So, you want to know about working abroad, embarking on a new career or being a currency exchange entrepreneur? Look no further, we have someone who knows a lot about all three.
Yoliswa Cele is a South African-born entrepreneur. She is also the co-founder and CEO of Ndosi Strategies, a start-up firm based in New York. Through Ndosi Strategies, Yoliswa provides accessible development services, curating partnerships, and international platforms. The firm presently enjoys relationships with partners and clients in the US, UK, and across Africa, specifically, South Africa.
Here, Yoliswa answers questions on improving your career born from her years of experience.
What challenges should one prepare for when venturing into either a known or new field of business?
The spirit of self-sufficiency and triumph over adversity is the core of entrepreneurship. That spirit is innate in Africans, particularly its women.
Jumping into a new territory will always require a certain level of research, strategizing and guts. These days, via social networks, and the general internet, we all have the capacity to research. Do a research on your field of interest.
Learn about the dominant figures and trends. Attend related events to familiarize yourself with the network. Always be available for networking events, panels and receptions. Once there, interact with people on all levels within that space, from interns to Directors. During the learning process, everyone has something to offer.
Make a strong impression by asking thoughtful concise questions that project your own interest in expanding in the industry. Most importantly, show the desire to learn. Follow up with emails, connect on LinkedIn, pay attention to the types of news/articles circulating around the field.
Make contacts and seek mentorship if need be. Work to build a support network within the industry to ensure that you make the best decisions, and are included in any opportunity circulations that can further facilitate your professional development.
What advice would you give a young professional woman looking to being a currency exchange entrepreneur and having to move to a different country?
The international exchange rate is significant to doing business abroad. Benefits are real and most likely will be the incentive to move to foreign job markets. In that kind of situation, it’s important to maintain your awareness of the focus on bettering your circumstances. Make sure that your own goals or purpose for emigrating in the first place, aren’t lost in any romanticized fantasy about doing business abroad. Going into more wealthy economies can be distracting because the lifestyle and environment are new. But don’t get distracted with the flash. Be focused and committed.
Business is subject to rules, regulations, and the financial terms that exist in each location. Internationally, you have to make yourself aware of the differences between African economies and foreign ones. This will help you take advantage of the ways they complement, or conflict with, each other.
Use your purpose and observations, to strategize the best course of action for each stage of your business growth. Utilizing the huge amount of affordable/free businesses development resources at our disposal —from free social media marketing, to website domains that are the price of a Starbucks latté, to make real growth in your presence, profile, profit and notoriety. There are tons of stepping stones for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Social media is a virtual bridge connecting all corners of the world. For example, if you are getting into the global market with the hopes of selling a product, a better first step economically, might be to opt for an e-commerce vs. attempting to rent a psychical shop, and taking on a hefty rent bill every month. Working around the currency difference takes a thorough analysis and resourcefulness.
What should an intern or a professional pre-empt in terms of applying skills rather than just knowledge?
I don’t know if there are exact or specific skills one should possess when starting out. But I would say, be a sponge. Absorb everything around you during your internship.
Work hard, but also work smart. This means asking questions, showing interest, and being consistent in your work.
Go over and beyond to stand out in an internship environment. It will without a doubt bring you strong skills and relationships when moving forward professionally.
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