When I decided to study law and become a lawyer the emphasis was on working hard at a prestigious set of chambers or firm. There was little discussion about establishing businesses, at least not in the short term. The pervasive notion was that as a graduate you work in an institution for a number of years, ’pay your dues’, and then you can begin to consider owning your labour and hold the reins to your own productivity.
In such a short space of time, so much has changed. Our generation is blessed to have women entrepreneurs pop up on our timelines daily – with more lady bosses in almost every sector, the goal of ownership seems more attainable. No longer is climbing the corporate ladder ascribed to millennial females as the mark of success. Owning a business, creating solutions and driving change is more pervasive. Millennial girls and women are being served with more options geared towards helping them become their own bosses: entrepreneurship conferences, mentorship programs and start-up grants are on the rise. This is by no means a suggestion that institutional employment is undesirable or dying, instead, it is an acknowledgement of the changing and expanding options available to us.
Here are some key tips for success:
1. Garner Knowledge and Experience
Being a boss does not immediately translate to own your own business, even where ownership is what you have your sights on. Gain some experience, earn qualifications, work for a reputable organisation and ensure that you actively learn. By gaining experience you will gain knowledge, contacts and skills you can transfer to your own venture. More-so, working for a reputable establishment can give you time to gather capital you need to excel in your own business.
2. Master your niche
Whether you choose to work in a company or for yourself; find a niche and master it. Find an intersection of your strengths and passions. Put your head down and become the expert, become the leader in that field and you will find yourself closer to your dream life by the day.
3. Plan your Ascent
Failing to plan, is planning to fail. Becoming a “Boss” does not happen by accident, devise a plan. In five years where do you want to be, how much do you want to have and how will you get there? Once you have a roadmap, work hard – in silence. Talking about what you want to do can lure your subconscious into thinking you have already achieved it, so create a plan and work on it in silence.
4. Monetise your passion
Women can often be reluctant to ask for money, whether in salary negotiations, pitching to investors, or setting a price for our services.
Something about the way we are socialised means that we want money, but at times part of us feels guilty or greedy for asking to be remunerated for our hardwork . But it’s time to change that. Money is very important. It is an incredible tool that you can use, not only to take care of yourself and your family. Importantly, money is a tool that you can funnel to ideas and causes and real problems in this world that take resources to help fix.
(Do note that remuneration can be in kind not just money, just ensure you are being compensated for your time and work).
5. Learn to Say “No”
Sometimes we find it hard to say no for fear of disappointing others, however spreading yourself too thin can make you ineffective, even worse it can make you look like you do not know what you’re doing. Discern when to say no, if not to maintain the quality of your work, but to ensure your well-being.
6. Invest in yourself
The world is looking at you to learn how to treat you thus you need to prioritize making you the very best version you can be. Stay healthy; invest in the food you eat, exercise, travel, educate yourself. Do better, be the best.
7. Dream Big, Do Bigger
Dream big, ensure that your dreams and aspirations scare you. Set quarterly goals for the year, then ensure you exceed them!