as an insurance plan as in the event of death, accident, or illness (in the terms covered by your plan). Your target amount is paid to you…even before the target date.

 

Why should you get an endowment policy?

You’ve been trying to save for yearsss: You’ve tried a bunch of methods and nothing is working. It’s definitely time to try an endowment policy.

You want to be accountable: Endowment policies are a great way to plan towards your goals. You’ll have a specific target amount to save monthly towards your goal and the payment plan keeps you accountable.

You want to stay focused: With a target date and a target sum, you can keep your end goal and payday in mind and actively work towards it. You’re not spending the money you’re saving on something else. Your money is safe and secure till the agreed date.

You’re saving towards a specific goal: Could be a master’s, a car. your kids’ education or even a wedding! Get the funds you need when you need them…with no excuses.

You have money: No, that’s not a typo. If you have money and a plan for your future, you SHOULD get an endowment policy.

Other benefits…


Tax relief: Some endowment plans qualify for tax relief so the amount of tax you have to pay is reduced. 

Your estate is covered: In the event of death, your target sum is paid back to your estate and the policy terminates.

Back-up funds in case there’s an accident: If you ever have a serious accident, you’ll have your target sum to fall back on even before the set target date.

Fall back plan in critical illness: If you get critically ill? We know hospital bills can be a pain. You’ll have your target sum to fall back on and help you pay your bills!

Where do you start?


A good example of an endowment policy is the Leadway Target plan. You can contact Leadway Assurance right now via DMs and they’ll put you on all you need to know!

 



FCMB Commemorates World Women’s Entrepreneurship Day with Loan Facilities in Ogun State

FCMB SheVentures Ogun State Program

This article is sponsored by the FCMB SheVentures proposition. FCMB SheVentures is empowering female entrepreneurs, helping them build their businesses, and improving the overall success rate of businesses owned or run by women. Please click here to learn more about how FCMB SheVentures can support you and your business.

 

 


In commemoration of this year’s World Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, FCMB SheVentures in collaboration with the Office of the First Lady of Ogun State, has granted zero interest loan facilities to women business owners in Ogun State.

Additionally, the beneficiaries received the opportunity to participate in capacity building initiatives, to ensure they scale up and become positive contributors to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.

At the presentation event which held on Thursday, November 19, 2020 in Abeokuta, the First Lady of Ogun State, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun commended FCMB for its commitment to ensuring that female business owners are not left out in the success story of the Nigerian economy.

 

FCMB SheVentures Ogun State Loan FacilitiesSimilarly, the Executive Director, Business Development, FCMB, Mrs. Bukola Smith assured the female entrepreneurs that they can count on FCMB’s continued support as they pursue the growth and profitable expansion of their businesses.

Also present at the event were the Former Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Alhaja Salmot Badru; Former Speaker of the State House of Assembly and Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Mrs. Kikelomo Longe; the Iyalode of Yorubaland, Chief (Mrs.) Alaba Lawson; The Regional Director, FCMB South-West, Mr. Emanuel Comla; and Head, FCMB SheVentures, Mrs. Yetunde Moito.

Africa should set its sights on feeding the world – Sola David-Borha, CEO Standard Bank Group (Africa)

Sola David-Borha is the Chief Executive of Africa Regions at Standard Bank. In this article, she shares her insights on opportunities in the Agriculture industry.

Motherland Moguls, you don’t want to miss out on this one.


Africa needs to make more food

With the world population expected to swell by 2 billion people over the next three decades, Africa has an opportunity to step up and become a major global food production hub.

For the time being, Africa remains a net importer of food, despite its vast tracts of underutilized land and other enviable natural resources. Its reliance on food imports weighs on the continent’s current account and spells a missed economic opportunity.

Source: Unctad, Rabobank
With the right policies, technologies, and infrastructure in place, Africa has the potential to first meet its own food requirements, and then exceed them – Sola David-Borha, CEO Standard Bank Group (Africa) Click To Tweet

The agricultural sector is possibly the continent’s biggest growth lever, with a sizeable potential for much-needed job creation. This is especially poignant considering that Africa is estimated to hold about 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land. Of the land that is cultivated, yields remain extremely low and irrigation techniques dated.

