Around March of 2015, I came across an Instagram post of the Women by Choice Network about the importance of cultivating sisterhood for the growth of women. That post prompted me to log on to their website and sign up for their membership, since then I have been a member and I have taken some of Andromeda Raheem’s online coaching courses from How to become an Empowered Woman to Love Yourself and Win. The network and Andromeda herself have been an incredible support system throughout my journey as a woman and entrepreneur. Andromeda does a great job of engaging and staying connected with the members. Her gift with words positively impacts the lives of those women who follow her blog posts and encouraging messages online.
Her messages have always come at the right time during my journey and have been the source of self-reflection and introspection that have gotten me to where I am today, not only as a woman but also as an entrepreneur. For Andromeda, it is important that women make a daily choice of being their best self and to take accountability for their own success, growth, and happiness. To understand that women gain much more when they learn to support, encourage, uplift, celebrate and show genuine compassion for one another.
I haven’t come across another network of women as supportive as this. I have witnessed the network’s growth as well as the growth of many of their members, including my own. To date, the network has accrued a strong audience of more than 80 thousand followers, has opened chapters in other cities around the country and this year, Andromeda achieved one of her dreams which was initially the vision that propelled the creation of this network: publishing a book.
It is with great pleasure and honor that I sit today to talk with Andromeda Raheem about her vision, inspirations, and her advice to women in all paths of life as we celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week.
WA: Tell us a bit about yourself, where were you born?
AR: I was born in Irvington, NJ 31 years ago. I moved to Florida when I was 8 years old and that is where I’ve resided ever since. I am a middle child of 6 siblings. I graduated from Flagler College with a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting. I worked for the State of Florida for 3 years before I decided to pursue my purpose of empowering and uniting women full-time. I enjoy traveling and experiencing new things. Skydiving is on my bucket list. Although the idea scares me, I am all about conquering fears and I think it will be an empowering experience.
WA: What inspired you to start Women By Choice and why is this so important to you?
AR: Once I discovered that writing has always come naturally to me, I decided to start a blog in preparation to write a book. I entitled it Women By Choice because I shared my journey of learning that being a woman is more than just turning 18 years old. I made a lot of mistakes because I thought I knew it all at 18, but later in life realized that being a woman is about making the choice to take responsibility for your own happiness and make yourself accountable for your own success. It’s important to me because many women go through life blaming others for their unhappiness, looking for others to make them whole, and waiting for someone to give them permission to win. I want them to know that they are enough and can choose happiness and success whenever they are ready to. Women By Choice has since evolved into a global network for women to receive support in their personal and professional lives and make valuable connections.
WA: When did you launch it?
AR: Women By Choice was born in May 2014, but officially became a business in June of 2014.
WA: What is the mission statement of Women by Choice network?
AR: Providing an environment for women to collaborate instead of competing and bring together their collective knowledge and resources to assist one another in reaching their individual goals. Our mantra is, When Women Support Women, We ALL Win!
WA: How did you conquer fear when building your brand?
AR: Women By Choice has been purpose-driven from the very beginning so I don’t recall many instances of being fearful because I didn’t overthink things too much. I went wherever my spirit leads me and took advantage of every opportunity that was presented to me. There were definitely times when I had to step out of my comfort zone to get things done, but I never allowed discomfort or fear to stop me from doing what I was called to do. If I had to do it to progress, I did it. In my mind, it was just that simple.
WA: In your opinion, what do women need more of?
AR: In my opinion, women need more women to be transparent. We often feel alone in our struggles because we don’t have anyone around us who is brave enough to take off their mask and admit that they struggled or are struggling. I believe that we have the ability to be the light at the end of each other’s tunnels by sharing our testimonies. In a world where everyone wants to appear to be winning all of the time, we need women to have the courage to say, “I failed or I lost” and share what they learned to provide a point of reference to those who will run into the same obstacles. We need support and information to overcome real-life situations. And we also need room to make mistakes and the opportunity to come back from them.
WA: What do women need less of?
AR: Women need less of people telling them what they should look like and who they should be. A woman becomes so powerful once she decides to be confident in who she was created to be.
WA: How do you handle feelings of envy or competition?
AR: I don’t give those thoughts or emotions any energy. Once I became self-aware, I learned to separate the rational from the irrational so I simply make the choice not to act on any thoughts or feelings that won’t prove to be beneficial to me. I know how to separate how I feel from what’s real and what I know for sure is that I have no reason to be envious of anyone and collaboration will always be more powerful than the competition.
