Wish I Had Known This Before – *Sulk and *Tear

I am angry. I AM SO VERY MAD AT MYSELF! I spend a bloody 2 years working on Women’s Digital League only to find out very recently that in order to apply fro any business plan competition I MUST present a paper-trail for my financial transactions. Western Union receipts kept in shoebox would work. I of course didn’t know this. Just jumped right into the action. HOW DUMB CAN A PERSON GET??? UGH!

To be fair to myself, I never thought my stint at content writing would become a business. I have never claimed to be a business expert. I am not! I am a simple woman with a third class master’s degree in English Literature and a morbid fear of numbers. All I have is the drive to try new things. Shying away from challenges is unknown to me. Elvis may cry himself hoarse saying Only Fools Rush In but it won’t work on me. BUT WHAT THE HELL! Have lost out on 2 WONDERFUL opportunities in less than a month. First was the Arabia Fast Growth 500 and now it’s the Women In Business challenge. Then there is the All Asia Business Plan Competition that I don’t even want to look at. I am heartbroken and so disappointed.

Learn from my experience, Dudettes. If you are working on a business, please keep a record of your financial transactions. Also, TRUST ME and work on a business plan. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to write one. There are so many templates available online that you can use. If you still have a problem finding one drop me a note and I’ll send you a couple. You don’t want to miss out on these great opportunities to highlight your business and gain investors as well as clients. I am gonna go and sulk and hope this horrible period of stagnation will be over soon. Ever since the stress-induced shingles and chest infection and ulcer episodes soon after I came back from the US and jumped right into my work without taking any break, I have hot a complete wall. Annoying thing is it’s not for a lack of energy but a lack of interest. I need to get out of this phase soon or else I won’t be able to live with myself.

Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

P.S. Also try for the Women 2.0 Startup Pitch Competition – deadline is 7th December but their application form is quite easy to fill out.

Town Hall with Hilary Clinton

Better late than never …

Was invited by the US Embassy, Islamabad to attend the Town Hall with Secretary Clinton in Serena, Islamabad on Friday, 21 Ocotber 2011. HRC has a presence, I tell you. She kind of fills up a room with her persona. After the **** that happened in her personal life I was slightly overwhelmed with her strength and confidence. When she talks, you have no choice but to sit up and listen. Spotted Huma Abedin. Stunning! Grinned and waved at her … she smiled and waved back.

There were so many moments where I thought, “This is the best part of the afternoon” and one of them was meeting Tara Uzra Dawood. Tara is a graduate of Harvard law School and CEO of Dawood Capital Management. Under the larger umbrella of DCM, she runs a fund called the LadiesFund (minus the space). For details check out the website and/or facebook page. It’s an organization after my heart and is very interesting, but in a nutshell, it’s a business and financial consultancy service for Pakistani women looking for grants, loans, equity or merely a platform to promote their business. A firebrand of a woman, Tara and I chattered away and I realized there was a lot being done for Pakistani businesswomen. It frustrates me how little people know about these initiatives. If only these were advertised well! LF is a very web-savvy organization but despite being an Internet-geek, I had never heard of them before – perhaps if the media highlighted the positive things happening in Pakistan once in a blue moon things would be different???

Another one of those moments …

Met Wahaj us Sirja, CEO of NayaTel. Such a humble man. I of course walked right up to him as he was getting ready to make a phone call … I have no manners, I know, been told that a gazillion times, dunno why people still bother *eyeroll. Anyway, told him about Hunza and he was excited and very helpful. We exchanged cards, I emailed him, and he connected me to his contacts.

On the way out, I bump into Atif Aslam. Eeeee … ! Well, no, not really. I wasn’t star-struck but I do like the guy’s singing. Took a photo with him of course. How can I help liking him when he sings like this:

I am just discovering the joys of networking. Tara introduced me on email to the co-founder of All World Live, Anne Habiby. Girls, don’t expect me to hand it all out to you. Go to their website and read up on what they do. However, this is how they summarize their work:

Our model is simple – find the best growth companies, put them on the global radar screen, and let the market do the rest.  This is the next economy.

We call this Visibility Economics™.

Got invited to a dinner hosted for the Pakistan 25 Fast Growth Companies in Islamabad. Met Anne … needless to say she was ah-mazing. Learned it was extremely important to keep a paper-trail of business transactions even if it’s just a bunch of Western Union receipts sitting in a shoe-box. However, bugged the hell outta my friends and am glad to say one of them got selected for the Arabia 500.

OK byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee …