Our Ladyboss this week, Barinaada Joy Bema, Principal founder of Barinaada Legal a specialized law firm that is poised to work with startups, Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises and fast growing business organizations sits with us to discuss how as a young lawyer she has managed to boldly start and run an SME law firm against all odds.
How would you describe yourself and your business?
I would describe myself as fearless and a goal-getter. I am very ambitious, once I make up my mind about something there is no stopping me, I follow through till the very end I am a lawyer, a writer and a business consultant. I provide legal advisory services to business owners. I am the Principal founder of Barinaada Legal a specialized law firm that is poised to work with startups, Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises and fast growing business organizations as they pass through rough times and journey through nothing and then finally evolve into gigantic businesses.
What is it like being a female entrepreneur and why did you choose to be one?
Well for me it’s been a fantastic journey as a female entrepreneur. It has not been particularly easy on all fronts I must tell you the truth, it is worth every minute of it. As a new wig there is this go get an experience mantra everywhere you go as soon as you get called to the bar. It is quite unusual and very rare to find young female lawyers who are actually bold enough to start out on their own against all odds. I had my fair share of pressure from friends and family members especially from my father to go get a job in a law firm after the mandatory National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) to them I needed that experience to be well grounded in litigation but that has never actually been my thing, I knew what I wanted from the word go.
Time and control are a big deal to me. I wanted to be able to control my time, I was involved in a lot of things that were begging for my attention so I knew that getting a paid job as a lawyer wasn’t going to give me the time that I needed to do those other things. So time was one motivating factor for me. Another motivating factor for me was the fact that I was very passionate about small business owners. I wanted to channel my energy and expertise towards helping start-ups, MSMEs and Individuals with legal advisory service for their businesses with a view to ensuring that they maintain regulatory compliance as well as gain more insights and clarity about the legal aspect of their businesses thereby building legally protected and profitable business.
What new innovation have you introduced to your business?
My Law firm, Barinaada Legal is a very unconventional law firm. We have been able to leverage on the power of the internet and social media to position ourselves as the go to authority for corporate and commercial law practice without breaching the rule of professional conduct for lawyers against advertising and soliciting for briefs. Barinaada Legal is an SME inclined law firm, We are a specialized law firm which focuses on start-ups, small and medium scale business organizations, fast growing companies especially online entrepreneurs who are exposed to thousands if not millions of people every day on social media many of who convert to paid clients.
What will you say is responsible for your success so far?
As much as this might sound like a cliché, I will still say it regardless, the reason for my success has majorly been God. I will also attribute my success to determination, hard work and consistency. I had to invest in myself, I had to learn relearn and unlearn some things about business and entrepreneurship. All of these factors contributed to my success as a female legal entrepreneur.
In your opinion would you say that there are any unique challenges that female entrepreneurs face?
Well for me business is business whether you are a male or a female entrepreneur, the challenges if any, are basically the same for both sexes. The challenges that one might face are a function of the industry that one finds herself and not necessarily because you are a female entrepreneur
What values and principles have helped you so far?
In my journey as a female entrepreneur, I have learned to imbibe the “Can Do” spirit, those who know me well enough know that I actually never say no to something. There is nothing like I can’t do it because I haven’t done it before. I believe everything is learnable and doable if you put your mind to it and so I have learnt to be receptive to knowledge and to also be teachable. I do a lot of reading but mostly I learn more from observing what other people are doing and how they are doing what they do to become successful.
Why did you decide to go into this particular line of business?
As a lawyer I could have ended up in a law firm carrying files and brief case and going to Court every now and then and have my paycheck determined by my employer while enjoying a seeming sense of security as salary was sure to come in every month, but I wanted more. I realized early on in Life that time was a big deal for me. I wanted to be able to control my time and live life on my own terms. I wanted the “three “Is” impact, influence and income. I understood early enough also that there is a business side to every profession beyond wanting to become a practicing lawyer I wanted to avert my mind to the business side of law.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced and what’s kept you going?
I remember when I first left my paid job as a Company Secretary to a shipping Agency that was doing quite well at the time, my father was worried. He didn’t understand why I would decide not to get a job in a law firm as a new wig. I had my fair share of the go get an experience mantra from concerned family and friends. There were times I even considered going back to get a job but something kept me going. I wanted to redefine Law practice I wanted to utilize a different approach to getting clients and so I was doing a lot content writing, education based marketing,I had seen the strategies work for other people and so I was certain that it was going to work for me and it actually did.
I mentioned earlier that if there was any challenge whatsoever it would be a function of the industry you find yourself. The Rules of professional conduct for Lawyers prohibits advertising and Soliciting so when I started newly as an online legal consultant, I had the particular challenge of structuring my contents in a way that sound like I was advertising and soliciting and that’s how I learnt education based marketing. I realized that by educating people and informing them of what they should know in a particular niche you are indirectly building an authority status. You become the go-to person when anything in your niche is mentioned and this has absolutely worked for me.
What’s your five year plan for your business?
In five years time, Our Client base should expand exponentially Barinaada Legal Would literarily be on the lips of every business owner, We aspire to become the number one SME Inclined Law firm in Africa, five years is a lot of time for that to happen.
What do upcoming female entrepreneurs need to do to be successful in this path?
I would say that they need to be hard working but then that goes without saying. They need to learn the amazing power of consistency. When you come to a point where you realize that this is actually what you will be found doing tomorrow come rain or sunshine then you will learn to be consistent and patient in doing what is needed to get you to the level of success that you want knowing also that there is nothing like overnight success in business. Sometimes overnight success can be as long 10 years of consistency so every female entrepreneur out there must learn to trust the process and grow through the process.
The LLA Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.
If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she could possibly be featured.