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The choice to become an entrepreneur is about how you will live your life, not just how you will make a living.

The entrepreneurial lifestyle can offer many perks. It’s exciting, it’s creative, and you can potentially create products or services that can have a positive impact on the world. However, being an entrepreneur isn’t always easy. You’ll encounter plenty of obstacles along the way, and maintaining motivation day in and day out can be tough.

I believe that the incredible benefits of entrepreneurship make the harder parts worthwhile.  That having been said, there are a few things I wish I’d known when I was first starting out. Here, I’ll share what I believe are five things entrepreneurs need to know:

1. It takes hard work.

From the outside looking in, the entrepreneurial lifestyle can look pretty cool: you’re creating, you’re making things happen, you’re designing your own schedule and life. However, it’s not all glamour and jet-setting. Being an entrepreneur takes plenty of hard work and discipline. As an entrepreneur, you’re responsible for forging your own path. This can require a lot of legwork, research, and often includes plenty of ups and downs.

You’ll likely work harder than you ever have in your life, log more hours than you ever would in a day job, and will have a much higher level of accountability. But for entrepreneurs who are passionate about what they do, it’s worth the effort.

2. Self motivation is key.

To be a successful entrepreneur, self motivation is vital. After all, most entrepreneurs are typically not following a traditional business path. You’ll need a lot of mental and emotional “fuel” to maintain the energy and enthusiasm necessary to get your potential projects off the ground.

Setting clear cut goals is a great way to effectively manufacture a healthy source of motivation for yourself.

Take the time to really define your goals and what is motivating you as an entrepreneur. Be specific. For instance, are you motivated because you want to earn enough money so that you can buy a yacht? Or is your goal to create a school for underprivileged kids? There isn’t a right or wrong here, just be honest with yourself about what motivates you.

By defining and setting specific goals, you’ll always have something to keep you inspired. On days when self motivation is hard to come by, they can act like your compass, pointing you in the right direction.

3. Don’t underestimate the power of a mentor.

Full disclosure: when I was starting out as a trader and entrepreneur, I didn’t have a mentor. In retrospect, if I’d had proper guidance, I could have attained the level of success I did far sooner.

Seeking out the guidance of a successful entrepreneur can help you gain clarity on how to take the next steps in your career. They have a larger body of experience, and as such, they can provide sage wisdom that can help you on your path. They’ve probably been through some ups and downs themselves, and can give you advice that can help you avoid pitfalls in your career.

These days, I try to be the mentor I never had to my day trading students. I get to see firsthand how quickly they develop skills with the proper guidance. It’s almost like they get a video game “warp zone” to become successful sooner!

4. Focus on progress, not perfection.

As an entrepreneur, you’re kind of like a pioneer, heading into the wilderness without a clear path in front of you. Don’t expect everything to be smooth sailing. If you strive for perfection, you’re likely to be disappointed over and over. Unfortunately, there will always be roadblocks and wrong turns, and you’ll likely make a mistake (or 10).

While I’m not advocating that you make mistakes on purpose, I do urge you to take them in stride. Instead of getting down on yourself, try to use these errors as your biggest teachers, helping you move forward stronger and more confident than before. If you don’t make the same mistake twice, then that is progress.

5. You need to keep learning.

Yes indeed: entrepreneurs tend to be busy people. But if you really want to be successful, you need to make time to keep learning. As Albert Einstein said, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”

Becoming a lifelong learner will keep you relevant as an entrepreneur. Keep on learning about your field. Read up on your competitors. Keep abreast of world news. Learn all that you can. Not only will it help keep your mind nimble, but you never know where the next great idea might come from.

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You will agree that it takes courage to quit a well-paying Job in an Oil and Gas multinational to pursue what you believe in. This is the tale of Salma Okonkwo whose courage paid off as she is now on to making history in Ghana by building Ghana’s biggest solar farm, called Blue Power Energy, which is slated to open in March 2019 with 100 megawatts of energy. The solar farm is set to be one of the largest in Africa.

According to UNICEF’s research, Northern Ghana is the poorest amongst all regions. There are so few employment opportunities in the region besides farming that most women migrate to Accra looking for work and for more than a decade, this 48-year-old Ghanaian entrepreneur has been quietly building a multi-million dollar oil and gas outfit called UBI Group to solve this challenge.

She hopes to provide employment for youths and also, add to Ghana’s economy by bringing cheap energy to northern Ghana through the solar farm. By doing this, she hopes to encourage more companies to create lasting jobs in the region, rather than sell their products/pitch the company’s latest incentives and then leave.

Growing up in a village in Accra did a lot to influence Salma’s views about life. Problem-solving and creating opportunities for others however little, were part of the training she got growing up and so when she got a job in the oil and gas industry which exposed her to opportunities in the energy sector the company could maximize, she put her entrepreneurship drive to action by pitching an initiative for expansion to the company.

In her own estimation, the firm could grow by opening several retail gas outlets. Her initiative, was however turned down. She fine-tuned the idea and presented it in a different way at different times. Still, it was turned down. Knowing, she wasn’t going to make a headway by persisting that they adopt and implement the idea, she took the bull by the horns. She quit to try it herself and the result? Blue Power Energy.

Her greatest focus is on bringing liquefied petroleum gas to the “hard-to-reach” region of northern Ghana, where many families still rely on burning firewood for energy.

According to Salma, “I want to bring support to my people in the north,” and by doing this, she believes  “There will be more Salma’s all over the place.”

Culled from Forbes

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Personal branding, a service once reserved for politicians and superstars, is nowadays the key to entrepreneurial success. Personal branding is the venture of the future. It is the best investment you can make in yourself

Personal branding is a disciplined process meant to differentiate and elevate the brand owner from the competition. A clever personal brand entails a series of elements such as but not limited to strategy, logo, website, professional photos, social media platforms, social circles – depending on the goals of the entrepreneur.

Owning a personal brand not only ensures the entrepreneur sells more, it also increases legitimacy, transforms the entrepreneur into a respected thought leader, attracts investors and partners and ensures overall upward mobility.

Even though branding is a current buzzword, proper personal branding remains a mystery for most entrepreneurs. To navigate this intricate process, read the following real-life tips for brand building and reputation management.

1. You are not born a brand, you become a brand

From Oprah to Obama and Ellen to Elvis, every grand personal brand was once a mere mortal – just like you. They had a dream and they hustled just like you. Personal branding when done right is interlinked with personal development. Through an intricate process and an array of strategic actions, entrepreneurs just like you became world-wide leaders.

Branding is an ongoing process.

When in doubt, ask for professional help; an entire team is involved in managing a brand.

Do not compare your first week to someone’s 40th year.

2. Do not be a copycat

Good brands get replicated. Great brands cannot be replicated. If you want to own an average brand, go ahead and copy one. However, you will only be able to copy another brand up to 80% and usually the remaining 20% makes the difference. If you aim to be special, you should incorporate your authentic self into the brand – showcase your mission, vision and story. If you cannot do your business at a superior or different level from your competition, you should probably be doing something else!

3. Stable is better than spectacular

In the world of Elon Musk and Richard Branson, the brand of the average entrepreneur may seem quite dull. Remember though that your mission is to receive legitimacy to sell your services not appear in the tabloids.

You do not want to be a one hit wonder. You want to be in business for many years. Focus on building a stable base for your brand that will evolve and develop throughout time.

4. You network really is your net worth

Who you surround yourself with is who you become. You know it, but are you implementing it?

Every business is run by an inner circle of individuals; befriend them! The creme de la creme have specific mannerisms and a characteristic way of doing business. Learn to speak, act and behave that way.

Before you break the rules, you should know the rules. You learn the rules when you are at the right place with the right people.

When your potential customer sees you with accomplished entrepreneurs, you receive instant validation.

Your friends with a bad reputation might be costing you brand equity.

