by Fadzai Mathabire

Almost a month since the 2nd Edition of the Women Create Worlds Summit was streamed live on Facebook during the Shoko Festival and we are still digesting the knowledge from the out pour of gracious women. Shoko Festival was held online this year and the event was as colorful as a phoenix. Such events where women come together to discus issues that shape the creative issues shake me and so this Summit was definitely my favorite piece of the pie.They say knowledge is power, so to share it should be empowering someone, right? We have summarized some key points from the conversation that can help someone pursuing a creative journey. go ahead and learn something.

Women Create Worlds 2020 Set

The summit which was held on the 23rd of September 2020 ran under the theme “Creating visibility for female creative careers”. It kicked off with a lightning talk from Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa, had discussions with Chantelle Jeradi and Kumbirai Rutendo on the Influence of Lifestyle, perception, branding and leverage, and the Manager’s round table with female managers that have managed to lead in a male dominated industry (Tania Nyasha Ngwena, Fungai Kush Zvirawa, Chido Musasiwa, and Danai Mavhunga). Born out of the need to create visibility of creative careers for women, the event was hosted by Loch Nation, and graced by women who have contributed to the success of big names in the music industry including Takura, KillerT, Shasha, Amara Brown and Audious Mutawarira in Zimbabwe.

Networking is an investment
It goes without saying that networking is a key element for growth in any industry. It helps in self-development, skill advancement, connecting with clients and partners, as well as staying up to date with the market and industry trends. Networking also positions you in the same place with resources and mentors necessary for your journey. Another reason why networking is important is that it can shape the industry. Formal and informal exchange networking can nurture the industry, from pricing strategies to product and service delivery standards. During the lightning talk, Ruvheneko encouraged creatives to network and highlighted that omitting to do so reflects negatively on creatives. “At the beginning of every year I call a few of my friends in the industry and ask them tirikuita sei nema rates? Are billing in USD? What rate do we use and what’s the general benchmark but you find that we don’t understand how to do that communication because we want to work in silos, we want to work alone and we end up losing out.” Ruvheneko

Stay woke
Always know what’s happening around you. The phrase “stay woke” has been trending on social media for long now and yes people definitely need to stay woke. It’s important to take the time to always be informed on everything relating to the industry and figure out your role in it. Some can agree that it is not always about going to school to study an arts discipline, but the determination to be good at what you do and advancing your skills. “Being able to research and network and having the humility to ask those who would have walked the path before you. Reading beyond your current capability or skill set” as Tania from Kosha Consultant shared on the notion of investing in knowledge.

Confidence is a must
The ladies mentioned how important it is for women to confidently take up spaces in male dominated industries. This was surely a word for the females but the gents can learn something too. Creatives are usually underrated and unappreciated in the Zimbabwean society, and unless they put their feet down with one amplified confident voice, it will remain so. Even when people enjoy your art, they want to consume it for free or settle the bill with applause and “exposure”. Having confidence in yourself, in your art, and in the pool of other creatives around you helps to have a voice and tell the world your value.

Adaptability is necessary for growth
If you are willing to grow you need to have that adaptability factor in you. Growth will expose you to different regions and spaces, hence the need for adaptability if you want to survive. In Ruvheneko’s words, “As you perfect your craft as you put in your 10,000 hours to perfect what you are as a professional and as an individual…just know that this time next year or this time in five years the landscape will not look the same.” One ought to be able to identify the core of their work and be able to replicate it in the ever changing landscape without compromising themselves. Shoko Festival is living proof of adaptability as evidenced by the phenomenal online festivities in response to COVID-19 restrictions.

Be professional
Practicing a professional attitude makes it easy for people to support you. As much as the creative sector is largely informal, some principles just have to be adhered to especially when dealing with formal clients or co-operates. Not only that, the way people relate to you depends on how you conduct your business and relate to clients. This includes knowing your clients and audience and fine tuning to that. In this digital age, invest in yourself as a brand accordingly. It’s important to be thorough and precise to avoid unnecessary back and forth.

Billing for value
Lately it has become common to hear people quote their service fees per hour. Is this a good or bad pricing system? I depends on a lot of factors really, and so it’s important to be cautious when working on your rate cards to ensure that you offer the right combination of quality and good service to your clients at a fair price. Clients are not really about how long you will take but the quality of the service or product delivered in the given time. “If it takes me ten minutes to create a poster that you will share online, the value that I’m giving you is more than ten minutes…you cannot bill per hour because at some point that doesn’t translate.” Ruvheneko. She went on to encourage creatives not to be afraid to set prices that reflect their value in order to grow.

There you have it folks! It goes without saying that there are many more lessons you could pick from the summit that can help you move a step forward in your creative career.

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