Soulaima Gourani: How to Start Your Own Venture After Getting Fired

August 17 - Sarah Ashlock
Money
 

FIRST THOUGHT: Taking Control of Your Career

I helped a friend decorate her office this weekend. It’s been a couple years, but she’s finally decided to make it her own. With the addition of a rug, a few plants and some cute storage bins, her once uninspiring workplace now exudes personal serenity. We often talk about women who are their own bosses, but so many of us are just one small part of a long-established big company. While it’s natural to feel like nothing’s quite yours, find a small way to make your weekdays your own. Here’s a hint: Ditch the chipped company-logo coffee mug and start your mornings with a metallic boss-lady coffee mug instead.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 2024

Young or old, every career gal wants to feel validated and appreciated. Many who reach the age of 65 or older choose to drop out of the labor force, particularly men. It appears, though, that women 65 and older are taking on more positions. It’s forecasted that by 2024, women 65 and older will make up the same percentage of the female workforce as men older than 65.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Soulaima Gourani, Speaker, Corporate Counselor and Author

Today’s Woman to Watch, Soulaima Gourani, appreciated her career more when she made it her own. She’s worked with plenty of well-regarded companies, including Samsung and Dell, and has written business-minded books in both Danish and English. She can be described as quite the busy bee, but also as one of Denmark’s brightest businesswomen; she was awarded with the Rising Star Award and Talent 100 Award.

Soulaima was born in Morocco and grew up in Denmark, where she attended Copenhagen Business School before heading over to the States. It’s been a long time since Soulaima was pregnant with her first child and fired from a global sales position (at the same time). Those unfortunate circumstances, though, kick-started Soulaima’s journey to entrepreneurship because she decided she never wanted to be in a position in which she’d get fired again. After all, there’s nothing more pressing than having to support oneself and a little one on the way.

With the wealth of knowledge she’s gained, Soulaima now consults companies about employee motivation, customer loyalty and more. She started a site called Trade Conductor, which connects manufacturers to distributors. Another one of her ventures is called Capitalaid, which assists companies with strategic growth loans.

Soulaima’s forthrightness about the path of self-employment is something other up-and-coming entrepreneurs can learn from. She admits to negative partnerships and bad investments, but recognizes those kinds of life lessons can’t be taught in a classroom.

Now Soulaima speaks throughout the world about how to motivate yourself and your team for better outcomes. She has a few bits of advice she shares to mega companies and small businesses alike: First, learn how to say no. This simple message stems from time Soulaima says she wasted along the way when she should’ve been focused on other projects. Another piece of guidance: Solicit and really listen to feedback about your product or service.

QUITE THE QUOTE

Our Woman to Watch, Soulaima Gourani, said:

“Don’t stop learning. ... Knowledge is everywhere, and you don’t need to go to the fanciest schools or universities to find it. Learn from the people you meet. Stay curious. If you stop learning, you ruin your chances of becoming a front-runner.”

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