Agribusiness is the next big hustle

The adoption of modern and innovative farming practices could spur a step-change in the output of existing and new farmlands. The Netherlands, a country that is roughly 3.4% the size of South Africa by land area, provides a good example – being the world’s second-largest exporter of food by value, despite its size, thanks to high yields.

Meanwhile, Brazil shows that it is possible for an emerging market to shift from a net importer of food to a net exporter. The South American country did so through trade liberalization and investments in agricultural research, among other initiatives.

Africa is still only scratching the surface of its potential in the agribusiness game – Sola David-Borha, CEO Standard Bank Group (Africa) Click To Tweet

To shift the industry onto a new trajectory, a combined effort between policymakers, financial services firms and the industry itself will be needed.

What you should be thinking about

Financial services should consider how they can facilitate the sector’s growth by providing sustainable finance solutions across the agriculture value chain.

Investments in areas such as logistics, renewable energy, warehousing, and other storage facilities, agro-processing plants, and irrigation technologies will be crucial, as will public investments in road and rail infrastructure as well as ports.

Access to markets is also an important focus area, and measures to tackle this issue will boost the entire agricultural value chain.

Policymakers can play their part by creating an enabling investment environment, as countries such as Kenya have done.

To align policies across the continent, governments should consider existing frameworks. Regulations should be aimed at striking a balance between economic growth and safeguarding Africa’s natural environment.

Encouragingly, the imminent implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will lower tariffs and promote intra-African trade in agriculture, making the continent less reliant on food imports from other regions. And through cross-border initiatives, Africa could strengthen its food export prospects.

Standard Bank is funding African Agribusinesses

African states and farming groups would also do well to adopt ‘smart farming’ concepts. Standard Bank, for instance, in partnership with technology companies, has piloted projects that use drones to monitor the health of crops, and digital technologies to monitor and regulate soil moisture in order to save water by avoiding unnecessary irrigation.

Standard Bank is also working with development finance institutions and export agencies to develop sustainable finance solutions specifically for the sector. We are funding projects that allow small-scale farmers to transform themselves into contractors that supply commercial farmers.

An opportunity for African Women

Climate change poses a serious risk to Africa’s food security – and the world’s. The effects are already being felt – Tropical Cyclone Idai caused unprecedented damage in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi less than a year ago, while catastrophic droughts and flooding have affected South Africa and East Africa, among other regions. Currently, the devastating locust invasion in East Africa – Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia specifically – is threatening food security in the region.

Considering that agriculture already accounts for a large portion of Africa’s GDP, the impact of climate change on the economy can be severe.

Another risk is that the expansion of Africa’s agricultural sector will place more strain on the continent’s water resources, which need to be carefully managed. The adoption of advanced irrigation techniques is a good start.

Standard Bank recently partnered with the United Nations (UN) Women on a project aimed at developing climate-smart farming techniques amongst rural women. The initiative is being rolled out in Uganda, South Africa, Malawi, and Nigeria.

While the sector’s future is not without its risks, it may well be Africa’s biggest opportunity in the coming decades. Being a major contributor to GDP and employment, the agribusiness sector is the continent’s most effective lever for achieving inclusive growth.


About Standard Bank Group

Standard Bank Group is the largest African bank by assets with a unique footprint across 20 African countries. Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, we are listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, with share code SBK, and the Namibian Stock Exchange, share code SNB.  

Standard Bank has a 156-year history in South Africa and started building a franchise outside southern Africa in the early 1990s. 

Our strategic position, which enables us to connect Africa to other select emerging markets as well as pools of capital in developed markets, and our balanced portfolio of businesses, provide significant opportunities for growth.  

The group has over 53 000 employees, approximately 1 200 branches and over 9 000 ATMs on the African continent, which enable it to deliver a complete range of services across personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking and wealth management.  

Headline earnings for 2018 were R27.9 billion (about USD2.1 billion) and total assets were R2.1 trillion (about USD148 billion). Standard Bank’s market capitalisation at 31 December 2018 was R289 billion (USD20 billion). 

The group’s largest shareholder is the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world’s largest bank, with a 20,1% shareholding. In addition, Standard Bank Group and ICBC share a strategic partnership that facilitates trade and deal flow between Africa, China and select emerging markets. 

