Stars From All Nations

Accra, Ghana  (June 09, 2018) – Stars From All Nations (SFAN) is delighted to announce that Mr. Samuel Darko Appiah, former British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Correspondent for Ghana will deliver a keynote address at the inaugural Student Entrepreneurship Week Ghana on Thursday, July 26, 2018, at British Council, Accra.

Mr. Darko Appiah will deliver the third keynote address for the opening day of the student entrepreneurship week on ‘The Future of Media and News’.

The media, in all its incarnation, is undergoing a constant change. Online streaming, social media, artificial intelligence, and smartphones are creating new preferences and diverting interests of consumers from traditional media platforms like radio and TV.  Nevertheless, with these constant evolution comes major challenges. On many social media platforms, bots are being used to spread misinformation and fake news as evidenced in the recent U.S Presidential election.

Darko, who until December 2015 was BBC’s Correspondent in Ghana and currently works as a Freelance Broadcast Journalist for the Corporation, will dig deep into: what constitutes shareable and credible news, how to navigate the constant maze of misinformation on social media, the difference between news and noise, the impact of big data and technology on news and storytelling, what the media and news will look like in the next ten years, and so much more.


To register or learn more, please visit the event website at www.sfanonline.org. For partnership opportunity, please send us an email at info (at) sfanonline.org.

For more information about Sammy, please visit www.sammydarko.com

See you soon!!


 

Accra, Ghana  (May 18, 2018) – Stars From All Nations (SFAN) is pleased to announce that the Minister for Business Development, Hon. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal will deliver the welcome keynote at the inaugural Student Entrepreneurship Week Ghana on Thursday, July 26, 2018, at British Council, Accra, Ghana.

The Minister’s remarks on The Future of Entrepreneurship in Ghana” will open the event as SFAN welcomes attendees to the brilliant student entrepreneurship week.

Determined to change the economic fortunes of Ghana, the government of His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has undertaken several bold initiatives to promote the growth and development of entrepreneurship and job creation in Ghana. Hon. Mohammed Awal shall, therefore, enlighten SEWGH guests on what the future holds for entrepreneurs in Ghana, how multi-stakeholder collaborations can go beyond rhetorics to progressively create opportunities for young Ghanaian innovators, and the contributions of the government in building local capacity and facilitating sustainable development in Ghana.

The first-ever Student Entrepreneurship Week Ghana will bring together the best and brightest entrepreneurs from Ghana, Nigeria, the U.K, and Silicon Valley for a 3-day mind-bending alternative education on how to build and grow sustainable businesses. These professionals will discuss best practices in business development, achieving scale, technology innovation, and fundraising as well as how to develop the knowledge and skills of today’s workforce, new methods for delivering learning in Africa among other topics.

The event will end with a pitch competition where five student entrepreneurs with tech-based businesses or ideas will battle it out for a chance of getting equity investment from Echo VC Partners, opportunity to join MEST Africa incubation program, and access to more than $3k worth of business development and marketing support from VC for Africa, 3rdfloor Digital and WorkShed Africa.


To register, apply for the competition or to learn more, please visit the event website at www.sfanonline.org. For partnership opportunity, please send us an email at info(at)sfanonline.org.

See you around!!

Accra, Ghana  (March 09, 2018) – Stars From All Nations (SFAN) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Timothy Kotin and Ms. Gloria Shekoni as board of advisory members. Tim is the Co-Founder of SuperFluid Labs while Gloria is an expert in IT Marketing Applications Management, Quality Assurance Engineering and Product Management. They will serve as SFAN’s advisors on matters pertaining to technology and product development.

“I am pleased to officially welcome Tim and Gloria as new Board of Advisory members,” said Tom-Chris Emewulu, President of SFAN. These professionals bring tremendous expertise in their fields and will be a great asset in helping SFAN actualize its mission of unlocking the potentials of young people. We look forward to a fruitful working relationship with them.”

SFAN’s Board of Advisors is made up of experts from diverse business and career disciplines. The Board is charged with the responsibility of providing business counsel and mentorship on how the affairs of the company are managed while helping to create awareness of the business’s operations to the community at large.


Tim Kotin (1)  

 

It used to be when you want to connect with people you don’t have access to, you look for someone to introduce you to them. But with tools like Twitter, connecting with anyone and everyone is one direct message (DM) or mention away.

Although many pundits are writing Twitter obituaries with #RIPTwitter, the numbers tell a different story. With about 328 million monthly users, Twitter is an incredible resource for personal branding and making vital connections.

If you are a job seeker, Twitter can help you discover great companies and people who work in them.

More so, Twitter helps you amplify your voice. A recent, notable example is the story of this Ghanaian teacher who educates his students on computer technology without any computers. The image of him using a blackboard with a diagram of Microsoft Word drawn upon it became an immediate sensation on Twitter. It took just one tweet from The Queen of African Tech, a nickname for Rebecca Enonchong of AppsTech, for Microsoft to commit to supporting him and his school.

So, how can you catch in on this whirlpool of resource to make your career move?

Below are actionable insights on how to build an image that gets you hired.

Tweet Your Way to the Boardroom: Simple Hacks for Personal Branding on Twitter

#1: Role model the pros

The first step to mastering this nirvana is to understand how it works. Like many things in life, observation is key to learning the in-game of Twitter. Therefore, connect with the pros and learn what they do.

Seriously, do not send any tweets until you have mastered how to weave up smart and crafty tweets that get attention. Sharing loose and random thoughts might hurt your career in the future because recruiters will always look you up when you apply for jobs.

The beauty of Twitter is that one connection can lead you to a whole new community. Use tools like MentionmappTwitalyzer, and HootSuite to easily plot a savvy graph of influencers, professionals, and companies to follow. It’s important that you follow companies you hope to work with.

