Back to school? Here are 6 ways to make the best out of your Uni years

Congratulations! You just got into university – that is an amazing milestone (and you should celebrate).

Now, it’s one of two things, you are excited about this Bachelors or Masters degree you are about to start, and it was your choice, or on the other hand, you are not so excited about this degree.

Perhaps you were forced or coerced into it, or you are just plain confused.

Here are some points that I have put together that will help you maximize your time in school beyond your degree.

Your Grades are Important

I know you were hoping I wouldn’t say this, but your grades are very important. They might not be the ‘be all and end all’ of your career, but good grades can be very crucial to helping you land your first job or helping you get your foot in the door.

So, attend classes, be diligent with your assignments and study! Learn about the grading styles of your professors and lecturers, learn from your seniors, ask questions and do well academically.

Your grades are not everything

I know you think I just contradicted myself, but grades are not everything. Your abilities to apply knowledge and add value to everything you do are far more important than the numbers that make up your grade point average.

As much as it is good to well in school, you need to gain skills that will help you stand out from the crowd and can give you an edge even above people with higher grades. The best ways to do this are to gain practical experience; you can do this by volunteering for causes, events, leadership roles, etc.    

Opportunities Abound

Be alert: University is the land of opportunities – whether they are opportunities to learn, get scholarships, earn, fellowships and so on.

Ensure that you have your ears to the ground and are aware of the opportunities around campus that you are eligible for. Apply for as many as you can – it never hurts to try.

Joining associations are very helpful for this, most student associations receive firsthand information about campus opportunities and share them with their members.   

Pursue your Passions:

I mean this with all sincerity, pursue your passions. If you have a flair for fashion, beauty, technology, writing, art, media. University is an amazing launchpad. As a student, people are more likely to be helpful and to want to mentor you. Organizations usually run campus ambassadorship programs or have student groups, as much as is in your power, join these groups.

Network

I know it is cliché, but you have probably heard the saying – your network is your net worth. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it is very true. In school, you will meet tons of people both on and off campus that can shape the course of your life, personally and professionally.

Try to attend events beyond class, join clubs, associations and societies, volunteer and put in your best so that you can stand out.

Your friends, classmates, lecturers might be the greatest source of opportunities for you while in school and even beyond.    

Have fun, but stay out of trouble

Don’t forget to have fun, whatever fun means to you that is legal and safe. But as much as is in your power, STAY OUT OF TROUBLE. Know about the rules/laws that apply in your school and your location and act accordingly.

University is a great place that can serve as a launchpad to the fulfillment of your dreams. So make friends, study, put yourself out there, and do great things! I’m rooting for you.


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How Rowena Lubowa & Dushiime Kaguliro are connecting Ugandan women through ‘pearls for her’

You can have it all; just not on the same day, at the same time - Pearls for her Click To Tweet

With just a few minutes for the event to begin, I barely managed to get a seat at the packed venue for the “Pearls for her” event. The garden was abuzz with the vibrant voices of Uganda’s future- young, hungry and fierce female entrepreneurs.

Some still at the idea phase of their dream businesses, looking to network and learn some valuable nuggets of wisdom from their peers. Others, already seasoned entrepreneurs hoping to learn something new.

 

The group of panelists took their seats on the stage, all of them highly respected young female entrepreneurs ready to share their stories- the good, the bad and the ugly with an eagerly waiting crowd.

This scene has been repeated many times at different events organized by Pearls for her- an organization that supports, educates and encourages female entrepreneurs in Uganda through their seminars, panel discussions, and networking events.  

Rowena Lubowa and Dushiime Kaguliro – the founders of ‘Pearls for her’– share their fascinating story and insights on how they came to build such an amazing brand.

 On how their entrepreneurial journey began…

We felt like there was a gap in the market for women empowerment platforms and there was a need for more events that focused on developing women.

We wanted to create networking spaces so we could help and learn from each other.

The most valuable business lesson learned so far…

The importance of planning ahead, a lot of our business is event-based and this has taught us that you can never foresee all the things that can go wrong.

Starting small and letting the business grow– you learn as you grow which has the added advantage of allowing you to manage all the work as the business grows.

Their motivation to support female entrepreneurs…

‘Pearls for her’ supports all women, not just entrepreneurs.  We live in a world where women are constantly pitted against each other. Where women feel like there aren’t enough safe spaces for them.

‘Pearls for her’ wants to change all that and ensure women can learn, grow and support each other. Its a space where our voices can be heard and valued.

