Learn on the go
Baku | Azerbaijan
Zara Huseynova, 24 years old. Since 6 years founder and manager of a clothing business which hires 15 people and, since 2 years, also involved in empowering and supporting women in their development through her organization WoWoman.
I believe that we all are here for a reason. Each of us has a mission and our goal is to find this mission of contributing somehow to the world. There are so many people who come, eat, drink, sleep, they just consume, take, they don’t give to the planet. For me it’s important to leave something behind, to make this planet better. The mission to which I’m contributing right now is on the one hand a business with 15 employees, mostly only breeders in the family. We are basically breeding 15 families, which is a big responsibility, especially when the country is in crisis and everybody fires people and you know that if you fire someone it means a starving family. And my other contribution is WoWoman.
WoWoman started from one little event and grew incredibly fast. During the past two years they organized more than 100 events and about 20 programs for 6500 participants. Most of them for free or with a small entrance fee.
What distinguishes us from others is that we offer supergood quality contents for free or for a symbolic price. After being the president of AIESEC, I have a huge network of people and the ability to organize things with no money. I used it a lot in Wowomen. We managed to find trainers, venues, materials for free. This allows us to reach more people. And we offer training only for women, thanks to which some of them can join for the first time. We got some feedback that because there are no men on the training, brother or father of our participants allowed them to come. It doesn’t happen very often, but in general, many studies showed that if there are only women in the room, they open up much easier, also about things they will not talk normally if there is a male in the room. Right now, we are trying to expand in other regions in Azerbaijan, but also internationally, we are scaling up, opening different chapters around the world.
Scaling up requires different methods and faces different challenges.
The bigger the company or organization grows, the more difficult it is to keep quality. Before I was begging trainers to deliver, now they all approach us, we have a lot of visibility and they know what we do. It became a matter of filtering everything and being sure we still deliver the same quality. And a second challenge are resources. It’s going well in Baku, but to grow to other cities, not to mention other countries, we need a more sustainable model. I have experience in building a local business or organization, but I’ve never worked in a corporation or stuff like this. Now I need to learn how to lead an international organization.
Constant learning is the approach Zara always had. She rather starts things and learns on the way.
I think you can always change, no matter your skills or resources. I believe desire and dedication are much more important than skills. Starting both business and social enterprise I didn’t have skills, knowledge, experience, resources and the same was for my team. We have been learning by doing.But everything worked out because we didn’t accept no as an answer. Now you have Google to find and learn everything. The key is not the skill, but desire and willingness to put time and effort to make a change.
And just start.
The more you think, the more questions you have, the more complicated it seems and the less probable it is that you make it happen. Go with the flow. A lot of people ask me how I do this and that. I didn’t know all those things and I was figuring them out on the way, checking what was working and what not. People say: oh, you are 24, how did you make it happen? I didn’t wait till I have all the knowledge and I’m ready at 100%, you are never 100% ready.
More about WoWoman: wowoman.org