Does entrepreneurship know gender? Who's a philanthropreneur? Is there a difference between being self employed and being an entrepreneur? What challenges do women face in the entrepreneurship journey and how can they overcome the challenges?
Gina joined Barclays Bank at the age of 21 years old as a Public Relations (PR) manager where she created her day-to-day activities. Fifteen years later, she rose to Head of Corporate Affairs before leaving to start GinaDin PR. Her decision to leave Barclays Bank was because she had become unemployable. No other company in the country could hire her at the same salary and she couldn’t become the CEO since she wasn’t a banker. Thus, she convinced Barclays Bank to let her leave and they became a client of GinaDin PR.
Gina joined Startup Grind Nairobi for the 2016 Female Founders Month.
As an entrepreneur and more so a female entrepreneur, the enemy is always the person we see in the mirror. It's you. As women, we aren’t expected to go against societal expectations. Instead, we are expected to behave in a certain way.
But, women do need to stop carrying the baggage that comes with “being a woman in business.” The conversation must shift from what the barriers and challenges are to what women can and are already be doing. The narrative changes now.
Yes We Can!
Yes, we can balance family and work. Yes, we can raise funding. We are speaking up, we are assertive, and we are seating at the table. Any entrepreneur knows that no one will offer you a seat at the table. It’s up to you to show up and bring something to the table. Create your own status quo.
Women could also use a class on owning our achievements. Own what you've created, what you've done. Celebrate your wins, do fun things. Enjoy and love what you're doing. Reach out to other women, support, and empower each other. As a human being, you can’t have all the answers and skills. Hence the need to have people you can talk to and bounce ideas off. The fear will always be there, you have salaries to pay, a family to support, and a company to build, but you need to keep on reminding yourself #BecauseYouCan.
Getting clients for GinaDin PR was fairly easy since Gina had created gainful networks in her 15 year period at Barclays Bank. Once she left, she called up every CEO she knew, pitched them her new company and services they offered, and convinced them to let her handle their account.
Two months down the line, they had South African Breweries Limited as their second client. Soon enough Safaricom became their customer, holding this account for 12 years. Safaricom’s growth within the country can be attributed to this relationship. Gina Din was able to capitalize on how good she had become at her field. Her advice is be good at what you're doing, become indispensable to your company such that you have enough people whom you can talk to and can help you out once you decide to change your career path.
Every founder goes through a lot of pressure. You have to get more accounts and win awards. This is when you realize that you need a life partner. You need someone who can ground you and support you when things get hard because they will get hard at one point.
She decided to rebrand and change GinaDin’s PR business model since she felt that they needed to become more relevant after the success they achieved through the years. She also wanted to be involved in impactful work, have time to travel, and be able to spend time with her kids. The company is now known as GinaDin Group.
She believes that women nowadays settle too soon since they don't believe that the right partner will show up. However, she’s glad and proud to be a woman. She has an advantage: she’s a strong and assertive woman. You need to know what you want.
There comes a time when you have to choose what your company will focus on moving forward. They needed to change their strategy. This was a challenging time for GinaDin PR since they lost a couple of their huge clients. This translated into loss of revenue since they no longer had huge clients paying retainers.
However, this change didn't impact the company as much since GinaDin PR had evolved into a brand and a company that could run and sustain itself. Gina didn't have to be involved in it every single day. Her goal had been to create a brand that would provide a certain level of excellence, something that would work without her having to micromanage everything. That is what it means to be an entrepreneur.
When you start a company, you need to hire people who are good at multitasking since they will take on a couple of roles before you’re able to hire for specific roles. Get a skillful team that can help you build your company. As GinaDin PR, they take on interns from universities and train them during their internship, to help them obtain the necessary skills required in the PR industry.
Your competitors might try calling getting in touch with your employees once they become good at what they are doing. This isn’t a bad thing since you know that they are the best in their field. Nothing makes Gina more proud than seeing her former employees doing incredible things at the companies they are at.
Every business will face competition at any one point of their existence. It is your job to ensure that you keep on evolving and innovating. Be ready to change. As much as your customer wants to lead you to know what you’re doing, you will have to offer solutions from an expert’s point of view. As a company, GinaDin PR has always assessed the client’s needs and then, offered great solutions. They will bring in the talent and skills needed for that particular project.
Acquisition & Exiting
The current fad is to begin a company with the hope to sell the company after a couple of years. Three or four years ago, an American company approached Gina Din with the intention to buy GinaDin PR.
However, Gina soon realized that they were not buying the company. They were trying to make Gina be part of their team. This did not sit well with Gina since she felt that it would limit the type of clients she could work with. She didn’t want herself to be put in a box. If the investors buy you as a person, you’ll end up working so hard for somebody else. The money will be good but you will end feel like you’re selling your soul and selling yourself short. At the end of the day you have to make decisions that are best for your company.
My greatest takeaway from Gina was to be the best in what you’re doing, create networks, create your own status quo.