The biggest challenge faced while growing the brand…

Balance. Learning to balance our careers, private businesses and ‘Pearls for her. We’ve also learned to balance what we want for the brand and what the market wants.

One advice for female entrepreneurs in Africa and abroad…

 

You can have it all, just not on the same day, at the same time.

That, however, should not stop you from being everything and doing everything you want to do.

 

 

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

Ava DuVernay– She decided to be a director in her 30’s and is redefining storytelling in Hollywood.

She is unapologetically herself and has chosen to tell black stories at a higher standard. There is so much to learn from her and her story.


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Gogontlejang Phaladi: Where there is passion, there is an undying spirit of persistence

Gogontlejang Phaladi is a philanthropist and development practitioner from Botswana. She is the founder and executive director of a non-profit making NGO called the Gogontlejang Phaladi Pillar of Hope Project (GPPHP). 

She founded the organization over 10 years ago in response to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children affected and infected with HIV in Botswana. She is currently a Board Member of the Global Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), and a member of the National Vision 2036 Council.

GPPHP is an NGO that is mandated in capacity building, civic education, human rights advocacy, promoting gender equality and doing humanitarian work.

Gogontlejang is also the team leader of a company called SWAHIBA (PTY) LTD which provides leading Technology and Innovation solutions for human and social development issues and broad internet services.

In this interview, Gogontlejang talks about her humanitarian work, running a non-profit organization, and how she manages her leadership roles.


 

Tell us what we don’t know about Gogontlejang in detail

Gogontlejang Phaladi is an African woman leader who is passionate about transforming lives and believes a world free of poverty, with equity and dignity, is possible with more youth driving the development agenda as agents of change.

You can say I’m a seasoned human and social development expert who has served as a member of the African Union High Level Advisory Group on Humanitarian Effectiveness in Africa, Botswana Presidential Task Team of Vision 2036, UNICEF Botswana Child Ambassador, a former Radio Presenter, member of the WHO external advisory group on the Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA) Framework and a Motivational Speaker.

I am also a trained SRHR, CSE and HIV and AIDS educator, Governance and Leadership trainee and campaign facilitator having worked on several campaigns aligned with UNFPA, UNAIDS, WHO and UNESCO.

I am currently pursuing my undergraduate studies and doing humanitarian work, motivational speaking as well as development work consultancy. During my spare time, I mentor girls and women through an initiative dubbed #SIMI (She Is My Inspiration) and I also enjoy farming.

We must continue encouraging a culture of giving back no matter how trivial the gesture may seem Click To Tweet

You became a leader from the age of five. As a young woman now, what three personal values have you appreciated that are transcendental to the Gogontlejang Phaladi Pillar of Hope?

I think three things are essential for a leader regardless of at what level you are:

Discipline and integrity

These two values were central to my upbringing. My mom is a tough disciplinarian and continues to instill discipline in me and everyone around her. She is an innate leader and does not tolerate any form of indiscipline. So I have always known that wherever I want to get to in life, discipline is the vehicle to take me there

Doing my best to apply discipline in every aspect of my daily living has been very helpful in getting to where I am today. My dad believes in being a person of integrity so that part was instilled in me by him. He is a man of principle and consistency, often says little and shows more through his actions what he values most.

My parents have always taught me to do my best to stand by my principles no matter how compromising them may seem temporarily convenient.

Not leaning on your own understanding

It is important to appreciate that there is value in listening to others’ opinions. Even if you may not agree, they bring the much-needed objectivity to your point of view.

I value conversations with people who come from a different background from me. There is a lot of humility you learn through listening to others and allowing yourself to be guided by the wisdom of others. This also helped me a lot professionally, personally and socially.

Passion

If you don’t love what you do how will you get the motivation to keep doing it? Challenges are inevitable. Obstacles, setbacks and even sabotages are all things you will face in your workplace and as a leader.

If there is no passion you will quit, be consumed by your detractors’ negativity and give in to their predictions of your downfall. But where there is passion, there is an undying spirit of persistence, perseverance and a thirst to thrive and succeed.

 

What are the responsibilities of the GPPHP with being a member of these local and international organizations?

The GPPHP is a member of the UNFPA African Youth and Adolescent Network (AfriYAN) and of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn &  Child Health (PMNCH) Adolescents and Youth Constituency.