#2: Define your identity

When it comes to personal branding, identity is everything. That begins with your username, keep it professional.

Choose one to three subjects that interest you and build your equity around those subjects. If it is true that you are what you eat, it is equally true that you are what you tweet.

Make it easy for anyone that visits your profile to clearly see your achievements and focus.

You cannot be everything to everyone, but you could be something to everyone. 

Select a profile cover that reflects your purpose, use a profile picture that looks the part of the persona you’re building and make your bio a marketing tool to highlight what you have achieved and what you care about.

The chief evangelist of Canva, Guy Kawasaki, is very popular of social media and his rule of thumb is to always have a professional business attire photo of just your face for profile pictures.

His Twitter bio starts with a mantra that reads: I empower people.

Guy Kawasaki (@GuyKawasaki) _ Twitter - Google Chrome 04_03_2018 05_22_20

#3: Find your rhythm

When you have fine-tuned your gig to highlight your vision and interests, the next step is to find your rhythm.

Decide the tone and voice of your tweet and when/how often you want to communicate with your followers.

Gather Content defines the two concepts as follows:

Voice: your brand personality described in an adjective. For instance, brands can be lively, positive, cynical, or professional.

Tone: a subset of your brand’s voice. Tone adds a specific flavor to your voice based on factors like audience, situation, and channel.

The Director of Marketing at Buffer, Kevan Lee, takes it a step further in this article. Essentially, he says, there is one voice for your brand and many tones that refine that voice. Voice is a mission statement, tone is the application of that mission.

As much as your aim is to remain visible to recruiters, being circumspect with what you tweet and when you tweet is needful. Products like bitly provide valuable data that helps you gauge the reactions on your tweet and measure the peak times to tweet.

Give your tweet an opportunity of being retweeted by tweeting when your followers are online.

Furthermore, pay attention to your language and tweet structure. Don’t always use all the 240 characters. Experts say around 100 characters is the sweet spot.

When you have chosen a language structure, try to keep it up. The idea is to be professional while being as real as possible.

#4: Share valuable content

As marketers will say, content is still king. Therefore, focus on providing insights, valuable tips, and useful resources.

You don’t have to be an expert to do this – the internet is filled with resources you can share. Do not repurpose another person’s content without attribution. You will lose credibility if you plagiarised.

Also, you can start your own blog and share your perspectives with your network. If you make your handle a go-to resource for useful tools, people will respond equally.

Twitter is great for amplifying your messages through retweets. If you need help with this amplification, search for viral words and phrases that you can include in your content to boost its visibility.

Screen-shot-2014-03-13-at-2.31.49-PM Screen-shot-2014-03-13-at-2.32.03-PM

Remember, whatever you tweet will show up on someone’s timeline, so think of how they read your contents.

P.S. Before you retweet or share a post, it’s always advisable that you read it to avoid sharing contents that are not in line with your brand image. Also, use hashtags sparingly.

Use Google Link Shortener or bitly to shorten links. And add an image to your tweets as it improves your chances of getting retweets (Locate a website for free stock images and other tools in this post.)

#5: Connect with the community

Twitter is about making connections and engaging with people. Keep your tweets as conversational as possible and communicate from your heart.

Don’t always focus on gaining popularity or going viral. Popularity has its place, but relevance will always trump cheap popularity. Many times, the value you offer to your community is the most important thing.

Make out times to read tweets of companies and people you want to connect with.

Be a promoter, support their cause and be generous with your retweets and comments. Everyone likes a compliment and affirmation but make sure that it doesn’t come out as spam.

If you have to DM, be sure to state the exact action you need the person to take. Sending “hello, how are you?” to someone is usually not a good communication line – especially when you don’t know each other. People are busy with several things, so be specific with your ask and follow up when you don’t hear back from the person. However, be strategic with the frequency of your follow-ups.

#6: Evaluate and recommit

Reviewing your activity is important for building your brand and connecting with the right people. In the world of social media, things change very fast and you must continually evolve.

Always make time to scroll through your timeline and read your tweets with an outsider’s eye. Review and refine your communication.

Use the tips from point one to create benchmarks that makes you progressive. When you have mastered the art, you can always create your own process.

Building a brand requires tact and patience. If your goal is to build a brand that hiring managers will literally fight over, you must do it with intention.

Tweet and get hired!

Twitter is a very powerful tool for connecting with a global community. Whether you’re a complete novice or a Twitter pro, the hacks above will help you become so relevant that companies will pay you to represent them.


We’d love to hear what you’ve tested and how it went. Let us know in the comments.


Tom-Chris✨ #Readyforwork
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the President & Founder of SFAN. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Get our bi-weekly email of inspiration, career and business insights. Subscribe here

Image Credits: Dan Zarrella, Maskot/Getty Images 

Internships are super important for every college student today. Apart from them being ways of exploring the world of work, they help you acquire job experience. Recruiters will hire someone with a job experience rather than someone with a general resume.

(If you are looking for feasible tips and strategies on how to prepare for your dream career, level-up with this inside scoop from hiring managers.)

Many companies are increasingly investing in internship programs as a recruitment tool for full-time jobs. Therefore, your ability to distinguish yourself from other interns contributes towards your chances of getting hired. In this post, I will give you a cheat sheet for making that happen!

  1. Have a clear goal

Internships are investments in your future. They move you even closer to actualizing your career goals. Consequently, you need to have a goal for your internship. Be specific about what you want from the opportunity and work towards actualizing it every day.

Your goal must not be extraordinary; it could be skills you want to learn from the job and how you want to be remembered afterward. The effect of your work is often the most important thing.

