By Sujany Baleswaran
After excelling and thriving in healthcare for over a decade, Rumbi Jena found herself yearning for something more. Eager to have more time and freedom for herself and loved ones, the employee turned entrepreneur delved into the power of mindset, taking every opportunity to attend business networking events and seminars to widen her horizon.
Today, Rumbi has created an academy with the right tools and programs to help other women make that powerful transformation from employee to entrepreneur and turn that dream into reality. iReign Female Academy aims to help women transform their mindset just like Rumbi did, helping them step out of their comfort zone and seek that change they desire, whether it is time for family, oneself, or the freedom to focus on the causes that are dear to them.
Let’s go back to the beginning – how was your childhood and how has it shaped who you are today?
I was born and raised in Zimbabwe and moved to the UK at the age of 18. I grew up in a Christian family with four siblings, which meant our lives was constantly filled with the hustle and bustle of a busy home. From the ages of 12-18, I went to boarding school, and that experience instilled a great sense of discipline in me. I knew I’d have a successful career from a young age – it was simple, I worked hard in school, always had excellent grades, excelled when it came to tertiary education and started my career. It was a given – my career would be a success. My mother is a go-getter and very hardworking. She raised us to be exactly like that, which I am grateful for. She’d always find a way out, even when there was seemingly no way out. So, when I realised it was time for a change, I didn’t know where to start, but one thing I remembered for sure, is that there is always a way out.
You started your career in healthcare but soon realised this wasn’t the career path for you – what led you down this path?
I am a go-getter, so I seldom passed any opportunity to progress. It wasn’t easy, but because I was determined to succeed, I made it happen. As far as careers are concerned, I progressed quickly. However, I always felt like something was missing. I have had heard many people express their dissatisfaction with their job, working a job that left them miserable – I struggled with that. I would always think I am not most people; I didn’t want to fall into that category. The higher I progressed, the busier and more stressful it became. I wanted my time back, I wanted my freedom back, and I wanted more choices for myself, my family and causes that were important to me.
5 years into your career you started climbing the career ladder making your way to management. What are some of the biggest obstacles you have faced on your journey to the top?
Wow, I remember the time I applied for over 50 jobs, interviewed for over 20 and did not get a single job! It was very challenging, to say the least. The competition is very steep, the higher you go. It becomes more than about qualifications. Networking, mentorship, coaching – it all plays a part. Being a female ethnic minority was a big challenge as well. I found the top wasn’t as diverse as I expected. In order to keep taking those giant steps, I had to find my Zen and understand who I am and what I stand for. On my journey to discovering who Rumbi really is, I realised my dreams had changed. I wanted to create my own path.
You mention that you always had a yearning to change your career and it takes a lot of courage to finally make that decision and take action. Can you tell us more about that moment? What insecurities were you battling inside that prevented you from taking that business step?
I remember it clearly. The year was 2018. I had just interviewed for over 20 jobs and was not offered a single one. I was on a fixed-term contract that was due to end in a few months. Then it hit me hard – the thought that I might not be able to afford to buy food, let alone have a roof over my head in a few months. I fell into depression and didn’t leave the house for almost three weeks. I struggled to get out of bed, I struggled to cook, clean, do laundry – the simple tasks I would normally do every day seemed impossible. I was single, and the responsibility to pay those bills fell solely on me.
But then I remembered that my mother always found a way out. She still does. Her team is the team that makes this happen. My Christian background has also instilled in me the belief that I can create. I know I can create. However, I did not know where to start. The idea of change alone was daunting. I was afraid of coming across as different. Maybe I wouldn’t fit in anymore. What if I failed?
Nevertheless, I knew at that point I had to try something different. If I never tried, how would I ever know? Having a successful career and constantly working to show my worth hadn’t been a walk in the park. It was hard work, so why not work hard for something I really wanted? So, I took the first step outside my comfort zone, and growth began.
At this stage of your life, you delved into research, finally finding the key to moving from employee to entrepreneur. Can you share your secrets with our readers? What changes did you make in your life to get into the right headspace and mindset?
It’s because I didn’t know where to start. I looked for free business networking events and attended whenever I had the opportunity to. This went on for roughly two years. It was my way of educating myself. I loved the environment and there was a certain mindset that I hadn’t seen before at these networking events. There was the thought of knowing you can create but also taking the necessary steps to do so. I did worry a lot about money in the beginning. But I went anyway and discovered if you had the right mindset, the money would find you. I also started reading books and listening to podcasts by successful entrepreneurs. The biggest step was finding a mentor and getting a life coach. That helped me to progress further, and continues to help me deal with any beliefs that limit my progress consciously or unconsciously. Mentorship has been the greatest help.
What inspired you to launch iReign Female Academy?
Women like me are my inspiration. Women who yearn for change, time, freedom, more choices but don’t necessarily believe they can. They may have zero idea where to start – that’s ok, I didn’t either. I remember how difficult it was for me and how long it took me to make the necessary changes. I want to help a woman out there to do the same in a shorter space of time. I believe we were born to reign, hence the name iReign.
When you step away from business and helping other women, what does your life become? What do you do to unwind?
I am a very simple person. I like walking. I love the countryside. I take time out to visualise what I want the future to look like because I understand the power of my mind. I use my mind to create and shape my future. I literally take mental health weekends every now and again. I also do a lot of charity and missionary work, so I spend a lot of my time doing that. Having a more flexible timetable means I have more time for family and friends.
You went from an employee mindset to an entrepreneur mindset. What are three pieces of advice you would give to other women who also want to make that daunting transition?
Change can be tough, but you will be better for it. Growth begins when you step out of your comfort zone. Allow yourself to go through the process – you will appreciate who you become through that process. You will most likely hear something discouraging from someone close – please don’t let that be your focus. Instead, find yourself a network of like-minded people who will encourage you along the way. Invest in mentorship or coaching. That has been the greatest help in my journey. When the going gets tough, get tougher. And remember, you were born to reign!
So what is next for you and your dreams?
The next step is to continue building and expanding my business. I am working on group and individual coaching programs. This world is dynamic, therefore a dynamic mindset is key. So, I continue to invest in myself and my progress. My dream is about having more freedom, time and choices for family, loved ones and causes that are dear to me. Each day, I take a step to create that ultimate dream.
If you would like to learn how you can transform from employee to entrepreneur and get more freedom in your life, join Rumbi’s free FB group and get access to the iReign Business Blueprint here.