Membership is sought once an organization believes they align with the core mandates of the global/ regional bodies. The purpose of belonging to such entities is to encourage a culture of fostering partnerships with stakeholders who work together in order to harness and enhance capacity.

The networks also enable a space of learning from all the other members.

There is strength in numbers when advocating for certain issues, in concerted efforts, consistent messaging and capacity building. Currently, the GPPHP is a member of the two networks and is involved in various initiatives of both networks. it is also in the executive leadership positions.

I am the board chair of the Adolescents and Youth Constituency of the PMNCH while one of my colleagues is an executive committee member of the AfriYAN network in Africa.

Give us an insight into how your typical day looks like

It’s difficult to say what a typical day looks like for me. To be honest I would be worried if I saw a 23-year-old with a typical day. We are at a lucrative and fertile time to take risks, try out new things, apply ourselves fully and be active.

I think at this point in my life, it makes sense to have days that add value and growth in all aspects of my life.

During the month I’m doing plenty of NGO work, the mentorship programme I run for young women, traveling locally or internationally, visiting the farms, spending time with my parents and nieces, watching a lot of comedy/ sarcastic shows and audio books and a lot of alone time which I value highly. Oh yes, watching football whenever I get a free weekend.

About twice a month I am traveling, either outside the country on UN, AU or NGO missions, or locally visiting local communities and doing community outreach initiatives. Every quarter, I spend the time at the Bokaa farm vaccinating livestock and dogs.

Sometimes, twice or three times in a week I can be found inside an office like any other employee and of course the usual meeting drills. I spend several afternoons and weekends doing school work. I spend many nights up working. Most of the time, I work at night as it is quiet and the internet is also faster at that time.

Listening to others also opens up your mind to other possibilities beyond your level of reasoning Click To Tweet.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about establishing a non-profit organization, especially with a small society?

The misconception that the main motive is money. I have been doing this for almost 20 years and have never received a pay cheque with my name on it for doing humanitarian work.

This has never stopped me from doing the work I love. When I started my organization, I was using my parent’s resources. I have since continued to do work and have successfully undertaken several projects using my own resources and kind efforts of people who are also passionate about human rights advocacy and philanthropic work.

I believe there are more people who are active agents of change and catalysts of development in good faith than those ulterior motives. Nevertheless, we must continue encouraging a culture of giving back no matter how trivial the gesture may seem – our collective efforts are what eventually make the world a better place.


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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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Kachi Tila-Adesina: Striking a Balance for Every Season

Kachi Tila Adesina is an example of Motherland Mogul goals! After growing up in Nigeria, Kachi moved to the UK in 2014 to work as a corporate lawyer. In March 2017, she was admitted as a solicitor of England and Wales. 

Beyond her career, Kachi enjoys a wide range of hobbies that have led her towards starting her blog – Kachee Tee. KacheeTee.com is a different kind of lifestyle blog that features everything that women would go through. From relationships, travel, career, beauty, fashion, blogging, food and most recently parenting – this blog has a little bit for everyone. 

Through her blog, Kachi hopes to inspire her readers to learn to live intentionally and have fun. In this interview, she gives us a glimpse of her blogging journey and her great plans for the future.


Tell us about your blog – KacheeTee

I started KacheeTee.com with zero ideas of what I was getting into. My need to get an outlet to write was constantly consuming my thoughts. So, I decided to give it a go and two years later, I am still blogging!

Before starting, I was oblivious to how big the blogging industry was. This was good because not knowing the task ahead kept me from quitting earlier on. Over the years, the blog has evolved from just sharing my own stories. I now also share other people’s experiences, journeys, and stories.

Due to my curiosity about a lot of things, my blog has more of a holistic lifestyle blog. It was important to me to create the kind of blog I’d love to read which is easy to read and I can relax while reading.

 

What was it like publishing your first post?

I published my first blog post on Facebook for my friends to read. Though I was nervous and almost regretted my decision to ‘come out of my shell’, my friends were very receptive. Many of them subscribed to the blog and sent messages of how they were looking forward to the next post. At this point, I couldn’t quit.

It’s been a learning curve and an interesting couple of years. Now, my posts are much different to the initial ones. But, what’s remained consistent is the amount of passion and effort poured into every single post.

What values have been critical to your personal and career growth? 

My top three values are – Excellence, Integrity, and Christian faith. I have a genuine desire to truly excel at most things to the best of my ability and this constantly pushes me.

