#BossingFromBirth: Lessons you can learn for your career/entrepreneurial journeys from #SheHiveJoburg

lessons #bossingfrombirth shehive joburg she leads africa
Lessons on #BossingFromBirth from Linda Mabhena-Olagunji and Vere Shaba #SheHiveJoburg Click To Tweet

The final #SheHive tour was in Joburg this November. The Motherland Moguls in Joburg got a chance to hear inspirational talks from women making strides in their respective industries, giving us lessons on #BossingFromBirth. Two of the women were Vere Shaba of Shaba and Linda Mabhena-Olagunju of DLO Energy Resources Group.

One of the many valuable lessons we took from Linda and Vere was their entrepreneurial drive from an early age. Both women started in the corporate sector. Linda started off as a lawyer at one of the top five firms (Bowman Gilfillan) and Vere started off as a Mechanical Engineering at WSP Group but both left to start their own companies.

The aim of only making money is not a good idea to get into business

For some people, the driving force to starting their own businesses is to only make money. If you get into a business base with the intention of only making money, people will definitely see through that.

Vere pointed out that what helps in getting into business is having the passion for it. This is an important lesson because the passion is what will drive you to make your business and career path work.

In business/career failure will happen but it's all about having a good comeback Click To Tweet

Make sure you always have a comeback

Whether you’re in building your business or building yourself in your career, failure will happen but as Linda had pointed out, it’s about having a good comeback. It’s about continuing even after the failures and making sure you fail upwards and keep moving. You need to be resilient.

As with any business or career path you choose, things probably won’t go as planned or what you have wished for, so you need to ensure you have a strong support system. A support system could be your colleagues, family and close friends. Have those people around you who will encourage you to keep moving. Most importantly, you need to have a extraordinary confidence and belief in yourself, Motherland Moguls!

Value networking

Every person that you meet could be your potential client or business partner, therefore creating networks and maintaining those relationships is key. Always make sure that you leave a good impression on people.

This should not business or career wise but also all aspects in your life where you’re constantly meeting and working with people.

Planning is key! & other advice on #BossingfromBirth from Linda Mabhena-Olagunji & Vere Shaba Click To Tweet

Commit your dreams and thoughts into writing

Planning is key! It’s also important to commit everything into writing. Once you commit a thought to writing or once you tell someone about a dream or thought, you should hold yourself accountable. Ensure that you execute on those dreams and thoughts that are on paper. Linda pointed out that: Your word is your bond.

Making plans is important, and plans change but as a chaser of your dreams, learn to be adaptable. With all the changes happening, always make sure you know what your end goal is and whatever you do aligns with that end goal.


Put in the hard work

With growth, comes more learning. Learn and master your craft. It’s very easy to see through you if you don’t know your craft and you can easily lose credibility for that. Know that you are on a consistent journey of learning. You never really arrive at a destination of learning and once you feel that you know it all, then it’s probably time to check-out. This doesn’t mean stop learning, but it means find something that challenges you and continue the journey of learning everyday.

#MotherlandMogul tip from Linda: Make a plan, and know that your plan might deviate. Know and write down your short, medium and long term goals and execute on them.

You need to be clear on who your client base are and understand them to be a boss from birth Click To Tweet

Understand your client base

To understand your client base, ensure that you surround yourself with them. You need to be clear on who your client base are and understand them.

This will help in you better positioning yourself based on who your client base is. Everything about you and your brand and how you carry yourself, should align with your brand.

#MotherlandMogul tip from Vere: Have a clear plan about what you want, your client base, your brand and Live Your Brand!

Know when to continue or give up

In some cases, the breakthrough happens just when you’re about to quit. Stick through it during the hard times. Yes, it won’t be easy but it is so fruitful to work hard to make your own dreams a reality than to work hard towards making other people’s dreams a reality. When you know that this is your passion, continue until the breakthrough.


Linda Mabhena-Olagunju: Entrepreneurs must learn to take calculated risks

Linda Mabhena-Olagunju she leads africa
If you really want to venture into business you have to risk looking stupid. Click To Tweet

At SLA, we are always super excited to interview young African women that are trailblazers, game changers, leaders and positive role models for other African women. Linda Mabhena-Olagunju has all of the above qualities and more.

Linda holds two law degrees: an LL.B. from the University of Cape Town and an LL.M. from the University of Aberdeen. She is the Managing Director at DLO Energy Resources, a renewable energy investment and advisory company based in Johannesburg. She is also the founder of the Renewables and Energy Forum in South Africa.

Linda has received a number of awards. She received the 2015 Forbes Women Africa Best Emerging Entrepreneur Award. She also recently received the 2016 Elle Boss entrepreneurial award and the 2016 All Africa Business Leadership Award (Young Business Leader of the Year – Southern Africa).

Congratulations Linda!

Linda shares with SLA contributor Abisola, her challenges in the renewable energy sector, her entrepreneurial journey and her advice for young African female entrepreneurs.

Did your legal education and training prepare you for entrepreneurship?

I have always said being a lawyer gives you an overview of how a transaction works so that you get to understand the business model of a particular sector industry. Legal practice, not just my law degrees, prepared me to an extent for business.

However, lawyers also tend to be risk averse, as our job entails avoiding risk. My legal training made me more afraid to take risks but after a while in the entrepreneurial space I learnt to take calculated risk. For a lawyer, that means risks that have gone through two sets of thorough due diligence.

What would you attribute your current success to? Maximized opportunities or sheer good luck?

Hard work, coupled with God opening the doors that needed to be opened and placing me in places and situations I had never imagined.

I also attribute it to a strong support system. I stress a lot and my parents have been great pillars of support during these periods. My father, especially, who believed in my vision when I had basically no support.

My husband also has this innate sense of calm and wisdom. His counsel has been the difference between me quitting at times and staying in the race.

Linda Mahbena-Olagunju recently received the 2016 Elle Boss entrepreneurial award Click To Tweet

What three things can help African women achieve their professional or entrepreneurial goals?

Self – belief. God/Higher power belief. A real support structure, whether it be family or friends.


What peculiar challenges do you face in the renewable energy sector, especially as you seek to expand to other African countries?

A major challenge is regulatory clarity. Most countries in Africa need power but they do not create an enabling environment, at times, to encourage investment. Renewable energy projects are funded largely by banks and anyone that has ever borrowed money from a bank knows that lenders are averse to risk especially government risk and regulatory risk.

My husband's counsel has been the difference between me quitting and staying in the race Click To Tweet

The other challenge which is particular to Southern Africa, is falling tariffs. We have seen tariffs fall rapidly due to competitive price bidding. This is great for consumers, but may be a challenge for new investors that have to raise funds to finance projects.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?

You may be going through tough times now, but God has an amazing life planned for you.

What final piece of advice do you have for aspiring female entrepreneurs?

Take the first step.

It may seem like a stupid idea but if you really want to venture into business you have to risk looking stupid.

Hey South African #MotherlandMoguls, the SheHive will be landing in Johannesburg from November 3-6. Find out more here.