Dear Africana Woman,
Hey sis. How are you? Mhm I have been alright. Learning things the hard way. Tell you what first you tell me what you have been up to then I will spill the beans on my end .,,, So last time I said I would tell you about friends right. But here we are.
I was listening to the radio recently and the DJ presented a scenario where people had to call in and give advice. The scenario was as follows. A young man who owned a barber shop, met a young lady and they eventually started dating. As soon as they became official she started making demands at his shop, she has no sense of customer service, is chasing customers away and he is not making money. His question was, how should he talk to her. …. I was like CHÉ this is not a conversation about talk, he should be asking how do I Dump her. She is a terrorist to his bank account.
I like to think I coined this statement and yet I fell for it myself over these last few months. What happened was I was offered a job for essentially a start-up company. I have done startups before and it’s a lot of work. At this stage in my life, having quit formal employment, my goal is to build generational wealth and the idea of doing that in someone else’s business just does not seem to be an efficient way to go about it. Nonetheless, I entertained the idea. My hope was to finalise the contract as soon as possible and then start work. However, management dragged their feet in finalising the contract, all the while assuring me this was a done deal and that I should go ahead and work. In good faith, I put on hold the plans I had made for my own business and started to create a strategy, even went so far as pulling in people’s expertise from my international & local network. But in my heart, I kept saying don’t go 100%. After a couple of months of dragging this contract management finally informed me that they had decided to postpone hiring for the position.
Dear friend let’s not get emotional but really draw upon what lessons can be drawn from this experience?
Number One, don’t be an Idjat like me lol and start working before contracts are signed. Babes I cannot get back that time ever again. It’s gone and I spent it on a dud. I guess it’s like investments? There are always risks and you could lose your money from your investment. Ah but still get the paper work done and sorted before you start working. I talked to a mentor of mine about this opportunity and he said to me, “Do you trust them?” When you make a decision like this, there has to be trust involved. I remember distinctly thinking this deal won’t happen. Anyway, now that we are here, I am left with the bitter task of having to back track to all the people that I had roped in and tell them ooops by the way, it’s not happening. The devastation alone on my reputation is hard to repair. People know me to be a doer. They know that when I put my mind to something, I go in full force and get things done. I hate wasting people’s time.
Number Two, do not put your life on hold because of promises. What I mean by that is people can be very good at telling you that they will give you something so you should just wait and be patient. It’s kind of like the classic mistress scenario right. Dude is telling her that he will leave his wife and before she knows it years have passed by and this guy is still with the wife. She is finally ready to leave him but she is no longer a spring chicken. Empty promises can make you lose value in the long run. Beginning of the year, I had laid out goals for what I want to do with two ventures. I put one on hold as I was waiting for this promise to come to fruition, but alas it didn’t happen and I am far behind in my goals. It irritates me, because I lost out on revenue but more importantly I got distracted from my purpose. I know what I am supposed to be doing but I put it down the list of my priorities to my detriment and the detriment of the people that I serve. I need to get back on track and just focus. Also if I am perfectly honest, my ego was being stroked where I felt that by accepting this position it would show ‘them’ (people who had ditched me in the past) that they had made a mistake by turning me away. Oh ego you have no place in purpose and service to others. I also think that imposter syndrome played a role because I felt that I was not qualified to do the work that I do, especially not having done any formal training. Therefore, I felt that this role would validate me occupying space in this industry. I have had to since remind myself that only God gives authority, therefore, if you have been placed in authority of your purpose, your education and background does not matter, you deserve to be there.
Number Three, do not negotiate with terrorists to your bank account. Period. I just recently rebranded my business and its now 3.5 months old. It has barely begun to generate the amounts that I know it is capable of. The offer the company gave me was 25% of what I am currently earning from my business, which isn’t even at its fullest potential. So the math was not making sense, how do I go concentrate on your startup which has got long hours and will need a lot of my energy, for a small salary? I also think what happened here was a misunderstanding of valuing formal employment. I think that when people hear that I am not employed, they think that I must be desperate to find another job. Which is not to say that I would not work for another company again. If I do decide to work for a company again the compensation has to match the efforts that I put in and the company has to be agreeable to my lifestyle requirements. I am very clear that I want to work from home. Which is still odd for a lot of people to imagine as possible in African countries. The truth is the internet has democratised how work can be done. Making working remotely a possibility. Bear in mind that productivity is not guaranteed just because people are physically in a brick and mortar office. At the end of the day this position would have terrorised my bank account and I would have been miserable. All in the name of a title and prestige. If you are part of this community I trust that building generational wealth is a priority for you and sometimes you have to stand your ground in accordance to what you believe you are worth.
All in all, my eyes are back on my purpose. I also know what I am capable of. I have actually learned a lot these past for months through the interactions that I have had with people. They have taught me so much about business. Honestly, I would not have known what I know now had I not taken this journey. Even though I bemoan the time as wasted, it really wasn’t. What I lost in remuneration was compensated for in knowledge and wisdom.
I feel like today has been a little abstract, but I hope you have taken away something. Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you so much for reading. I appreciate you. If you are new here, please subscribe. Africana Woman actually has a blog, podcast and