For Nigerian Women With Business Dreams
Editor's note: We're taking a break from our March series on better business management to acknowledge International Women's Day, a day set aside by the United Nations to mark the struggle for women's rights.
Nigerian women have run their own businesses (small, medium and large) for generations but in a society that is traditionally dominated by men, women entrepreneurs have a history of being undervalued.
But that is changing.
More and more Nigerian women are being recognised for their entrepreneurial skills, inspiring a new generation of enterprise-focused young women in the country. For those young women who would like to start their own businesses or have already started, here are a few things worth knowing.
1. First, discover your interests.
While it is often not the case, building a business around one or more of your interests could help sustain the fulfillment you get from it. Beyond making a profit, it is important that you find happiness in your business. If you can, turn your passion into an enterprise and you could live your dream life.
2. Don't suffer in silence.
There's a horrible culture of stifling women in this part of the world, relegating issues unique to them to the background like they don't matter, and many women have come to believe that they should suffer in silence. Don't buy into this culture. Speak out when you need to. Ask for help before it's too late, there's no weakness in that. Find (women) mentors in your area of interest, people you can rely on for good advice when things get difficult.
3. Build healthy relationships with like-minded women.
If you want to go far in business, networking isn't something to ignore. Seek out other young women entrepreneurs and have conversations that are relevant to your entrepreneurial goals. Attend conferences and seminars for women in business. If you can afford to, join organisations that assist women entrepreneurs. There is strength in numbers after all.
4. Separate your personal and work lives.
For women who have responsibilities as wives or mothers, it's very likely that your personal and work lives will overlap often. To get the best out of yourself at home and at work, you must run both separately. If you can afford to, hire a personal assistant to keep you organised and help oversee certain details of your life. Define family time and do your best to leave work at work. You'll have more clarity and keep stress at a minimum.
5. Have faith in yourself.
Sometimes, your dreams will scare you. And even if they never do, people will sometimes tell you that they're impossible. In such situations, your faith in yourself might be the only thing that will keep you going. Remember that great entrepreneurs, even when scared, do not give in to their fears. Be brave and confident in your ability to achieve your goals and keep pursuing them.
We'll love to hear from women entrepreneurs. Share a business experience, comment or tip in the comments section below or send it to email@example.com. Also, subscribe at the bottom of this page to get MARGIN in your inbox twice every week. Happy International Women's Day.