Endeavor to merge your goals into your supervisor’s goal. No matter how significant your goals are, if they are not in congruence with that of your boss, you are running a losing race. Therefore, be clear about what he or she wants from you at the end of the day and use every opportunity to actualize it.

  1. Be a fast follower

Here is a rule of thumb: the first reason for an internship is to gain a hands-on, real-world application of what you study in college, and to get an experience of what your everyday life will look like on the job. So, to make the best of this opportunity you must learn as much as you can from your colleagues and your assigned tasks.

There are two kinds of people in every company: the high achievers and the lagers.

Find out who the stars are and understudy them. Learn how they approach their jobs, how they dress, communicate, relate to others, and so on. Find out what makes them shining stars. Success leaves crumbs and if you show a genuine interest, you will learn one or two vital lessons.

It might not always be easy to make a connection, so you need to be smart. A gift often opens many doors, buy something like a cup of coffee for him or her (be the person is the coffee type though) or bake them their favorite cookie. If that doesn’t work, find out what they are working on and see how you can be the “Mike Ross” to their “Harvey Spectre”.

  1. Be indispensable but be professional

If there’s anything I can guarantee that EVERY boss dislikes, it’s having to do the work you should do. The fear of “turning assistance to resistance” is the major reason many interns are not given responsibilities beyond minor errands.

So, your job is being that intern that goes above and beyond in executing tasks. Take initiatives, volunteer when the need arises, and don’t leave at the end work of every work day until your boss tells you to leave.

Depending on the company you work with, make time to connect with people in other departments as well. However, do not take more deliverables than you can finish on time. Learn to manage your expectations because you might not always get credit for your work or ideas. Above all, don’t be sloppy – present yourself in the best light.

  1. Network but keep your eyes open

Relationships are the currency of the future. No matter how good you are, if no one can vouch for your competencies, you do not exist. Your internship gives you the opportunity to connect with your workforce field. These are people who can point you in the right direction or serve as mentors as you progress in your career journey.

Nevertheless, don’t be carried away with networking and making connections that you forget your priority – your job.

More so, there is a fine line between networking and flirting. The latter is dangerous for your career. It’s easy to create a reputation for things that are not interesting so be sure to know when the conversation is changing tones.

Finally, leverage platforms like LinkedIn to keep your connections together. If you want to go a step further, create a MailChimp account and add your contacts to a list. Think of it as your personal brand’s mailing list.

  1. Seek Feedback

Here’s another thing most interns do not know: no one expects you to know everything about the job or company. Consequently, one of the smartest things you can do is to seek for and respond to feedback. Ask for help or clarifications because asking is a sign of maturity. Many interns have made terrible blunders because they were afraid or proud to ask. Don’t let that be you!

Here’s the right way to ask for feedback:

  • Listen: Don’t be in a hurry to explain or excuse yourself, listen to understand the speaker’s point of view. In the end, the reason for feedback is to make improvement so listen to understand not to have a ready answer/argument.
  • Ask for clarifications: If the feedback is surprising, ask for clarifications. Perceptions are often deceiving so be sure to understand what is required.
  • Observe: Observing your co-workers and being more self-conscious could also be a fantastic way of seeking feedback. Observe the reactions of the people you engage with and adjust yourself so. Furthermore, instead of always looking to your boss or supervisor for feedback, consider asking your colleagues. They are the ones that interact with you the most and will often give you some of the most insightful feedback.
  • Act: Acting on the feedback ensures the loop is kept and helps you improve. In a situation where the feedback is difficult, take time to adjust and then go back to the speaker with your questions. In any case, be sure to express gratitude for the feedback no matter what it sounds like.
  1. Show gratitude

The ‘attitude of gratitude’ is an asset; it’s the rub for making lasting impressions. When you finish your internship, show appreciation for the opportunity given you. If you do it right, you would have shifted the odds in your favor towards a full-time job.

Make efforts to share specific skills you learned on the job and thank everyone that helped you in the process. You could also add an individualized touch by sending separate notes to each person that assisted you instead of a general thank-you letter.

However, a thank-you letter is not a tool for ranting or sharing your frustrations. If you have recommendations you wish to make, express your views politely. More so, make sure that every information you share is correct. Equally important, don’t ask for a job bluntly. Instead, you could ask for is a LinkedIn recommendation.

Finally, include your contact details and any other useful information. If you wrote a blog post about your experience (this is a great marketing tool for the company), add a click-through link to the post in your note.

Internships are great investments in your future. Nevertheless, to make the most returns on investments, you must 1) have a clear and precise goal for the opportunity, 2) learn vital job skills, 3) go above and beyond in executing your tasks, 4) create lasting connections, 5) seek for and respond to feedback, and 6) show appreciation for the opportunity.


Tom-Chris✨ #Readyforwork
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the President & Founder of SFAN. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Get our bi-weekly email of inspiration, career and business insights. Subscribe here

Image Credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

Whether you are building a business or a career, there are times when you need a second voice in reinforcing your ideas or echoing your claims. That’s why you need quotes.

In the words of former Swiss Volleyball player and author of 100 Inspirational Quotes, Michel F. Bolle, “inspirational quotes are important because they activate an emotional pulse point in our hearts and minds when we are in a distressing situation. The right quote can help us to see light at the end of the tunnel, and give us that extra burst of hope and courage to persevere.”

Therefore, we ferreted out 40 powerful quotes from some of the most celebrated African leaders to help you get through any day.

                     Folorunsho Alakija, Vice Chair of Famfa Oil

· I never went to a university, and I am proud to say so because I don’t think I have done too badly.

