The world has evolved to an age where women are no longer regarded as housekeepers; they now contribute actively to the development of their homes and to the country at large. I speak of an age where female entrepreneurs take the world by storm, an age where entrepreneurship is not a thing for only men. In previous times, men have always been the entrepreneurs while the women kept the homes but that is a time we would never go back to.
An entrepreneur is a person who starts up a business or a couple of business, takes on financial risk with the hope of making profit. Being an entrepreneur, especially a female one has so many perks but make no mistake the journey is not a smooth or an easy one. For a person who wants to be a successful entrepreneur, you should expect to pass many hurdles and face many challenges that will try to hinder you from achieving your goal which ofcourse you should have as an entrepreneur because the only thing that would keep you going when things get rough is your goal. In my search to fully understand the meaning of an entrepreneur, I studied the lives of some top female entrepreneurs to understand what brought them to the top and made them so successful and it did not take long to find their secrets to success.
Be strong: My study on top female entrepreneurs led me right to Oprah Winfrey, she is quite popular actually, a media mogul, hosts one of the most popular talk shows in the world and worth about $3 billion but her journey was not a peachy one at all, Oprah was sexually assaulted more than once and when she had climbed up the ladder, she was humiliated again by her boss. Reading through Oprah’s biography, I discovered that her major key to success was her strength. Believe me, after going through a series of sexual abuse, it takes great strength to pick yourself from the dirt and move forward with your life. It was not easy for Oprah to move on but she did, she had a dream and could not see herself back down no matter the situation until she saw her dream come to pass. Now, through her talk shows she inspires and motivates women all over the world.
The lesson learnt here is clear for all to see, as a female entrepreneur or one who ascribes to be, you would definitely face challenges that would make you doubt yourself, your capabilities and eventually your goals but what you need to understand is that the road to success can never be a smooth one, there will be ups and downs but that should not make you weak, it should make you stronger. As a female entrepreneur, you need to break free just like Oprah did from doubtful situations and show your oppressors the strength of a woman. Your strength will draw people towards you it would be the driving force with which you would achieve your goals in the long run.
Be creative: A good business idea is a creative one. Taking a leaf from Sara Blakely’s book of success, I learnt that creativity is one trait that would differentiate you from the rest, doing things the way it has been done time after time may not take you to where you want to be. A friend once told me, “you need to live inside the box but think outside the box for you to be successful” and that was exactly what Sara did. In 1988, who would have thought that Sara invented a business idea when she tore off the feet of her panty hoes because she wanted something to wear under her white trousers but did not want the lines to show. From there on out, the business idea stuck and she always wore them, sometimes she would raise up the leg of her trousers when advertising to people. She named the product spandex and it is worn all over the world, she went on to produce different underwear sets. Her creativity took her from being an employer to an employee. The point I am trying to bring out here is that your ability to bring out something out of nothing, to improvise, to make the available become desirable would earn you great points as an entrepreneur. Creativity is something you would probably never learn in the four walls of a classroom, no teacher or lecturer would teach you on creativity. It is something that is within all of us, creativity is the quality or ability to create something. It entails you seeing things from a whole new perspective. If Sara had never improvised on that day she may have never become as successful as she is now. She did what she did and thanks to that business idea, she is one of the self-made billionaires and one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. Take Sara’s lead, be creative and do things differently and everyone will marvel at your capabilities. Besides, the world is tired of seeing the same thing done over and over again in the same way. Try something new.
Be yourself: The CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi came from a poor background, on her first interview she wanted to impress so she worked really hard to put up an image that was quite different from who she actually was, this cost her the job. Later on in her life, Indra followed an advice from her professor, he simply told her to be herself and that philosophy has kept her going through all the tough years she experienced. The next interview she went for, she nailed the interview and got the job by just being herself.It’s all about being comfortable in your own skin. As an entrepreneur or one who aspires to be, it is imperative that you are always comfortable in your own skin, you should always be yourself, you should try not to pretend to be someone you are not. Your business ideas should reflect Indra’s philosophy of ‘being yourself’, you do not have to do things the way everyone does it, do it the way you want to do it. Being yourself as an entrepreneur also entails believing in yourself, one cannot go without the other. As an entrepreneur, if you do not believe in yourself, you would be tossed aside and would be regarded as a would-have-been entrepreneur, you have to believe in yourself before anyone would believe in you. Being yourself and understanding how amazing you are was a philosophy Indra came to understand fully and it took her to far greater heights than she expected. Now, she has made the list of the top 100 most powerful women in the world.