For further information, go to http://www.standardbank.com  


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Career hacks from 4 Motherland Moguls for 2020 motivation.

As Motherland Moguls living in the new millennia, we have a diverse group of women in leadership to get inspiration from. Here are lessons from 4 African women who have #slayed the past decade to help you to reach your Vision 2020 goals.


1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Get your receipts 🕵🏾‍♀️

Chimamanda’s success in the literary world comes from her ability to consistently publish high-quality work. The secret sauce for the Queen of African Literature? Reading

Chimamanda is an avid reader and researcher. Half Of a Yellow Sun, her second novel and an international bestseller, took four years of intense research and writing.

This commitment to learning and research is a skill any Motherland Mogul needs for success.

"Read. Read. Read" – Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche Click To Tweet

2. Bonang Matheba: Invest in yourself sis 💰

Nothing says investing in yourself like putting your name on something and sharing it with the world. Bonang has established her name as a valuable brand that will make everything from Champagne to mobile apps valuable.

Bonang’s success comes from years of strategic self-investment. If you ever doubt that you can do something, pull a Bonang.

Bet on yourself and see how far you can go.

 "…No one in the world owes you absolutely nothing. You need to wake up every morning and prove why it is you are worthy and that you deserve whatever it is that you want." – @bonang_m Click To Tweet

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3. Lupita Nyong’o: Don’t put yourself in a box 🙅🏾‍♀️

Since her breakout role in 12 Years a Slave, Lupita has fearlessly stretched herself.

In 2018, she announced she will be making her producer debut in Hollywood in the film adaptation of South African comedian, Trevor Noah’s book, Born A Crime. The movie is set to be released this year.

In late 2019, she debuted as an author with her children’s book, Sulwe, which instantly became a New York Times bestseller! #goals

Lupita gives us that go after your dreams inspo.

"No matter where you come from, your dreams are valid" – Lupita Nyong'o Click To Tweet

4. Yvonne Orji: Do it with what you got 🏃🏿‍♀️

Photo by Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (8962032ae) Yvonne Orji 'Insecure' TV show block party, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 15 Jul 2017 WEARING ALICE + OLIVIA
Photo by Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (8962032ae) Yvonne Orji ‘Insecure’ TV show block party, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA – 15 Jul 2017 WEARING ALICE + OLIVIA

After a show she was writing for got cancelled, Yvonne focused on creating her own opportunities with the resources she had.

In 2016, Yvonne created and starred in First Gen, a sitcom she piloted on YouTube with the goal of selling it to a major network. While the show never got picked up, it caught the attention of Issa Rae and producers at HBO when they were casting for Insecure.

Yvonne has continued to leverage her resources and network to get things done. She created her hit podcast with fellow Nigerian comedienne, Luvvie Ajayi, launched an international comedy tour and is scheduled to publish her first book in March 2020.

The lesson from Yvonne – start with what you have and build from there.

“People are so interested in networking up, not networking out… In order to be successful… you have to work the things you can control" – Yvonne Orji (Forbes Interview) Click To Tweet

Want to invest in yourself for 2020?

Join the Motherland Mogul Insider – an 8-week online program to help you grow your network and reach your professional goals.

Want to Join an Investors Club With a Low Budget? Here’s what you need to know

Ever heard of the term Plutophobia?

Plutophobia is derived from Pluto (wealth) and Phobia (fear) is the fear of wealth.

Yes, it is actually a thing that there are people who are afraid of being rich. It sounds funny, I even feel like laughing out loud as I type this, but looking at it deeply makes it not so funny.

Like, how can someone be afraid of being wealthy when we all know that money answereth all things? (We are well aware of immaterial wealth but for the sake of this article, all mention of wealth refer to money and all the riches that come with it).

There is also something called Chrometophobia. Chermato (money) and Phobia (fear) which is the fear of money.

The key triggers of phobias are external events which might be heredity or life experiences.

You might have heard time and time again that investment is not for the rich only. But then, you don’t know how exactly to invest with a low budget.

What if I told you that you do not need huge amounts of money to invest in portfolios that can give you beautiful rewards.

All you need is to have the right information and go where the opportunities abound.