· You need to decide what you want to achieve. Get rid of naysayers — those who say to you that you can’t do it. Never allow anyone to tell you it can’t be done. In my dictionary, ‘can’t’ doesn’t exist.

· You need to believe in your dream. Don’t give up when things get tough, just hang in there, stay focused and be patient.

· We have grown past the stage of fairy-tale. As women, we have one common front and that is to succeed. We have to take the bull by the horn and make the change happen by ourselves.

· It’s essential to draw up a “things to do” list on a daily basis and set priorities in executing them, making sure that any unfinished task gets posted to the next day’s list.


                                 Strive Masiyiwa, Executive Chairman & Founder of the Econet Group

· Whether you’re a farmer, builder or engineer, the opportunities are equal: Just add a little innovation.

· A vision on its own is not enough. Hard work & dedication is required to make that vision a reality.

· If you are working or you are running a business you have to set aside time and money to invest in your continued formal education and skills acquisition.

· You have to be very methodical in breaking down, the reason why something is successful. Most often it is not as simple as it looks.

· I started in business when I was 25 years old, with only $75, pooled between myself and a friend. We went around the suburbs fixing broken lights, and gates. We invested every cent, into doing bigger and bigger projects. For me, nothing has really changed in terms of those basic principles: you start with what you have, you do what you can, you invest what you get so that you can do bigger and bigger things.


   Lupita Nyong’o, Kenyan-Mexican Actress

· You can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion, for yourself and those around you. That kind of beauty inflamed the heart and merchants the soul.

· No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.

· What I will say is that what I have learned for myself is that I don’t have to be anybody else; and that myself is good enough; and that when I am being true to that self, then I can avail myself to extraordinary things. You have to allow for the impossible to be possible.

· You fail, and then what? Life goes on. It’s only when you risk failure that you discover things.

· We don’t get to pick the genes we want. There’s room in this world for beauty to be diverse.


                       Tony Elumelu, Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation & Chairman, UBA.

· Today we may appear young and people may not believe in us but we are going to compel them to believe in us through our achievement.

· Your idea can transform Africa. Let’s stop talking and let’s start doing.

· A true leader is one who remains committed to a higher purpose that most others do not yet see. I have studied great people and one common thing I found among them is Legacy.

· Let us remind ourselves of the power of individuals and what potent capacities and opportunities lie in this. No one, but us will develop Africa.

· People management is key. Learn how to motivate your people. Be painstaking in choosing the right people.


                       Chimamanda Adichie, Nigerian writer, speaker, and Activist

· I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.

· Of course, I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in.

· If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here’s to possibilities of friendship and connection and understanding.

· Never ever accept ‘Because You Are A Woman’ as a reason for doing or not doing anything.

· They themselves mocked Africa, trading stories of absurdity, of stupidity, and they felt safe to mock, because it was a mockery born of longing, and of the heartbroken desire to see a place made whole again.


    Patrick Awuah, Founder, and President of Ashesi University College

· The people who have taken oaths and made promises, to be leaders and guardians of society, instead have disgraced us. I am challenging you to be the generation that can restore Africa’s honour.

· The ability to confront complex problems, and to design solutions to those problems; the ability to create is the most empowering thing that can happen to an individual.

· I think the current and future leaders of Africa have an incredible opportunity to drive a major renaissance on the continent. I believe that Africa has reached an inflection point with the march of democracy and free market across the continent. We have reached a moment from which can emerge a great society within one generation and it will depend on inspired leadership.

· It took a little bit of naivety to get started. I did not know how hard it was going to be. I think you just have to have this incredible confidence.

· I did have a lot of naysayers in Ghana but I didn’t have a lot of naysayers in America… when I decided to quit Microsoft people said ‘hey’ this is a great idea, this is what life is all about you have to chase your dreams and when you are ready to call us and we will see what we can do.


          Rapelang Rabana, South African Technology Entrepreneur and Founder of Rekindle Learning

· Skills and business knowledge will only take you so far, your principles, values, as well as your personal growth outside the business, matter more than just what you know.

· The more congruent the business is to who you are as an individual and what you value, the deeper your capacity to persevere and outlast.

· It is important to be close to the people and things that anchor you. For me, it’s my parents, my family, my close friends to have a laugh with. Being reminded of who you are, and regardless of the circumstances, that someone thinks you are great.

· If you don’t know why you are doing it, you will battle to make the kind of long-term commitment that will see you through the challenges.

·Not everyone realizes that by not choosing, life chooses for you and that is never the ideal outcome. Those who become great are deliberately creating their life path as opposed to allowing life to happen to them.


    Aliko Dangote, Nigerian billionaire, and owner of the Dangote Group

· Endeavor to work as hard as possible to attain a new aim with each day that comes by. Don’t go to bed until you have achieved something productive.

· I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008 but it didn’t happen overnight. It took me 30 years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me but they want to achieve it overnight. It’s not going to work. To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, a tenacity of purpose is supreme.

· In whatever you do, strive to be the best at it.

· If you don’t have ambition, you shouldn’t be alive.

· Every morning when I wake up, I make up my mind to solve as many problems, before retiring home.


Have more quotes to add? Drop them in the comment. Subscribe to our mailing list to get our emails of inspiration, business, and career tips.

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Our best definition of a startup is found in the book, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries: A startup is a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.

To wit, there are three essential elements that make up a startup business:

a.) A startup is a human institution. A human institution refers to a group of people “that have come together in significant for a common social purpose and maintains collective focus on the human relationships (within and beyond their limits) that have helped them to flourish.”

b.) A startup is designed to deliver a new product or service. A startup’s product or service must be a new innovation.

c.) A startup thrives under conditions of extreme uncertainty. Regardless of size of the company, the industry, or sector of the economy, Ries argues, any business that is creating a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty is a startup.