Do not be content: Diane Hendricks had a nice life, she said ‘I had a beautiful life, living on the farm with a nice, big square white house’ which was more than a lot of people can comfortably say they have but she wanted more, she wanted to go to the city, do great things…..she just was not content. Her dreams were threatened when she got pregnant at an early age, as hard as it was she still went to school and strived to ensure that she achieved her goals no matter the odds. Notwithstanding the pregnancy, life was still okay for Diana but she just was not content and later on went to pursue her dreams. In the long run, she became the co-founder of ABC supply making her the second richest self-made woman in Forbe’s list. She achieved all these by not being content and striving for the best. The fact is, if we become too comfortable with where we are now, we would never push ourselves, we would stay in the same place without developing and we may never achieve success. I am not saying that we should turn into overly ambitious women who are never satisfied and do not mind hurting others to get what we want but to a reasonable extent we should hunger for more, we should detest staying in the same position for a long period of time, we should desire to be more than we are. Diane’s desire prompted her to be one of the richest women alive with a net worth of $5.7 billion. If you desire to be a successful entrepreneur, then you should never be satisfied until your goal is achieved and only then can you rest easy.
Know your talent: Tara Fela Durodoye was a lawyer but she actually had a flair for makeup, this was her talent. She became a make-up artist and started her business idea right in the small space of her living room, she called it ‘House of Tara’. She went on to become a very reputable make-up artist with branches all over Nigeria. For an entrepreneur it is not enough to have the talent, after identifying your talent, you develop it. Your business idea should be based to an extent on what you can do- simply put what you derive joy in doing. Knowing your talent works hand in hand with knowing your worth. As an entrepreneur, to achieve your goals you just cannot afford to let people see you as less than you are worth. If you see yourself as very valuable, people would not see you as less and if Tara had never discovered her talent she would probably be wasting away in one law court.
Be simple: Cher Wang, co-founder of HTC, had a dream and lived to see it come to reality. She wanted to manufacture hand-held computers and this came into play in 1997. Despite all these achievements, she still lives a simple life. The point I am trying to make here is that living a simple life as an entrepreneur especially one who just got started will help you advance, it gives you focus. I have found that business ideas that are simple usually are the best a good number of times. When I speak about simpleness, I do not really mean giving all you have to people so do not get funny ideas, it’s all about taking life easy as it comes. As an entrepreneur, certain losses and business ideas may turn out badly and make you want to lose your mind but life is so much more than that, living a simple life will teach you that.
Be ready to learn: Probably, no one understood homelessness like Dani Johnson did, from being a ‘junkie’ to not having a home, life wasn’t all sweet for her, I feel like she has the most amazing story leading up to her success, “from homelessness to being a billionaire”. Dani had so many challenges. She was dyslexic (a learning disability in which a person is unable to read or write), she said she never read a book until she was 21yrs old. With all the odds against her and all her setbacks, perhaps the most striking thing about her was her willingness to learn. Trying to get customers was hard enough for her, add to the fact that she was using a payphone. When she lost her first customer, she became really determined to learn, she made it a do or die affair. We should all be like that if we ever hope to succeed. Ever heard the saying ‘no man is an island’? It’s true actually, there is so much we do not know about no matter how intelligent we think we are, we still need to learn. My teacher always said even in nonsense, there is sense. So for every business idea that you write off as nonsense, take some time, listen to it and you never know, it could probably be the best idea you ever had.
So, there you have it, those are the lessons I learnt from studying the lives of few successful female entrepreneurs. Someone said it does not matter how many times you fail but it is important that you always get back up.
The world is changing each day, its evolving, women are becoming top entrepreneurs in the world, it will be a shame if you do not take part in this evolution. Sara Blakely said, “it is important to be willing to make mistakes, the worst thing that can happen is you become memorable”. So go ahead make mistakes, don’t be idle, get something going, become an entrepreneur today!!!