To me, excellence also ties in with impact. I am very keen to inspire, educate and add value in some way. So often, in my career and personal life, I ask “what’s to be gained from this?“. This has guided everything that I do from my career to even on my blog. 

I strongly believe, where there’s value, there’s often growth. In all this, I’m conscious of acting with integrity and authenticity – making sure I stay true to who I am and don’t lose my voice. Finally, my Christian faith and beliefs guide me all the way and I believe is very instrumental in my growth.

 

In everything you do, it's important to strike a fair balance and identify what are your current priorities Click To Tweet

How has your lifestyle blog impacted you?

Launching my blog is definitely one of the toughest things I’ve had to do. But it’s had a lot impact on my life. It’s given me confidence and made me believe in myself a lot more. I’ve also met many amazing people! 

But interestingly, I’ve also developed a creative mindset I didn’t think I had. Even when I’m tired, my mind is always spinning all these creative new ideas for the blog.

Overall, the blog has brought a lot of fulfillment in my life. During my 28th birthday – the first after I launched my blog – I received many overwhelming messages from people saying how much I’d inspired them through my blog. This was a great sign of how fulfilling my blog is.

You’re a very busy Motherland Mogul. How do you manage it all?

Two words – balance and support. As an adult, it is important to know how to balance the many things that demand your attention.

In everything you do, it’s important to strike a fair balance and identify what are the current priorities. There have been times when my priority was work or family, and my blog had to take a back seat- and that’s okay! The most important thing is to become organized and resourceful. 

It’s also instrumental to have the right kind of support. My husband knows I enjoy being a lawyer and a blogger, therefore, being able to do these things allows me to be a great wife and mother. He’s happy to give his 100 percent support when necessary. I’m also very open to other kinds of support – from outsourcing the house chores to volunteers who edit blog posts.

What kind of partnerships and environments are necessary for bloggers to thrive?

Blogging is hard work! Many bloggers put in time, effort and money to produce great content. However, without engagement from their audience, fellow bloggers, and brands, it becomes tough.

Therefore, support is very important for the growth of a blog. Support can be engaging with the content to partnering with fellow bloggers to get advice and even create content. Though sometimes it may be uncommon for lifestyle bloggers to collaborate with others, it’s important as it helps reach new audiences.

Does living in the diaspora influence your style of blogging in any way?

Living in the UK does influence my style of blogging in a couple of ways relating to content and standards. Knowing that my blog is being read by a diverse set of people,  I especially pay attention to ensure my content is relatable, and the language is not overly limited to Nigerian/ African lingua.

This does not mean that I refrain from telling our stories or experiences. On the contrary, living here propels me to tell more of our stories and push for greater representation and diversity in blogging.

Finally, being in the UK exposes me to a higher standard of professionalism and expectations. I’m constantly challenging myself to write better and produce a blog that I can introduce to anyone, anywhere.

What are your goals for the future?

Essentially my goal is to build a blog and platform that is so much bigger than just ‘Kachi’. I plan to do this through increasing readership across Nigeria and wider Africa – as well as Africans in the diaspora.

However, knowing that there is a lot of content out there sometimes scares me. But I’ve realized it’s not just about me. I’m ready to build a team to help me take this blog to the next level in terms of quality and quantity of content. I’d also love to create a network where bloggers can share knowledge and exchange ideas through seminars, workshops, events or even virtually via podcasts.

Finally, I’d love to partner with more brands, companies, and organizations to reach my target audience and add value. From parenting to travel, fashion, lifestyle, and careers – there’s so much opportunity for such mutually benefiting partnerships.

What three movies do you think should definitely have sequels? 

Me Before You.  I cried so much watching this movie, and perhaps a sequel where I get to laugh a lot might be good. There’s a book sequel now (haven’t read it yet though), so we just might get a movie sequel

Black Panther. I absolutely enjoyed the movie and I think a sequel that further raises the issue of diversity and representation is very much welcome! Rumor has it, there’d be a sequel and I hope we see more of Shuri – loved her.

Pretty Woman. I’m not sure what the plot of the sequel could be, but I’d pay to watch it. Such a classic.


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Lessons on Pitching: from JamJar Founding Partner Frances Quarcoopome

About Seedstars Pitch competition

Seedstars World promotes, connects and invests up to $1.5 million in emerging market startups, through its exclusive startup competition, held in in 60 countries. Seedstars is one of the largest pitch competitions in the world, they hold a series of local start up competitions, a regional one and then global.