With this definition in mind, we have selected 20 brilliant low-to-no-cost tools that can help you scale through these moments of uncertainty and build a radically successful business. Starting from choosing a business name and registering a domain, to managing teams, to getting your accounting, marketing and customer relations together, here is a quick arsenal for an incredible startup Showtime!

1. GoDaddy: Domain. Website Builder. Office 365. Email marketing

GoDaddy makes registering Domain Names fast, simple, and affordable. If you have a smart business name in mind but unsure whether the web address is still available for the taking, simply log on to GoDaddy and look it up. They also provide you with options you can choose from, with a suite that helps you build a website, create a work email and so on.

2. GitHub: A web-based Git repository hosting service

GitHub is a web-based repository hosting software that brings teams together to work through problems, move ideas forward, and learn from each other along the way. It is used by over 1 million teams worldwide.

3. Slack: Where work happens

Slack is a cloud-based set of proprietary team collaboration tools and services. It’s where the people you need, the information you share, and the tools you use come together to get things done. The beauty of this tool is that you can create different channels to streamline team conversation with ease.

4. Asana: Use Asana to track your team’s work & manage projects

Asana is a Project Management and Collaboration Tool which helps keep teams organised, connected and focused. It is one of the most popular project management tools and offers convenient integrations.

5. Moqups: Online Mockup, Wireframe & UI Prototyping Tool

Moqups is a stunning HTML5 App for creating high fidelity SVG mockups, wireframes and clickable prototypes. It lets you create website and app prototypes without any technical knowledge.

6. Canva: Amazingly Simple Graphic Design Software

Canva makes design simple for everyone. It helps you create designs for Web or print: blog graphics, presentations, Facebook covers, flyers, posters, invitations and so much more. With Canva, you can create beautiful designs yourself!

7. AngelList: Where the world meets startups

AngelList is a website for startups, angel investors, and job-seekers. Its goal is to introduce entrepreneurs to sophisticated investors and simplify the process of early-stage business. An AngelList profile is also an important visibility platform, the platform has a mission to democratize the investment process.

8. Buffer: Social Media Management Platform

Buffer is an intuitive social media management platform trusted by brands, businesses, agencies, and individuals to help drive social media results. You can enhance your social media management with Buffer, it puts all your different social handles in one place — help you manage faster, smarter, and safer.

9. RocketReach: Find anyone’s email address, phone numbers, social links

RocketReach Email Lookup lets you find email addresses and phone numbers given name, company, or LinkedIn URL of anyone and everyone. Their google chrome extension is even integrated with LinkedIn, making it easier to know client e-mail address to connect.

10. Wave: For all your Accounting

WaveApps is an easy invoicing on the go. It helps you send unlimited customized, professional invoices, for free! You can also link your bank account unto the platform for easy bookkeeping. This is an incredibly useful tool for startups, and it’s used by over 2 million people around the world.

11. HubSpot: Inbound Marketing & Sales Software

HubSpot is an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps businesses attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. It includes tools for social media marketing, email marketing, content management, analytics, landing pages and search engine optimization, among others.

12. MailChimp: Marketing Automation — Sell More Stuff

MailChimp is a popular online email marketing solution which lets one manage contacts and send emails. It helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results.

13. Medium: Read, write and share stories that matter

Medium is a place to read, write, and interact with the stories that matter most to you. Every day, thousands of voices read, write, and share important stories on Medium. You can integrate it into your website, freeing you from the trouble of building a blog at the early stages.

14. Unsplash: Beautiful Free Images

Unsplash is a website dedicated to sharing copyright-free photography under the Unsplash license. The website claims 25,000 contributing photographers and generates an estimated 1 billion photo impressions per month.

15. Upwork: Hire Freelancers

Previosuly called Elance-oDesk, Upwork is the world’s largest online workplace where savvy businesses and professional freelancers meet. It is an effective platform to get quality output at affordable costs.

16. Google Analytics: Start analyzing your site’s traffic

Google Analytics is a freemium web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. It shows you the full customer picture across ads, videos, websites, social tools, tablets and smartphones.

17. Keep Google: Save to Google Keep in a single click!

Google Keep is a note-taking service developed by Google. With the Google Keep Chrome Extension, you can easily save the things you care about to Keep and have them synced across all of the platforms that you use — including web, Android, iOS, and Wear. Take notes for additional detail and add labels to quickly categorize your note for later retrieval.

18. JotForm: Online Form Builder & Form Creator

JotForm helps you create online forms the easy way. Whether you’re looking to generate leads, collect order payments, conduct customer surveys, find applicants for a job, or register guests for an event, JotForm’s easy-to-use form builder lets you build a customized online form to fit your exact needs in minutes.

19. Grammarly: Free Grammar Checker

Grammarly is an English language writing-enhancement platform. Grammarly’s proofreading and plagiarism-detection resources check more than 250 grammar rules. The grammar checker instantly eliminates grammatical errors and enhances your writing. Grammarly is trusted by millions every day.

20. Smartsheet: Less Talk, More Action

Smartsheet is a software as a service application for collaboration and work management. It is used to assign tasks, track project progress, manage calendars, share documents and manage other work. It has a spreadsheet-like user interface to help teams collaborate, plan projects and manage tasks.


Bonus Tools
Timeanddate: Current Time (World Clock) and online and printable Calendars for countries worldwide. Find the best time for web meetings (Meeting Planner) or use the Time and Date Converters. Online services and Apps available for iPhone, iPad, and Android.

HelloSign: HelloSign is the world’s leading free eSignature platform. Send and receive electronic signatures securely with our end-user solution or our eSignature API.

