Each day of your life brings a beautiful gift along with it. Even when you fail, you learn things that enable you to make wiser choices. You have nothing to lose at the end of the day. You would certainly find it hard to think of a struggle that did not give you a learning to move on in life.
Owning a business is everything that you have heard that it is, and there are plenty of articles online about how challenging it is, and the qualities of a great entrepreneur, what it takes to make it, etc. But it is so much more than that.
I wear a lot of hats and each one has helped to shape me into the person that I am growing into. As a wife, I have learned what it truly means to love, to think of another more than I think of myself and how not to communicate. As a mother, I have learned how to be a fighter, how to love without stifling and that motherhood doesn't have to feel like the end of anything, but the beginning of something new, and better!
Business was a bit different for me. It was an untapped potential that I only dipped in when I had no choice. Coming from a conservative West African family, the smart ones among us go to medical or law school, at worst, you at least become a nurse, but business is a bit too unpredictable. Business is something you dabble in while you work towards your degree, maybe open a medical transportation business, start a small hair braiding business or an African fabric business to make some money as you work towards your medical or law degree.
There are a few odd ducks among us however, many I have had the pleasure of working with, who choose to leap, strange as it may be to those around us, by starting an Etsy like platform for the creative Africans among us, launching innovative fashion lines by combining the brilliance of African fabric and the inspiring, feverish vision of Western style and of course when you take it a step further, like L'Aviye and focus on accessories... They are here, they are successful, genius and fabulous, but everyone of us have had our own unique journey, my experiences and lessons were mine alone.
Failures Help Me to Understand My Weaknesses and to Improve
I am competitive, and I hate failing! I would crawl onto the floor and give up when things do not pan out, and there are times even today, that the thought crosses my mind. I have learned to cope in other ways, I allow myself one day of detachment through prayer, and from there I sit myself down and work out what could have gone wrong and work through my mistakes.
I apply this principle to everything, a failed marketing campaign, a completely horrible hangouts on social media (huge fail!) a parenting fail or a failed business.
I have learned to embrace and love (after the fact) my mistakes because they have only served to strengthen me, and to make me better.
Failing in business doesn't make you less innovative or brilliant than the next. Success in business means having a combination of traits that help to strengthen the entrepreneurial mindset that you may not even be aware that you have. It is there and will get stronger over time. In Christianity we call it the potter's process!
The potter's process involves transformation, creating a beautiful vessel is not easy, the clay had to be properly prepared and taken through a 'process' before being transformed into the beautiful vessel, and in many ways, for me, business has been like this. It takes time to build a beautiful vessel, a lot has to be taken out and what's left has to be reshaped.
Motherhood and Business Are Two Separate Journeys That I am on Consecutively
I remember breaking down and telling my husband that I am not cut out for this. It was a frustrating time for me, I felt as if the more effort I put into my business, the more I was neglecting my family and the more effort I put into my family, the more my business suffered. I love both, I don't think I realized just how much I love business until I actually started, but it has been an important part of my 'coming of age' story.
Learning to juggle business and family was the hardest part of my journey and it is one that will always be a part of my life. But I have also learned that they are two separate parts of who I am and do not have to hinder the other, two separate journeys that I am making consecutively.
My ability to be successful in business cannot be hindered by anything unless I allow it to, and the same goes for my ability to be a great wife and mother. If you want to achieve your dreams, you have the choice of applying yourself enough to find the success that you want or you can put in mediocre effort for mediocre results.
My Greatest Asset as a Business Owner Has Been My Ability to be Resourceful
I have learned just how resourceful I am, and have challenged myself to find an out, for every road block that arises, whether it is financial, social, familial or self, being resourceful has been my greatest asset as a business owner, and I have learned to apply it to all other areas of my life.
The smartest leaders know how to use what they have to their advantage. Being a resourceful female entrepreneur includes being up to date on tools that help to simplify business for you. It means knowing which tools work best for you and your company, and are affordable, even more important than that they understand how to grow their business while saving money.
Being resourceful in business is a must, because you will rarely be able to do it all, but there are times when you may need to be able to figure it out on your own, and those will be the times that will test you most.
I have loved being a business owner, and I continue to be shaped by these fascinating and exciting journey.