WA: What is the one thing women business owners need on their journey?
AR: Women business owners definitely need a support system. This journey is hard, but it is so much easier when you have people to encourage you, share with you, teach you, endorse you, support you, and inspire you. I would not have gotten as far as I have if I didn’t have a group of women who believe in my vision and keep me accountable for reaching my goals.
WA: What motivates you?
AR: I am motivated by the idea that my life has a purpose. My existence is bigger than me and my temporary feelings. I keep going even when I’m tired, frustrated and discouraged because I don’t want to leave this world without completing what I was created to do.
WA: What are some of the challenges you have faced as a woman entrepreneur and how did you conquer them?
AR: Some of my challenges included being discouraged due to lack of support in the beginning stages and not allowing the mistakes I made cause me to quit. I conquered these challenges with faith and determination. Winning and success begin with your mindset. I am committed to my calling so quitting was never an option. I learned that regardless of what other people do or what’s going on around me, my biggest obstacle is myself. I had to stop focusing on who wasn’t supporting me so that I could see and appreciate who was. I stopped beating myself up over my mistakes once I realized that many people didn’t even notice them and the ones that did weren’t that worried about it. No matter what challenge I face, I always remember that I am equipped to handle it because God wouldn’t bring me to it if I couldn’t get through it. Entrepreneurship is a journey full of ups and downs and learning lessons. Once you understand that things won’t always be perfect and you’ll get smarter as you go, the difficult times won’t be able to break you.
WA: You recently published your book She Wins, how does winning look like for you?
AR: For me, winning is being healthy, happy, and fulfilled. Even more than that, it’s having the freedom to be myself and be satisfied with the choices I’ve made for my life.
WA: What’s next for Andromeda and the Women By Choice Network?
AR: I have so many exciting things in store for the near future including launching a new podcast, hosting an empowerment event tour, continuing to grow our network globally, and providing women with more opportunities to win personally and professionally.
In May 2014, after experiencing years of negative interactions with women, Andromeda Raheem determined that her purpose in life is to empower and unite women. While working her government accounting job, Andromeda started a blog to share her stories of betrayal, loss of friendships, and lack of support from other women. At the time, it was simply a passion project and she had no idea that she was putting herself on a path to become an empowerment coach, speaker, author, and founder of a global network that promotes support and sisterhood among women.
Since taking excerpts from her blog to social media and sharing her empowering messages that encourage women to collaborate instead of compete, deal with their insecurities, and know their worth, Women By Choice has grown a massive online presence with a following of over 100,000 women worldwide including Rap Superstar, Nicki Minaj, Grammy Award-Winning Gospel Singer, Erica Campbell, Fashion Designer and Philanthropist, Angela Simmons, and many more influential women.
Although Women By Choice’s social media presence has great influence, has been proven to positively impact the lives of women, and is valuable to the growth and exposure of women entrepreneurs and their businesses, Women By Choice is much more than a social media account. Women By Choice has been successful in connecting and supporting women globally via the Women By Choice Network, an online-based network where women connect, form business partnerships, and create genuine friendships. Women By Choice has also been successful in connecting and empowering women offline via networking and empowerment events.
As a Women’s Empowerment Expert, Girl Power Advocate, Author of She Wins: The Ultimate Guide for Women to Gain a Winning Mindset and Lead a Winning Lifestyle, and Motivational Speaker, Andromeda is invited to speak at events around the world for the purpose of empowering women to manifest the life they deserve and live up to their full potential. As she has a heart for seeing women do and be their best, Andromeda uses her eloquent way with words to inspire and encourage women daily. Andromeda believes wholeheartedly that “When Women Support Women, We ALL Win!”
Andromeda has been featured in The Huffington Post as “Your Ambitious Women’s Empowerment Expert”. Included among the many professional speaking engagements on her resume, Andromeda was a panelist on the Millenial She-E-O Panel for the Tampa Bay Business Journal Biz Women Summit. As giving back is important to Andromeda, she has also volunteered her time as a mentor at the Girls Scouts of West Central Florida CEO Camp. Andromeda was awarded the Women On The Rise Social Media Blogger at the 2017 Women On the Rise Orlando Awards Gala and has been recognized as an Ambassador of Change in the city of Orlando, FL by Ambassadors of Change, Inc.
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