5. Brand building is a life-long game

Building a brand that sells takes time. You are not selling a product in the supermarket, you are selling a perception. Every online and offline interaction potential clients have with your personal brand straightens or decreases its value. The ROI is often slow in the beginning.

Once your brand is established, the world or some part of it will be at your feet!

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You may think owning and running a YouTube channel is the easiest, cheapest and almost effortless job anyone could ever think of. When you think of YouTube, you think of a news reporter, a journalist, a TV host; all in one.

As a YouTuber, you'll be required to travel, buy recording equipments and create publicity; all of which requires finance. Creating contents isn’t as easy as you may think; to drive the right traffic, you need reliable and relatable contents.
With the increased speed and access to the internet, YouTube has become one of the biggest hubs for digital content across the African continent and the world at large. People own a YouTube channel for different reasons - news, comedy, musical, tutorials, reviews, etc.
In case you've not noticed, it pays real big.
Here is a list of the top 10 African YouTube Personalities we recommend that you check out as soon as possible.

Caspar Lee – South Africa

Lee started his self-titled YouTube Channel in 2011. Recently, the channel has more than 7 million subscribers and over 500 million video views, considering he started his channel in 2011! You'd think he got satisfied with one channel. Lee's second channel, “morecaspar,” has almost 2,000,000 subscribers and over 106,000,000 video views. With different games, challenges, and celebrity guests, Lee’s channels and content has undoubtedly set him up as Africa’s King of YouTube!

Nikki Perkins – South Sudan

She was born in South Sudan in 1990. She is a top celebrity model, a nursing student, wife, and a mother. Nikki’s YouTube content addresses beauty looks for dark-skinned people, as well as fashion, motherhood and life.

Ikenna Azuike – Nigeria

Ikenna Azuike is a Nigerian content creator who uses pure satire to discuss different issues affecting the African continent. With a fine blend of wit and humor, Ikenna’s show, 'What’s Up Africa', was adapted as a segment on the BBC’s focus on Africa, boosting it to become one of Africa’s most watched YouTube channels.
Kangai Mwiti – Kenya

With over 99,000 YouTube followers. Kangai Mwiti is the ultimate blogger when it comes to beauty and makeup. Winner of the Makeup Fashion Category at the first-ever YouTube Awards in 2016, Kangai started her work four years ago and has somehow gained above 3,000,000 views.

Dont Jealous Me – Nigeria

Tolulope Ogunmefun, AKA T- Boy, started out his YouTube Channel after a random clip with his university friends went viral on Facebook. Who would've thought that what started as a comical burst in front of a phone camera would one day mold into a variety of web content that would earn T-Boy a BAFFTA Award and more than 30 million views on YouTube?

Tameen Youness – Egypt

A master of content variety, Tameen’s material ranges from spoofs to remixes to blogs, keeping his subscribers and viewers thoroughly entertained. One of the first YouTubers in Egypt, Tameen’s current show, “Rasseeni,” has about 70,000 subscribers and averages about 200,000 views per episode!

Luyando – Zambia

Do you love your hair? Do you love freebies? Well, then you should go ahead and check out Luyendos YouTube channel, 'Pure Estrogen'. With loads of giveaways, as well as content ranging from tying Bantu knots to weaving, Pure Estrogen is surely one of Africa’s most followed YouTube channels with more than 30,000 subscribers and 3,294,987 views.

Alpha Sky – Malawi

 Alpha is an entertainer whose sense of humor and edginess has kept him on top of his game. In 2012, Alpha suspended his account to build a followership on new platforms like Instagram and Twitter; he recently announced a project he intends to carry out with a new channel in order to raise funds for books for Malawian schools.

Lorissa Akua – Ghana

Lorissa Akua hosts, “The Only Way Is Ghana,” a web-series showing her journey as she works on migrating from London to Ghana. She started a real-estate business and shows some of the challenges of building and setting up structures in Africa.

Sibu Mpanza – South Africa

Sibu mpanza is a young South African youth who chooses to use YouTube to talk about the issues affecting his generation. He speaks boldly on topics like rape culture, black representation, and many other sensitive topics without mincing words while keeping an open-minded approach. He was named the runner up for the Top YouTube Channel in Africa by the African Blogger Awards in 2016.

