Posted: March 1, 2023 By Kieran Darmody

Smart Cellular Owner, Yasmin Shares her Experiences as a Female Founder

Yasmin founded Smart Cellular, an online refurbished mobile company that started in 2014. She spoke to Liberis about her experience as a female business owner working in a typically male-dominated industry and her funding journey.

Return to blog posts

What made you want to start your own business?  

My family have always been in business. My father has his own business, and my uncles have their own business. Owning a business comes with more risk than a regular job – where you’re guaranteed a salary, but with risk comes great reward, like employing your own people in the company.   

My greatest joy is employing people! I love my staff; my staff are my family. It’s such a great feeling. When you get to the end of the month and do payroll – it’s a blessing because all those people support their families. Even when things have been bad, that’s what kept me going.   

It’s such a buzz – it’s so challenging, but it’s so exciting. For me, it was seeing my father and my uncles own their own businesses, so I always knew I wanted to get into business. I just didn’t know what. I knew the internet was the way forward – but I had to think, what is going to sell that is never going to go away? After a good 6 months of research, it was a mobile phone. It was the one thing that was never going to go.   

What has been the greatest challenge of owning and running your own business?  

A couple of months before I started, my sister-in-law and I went to a wholesale supplier for a meeting. They didn’t take me seriously. There was a layer of him saying you can’t do it without him directly saying it. I still remember it to this day.  

There’s also the office politics. You must be and act a certain way. If you don’t want to play into that ‘banter’ – you can lose that relationship completely. I think it also completely depends on what sector you’re in. I have friends that work in fashion, and it’s completely different.   

I don’t get the same cards the men get – I had to keep making mistakes over and over again. I didn’t want to speak about it because it was like, ‘you just have to work harder’.   

Did you find it challenging to access funding, and if so, why?  

I didn’t find it difficult. While there might be more males in the financial sector, there really is support there. I found they encouraged me because I’m a female in business. It’s more about your idea and what you’re doing. That’s it.   

What do you think puts female founders off getting funding? Is it a broader business issue, or does it depend on the industry?   

I think it’s 100% about not knowing where to go. Let’s say someone who has a business they’re doing it from home and have a family. They don’t have the time to research everything because it’s limited – often, they wear so many hats.  

There’s a lot of help out there. It’s just about finding the support that’s available to you. It’s just making those tools and guides more accessible and guiding women where to go and find these resources.  

For a lot of women, they also don’t get enough encouragement. I’m only in business because I saw my father and uncles doing it. It’s about finding that courage and mentors to encourage you to take those risks.  

What advice would you give women just starting in business or wanting to take the leap into opening their own business?  

There’s no such thing as can’t, it’s just finding out how to. It’s asking, ‘how do I get there? And that journey is different for everybody. And everyone’s journey is supposed to be different. You have to have the lows to have the peaks – but you can’t give up.    

Trusted by
Backed by