 

The motivation to pitch

I had been following Seedstars for over 3 years, and had been thinking about pitching, however I didn’t quite have the idea yet. I just knew that if JamJar was going to expand into Africa we needed something scalable and relevant. Within the last 3 years of working in the events industry, our experience has highlighted challenges that our customers face, particularly international customers who are unsure about the African market.

I decided there was a solution for this: A platform which makes it easier for clients to find, book and plan events in Africa, through our network of venues and suppliers. This is what I pitched and although it was my first time pitching ever, I came second place.

The whole experience of pitching was thrilling and also interesting, in terms of venturing into the tech space. The one thing I noticed was also the fact that in Accra, I was the only woman pitching. Now, some people say this would have been an advantage, but considering that all the other contestants and the judges were male, I wasn’t too sure. I did however see this as a great opportunity to stand out further by delivering a stellar pitch.

 

Lessons learnt as the only woman pitching

  1. Don’t be intimidated, You know what you are capable of and no matter what, do what you have to
  2. Put your gender aside, let your capabilities shine through
  3. Never see it as a problem, rather an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

 

Lessons for a successful Pitch

  1. Be clear about what your product is and what you are trying to achieve
  2. Practice your pitch, but most of all, your answers to the tough questions
  3. Get a mentor, someone who has pitched before that can guide you and give you valuable insights
  4. Sometimes it’s not about whether your product is good, but what the pitch competition is trying to achieve. You may have the perfect pitch, but if your solution doesn’t align with the goals of the fund, it may not work out. If you can find this out before hand, do so.
  5. The key here is to keep going, believe in what you are trying to create, and the problem you are solving.

The biggest lesson I learnt is that, there is still a long way to go for people and companies to acknowledge the tech innovations in the creative industries, particularly fashion, events, photography, design etc.

Many investors continue to focus on Fintech, agriculture, health and education, and although these may be the big industries, it’s also time to value the creative and service industries and provide them with the support they need.

 

About JamJar

JamJar was created in 2013 out of frustration with the way corporate and creative events were organised in Ghana. Many events felt poorly organised and were identical. As a result JamJars’ founding partner, Frances Quarcoopome, found the need to put her skills to work and provide the industry with a creative alternative.

JamJar continues to be recognised for its innovative and forward thinking design concepts and exceptional event planning services.

Their vision is to be the top African creative agency, fueled with passion, innovation and the desire to make every client happy.

http://www.jamajrgh.com/

instagram.com/jamjar


 Do You have any tips on how to deliver a successful pitch? 

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How to Approach and Connect with your Dream Mentor

A few days ago, I was reading a piece by one of my favorite bloggers and it started like this: “There will come a moment when all that matters to you is that you experience growth, not comfort. When that time comes, it will shake your world up. It will cause you to expand into areas of thought that you never thought possible”. As I read those first sentences, the words jumped out at me, and me stand up.

Those first few sentences resonated strongly with me because it took me back to how I felt at the beginning of this year.  I have noticed many of us desire growth, but we never really actively work towards it. On the other hand, some of us actually start to work towards it, but we never grow all the way because we lack a few things. One of the things that I discovered going into this year, is that I had been lacking having a mentor, specifically for my career path.

The truth is many of us have people we look up to from a distance. We admire them, we even observe what they do and try to emulate them. Very often, I would hear people refer to such individuals as their mentors. Can we really regard them as mentors if there is no interaction with them at all?

Can you imagine if these same people you refer to as your mentors actually had conversations with you on a monthly basis or quarterly basis? Imagine you being able to reach out to them whenever you needed advice, insight or help navigating a difficult stage in your life, job, business, academics or ministry. When these kind of interactions begin to happen, that’s where active mentoring takes place.

A mentor is someone who takes the initiative to join you on your life’s journey and willingly helps you become all that you were born to be, so that you are able to do all that you were born to do. A mentor can also be described as someone who gives you a vital push at a certain stage in your life and without whom you may not have done so well.

Sounds like a real life superhero right? Believe the hype! A great mentor is an invaluable asset to anyone who wants to grow. But how does one approach and connect with a mentor especially when the person is far away or sometimes has no idea that you need them? I will share three steps I have learned to use this year.

Step 1: Identify your Mentor

Approaching the right mentor to come along on your journey is extremely critical. In very rare cases, will your mentor approach you offering ‘mentoring’ services. Usually, it’s the person who wants to be mentored who will need to take the initiative.