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Only a few of Genevieve's colleagues and fans have a clear understanding of what the move means for her career.

It's no longer news that Genevieve Nnaji has signed a representation deal with United Talent Agency, UTA, the same agency used by Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp.

However, only a few of Genevieve's colleagues and fans have a clear understanding of what the move means for her.

This is actually a big deal. And it's a step in a right direction for the actress, who recently dubbed the garb of a filmmaker in the movie, 'Lion Heart.'

An international agency is important to break into global market

Inking a deal with an international agency has become necessary for Genevieve Nnaji, who is focused in taking Nollywood to the world.

Every established global artist or actor has a representative, which most times, is an established agency.

Genevieve's first feature film as a producer, Road To Yesterday, helped her test the possibilities of breaking into the global market.

With the movie, she learnt quite a handful of experience in the business of filmmaking and this she exhibited with her second feature film, where she acted the lead role, directed and co-produced the movie.

One of the lessons was appealing to the international audience with a local product that posses a global appeal.

True to that, her new feature film, 'Lion heart' has been acquired by Netflix.

Why United Talent Agency, UTA

Fans and colleagues will wonder why United Talent Agency when Genevieve could easily have chosen a regular agency just to represent her.

The deal with UTA is basically for representation in film, TV, and production.

Aside the fact that UTA is home to celebrated Hollywood stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, Channing Tatum, Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor and Kim Soo Hyun, the agency is one of the top 10 agencies in the world.

UTA is one of the biggest talent agencies in the world that represents many of the world’s most acclaimed figures in every current and emerging area of entertainment and media, including motion pictures, television, music, digital, broadcast news, books, theatre, video games, fine art and live entertainment.

The agency is also globally recognized in the areas of film finance, film packaging, branding, licensing, endorsements and representation of production talent.

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The lady boss, Ink Eze, is steadily rising to the top and we totally love it. She was recently featured on the Forbes 30 under 30 2018 list. How proud of her can we get?

We’re pretty sure you know about her, but let’s still tell you a little more. Ink Eze is the Founder of Aso Ebi Bella, an online community connecting traditional fashion enthusiasts with SMEs in the fashion, beauty and wedding industry primarily in Nigeria with growing interests across Africa and beyond.

Her platform,,a fashion tech startup boasts of over 17 million organic weekly impressions, 1.5 million followers across social media,and over 600,000 page views in the last 11 months. The company has delivered campaigns and collaborated with Nigerian and international brands including Orijin, Renaissance (now Radisson Blu Hotel) and Unilever’s Sunlight detergent.

Ink Eze has always been a hard and smart worker and we can see that it is really paying off for her. What more can we say, except a big congratulations to her.


Culled from Aso Ebi Bella

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We love our African stories and we proudly bring you the story whenever our African ladies get the global recognition for their hard work. One of them is the awesome Kene Rapu – The Founder of Slippers By Kene. She started ‘Slippers by Kene’, in 2011, as an initiative to promote the development of the local (Nigerian) industry, by using locally sourced materials and workmanship, to provide bespoke handcrafted slippers and sandals. They call themselves the number one Nigerian footwear brand, championing local production.

How did she begin her empire?

“I have always loved fashion, my first-ever internship at the age of 13 was in a hat showroom. From then on, I always managed to squeeze in an internship whenever I could. From working with magazines to working backstage at fashion shows to professional modelling; fashion has always been my passion! Why slippers? Being tall, I’m always on the lookout for nice, affordable, good-quality flats. SlippersbyKene started from me designing a pair of slippers for myself. I wanted something interesting that wasn’t in the stores, and that was incorporated into the popular African fabric – Ankara. I had them made, wore them out and everyone loved them. Family and friends placed orders, the word spread.”

We are not only super proud of Kene Rapu, we are also inspired by her.

