As the world continues to embrace the reality of what women can do in the world that was once a ‘man’s world’, particularly that of being a breadwinner, it is important to evaluate how the journey to financial independence looks like for women.
We could spend the whole day aimlessly reciting motivational quotes that affirm that women have to do anything. However, it is more effective if women are given a realistic view of how the journey of a female entrepreneur looks like.
What better way to evaluate this than by asking an uprising female entrepreneur for her opinion? Beaming in anticipation under Selibeng’s Spotlight is Relebohile Grace Tapole – the 17 year old Author and Managing Director of Epiphany Nail Bar And Cosmetics.
Briefly introduce yourself and indicate the type of business you do.
My name is Relebohile Grace Tapole, I am a 17-year-old girl who is in pursuance of financial independence. I love writing and have published my first book called Pride Before A Fall of which copies were sold out quicker than I had imagined.
I am also the Managing Director of a cosmetic line called Epiphany Nail Bar And Cosmetics. Aside from that, I also sell items that I feel are a must-have for everyone such as the night-time selfie light, hot water bottles and many more
What Inspired You To Become An Entrepreneur?
Two aspects led to this. The first one is that I happened to experience a switch of lifestyle in a blink of an eye. I went from being the rich girl to being the girl who had no friends because she had become poor.
As depressing as it was, I learnt the hard way that it was important to become self-sufficient. That was why, as I looked at the circumstances in my life at that time I started to think of ways that I could generate an income to survive. Mind you, I was very young then.
The second reason is that I was raised in a society full of people that consider men as better role models than women. I saw my mom struggle to get a top position in an organization simply because she was a woman.
When she finally got that position, she made so much impact but eventually left the job. When she decided to leave, they had just recognized the value she brought and tried to beg her to come back. This occurrence taught me that women have to work harder than their male counterparts to prove their worth in the corporate world.
I therefore made the decision that I would build my legacy through business. I want to create a legacy that will not be forgotten by proving finally that it is possible to be female and rich – all on my own!
How Have People Received You As A Female Entrepreneur?
I am blessed to have many supporters around me. It is for this reason that I have not felt any negative pressure or sneers of disapproval for my desire to dream big. I was told that it was okay to be an outlier and refused to conform to the norm that I could not do anything for myself.
Do You Ever Feel Under Pressure To Do More Than You Are Doing?
It is scary being young and knowing that the spotlight is on you. The pressure I feel is more intrinsic than extrinsic. The minute I popped up with the title Author and the gender Femme at 16, I knew that all eyes would be on me.
As a result, I decided that no matter what happened along the way, I had to keep pushing boundaries. I challenge myself every day to learn to master the things that people concluded that women could never do. My greatest desire is to break the stereotype that women cannot be financially independent.
In Your Opinion, What Is The Greatest Challenge Women In Business Face?
Mmmm…That is a tough one. I would like to believe that the greatest challenge I faced was breaking the negative thought patterns that dictated how I viewed my potential.
Women have been indoctrinated with ideas that they do not have what it takes to do the impossible in the world. Whenever they try, they have more to overcome than their male counterparts do. From thoughts that they are just not enough to how well their ideas will be received in the workspace, women face so much.
It took so much for me to garner the internal courage to believe that I could become a young businessperson. I do not believe that I have figured it out yet. The beauty of this journey is that I get to learn every day.
What Do You Think Female Entrepreneurs Should Improve On?
Well, I think women should overcome misogyny by any means necessary. When another woman is rising and breaking boundaries, celebrate her!
I feel that women tend to sabotage other women not because they hate what they are doing but because it very shocking when a woman starts to do what seemed impossible. Women need to come together and avoid pulling others down otherwise, we are going to keep going round in circles.
Most importantly, women should be open to dreaming bigger. We can do better and doing better starts with dreaming bigger!