Debbie Larry-Izamoje: Dear Female Entrepreneurs, Thrive & Flourish
I never thought in 2018 I’d still hear a man say he can’t do business with a woman, or silence inappropriate jokes on my relationship status during business meetings.
Most industries are still male-dominated and very few make it easy for a woman to thrive. Sometimes people support you until they find that you actually have what it takes to succeed. This is the sad reality of life that most people are not prepared for.
However, I’ve never been more proud to be a female entrepreneur. It’s been a unique journey but I’m forever grateful to those women who laid solid foundations for our generation to build strong structures on.
The work is, however, not finished, and we must continue to educate the next generation of female entrepreneurs on the struggles the media barely highlights. We should prepare them for the situations that caught us by surprise on our individual paths to success. Here are a few points to note.
Ambition is not a curse
Some people are scared to dream as big as they want because somehow it seems like the society doesn’t have a lot of good things to say about successful women. It’s hard for a woman to ever truly get credit for her hard work without society doing its background check on her personal life.
If she’s married it’s attributed to her husband and if she’s single…they swear she has a sponsor somewhere. Because how dare a woman succeed on her own? With hard work, perseverance, and knowledge of her business/ industry…how dare she?
I’m grateful for women like my mother, because I was raised in a home where you had to be independent as a woman; you had to have a plan for your life you were chasing.
It is not a curse to be a woman and it is definitely not abnormal to aim at shattering glass ceilings.
Women are told to be tough but not bossy; to speak up, but not be the loudest in a room. Emotional women are called dramatic and the women who don’t show emotions are called cold. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, so why not be yourself with no apologies?
There is no such thing as too much success; don’t put yourself in a box trying to please anyone. Thrive, flourish, and take all that the world has to offer you.
When people try to sidetrack you for being a female entrepreneur with huge goals remind them that the only difference between a male and a female entrepreneur is that the women are more likely to be doing business in an uncomfortable pair of high shoes, that’s all!
You Don’t Always Have to Be Nice
You become unstoppable when you realize that this world is just yours as it is anybody else’s! You will meet all kinds of people and even be unfortunate to employ some; this will threaten your good nature if you let it. So many wolves are out there waiting to prey on your resources and ideas not for once thinking of its effect on you.
It’s actually a huge shame that the country is so hard and everyone is trying to survive but at the expense of someone else. And in all of this, you have to remain kind but not foolish. You must know your values before starting any business and ensure you treat people how they are, not how they ought to be.Take your emotions out business situations. Take hard decisions and learn to go to bed knowing that we are all learning to drive this bus called life.
There is Power in Being Underestimated
When people underestimate you that’s the time to prove your worth. It’s the time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Always be sure of yourself before any meeting. People will underestimate you as a young woman and the more confident you are, the easier it is to sell your vision. Know your worth! If you don’t, then surround yourself with people who do.
Stay focused on your journey, don’t be intimidated by someones controlled content on social media. Grow into your role as a leader and take charge of your life and career. Whatever you find yourself doing, do it diligently. When given any information to work with, probe deeply. Being naïve is not an excuse in the corporate world
And oh! don’t neglect your personal life. Nuture it as hard as you nuture your business.