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Oyinlola Adekogbe is the founder of Jedi & Co LTD, a fashion accessory and clothing store. They also specialize in customized bridal accessories. She shares how she started her business with Woman.NG


My business started out as a co-incidence. I had spent all my monthly allowance to buy shoes and I had to sell at least a pair to survive in school. Then it became a hobby as I found myself enjoying it, so I didn’t have any major ideas, but with time when I started getting feedback from clients, I started to see their pain points and then was consumed with creating products to meet their needs.


I just always loved shoes and regal, royal bridal gowns like every little girl does, and I loved sketching these dresses in my spare time, so it was natural for me.


I wasn’t sure how quickly it would all work out, but I knew that I wouldn’t give up until it did.


I started my business with #15,000 allowance while in school, then at some point, I sold my car to get more capital. I also have a 9 to 5, so I constantly save personal funds for growth and expansion of my business. My mum has also been very helpful as she has given me loans and she never asks for pay back.


I started as an online store, working from home, without any overheads. So we started making profits almost immediately, but since we got a physical location for expansion purposes, most of our profit goes into purchasing assets.


Marketing has been a little easier with social media as we can find our target market and they can also find us without coming to our physical store. Word of mouth, referrals and influencers have also been very helpful in marketing our brand.


I have been really lucky in that regards, I have always hired people who join our team seamlessly. I think the most important thing in hiring as an entrepreneur is been able to sell the vision, once they are invested in the vision, it’s easier to work together.


Working as a sales representative at my 9 to 5 has been a blessing, so not only have I learnt sales and marketing, I get to see how a product based company is run and learn all the processes and system.


I didn’t have any formal training in business, but I have made a conscious effort to invest in learning skills I need. I also have attended fashion school and Fashion Illustration classes as we hope to diverse into production of our pieces soon.


I wish I knew more about Accounting and how to understand my numbers sooner.


Not sure. I lost my dad at 11, and I watched my mum work “soooo” hard to raise my sister and I. That prepared me to work and never expect any handouts from anyone because really no one owes you anything.


I discovered I am too much of a risk taker, which is a good thing but can also be a bad thing, so I take more time in making decisions now.


Know your numbers; never assume you are making a profit because you are making sales. From my mum.


Be Resilient and don’t be afraid to start small.

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FORBES AFRICA has released its 2018 Under 30 list and you can be sure that there are Nigerian women on it. These women are said to be challenging conventions and rewriting the rules for the next generation of entrepreneurs, creatives and tech gurus.

Described as Africa’s most promising young change-makers, Forbes says, they could be the billionaires of tomorrow, even though they are yet unknown.

You could learn some things from these women who talked about their goals, how they started their businesses, doing business in Nigeria and their achievements.


26-year old founder of Anita Brows Beauty, popularly known as ‘Anita Brows’, is an Irish-Nigerian professional makeup artist, beauty educator, and entrepreneur. With over seven years of experience, she has built an award-winning brand, creating jobs for young Nigerians.

“My move to Nigeria was the defining moment for me in the beauty industry. It was the moment my hobby became a livelihood and then became a business. I didn’t choose this path by faith, this path chose me. My goal is to change the face of makeup and beauty artistry.”


28-year old Bidemi is the founder of LSF|PR, a public relations agency based in Lagos.  Growing up, Bidemi acquired skills in project management, sales and communications from her father, who built a taxi service and real estate company from nothing. Her father convinced her to study law and she interned in law firms but she stopped to follow her passion in media.

“Securing my first client was very difficult because I had no public relations experience; I would visit different blogs in Nigeria and look for contact numbers in the article credits and call the designers requesting to work with them for free.”


28-year old Kene Rapu launched her first product line, ‘Slippers by Kene’ in 2011. She uses locally-sourced materials to make slippers and sandals. According to her,  running a business in Nigeria is hard work.

“The odds are against us, as more businesses are expected to fail than to succeed. From lack of adequate power supply, to sufficient skilled man power, to the costs and scarcity of materials, the list goes on. I remember on my hunt for property for my factory last year, I met a gentleman who made it extremely clear he would not, under any circumstances, rent his property out to women.”


