“I want women to feel empowered,” says Latoya Lovell, a freelance writer, photographer and events organiser. We sat down with the adept entrepreneur to hear about the unique perspectives women bring to business and Lovell’s own ambitions to inspire those she works with.
Who are you and what is your business?
I am Latoya Lovell and I am an entrepreneur who runs an online magazine and created a woman empowerment event called Women who Lunch.
What challenges can women expect to face in business?
I think that women are very tough on themselves. I have set such a high standard for myself, which adds additional pressure to the process of building a successful business.
“It feels like that there are so many different standards and expectations that a woman needs to conform to. Often that added pressure distracts me from staying focused.”
I create content and do photography at events. This can often be a very male-dominated space, but thankfully that is changing.
Do you think there are enough women running their own businesses?
No, and I think a lot of women give up because it’s hard and finding support isn’t easy, especially if you also want to incorporate the role of motherhood within your life.
What do you think are the advantages of having more women in business
I think women need to embrace their power when it comes to business. We bring a different perspective to the previously male-dominated world of capitalism, across all sectors.
Up until recently, the world has been operating at 50% of its power, which has been very masculine and westernised.
Have you ever had any discriminative experiences because of being female?
I was a photographer at an awards show. I found my spot to set up, and where I could get the best photos. A man came and literally stood in front of me and said I shouldn’t be there because I was too short. I stood my ground and I managed to get him to move and I got the shots I wanted.
However, it took my friend calling him out and asking him if it was because of my race or gender, that he felt entitled to behave in such a fashion.
How do you handle knockbacks?
I try to focus on the blessings and realise that if something is meant for me then God will provide it. If I didn’t get it, it wasn’t what God wanted for me and there are always other opportunities.
What advice do you have for other women wanting to start their own business?
Plan, plan, plan and manage your time effectively. It is very easy to get caught up in the hype of things, but that hype will die down. Therefore, it is imperative that you ensure you set the correct foundation for your business.
I do all my paperwork before I even launch a project because the finer details are so important. It also gives me a checklist to work through. As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
What can the business community do to help more women entrepreneurs?
I think women, in general, should be networking more and doing more collaboration. This would help support and reduce the isolation of being a businesswoman. We have been trained to compete and we don’t need to do that. I have the motto “together we are stronger.”
How do you hope to develop your business in the future?
Ultimately, I want women to feel empowered, as well as encourage each other. Every message I receive from women who I have had a working relationship with, they say that I have changed their path or made an impact. This makes me happy.
“I suppose the goal is to help one woman at a time, and that to have a positive ripple effect. I want to let women know that they are beautiful and “we are enough” in the words of Judi Love.”
Who are your business heroes?
What are you reading at the moment?
Kirsty Latoya, ‘Reflections of Me’.
Which one song is always on your playlist?
Rachel Kerr, ‘I Will Love Me’.
Where was your last holiday?
When are you happiest?
When I am doing something with my son.
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