Celebrated on 8 March every year, International Women’s Day is dedicated to honouring the achievements of ladies across the globe. It is also a day to reflect on how far women have come and to plan the necessary action to continue breaking down the barriers that are preventing us from achieving world domination!
Speaking of breaking down barriers, I had the privilege of interviewing some powerful, inspiring black women, who are leaders in their respective fields, on how they made it in the world of business. So, if you are thinking of trading in your nine-to-five and starting your own legacy, these boss babes might motivate you to *finally* do it!
1. Nothando Tembe – Founder & Creative Director of NT Communications
NT Communications is a full-service design and digital marketing agency that focuses on driving results by using effective and measurable solutions. They partner with their clients to design their brand identities, develop their online content and set up winning strategies to generate and convert leads.
Biggest lesson ‘Build a business on a strong foundation, with purpose and integrity. Purpose will help you connect you with your customers and integrity will allow them to keep coming back and stay loyal.’
Business advice ‘Spend time crafting your brand story. This will allow you to not only understand what you are building but how you’ll present it to potential customers.’
2. Babalwa Kwesaba (CFP) – Managing Director of Basik Financial Solutions
Babalwa is the founder and sole owner of Basik Financial Solutions. She has over a decade of experience in the financial services industry and, along with being a certified financial planner, she is also a dynamic entrepreneur and an agent of change in her community.
Biggest lesson ‘One of the keys to building a long-lasting and profitable business is to define your “why”. This will help to steer your business in the right direction and help you identify possibilities when you encounter challenges.’
Business advice ‘Come up with a proper plan. As daunting as it may seem, this process is essential in helping you convert your dreams into goals by creating measurable results.’
3. Captain Londy Ngcobo – Director of Womaritime Experts and Founder of Global Maritime Youth Captain
Londy is passionate about unlocking Africa’s ocean economy through advocacy. She has given a TED Talk and has spoken at the Forbes Africa Leading Women event, and has been featured on many international platforms. Her wish is that more black women will become part of the maritime conversation.
Biggest lesson ‘It does get lonely in business and circles do get smaller. Don’t get caught in your feelings for too long about this, like I did. Instead, trust in the magic of new beginnings and embrace them!’
Business advice ‘Entrepreneurs consume so much info every day in the pursuit of growth, and it’s easy to get distracted by the noise. So, carve out time daily to silence your mind and remind yourself that you’re doing okay.’
4. Yonela Qwabe – Founder & Chef at Nelaskitchensa
Nelaskitchensa was established in mid-2016 and to combine Yonela’s love of cooking, eating quality food and entertaining people from all walks of life. She is a self-taught cook who offers private dining experiences to foodies around the Johannesburg region.
Biggest lesson ‘Be consistent. It’s important to trust the process and remain consistent in doing what you do best. This will instil trust in your customers, and you will reap the benefits!’
Business advice ‘If you have been blessed with a particular talent, realise it, monetise it and work hard on maximising any and all opportunities presented to you.’
5. Adv. Aurelia Hlobsile Nxumalo – Co-founder of Learned Friend, Director at Meraki Legal & CEO at BLISS Beauty App
The true definition of a multipreneur, Aurelia is the director of a 100% black women-owned virtual law firm (yes, you read that right!), a co-founder of a news analysis platform and, the CEO of a popular local beauty app. So when it comes to starting businesses, it’s safe to say she knows a thing or two!
Biggest lesson ‘Know your story – and stick to it. Also, it’s crucial that you work hard to ensure that you are always prepared for any opportunity that comes your way.’
Business advice ‘Work on your self-discipline and continue to learn and grow. As you continue to work on yourself, you will become an even better version of you.’
6. Zandile Gambushe – Founder & Coach at Langalethu Career & Personal Development Coaching
Zandile is a COMENSA and ICF certified coach. Her practice offers face-to-face and online coaching to both individuals and corporates. Their main objective is to ensure that their clients are anchored in their truth, as they navigate their personal and career goals.
Biggest lesson ‘Navigate entrepreneurship in a way that aligns with your lifestyle and responsibilities. You don’t need to quit your nine-to-five, test your concept on the side first to determine feasibility and sustainability.’
Business advice ‘When you do business, use your moral compass to accept or decline business propositions. Saying “no” may cost you money but it will save you from ethical dilemmas and sticky situations down the line.’
7. Kelly Thela – Managing Director of K Hair SA
K Hair SA specialises in providing one of the best hair care ranges in the country. They pride themselves on their products’ ability to protect women's hair from breakage. They are an online store based in South Africa but also offer global shipping.
Biggest lesson ‘When you start a business, you carry most, if not all, of the responsibilities. I am the boss, the packer, the marketing manager, the courier guy and the financial director at my office!
Business advice ‘Be patient with your business and yourself, and prioritise progress over perfection. Also, be consistent and make sure that you deliver excellent service.’