29-year old Gozie is the founder of Coker Creative, a boutique event company. She spent her holidays interning for event companies. When she graduated from school, she went on to pursue a master’s in Strategic Management.

“Planning events is something I have always done, so much so that growing up, I was nicknamed ‘the organ’, short for organizer. I derived joy planning all my family and friends’ celebrations, from vacations to birthdays, and even anniversaries. I used my graduation thesis to test my business plan for what we now know as Coker Creative.”


27-year old Maya is the founder of Ingressive, a tech integration company that provides market entry services and tech research for corporates and investors.

“I launched Ingressive LLC to solve the funding pipeline, redirecting global focus and capital to the continent.”

She also founded Ingressive Capital, a multi-million dollar venture fund focused on early-stage African tech.

“We have worked with thousands of African tech-enabled youths. Our client list includes over 50 investors and technology companies. Our clients have gone on to fund more than 20 African startups. I have funded three high-growth African technology companies, and we’re continuing to invest now.”


28-year old Eze is the founder of Aso Ebi Bella, an online community connecting traditional fashion enthusiasts with SMEs in the fashion, beauty and wedding industry primarily in Nigeria with growing interests across Africa and beyond.

“The #AsoEbiBella journey started with a hashtag I created in 2013 while I was an employee of where I convinced my employer to launch a then bi-weekly, now weekly AsoEbiBella feature on their site as it garnered millions of website views, it became my side hustle.”


29-year old Yemi is a singer and songwriter. She sings in English, French, Swahili, Portuguese and Pidgin English.


28-year old Joyce is the founder of Joyce Jacob Beauty, which launched in 2009. She has worked on the sets of many local and international music videos, magazine photoshoots and TV commercials.

“The vision behind my brand is to empower women of all ages, of all backgrounds and race to feel beautiful at all times through the power of beauty and makeup. Part of that vision is to have a premium line all women can use and create a truly authentic African beauty brand.”


29-year old Beverly is an actress and entrepreneur. She studied script-writing and film-making in the UK before relocating to Nigeria to join the Nigerian film industry.


28-year old Sonia is a writer, filmmaker and actress.


26-year old Tania is a model and an entrepreneur. She is creative director of Ziva Lagos, a fashion brand.

“Ziva Lagos is dedicated to boosting the Nigerian trade and labor market. Hence all fabrics are locally sourced and the clothes designed and produced in Nigeria.”

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Ndidi Nwuneli, founder of Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability and Professionalism (LEAP) Africa, has advised Nigerians to key into the vast opportunities that abound in agriculture.

Nwuneli spoke during the weekend at “Exploit 2018,” a small and medium enterprise (SME) focused empowerment programme organised by Salem International Christian Center (SICC) in Lagos.

According to her, Nigerians tend to “box themselves in one corner” when it comes to agriculture, leaving the market for multinational companies to take over.

“When people think about agriculture they think about farming. Most of us should not go back to the farms. That is not your core competency,” she said.

“Agriculture is not just farming… agriculture is everything along the value chain- technology, financing. But the biggest value is around processing and value addition.

“For example, it is not worth it to just grow cassava and sell it. But if you make it into high-grade cassava starch, people will be banging down your door trying to get it.

“Cassava is now used to make beer, cereal and so many things. Even most of our pharmaceutical products are being made with high-grade cassava flour and yet when we think about cassava flour we think about garri.”

She said many multinational companies are “paying a premium” to come into the Nigerian market which according to her is “projected to hit 450 million by 2050” in terms of population.

“Every company is trying to come into Nigeria in a big way and they are paying a premium to enter and most of us are trying to leave,” she said.

“There is a disconnect somewhere. What can they see that we cannot see?

“We need to change our mindset because with agriculture it really is about everything associated with the clothes we wear which is usually cotton, to the food we eat to the bags and shoes we wear to the fabric on our furniture to the paint on our walls to the soap we use.

“So, there is so much opportunity in every nook and cranny of agriculture around inputs, around extension that we have not developed.”

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