Before you invest, first decide if you are willing to invest either for a short term or a long term.

This will enable you to look in the right places, thereby saving time and being decisive from the onset.

Pay attention to the following before your first investment:

  • Beware of “too good to be true” offers. Examples are investments that offer high returns just after two days.
  • Understand the risks that come with the investment you are taking up.
  • Do your own proper research.
  • Always get the second opinion from friend, family or an investments expert.
  • Ensure that there is physical paperwork stating all the terms of investment.

Now that you have the information on what to do before you invest. Here are some investment opportunities you can start investing with as low as N5,000 monthly:

Image result for no way black woman gifs
  • Mutual funds
  • Money market funds
  • Real estates
  • Treasury bills via i-invest app
  • Agriculture
  • Invest in a friend or family’s business with properly drafted contracts
  • There are also private investment opportunities where you get up to 10% monthly on commitments from as low as N50,000

Remember that you won’t get rich by hoarding money in your savings account or leaving them in a piggy bank. It is by investing.

A change in mindset would help you navigate away from societal misconceptions about being wealthy as a woman.

It would also help you overcome the fear of charging your worth for services you render or the good you sell. And as time goes on, you will see yourself making the money that you were long due to make, but afraid to ask for.

Like I mentioned earlier, decide on the type of investment you want and why you want it then go for a suitable opportunity.

Now that you are well informed about investments and how it can help you become wealthy, do you still hold any reservations about it?


How are you improving your spending habits this month? Click here to join the SLA #SecureTheBag challenge.

3 Reasons why you are an impulsive spender and what to do about it: Lydia Chinery – Hesse

This September, we’re out here on these streets trynna secure the bag. If you’re an impulsive spender, this one is for you.

As a financial advisor working with Holborn Assets, Lydia Chinery-Hesse has helped clients put measures in place to control their spending while increasing their savings and growing their wealth.

She has been working with various nationalities to help them plan their financial future by giving them transparent, objective and honest advice. Lydia helps them visualize their personal (and business) goals and structure a plan towards achieving them.

Earlier this year, she created a Facebook group called Love Yourself Financially, a community of global women who are dedicated to being the boss of their finances.

Their goal is to be financially secure and free – which has a different meaning to each member.


The Scenario

You’ve just finished a successful meeting and decide to take a short walk through the mall, for some window shopping.

Before you know it, you’ve spent money shopping for more clothes you don’t need!

It’s 4:15 pm and you’re absolutely famished. While you could wait another hour to get home and eat some leftovers from last night’s home-cooked supper, you decide to order food that would cost the same amount as your groceries for the week.

Even if you haven’t found yourself in one of these situations before, you’ve definitely spent money impulsively in one way or another.

  • Why is this?
  • Why are we so impulsive? More importantly…
  • What can we do about it?

Here are the three main reasons for being an impulsive spender, and a few ways you can improve your spending habits.

1. You’re using a credit card

Studies show that when we pay using our credit card, we’re more likely to spend money. With a credit card, your thinking will be more along the lines of “out of sight, out of mind”, as you don’t see the money ‘leaving’ your wallet.

Conversely, when we spend with cash, it hurts a little, and you tend to think twice before spending it.

What should you do about it?

• Until you get to a point where you have significantly improved your discipline in this area, ditch the credit card.

• Ditching the card means spending cash only.

• Withdraw your cash allocation for the week, and carry only what you need on a daily basis.

2. Because money should be spent

If you’re able to spend money impulsively, consider yourself fortunate to have the money to do so. That being said, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

As an impulsive spender, It’s likely you’re not tracking your expenses by writing them down or through an app.

If you did, you’d be less likely to spend mindlessly as you’d always be aware of what you’re spending on and how much you’re spending. 

What should you do about it?

• Before you’re about to buy something, you want, pause. Wait a day, a week, a month or longer to determine if you really need it. Chances are you don’t.

• Track your expenses, create a budget and live by it.

• Get an accountability buddy. When you’re itching to spend, call a friend you trust who will talk to you straight.

• Meal prep. Don’t give yourself an excuse to buy a meal. 

• Try no-spend days a few times per month.

