From my past experiences to now, here are the three lessons I wish for every Pasifika entrepreneur to consider, before embarking on the entrepreneurial journey.
#3 Decide to Live Your Core Values
There will be numerous encounters in your entrepreneurial journey where you will be asked to or invited to compromise your core fundamental values – indirectly, directly, unconsciously or in clear conscious. If you haven’t already, decide what your core values are today. If you need to write it out, do it and place it where it is visible – we humans need reminding. Overtime as you practise your core values and during unforeseen crossroads, these values will become your natural respondents. The best time to practise is when no one is watching. When your business practises align with your core values, people will naturally respect you and your business ethics. Your conscience will remain intact and you will have a peace of mind.
#2 Don’t be Afraid to Talk Money – Be Financially Literate
For some reason there is a taboo silence about money talk, mainly in Pasifika households. Money talk can deem to be ‘self-centred and prideful’. If you look at all successful entrepreneurs in the world – a lot of what they do is how to make money work for them, and they consistently talk about it. Don’t be afraid to educate yourself to be financially literate, don’t be afraid to talk about it. Know how to save. Know how to pay your debts. Know how to multiply your income by investing. If you don’t know – ask your mentors or do your research [ENTREPRENEURS ARE LIFE LONG LEARNERS] – Here are just a few I use – Google Finance, Investopedia, Forbes, WSJ, Bloomberg, CNBC, Entrepreneur. One of my favourite mentors who retired at 27 said the best way to fund your business is to get money from your customers. Learn how to sell and learn who your customers are. If you don’t know how to sell, you won’t have business. Know your numbers, and if you feel you lack this part, find someone who can do that work for you, or mentor you until you are confident.
#1 Be Proud of Your Pasifika Heritage & Speak Up
I remember attending a conference in South Island where one of the presenters welcomed everyone and said ‘it’s great to see a sea of white men in this building’. I don’t know if he was sarcastically bespoken, but as I gazed around to see two Pasifika women in the room – one of which was myself– there were about 100 in attendance that session.
In that very moment (though others who would have been in my situation may have felt neglected, outcasted or ashamed) I felt complete opposite, I felt so proud to represent my people – minority in the mainstream. In our homes, we are usually given the opportunity to speak up, however in the entrepreneurial world, you have no choice but to speak up. So speak up. You have a voice, own it, cultivate it. You not only represent you, your family and your heritage, but you also represent the Pasifika nations. Always remember that gift, especially as an entrepreneur.