Zoom: Zoom is a modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars across mobile, desktop, and room systems. Zoom Rooms is the original software-based conference room solution used around the world in board, conference, huddle, etc.

Calendly: Calendly helps you schedule meetings without the back-and-forth emails. Say goodbye to phone and email tag for finding the perfect meeting time with Calendly. It’s 100% free, super easy to use and you’ll love our customer service


Have more tools to add? Drop them in the comment. Subscribe to our mailing list to get our emails of inspiration, business, and career tips.

Image: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

A science-based blueprint for achieving 10x faster results

We’ve all experienced that moment of great excitement as the New Year approaches —we’re pumped, the world looks small, and we can’t wait to do great and wonderful things!

Some of us make lofty resolutions like:

This year, I will be a millionaire.

This year, I will be the manager of my organization.

This year, I will find my Prince Charming.

But, as the days roll into weeks and weeks become months, the euphoria of the New Year gradually wears off.

And so does the motivation to achieve our goals until we’re so tapped out and counsel ourselves to forget them.

I’ve often wondered; why is it that many people seem to know what they can do to change their lives but don’t do those things. Why is it that some people succeed where others failed? What is the secret to achieving great results?

Come to find out, it’s all based on a simple formula — so simple that some of us ignore it.

If you are among the people who have a laundry list of excuses for why they can’t achieve their goals, well my friend, the time for excuses is over. After you read this post, there will be no reason you can’t achieve exponential results in anything you want to do. Likewise, if you want to take your result to the next and higher level, I’m about to provide you with a template for creating massive success. The principles shared herein is science-based!

How to Achieve Faster Results: A Simple Formula to Follow

Step 1: Multiply Your Goals By 10.

“Wherever it is you want to go, there is a long and conventional path, and there are shorter, less conventional approaches.” — Benjamin Hardy.

Incremental success is possible, and it’s possible for everyone. But, it takes a different mindset to actualize it.

If you want to change your life and results, you cannot set conventional goals. You have to set goals SO HUGE that it beats your mind how you can achieve it — goals that require strong faith to believe the possibility of making them happen. Richard Branson said, “If your dreams don’t scare you they are too small.”

The size of your goals determines the trajectory of your life because it raises your awareness and fuels your creativity.

Big goals attract big people. They attract the people and resources that resonate with that frequency. The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it, Michelangelo said.

He was right.

Anyone that has achieved anything worthwhile will tell you that what they had was clarity of what they wanted to do, not the process. You need to commit first and figure out the process as you go along.

Commitment produces clarity and clarity drive action; it helps you persist and persevere. In the language of research, commitment means binding yourself to a course of action.

So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable. Christopher Reeve

Step 2: Multiply Your Actions By 10.

In his book, 10x Rule, The Only Difference Between Success and Failure, Grant Cardone reduced the labyrinth of the key to achieving incremental success to a) setting targets for yourself that are 10x greater than what you believe you can achieve and b) taking actions that are 10x greater than what you believe is necessary to achieve your goals.

Says Grant: Never reduce a target. Instead, increase actions. When you start rethinking your targets, making up excuses and letting yourself off the hook, you are giving up on your dreams!

Most people give up the moment they hit roadblocks in trying to achieve their goals. They become trapped in a state of “a knowledge-action gap;” where they know what they should do but cannot do them.

As they indulge in this limiting process, their brains create patterns that strengthen the habit.

It’s what behavioral psychology calls, associative conditioning; where our brains stop us from taking actions it links to pain or reinforcing actions it links to pleasure.

This distinguishes people we call winners from losers. It’s all in the state of their consciousness.

You may have these incredible ideas and you think what’s missing is motivation. But that’s not true because the way our minds are wired and the fact about the human being is that we are not designed to do things that are uncomfortable or scary or difficult. Our brains are designed to protect us from those things because our brains are trying to keep us alive. — Mel Robbins

Stop waiting for motivation and start chasing your goals. Prime your mind that obstacles will arise — people will call you crazy, old friendships could fail, the wheels might come off — but you must keep pushing the status quo!

The question is no longer how bad you want it. The real question is; how much work are you willing to put in to actualize it?

Create an intense demand on yourself that you can’t help but respond. Hard work is your first guarantee for achieving your goals.

When you rid yourself of average thinking and average action, you improve your self-worth and metacognition.

Step 3: Set Time Aside For Re-creation.

Edith Harbaugh, the CEO of LaunchDarkly, shared her most transferable lesson from riding a bike to building startups and software with The First Round awhile back. She said, “every ride starts with zero. Once your direction is set, begin each day with a blank slate.”

But, beginning every day with a clean slate requires that you set specific time aside to measure your results and to refill yourself.

The creative process is an inside-out approach.

Like Benjamin Hardy said, mental creation always precedes physical creation. Before a building is physically constructed, there’s a blueprint.

Create a ritual that helps you to evaluate your work, reassess your strategies, realign your thoughts and redirect your energy.

Performing at your best and being in a peak state requires you master your mind and your body. The easiest way to achieving mastery over your mind and body is through good diet, proper exercise and rest, prayer and meditation, and reproducing your ideas. Science confirms your best thoughts come to you immediately following a good sleep or in an activity that pushes you to the limit.

Your mind has all the answers you’re seeking for; what you need to do is trigger the impulse that generates what experts call “fluid intelligence.”

In the words of James Allen, bestselling author of As A Man Thinketh, the mind is the master power that molds and makes, and man is mind, and evermore he takes the tool of thought, and, shaping what he wills, brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills. He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass.

Therefore, make your mind an ally and milk those thoughts through productive work every day.

Step 4: Build A Support System.