In addition to all of these, it’s worth considering…what else could you be doing with that money? This brings me to my last point:

3. You are not thinking long-term

Image result for African woman thinking gifs

Living for today will most likely mean scrambling or struggling in the future.

Perhaps it would be wiser to live according to this African Proverb, “For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today”. 

What should you do about it? 

• Set your savings goal and reward yourself for achieving them (without spending money – be creative!)

• Save towards future plans. Put some money aside monthly towards that goal, whether it’s a vacation, car purchase, etc.

• Be intentional about your long term goals. This begins by figuring out how much you’ll need to either live comfortably in retirement or to reach financial security (where passive income pays for your expenses).

Once you have that figured out, work backward from there to determine how much you should be saving (and investing) in order to reach your target.

Practicing delayed gratification improves your discipline and you’ll also enjoy the financial rewards in the future – @lydialydzzz Click To Tweet

It takes some self-reflection and being honest to admit that there are areas in which we need to be more disciplined in order for the impulsiveness to end. 


How are you improving your spending habits this month? Click here to share your story with us.

6 Ways to Harness and Monetize your Many Passions

Asides the obvious fact that the recent economic downturn has forced several young people to have multiple sources of income, it is quite the norm these days to meet people who have a full-time job and are running small businesses on the side.

They are also known as “side hustles”, and even full-fledged companies complete with all the bells and whistles.

Sincerely, it is now a reality that a single income cannot sustain a comfortable lifestyle and this has pushed the average young Nigerian to get creative and take a dip in the entrepreneurship pool.

Here are six ways to convert your many interests to money in the bank:

Take on practices that will not only push you out of your comfort zone but also work on improving your weaknesses - @tolanithomas Click To Tweet

Leave your comfort zone

Starting and running a business is not for the fainthearted, it will constantly push you out of your comfort zone.

For example, if you have a fear of speaking to strangers, you will have to overcome that when networking and marketing your services to potential customers.

Take on practices that will not only push you out of your comfort zone but also work on improving your weaknesses. You don’t have to be an expert, just be comfortable enough to deliver value that people want and need.

You need more than passion

It’s great to be passionate about your business ideas, but don’t let your enthusiasm blind you from reality. Be honest with yourself!

Ensure there is a market to tap into and you are ready to put in the work. Get honest feedback from people around you; even friends and family by offering your services to them.

You have to be truly good at what you do. Your passion could be making people’s faces up, but are you skilled enough to train others?

Also bear in mind that as a business owner, you’ll be responsible for reporting taxes, marketing your business and sorting out your finances. Are you ready for all the responsibility?

Offer Real Value

What void can you fill in the market? For example, if you are a makeup artist and there is no makeup studio around you, that could be a viable business opportunity.

The goal is to take advantage of the gaps in the market, that way you stand out and enjoy greater returns before the copycats join you in that space.

Ask yourself how you can make the industry better? Is this the business that keeps your entrepreneurial juices flowing?

Let’s say your passion is making furniture. Why are you better than your competitors? Is it because your materials are sourced locally? Or your products are unique and one of a kind?

That would be more appealing to customers as opposed to buying generic mass-produced furniture.

When I started my consulting company, I had used several competitors. I knew what made them great, but I also knew what I wanted that they didn’t offer.

I knew how to better the services. I started it and here we are!

Six ways to convert your many interests to money in the bank: 1. Leave your comfort zone... Click To Tweet

Convert your Passion to Cash

There are several ways to make money off your passions:

  • Selling an actual product such as clothing, beauty products online or in a store.
  • Sharing your knowledge about your passion by blogging, writing books or making videos. Between sponsorships, subscribers and selling your own products, you can make a decent living. For example, Arese Ugwu turned her passion for financial literacy into a book – The Smart Money Woman – into a book that is being sold in several countries in Africa and the UK.
  • Offering consulting services by giving advice on anything from law to skincare.
  • Investing in an idea you are willing to financially support.
  • Creating a software or gadget that makes life easier for people. For example, if you were a makeup artist, you could create an app that helps people find the right makeup products for their skin tones.
  • Start an event around your passion, such as a regular meetup, seminar or a festival.

Make Fun a Priority

Maintaining your passion when starting a legitimate business can be difficult. Some people even forget exactly why they started a business in the first place.