In this step, it is also very important that you have a good grasp on who you are, where you want to go, and most importantly, why you need a mentor. You can’t invite someone to help you on your journey if you have no idea where you want to go.

After you have answered these questions, you can now begin to look for someone you would want to have by your side on your journey – as a student, wife, parent, entrepreneur, working professional, creative etc.

Great mentors have a variety of characteristics but here are a few that you can be on the lookout for. A great mentor is someone:

  1. Who has achieved what you hope to achieve, and could potentially provide you a platform to get started.
  2. Who could give you advice or insight and help you see the bigger picture.
  3. Who has values you would want to emulate.
  4. That can help you navigate difficult terrain.

After identifying this person, get your hands on any material about the person, do your research so that you are able to establish if the person is a good match.

 

Step 2: Making the First Connection


You will need to reach out. This is usually where most of us get stuck because we don’t know what to say. You can reach out physically if the person is close by, but if the person is in another city or country, you will need to reach out virtually. Email is a great way to make a first connection, but when email fails, try social media. In addition, if you know someone who already knows your mentor, you can ask the person to make an introduction on your behalf.

When it comes to what you have to say, keep it simple. Start by telling the person a little about who you are. Next, tell the person where you are right now and where you are hoping to go. This is a great time to share your story. Follow up with why you need a mentor and end by telling the person why you want him/her to mentor you. Be honest. Be real. Mentors see through ‘fakeness’ and flattery.

 

Step 3: The Pursuit

This can be one of the hardest aspects of establishing an active mentoring relationship. But when you know how valuable a mentor can be to your success, you’ll take this last step seriously. The pursuit involves following up, especially when the mentor is far away, in a different city, country or time zone. You will need to be deliberate and intentional about communicating, asking questions, and giving your mentor feedback on what is happening with you, so they are able to give you the input you need for your next step.

Be serious about the mentoring relationship. Even when you aren’t having that physical interaction in person, endeavor to keep learning from them. If they have books, blogs, or other material- read them. If they are active on social media – participate with them on those platforms. If they are members of a particular organization, volunteer at that organization. Observe what they do, and always keep a book of questions.

Finally, this year I’ve learnt and seen first-hand how valuable having an active mentor is for one’s growth. Mentors are growth catalysts that many of us are not exploring. My dad said something few months ago, that I can’t forget: “When people don’t know what they can become, what they have become blinds them.”.

That’s what I love about mentors- they make sure we see much more than we possibly could by ourselves. So take the plunge today, find a mentor who is willing to come along on your journey. Happy Growing!


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Increasing your target audience

Although there are countless ways of achieving business success, I will focus on one specific element. The process  of increasing your target audience. This process requires regular and continuous management and review.

Here are a few guidelines to grow your target audience as an organisation:

 

Studying- as a foundation for increasing your target audience

Knowledge of the current audience is the foundation for increasing your target audience.

Knowledge of the current audience is essential as it will serve as a starting point for where you intend to be. The success of growing your target audience will be determined by your knowledge of the current audience. I like the way Peter Drucker put it by saying “what gets measured, gets managed”.

Once you know, in terms of the services or products you provide, which one most people are interested in, and which one resonates the least with people, you will be able to set a clear target market strategy. It is important to  find out why your audience does or does not have a specific preference.

 

Build relationships not clients

On the basis of what is known about the current audience, the focus must be on building relationships rather than clients. Establishing a meaningful relationship with the current audience will build their trust. It will be of great benefit to you to if once in a while you have a small chat, to review. This can be achieved by follow-up informal interviews . It is import to be able  to show that you are not only concerned about what you receive from them, but also the quality you give to them.

 

Be SMART in order to achieve results

Okonjo Okonjo-Lweala the former Nigeria Finance Minister and World Bank Managing Director.

The difference between people who say something and the one’s who actually DO IT is one word, “action”. SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic and time bound) goals are essential in increasing your target audience.

 

Position yourself for the intended targeted audience

Right positioning gives results.
Right positioning gives results (Serena Williams).

Look at what you are contributing now and ask yourself what will be needed, in order to achieve the intended target audience numbers? Like Serena Williams, you need to position yourself during the’ game’, in order to ensure that the intended target is achieved.

 

Summary,

By taking the above steps, you will be able to assess where you stand with your current target audience and which direction you ought to take.


 

Do you have any tips on how to growing a target audience?

Let us know here.

