by Jacquelyn Guderley
I didn’t mean to launch a business. I just wanted to solve a problem that I saw - a problem that, if I’m honest, felt mostly applicable to myself and made me feel a little hopeless. Like the sky wasn’t the limit. I suppose when I decided to do it, it was through a type of selfish self-indulgence. But I knew that I wasn’t unique enough to be the only one with this problem; in fact, I know a lot of women who faced the same problem as me.
They were all emerging female writers, most of them at the very start of their writing journey, and none of them felt they could get their work published.
I want my work to be published, I said to myself. I want my fellow female writers’ work to be published. I want to build their and my confidence so that Salomé is on the start of their journey. I want to improve their and my writing. I want to be paid for my work. I want to see more women getting their work published. Absurdly, about 25% of published authors are female currently.
So I did it.
I don’t mean I did it over time. I don’t mean I stewed over the idea for months, making minuscule tweaks. I just did it. This was the timeline in the first ten weeks, from February to April this year:
So, how did I achieve something which makes people’s jaws drop open in awe a little when I tell them eight weeks after we began to exist I could hold our first issue magazine in print? Is it because I’m a fantastic entrepreneur? I am a good entrepreneur; Salomé has taught me this valuable lesson (and this is my second business, not my first).
But our early success is not something that isn’t replicable. My key action points to rapidly move from concept to profit-making business are:
Lastly, please just have fun with it. Luckily for me, the stakes are low when it comes to Salomé. It was a mini brainwave that I had one day and I decided to take a punt on it. I wanted it to work but I didn’t intend for it to be my livelihood and I had a salary otherwise. Now there is more pressure because I am emotionally attached and sometimes I do dream of it becoming my career. But if Salomé ended tomorrow, I’d come away with quite a few quid in my pocket and three and a half months of fond memories. However, few things make me as happy as my magazine, my Salomé. Few things satisfy me quite so. Few things keep me as stimulated. And, hand on my beating heart, I love it. And sometimes, Salomé feels just like my heartbeat.
Jacquelyn Guderley is the Founder of Salomé. She’s an ardent social entrepreneur, this being her second business (she cofounded Stemettes, an award-winning social enterprise, inspiring girls into STEM careers). She also took part in the OnPurpose leadership programme, which creates new leaders in the social enterprise space. In her spare time she likes to write and play sport a lot.
By Servane Mouazan
Confidence = capacity to overcome obstacles and gain assurance
“Lack of confidence” is the mantra that drags us down and defines us in times of uncertainty, like the crash from a bad synthetic drug.
Confidence issues pop up when you start-up, when contracts are refused, when you can’t measure your impact in ways that you would have liked. Confidence is shattered when someone else does it better than you, or when your health is breaking you apart.
Confidence also touches you when you are growing, when you are in front of investors, when your business expands, or when you no longer know if you are fit for purpose.
Our goal at Ogunte is to work with women so that they recognise themselves as genuine agents of change, exercising power and influence to change people’s worlds for the better.
We’ve found out that confidence is a volatile currency. When it is damaged, we must look deep inside ourselves to rebuild it.
This is why in our sessions with women in social enterprises, we include exercises that enable you to explore your personal foundations and grow that confidence.
Step One: When You Are in Transition – and in Doubt - Map Your Life Story
Sofia Bustamante once shared with us a “Life CV” she had designed using 5 year increments - annotating it with descriptions of her key challenges and achievements on one hand, and her specific roles, on the other hand.
Completing this exercise for themselves has enabled many of our coachees to map and identify patterns of success and situations that give rise to depression or self-sabotage.
This tool is valid at work and in life too and you can also use it to map and analyse organizational stories.
If you do the Life CV exercise, it is important to step back and acknowledge the:
Step Two: Reality Scanning
Once you have travelled into your past, have a look at your present and step back. Take a bird’s eye view – or a fly on the wall’s view! What can you see?
See if patterns emerge.
Step Three: Mapping the Possibilities
When you have learned all you can about the present, it is time to look to the future. Having a 5-year plan doesn’t work for everyone. But just having a sketch on the back of an envelope can help you get your “stuff” together and feel more confident.
One way to project yourself into the future on paper is by using circles to plot different possible scenarios.
Start with a set of 4 future “what
if” scenarios; a positive scenario, a negative scenario, a scenario where the
context stays the same as now, and a scenario with a “weirder” approach.
An essential key is to play along with the tone of the scenarios in order to let insights about your present choices grow. Don’t try to “fix” a situation that has better or worse outlooks, instead, understand how you behave, and the decisions you make, and what you learn from your character, in these new variable contexts.