To prevent that from happening, always make fun and passion a priority. Your passion should reflect on your company policies, your passion should be communicated to your employees when you are hiring and they have to be equally passionate about your business as well.

Don’t wait till you master the craft before you start your business. You can learn as you go - @tolanithomas ‏ Click To Tweet

Improve Your Skills

It would be great if you have a lot of experience, however, don’t be too hard on yourself, there’s always room for growth and learning. For example, a furniture maker may be great are creating unique tables, but not so good at creating sofas.

You can learn as you go along your journey, don’t wait till you master the craft before you start your business.

Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in any field. Nonetheless, don’t let the perceived amount of time it would take you to be the best at what you do deter you from moving ahead with your plan.

It may not take you that long to master your craft, as you long as you keep looking for ways to improve your skills. Always ask for feedback and track your progress.


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Ivy Barley: With coding, I can create a powerful software that can transform Africa and the world

Ivy Barley is a social entrepreneur and currently shaping a world where more African women will be daring enough to lead in in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields.

She is the co-founder of Developers in Vogue, an organization that trains females in the latest technologies and connects them to real-time projects and jobs. In 2017, she was named as one the 50 Most Influential Young Ghanaians.

Ivy is also a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum and holds a Master’s Degree in Mathematical Statistics.


Tell us about yourself

Growing up, I always had a strong aptitude for Mathematics and Technology, and that has pretty much shaped my career path. I recently completed my MPhil. in Mathematical Statistics.

I believe that I have the potential to make a significant impact in Africa, and this is enough motivation for my work at Developers in Vogue. Aside from being a selfie freak, I enjoy hanging out with my best friend (my phone).

How did Dev in Vogue start?

About a year ago, I was working at an all-girls pre-university where my role included assisting the girls with Mathematics, Statistics, and Physics. I also taught the girls programming.

Before working in this school, I’d been hearing people say that women don’t like coding. However, I realized the contrary!

The girls were very enthusiastic about coding, they also had so many great ideas! My stay in the school was cut short but all the while after that, what never left me were the memories of the girls!

It dawned on me to start a sustainable initiative that will create the ideal environment for females to code, connect and collaborate.

What has been your biggest hurdle so far?

We pretty much didn’t have a lot of challenges getting our business off the ground. We’re glad we had support from interested stakeholders. A hurdle though is trying to create a community.

One of our unique value propositions is that we don’t only match our ladies to jobs, but also creating a community of women who support each other. It definitely requires a lot of time and effort to create such a sisterhood.

Coding and generally technology has so much untapped potential in Africa - Ivy Barley @devinvogue Click To Tweet

Has there ever been a time when you thought of giving up? What kept you going?

I think I have thoughts of giving up very often and I find that normal. I have however learned not to let my feelings dictate. If there is something that has to be done, I definitely need to do it and do it now!

My life is governed by one mantra: Pay Now; Play Later. That is, I would rather sacrifice now so that I can have a better future. Most importantly, I start my day with the word of God and listen to a lot of inspirational podcasts especially from Joel Osteen and Terri Savelle Foy.

 

What is your favorite thing about coding?

I particularly like that with my laptop and internet, I can create powerful software that can transform Africa and the world at large. Coding teaches you critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are very important skills for this era.

I won’t deny that it doesn’t get difficult. When coding, you’d realize the power of a ‘simple’ semi-colon because omitting that can sometimes cause you hours of no sleep.

 

Which season is the toughest for your job? How do you overcome this?

For now, it has been keeping the community engaged. Though it has been fun doing this, it definitely needs more time investment.

I’d like to call myself the cheerleader of the team, inspiring the ladies to dream big and work hard to make them happen.

What however serves as motivation in spite of the challenges are the stories of the impact we are making in the lives of these women.

 

What, in your opinion, is the future of coding especially for girls in Africa?

Coding and generally technology has so much untapped potential in Africa. For females, the future is even brighter. Day in and day out there are so many opportunities that come up to promote women in technology.

Relevant stakeholders are beginning to realize the gender gap in the tech ecosystem and are putting measures in place to bring more women into the room.

 

What advice would you give to any girl in Africa considering coding?