Napoleon Hill popularized the concept of a mastermind group through his classic self-help, Think And Grow Rich. In the book, Hill defines a mastermind group as “the coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”

Great leaders in business and corporations have known this. Though the practice and terminology may change from culture to culture, the principle remains the same: other people’s expectations of you influence how you end up.

Professor of Cognitive Robotics and the Philosophy of Knowledge, Mark H. Bickhard, wrote the following in his thesis entitled, How Does the Environment Affect the Person?

It is generally assumed that human beings perceive and understand the world through the senses and that that epistemic connection with the world occurs via the transmission of information from the world through those senses into a mind. The converse perspective on this same assumption is that the environment influences individuals, both microgenetically and developmentally, via the information that is generated in that environment and transmitted into the minds of those individuals.

Your environment has to do with who you are. Therefore, surround yourself with people who believe in you and hold you to high standards — people who help you grow and become your best self.

Surround yourself with people who help you nuance your thinking and overcome your inhibition.

If you’re the smartest person in your group, you probably need another group. Always, put yourself in a position that makes you feel like a little fish swimming in a big jar.

You grow and learn.

You become wiser.

You aspire to catch up with everyone else and your zeal to succeed will silence your fears and the desire for complacency.

Says Grant Cardone:

You have to be obsessed. Nobody has ever accomplished something incredible without obsession. The ability to be obsessed is not a disease, it is a gift. The saying “under commit and over deliver” is stupid. Instead, over commit and figure out how to show up at a higher level. Success is like a garden; you must constantly tend to it and care for it. Don’t worry about how much work it is; think about how great the results will be. Challenge traditions and established ways of thinking. Approach everything with the attitude that it can be done. Believe that you will figure it out. Don’t follow the pack; lead the pack.


Tom-Chris✨ #Readyforwork
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the President & Founder of SFAN. He is an education enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, a consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana and an aspiring venture capitalist. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Experts have said that one of the smartest investments you will ever make in your business or career is finding a mentor who believes in you and is willing to help you succeed.

However, whenever we discuss the subject of mentorship with our SFAN community, there are four basic questions we usually receive:

  • Who is a mentor?
  • Why is mentorship important?
  • How do I find a mentor that is right for me, and can I have more than one mentor?
  • How do I get the best from my mentor?

To this effect, we invited two emerging global leaders — Adepeju Jaiyeoba, Founder of Mothers Delivery Kit and Charles Lipenga, Founder/CEO of Maestros Leadership — for December edition of #SFANLiveChat; to give our readers valuable insights into the above questions.

1. Who a mentor is

“A mentor is someone who systematically empowers a person to see the future and believe it can be obtained.”- Charles Lipenga

Before you start your mentorship relationship, it’s important to understand who a mentor is.

Popular literature traces the origin of the word “mentor” to Homer’s epic poem: The Odyssey. In Odyssey, whenever the King of Ithaca went to fight in the Trojan War, he entrusted the care of his kingdom to Mentor. Mentor served as the teacher and overseer of Odysseus’ son, Telemachus.

“Mentors can be in form of supervisors, teachers, pastors, parents; they are there for our guidance, inspiration and/or correction. But, it is very important to understand that the measure of your success is not based on the mighty works your mentors do,” says Charles.

“There’s a favorite definition of a mentor I really love: A mentor is someone whose hindsight you make your own foresight,” Adepeju adds.

2. The importance of mentorship

“You cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect it looking backward.” — Steve Jobs

With mentoring, Adepeju explains, we can learn from the mistakes of others, share experiences, know what loopholes to avoid as we go along and grow into the image fitting our vision or something close. Cheers, encouragement, a little push, some reality check is sometimes all we need.

Speaking from his journey growing his leadership development initiative into an award-winning social enterprise, Charles Lipenga is familiar with the importance and long-term impact of mentorship guidance. “Mentors provide information and knowledge. When I was starting out, I had no idea what was involved in running a business, including making a business plan, budgeting, handling daily operations, making strategic decisions or running a marketing campaign. Mentors can also be the best connectors. Because this person knows your enterprise or you, he/she might know the best organization/opportunity to link you with and when it is best. This comes in really handy.”

3. Finding the right mentor and the benefits of multiple mentors

“Only take advice from someone you are willing to trade places with.”- Darren Hardy

When it comes to finding a mentor that is right for you, Jaiyeoba says, “a number of things could be check listed: Does the person inspire you? Is the person a perceived reflection of who you want to be? Can the person help you grow? Does this person match the growth areas you want?”

Says Lipenga: you have to be crystal clear about your reason for seeking out a mentor. Define what type of help you’re looking for in a mentor; are you looking for someone with similar skills or with a very different skill set who can coach you?

Both speakers agree on the fact that you can have more than one mentor as it helps you garner different perspectives.

“Don’t limit yourself to one mentor. You can establish multiple mentoring relationships with individuals who can help you grow in different aspects of your life; personal, career, business, etc. Think of it as building your own personal board of directors.” Charles underscores.

Research has shown those who have mentors tend to have better career-related outcomes that stem from these mentor functions, it also shows those who receive the greatest benefit have multiple mentors.

4. How to get the best from your mentor

To get the best from a mentor, Adepeju clarifies, the first thing you need to understand is that your mentor is very busy, so be patient and flexible with him or her.

Secondly, you have to be hungry for it. “How bad do you want their advice? What are you willing to sacrifice to make it happen?”

Thirdly, you have to make it a value-centered relationship. “No matter how insignificant you think it is, give value.”

Fourthly, don’t take their time for granted. One of the biggest challenges with mentors is finding time to mentor, hence let it be more about relationship building. “Remember, we are all human. Consistently reach out to them to update on your progress. Mentoring is not another ‘job’, it’s about cultivating relationships.”