5 tips to starting a side hustle whilst working at your 9-5

When people consider launching a new business, most imagine quitting their jobs and risking it all. However, aspiring entrepreneurs should stick with traditional jobs, rather than take a complete leap of faith by quitting their jobs. This is to ensure they can take the necessary time to grow their brands whilst earning multiple streams of income.

A side hustle is a business you run in your free time, which allows you to pursue what you are most interested in. It is a chance to delve into different areas such as  fashion, food, hair ,the not- for- profit world  or whatever you are passionate about- whilst keeping your day job.

Yes we love working our 9-5’s! But, extra cash from something we really love is vital. The good thing about having a side hustle is that you can make extra money and use talents that are dormant in your 9-5 day job.

Starting a business whilst employed gives you the opportunity to make a meaningful impact in the world, doing work that you love on your own terms. It is not easy as you’ll have to share and balance your time between your day job and business. However, it is possible.

Here are some tips for starting a side hustle:

Pinpoint your passionchoose something you are really enjoy, which people need and are willing to pay for. E.g. Event planning, logo illustrator etc.

Use your network – don’t be afraid to let your contacts know that you are open for business. Post it on social media, send emails, make phone calls get the word out!

Stick to the schedule – set time aside for your business periodically, like an appointment. Have a specific time during the day to work on your side hustle. It is important.

Collaborate/Network – the bigger your community, the more potential opportunities you have. Also, always make time to meet with new people.

Hire an assistant – remember, you have a day job, and most of the time you won’t be able to have meetings with clients or customers. Hire someone who can help with the work while you’re at your job.

Starting a side hustle is not easy and you probably won’t get it right the first time. Just be patient, focus and plan and it will happen!


Do you have side hustle? How do you balance your side hustle and 9-5?

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

6 steps to quit your current job for your dream job

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” Click To Tweet

A little while ago, I got a text from a good friend to ask for my advice. She wanted to quit her current job to go pursue something she was passionate about. But, she was having trouble mapping out a plan.

Thinking through how I’ve handled similar situations in the past. Here is a summary of the advice I gave to my friend on how to quit her job in 6 steps.

Pick a date and plan your exit strategy

It all starts with having a plan. Decide for yourself what is the absolute last day you can see yourself being in your current job. It can be 3, 6 or 12 months from now. Write it down somewhere you can easily refer back and be reminded of the commitment that you’ve set.

Once you’ve picked an “I’m outta here by X” date, then you need to come up with a specific and detailed plan of all the things you need to do in that time-frame. This plan will map out priorities which will enable you to leave conveniently and support your transition into your dream job.

 

Know exactly where you want to go

What is your dream job? What are the profiles of people in the positions you aspire to? Identify 5 of these scenarios. How do you stack up against the competition? Are there any common threads across these profiles and are these things that you see in your own profile? If yes, great, if not, then you have to get serious about acquiring those skills, attributes, qualifications.

 

Focus on building your brand

In this age of social media, it’s all about perception. Sometimes you get that next job not because you’ve been the best at your current job, but because you’ve learnt how to get better at promoting yourself and your work.

These days, its not enough to just “stay in your own lane”. You have to find a way to strategically be seen and heard, while remaining authentic and true to yourself. Think about your long-term goals and ask yourself whether the things you’re doing now are in line with that vision.

 

Network, network, network

Like it or not, you have to put yourself out there, be it virtually or in person. Attend more events where the people who have the job you aspire to, will be present. Challenge yourself to talk to these people, ask them questions, get their contact details and be proactive about following up with them.

Approach people, not with the intention of showing off, but rather to find out what they are interested in and see how your interests align with theirs. Be purposeful and intentional about networking and watch it pay off.

Put in work behind the scenes

At the end of the day, when the right offer comes your way, you’re still going to have to back it up with experience. So whether you need to go back to school; take a course online; spend more time at your local bookstore; or schedule coffee dates with your mentors; the reality is that you are going to have to put in work.

Turn the job hunt process into a fun experience. Give your CV a makeover and add new certifications to your LinkedIn profile. Talk to people you look up to and realize that all of your goals are within your reach. You must be willing to work hard for the life you want!

 

Be your biggest cheerleader

Finally, learn to be your biggest cheerleader. But also surround yourself with a tribe of people that are committed to your success, both personally and professionally. Keep working towards your goals. Know that when you cross that line, all the people who love and care about you will be right there cheering you on.


Have you ever left a job for your dream job? What steps did you take?

Let us know more about you and your story here.