Step Four: Moving on to Action
The process you’ve just been through of raising your awareness is essential - but far from sufficient. The next step is to mobilize yourself and get organized. Then act.
Then sketch 3 actionable strategies to “sell” the results of your thinking - to yourself first - but also to the people who matter.
Based on your results, surround yourself with new professionals, friends, peers and organisations to reinforce your confidence and credentials. Beware of picking people from the same old bubble!
For more support, follow our series on 5 pillars of support to equip social entrepreneurs for tough time.
You can also contact us for a trial Thinking Booster or team coaching session that could help you shape a plan around confidence building.
You can also use the Beesmap Toolkit to help yourself off line!Read more
By Servane Mouazan
Sense of learning = the way people make use of reflection and inspiration for themselves and others
Growing your social business means spending time managing the flux of information you generate, the data you collect, the anecdotal evidence, the academic studies that back up your claim, the ones that refute it - and then making sense of it all.
And there are days when you wonder whether the learning you’ve gathered makes any difference at all. Despite thousands of studies converging into identical conclusions, sometimes money gets invested in the wrong ventures, commissioners still don’t take notice, reports don’t get read, or buyers demand something else.
In this situation, what can you do to equip yourself and your team to be the guardians and the vessels of the knowledge that you need to sustain your venture now and in the future? How can you ensure that the learning you acquire grows the value of your venture, even when some of your people change?
At Ogunte, we’ve mapped six ingredients that make a great foundation for a learning culture:
For more support, follow the rest of our series about 5 pillars of support that will help social entrepreneurs to face tough times.
You can also contact us here to trial a Thinking Booster or team coaching that could help you shape a plan around learning.
You can also use our Beesmap Toolkit to help yourself off line!Read more
by Servane Mouazan
There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments. Wangari Maathai
As many countries are experiencing tough and uncertain times, there is no self-indulgence in taking a step back to explore how you can learn better, grow your impact, and take care of yourself (yes, take time for yourself) and others (the people you support) better.
It’s worth remembering that social enterprise ecosystems flourish when:
1) there are many issues in the community that need solving. Places with optimal well-being and prosperity (though they are rare) see fewer social enterprises popping up, don’t they?
2) individuals take focused actions, professionalize their activism, and use economic tools to create viable solutions.
3) there is a will among various stakeholder groups, including the state, to reduce red tape, break silos, and push for creative solutions on the ground.
A recent study by the British Council launched in UK, Pakistan, USA, Brazil, and India, highlighted innovation led by women, and the benefits that social enterprises could offer women and girls. But it also uncovered a plethora of issues that are perpetuating gender inequalities and stereotypes, and reducing access to capital.
The findings of the study are presented in this webinar: Social Enterprise and Women’s Empowerment
Ideally, social enterprises shouldn’t be platforms where women are locked in, separated from the profitable economy, with restricted or reduced avenues to change inequalities at scale. It is still tough for a woman to be invited to the decision-making table, even when she has years of traction, and a lot of evidence of success. When she is invited, often she is patted on the head for being a “good woman.”
Social enterprises should be springboards, not waiting rooms, for women.
Women in social enterprises over the world are telling us that the challenges they face are mounting - the problems they seek to address are growing and becoming more deeply entrenched and national and local funding is being cut. And - despite a great availability of business support - for entrepreneurs seeking technical assistance, the time, money and other resources they need to access it can be prohibitive.
Since we started Ogunte, we’ve been asked repeatedly by social entrepreneurs how they can best equip themselves and their ventures to survive tough times. We respond to these requests by working with them on their personal ecosystems and robust learning plans.
While we don’t know exactly what the future holds, our experience tells us what qualities thriving social entrepreneurs and their ventures display. It is a combination of values and behaviours that involve organizational operations but also individual practice, and discipline.
We have crystallized - and validated - our advice into five areas that you can work on simultaneously, starting today, to strengthen your personal and organizational skills, capacities and resilience.
These five pillars of support focus on: expanding leadership; increasing sustainability; growing a sense of connectedness; growing confidence; and enhancing a sense of learning.
All these areas need to be explored in relation to one another. Some areas will need more or less work than others, depending on your story. We will look at:
- Which pillars you most need to work on
- The questions that you are not asking
- What your future self is holding for you
Stay tuned for our forthcoming series of posts where we will be highlighting resources and tips in each of these areas, over the next few weeks.
In the meantime, save time and get focused by getting your own Beesmap booklet - a DIY toolkit and roadmap to organize your thinking around these support areas.Read more
“Because investment panels are not supposed to be ‘dude fests’! Let’s
reframe the question: why would a panel that is supposed to make a
judgment on the capacity of a company to make future financial and
social returns base its decisions solely on the views of an
unrepresentative sample of the population?