A mentoring relationship succeeds and is satisfying for both parties when both the mentor and the person being mentored take an active role in developing the relationship.

For Charles, you get what you aim for in a mentor. Therefore, you have to establish goals for the relationship. “Discuss and agree upon the goals of the relationship and what you, personally, are doing to make it a successful venture. Review these goals from time to time to be sure the relationship is working; if not, adjust and refocus.”

“Establish communication methods and frequency of contact from the beginning. Talk with your mentor to determine the channels of communication that will work for both of you. i.e will you meet face to face or communicate mainly through e-mail and the telephone?”

“Manage expectations and build trust. Mentoring takes time and implies sacrifices for both the person being mentored and the mentor. Be respectful of your mentor’s time and the other priorities in her life such as family, travel, and community activities.”

“Finally, always express your gratitude. I like to say, gratitude is the key to doors of more opportunities. Your mentor is likely to give a lot more than you do in the relationship in terms of time and contacts,” he explains.

Conclusion

As Denzel Washington says, show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living — if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way — a mentor.

The importance of having someone who holds you to higher standards, and helps you reach your full potentials is valueless. Following the tips above can help you locate the right mentor that will give your career a great boast.

While I cannot guarantee it answers all your mentorship questions, what I can guarantee is that if you observe the guidelines carefully, you will not only get the best from your mentorship relationship, you will be in a position to mentor others.

If you have read the Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, then you’re already familiar with the concept of 10,000-hour work rule — an understanding that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field.

Whereas there are different opinions as to whether you need to, essentially, accumulate a definite number of hours before gaining mastery of your art, there seem to be a unanimous understanding in the fact that becoming an authority in your craft requires intention and strategy.

Consequently, we invited two media personalities, Berla Mundi and Anita Erskine, at November edition of #SFANLiveChat to discuss how folks looking to build their brands in the media industry can actualize that aspiration.

With a little retrospection and thought, we’ve picked out vital insights from the chat as follows.

Find your route into the Industry

The media industry is highly competitive and not in short of talents. Hence getting your foot in the door comes with a lot of hard work, dedication, and patience says Berla Mundi. “I had quite an easy route into the media industry after partaking in Miss Malaika Ghana in 2010. However, I always advise people to enroll into media institutions and whiles at it, they can get involved in Campus activities that further introduce them into the media space. But education is never enough. You must be really passionate about it because the media isn’t an easy place to pursue your career.”

Tweeting from one side of the education advocacy line, Anita Erskine notes the importance of training for the job, “I think education is paramount. Preparedness and commitment are vital and so is the appreciation that it may take longer than you plan to be fully immersed in the field.”

Anita Erskine, Founder of AnitaErskine Media

Find the personality that fits your style

Every great media personality has a unique style that sets him or her apart in the industry. Even if you’re listening to them for the first time without knowing who they are, Anita Erskine’s authoritative command of the airspace or Berla Mundi’s inspiringly youthful delivery style is quite unmistakable.

Both speakers agree that knowing yourself is of vital importance in creating a unique style.

Berla Mundi: Media work is about being you. It’s the only way to stand out.

For Anita, her brand style comes from a burning desire to change the art of storytelling around the world. “I like the ‘low maintenance, high performance’ approach to life. Less talk more action,” she says.

Taking a personality test might also be useful in figuring out who you are and can save you hours of thankless work in trial and error.

Ensure that your brand connects with the audience and community at large

“I ensure, first off, that what my audience is seeing is my true and most authentic self. Then I hold on to my passion as well. I don’t compromise. It’s the only way my audience believes what I say. And finally, I believe in consistency. I try to avoid double messaging,” Anita says.

No matter how good you are, if you don’t have people who love what you do and are willing to tune in to listen or watch, you are nothing.

“You need to study your audience and connect with them emotionally. People want someone they can identify with and look up to,” Berla underscores.

There are several media personalities that nobody remembers their names or faces anymore. The industry is fast paced and so, you have to be continually present in the community and in the minds of your fans by building trust and humanizing your brand. Join a cause, do occasional volunteer work, mentor the next generation…be present and approachable. Incredible things happen when your fans can sincerely connect with you and Social Media helps you achieve this with ease.

Berla Mundi, Radio/TV Personality

Remain relevant to your audience

In an industry as fluid as the media, maintaining relevance is tough.
Innovation is always happening, tastes continually change and the audience can be unforgiving. Therefore, consistently evolving and staying abreast of trends is imperative.

“I pay attention to global evolution because my audience is a part of the world and it’s ever-evolving and changing patterns. As the world turns and changes so do I change the texture of my voice, my approach and my expectations. This way I am always relevant.

The media is a powerful and great place to be. Being the custodian of information and developing the direction through which an audience can hear and absorb information is a humbling experience. But to be GOOD at what you do, you need to learn. Don’t shy away from that!

I’m self-trained but additional education is always a better bet. I’m going back to school to formally study Broadcast Journalism. Education is paramount,” Anita elaborates.

Final thoughts

The future of media is changing every day.

Online streaming, social media, and mobile phones are creating new preferences and diverting interests of consumers from traditional media platforms like radio and TV.

Today, the skills for the job are beyond having a good face, voice or writing skills. We are witnessing a need for thought leadership, high-performance skilled labor, and increased ownership of the landscape.

The business model for gaining and sustaining a high-quality media presence is, therefore, distilled into ensuring that you have; a) a clearly defined route into the industry, b) a personality that rhymes with your style, c) a brand that connects to your audience and the community, and d) a platform that is continually relevant to your listeners, readers or viewers.


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Featured image by Mark Solarski on Unsplash

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