Keep at it, my girl! You need to work hard in order to stay relevant. You need to keep improving your skills.

Though it may get difficult at some points, think about the big picture. Also, make time to network with people in the industry to learn best practices that can make you world-class.

If coding is truly your passion, then you definitely need a lot of diligence and determination. In case you need some support with this, I’ll be glad to offer a helping hand!

Any advice for African women entrepreneurs?

I think one advice I’d always give to people is hard work. Also, have your visions and goals in writing and review them every single day.

As women, there are so many activities that are likely to take our attention from growing our businesses. This is the more reason why we need to stay focused. Let’s do this for Africa!


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Key steps to Maximizing Your next Cash Bonus

Everyone can relate to that feeling of excitement when receiving a bonus and all of a sudden, you feel that your financial problems have come to an end. 

However, after a month or two, not many can account for how the money was spent, it seems to disappear with every other money that comes into the bank account (i.e. regular earnings). 

It’s that time of the year again when most companies will soon start announcing their financial results and employees can expect to receive communication on bonuses.  

Most bonus payments these days are performance related so if you receive one, it comes with a feeling of success and fulfillment that your hard work is finally being recognized.

Regardless of how much you are expecting to receive, it is important to carefully plan how you’ll spend it so that you can receive the most value out of it.  Proper planning will ensure that you are able to account for every penny that comes in and motivate you to work even harder towards the next bonus.

So how can you really maximize your bonus?

First and foremost, you need to reward yourself for all the hard work.  You have worked hard all year, dedicated your time and talent towards your company, and fully earned the bonus so you deserve to celebrate and treat yourself.  

Splurge on that expensive item that you’ve always wanted to buy or indulge in your guilty pleasure without feeling guilty for once.

However, keep this to 10% – 15% of your bonus earning and try not to go over the threshold in order to fully maximize the amount.

If you are a parent or working mother, you might feel the need to also spoil your family.  Why not?  They have supported you all year and been patient with you on those days when you’ve had to work late nights or work away from home so they also deserve to be rewarded.

Spend about 5% to 10% on the family and kids and buy everyone lovely gifts to appreciate them for their support towards your achievement.  

Consider allocating the remaining 80% of your bonus in the following order:

1. Pay off any debts that you owe

The cost of servicing debts is going to be higher than any income you are likely to receive on savings or investments.  

Except if your debts are non-interest bearing with no repayment commitments, it is more effective to pay off your all your debts before you think of saving or investing your bonus earnings. 

Treat your bonus differently from your regular earnings Click To Tweet

2. Put money into long-term savings or investments

Any money left after you have cleared your debts should go into your long-term savings or investments.

  • On average you should be putting 10% to 20% of your normal earnings into long-term (or retirement) savings or investments options on a monthly basis, so if you can, try to spend at least 10% to 20% of your bonus earnings in the same manner.  The money can go towards your pensions, ISAs, other long-term investments products or even your personal business venture.  
  • This money is important for securing your future in the days when you don’t have the energy to work as hard as you are working now.  Just as the saying goes to ‘make hay while the sun is shining’.  If you have not already started saving and investing towards your future, then maybe you can start with your bonus this year.
  • It’s never too late to start and $1 invested today can go a long way in the future with compound interest. 

3. Top up your short-term savings or emergency fund

If you still have money left after saving for the future, then you can use it to top up your short-term savings.  This is the money you put aside for the short term emergency spend that you don’t plan for (i.e. unforeseen events) or the rainy day.  

Naturally, you should already be putting aside at least 10% of your regular earnings towards this account to cater for the unexpected spending commitment.  The recommended practice is to have about three months of income in your emergency account as a minimum.

 Anything left can go into your miscellaneous account towards your next holiday or luxury spend savings (to fulfill your ‘wants’).

To conclude, the bonus is a special earning that you’ve worked for and it’s important to treat it differently from your regular earnings. 

A fully maximized bonus is more memorable and being able to account for every amount makes it feel even more rewarding.  A financial planner can assist you with savings and investments options that suit your goals, life commitments and risk profile (capital at risk).  Good luck with the announcements.

Hope you smile to the bank by getting a bonus payment that rewards all your hard work over the last year. 


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