“I LEFT THE USA TO PURSUE MY PASSION IN NIGERIA.” MEET UGOCHI NWOSU, FOUNDER OF RELIANCE CLINICS

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Not everyone owns up to their purpose especially when it takes you from one continent to another. Ugochi left the United States to pursue purpose in Nigeria.

Ugochi is the founder of Reliance Clinics. She’ll be sharing insights into her life as a medical practitioner, health tips, the numerous challenges she faced and how she was able to overcome them. 


Who is Ugochi Nwosu?

I was born in Nigeria and lived there until I was 7 before my family immigrated to the United States. That was where I did all my schooling. After my undergraduate degree, I did my residency training in the States also until I returned back to Nigeria in 2019. This kick-started my goal to start a business that provided quality private healthcare services. 

What are you passionate about?

Healthcare! I really want to live in a world where everyone has full access to adequate healthcare. In Nigeria, the rate at which people in their early 40s and 50s die is really alarming. All of these can be avoided. 

I just want to help people live healthy and productive lives where they get to see their grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. Although this would be beautiful, it’s not easy. If people want to live till their late 80s, it starts from now. So, I want to keep educating people about this. 

What ignited the spark to start Reliance Clinics?

For me, the inclination to work in healthcare came since my undergraduate studies. I learnt about the possible challenges, the requirements and mapped out the areas to make an impact. It was important to be properly grounded in what I was planning to do to avoid making any silly mistakes.

I also worked with a whole lot of NGOs to ensure I had a feel of what I was about getting myself into. I didn’t really plan to start a business for myself. The decision to do that came after I kept searching for an NGO to work with but couldn’t find any at that point. This made me start looking for other possible opportunities

During my residency training, I met people who were interested in digital healthcare services and connected with them. They encourage me to just do what I need to do because no one makes actual change by talking and observing. It was great for me because I didn’t see myself as someone that could take up that level of responsibility upon myself. The plan had always been to work for someone who was already doing the things I needed to do. That’s basically how the business came alive. 

How was the startup phase of your business?

I’m not going to deny the fact that everything was new to me. Firstly, we had to scout for a suitable location, then we had to figure out a way to get supplies for the clinic and basically test these supplies yourself because everything had to be reliable 100%. 

For funding, I met the founders of a health insurance company during my residency training so things sort of worked out for me in the sense that they needed a trusted clinic that they could send patients to so they kind of gave me the initial funding for the clinic. 

What business challenges have you faced and how have those challenges shaped your mindset?

One major challenge has been hiring and training staff. For those in healthcare, the quality of services offered has to be nothing but excellent. Most times, doctors, pharmacists, nurses etc expect some things to be done in some certain way based on what they’ve seen before or something which might not necessarily be the right thing. 

When you tell this category of people that there’s a standard that should be met and we’re not going to overlook that standard just because we’re operating in Nigeria, it turns into a situation where it feels like you’re telling them that they’re not properly trained or something so that was a major challenge for me. 

Another challenge we had, in the beginning, was dealing with patients and staff who were used to things being done in certain ways and then we do them in totally different ways. For instance, most patients that come to our clinic are used to being given so many drugs even for not so serious cases. When we give them just 1-2 drugs, they feel like we’re not treating them the right way or we don’t really care about their wellbeing which is why we’re given them little amounts of drugs and that’s not the situation at all. 

What have you learned so far from running this business?

When it comes to hiring, you have to ensure that those people actually have the skills they claim to possess. It’s mandatory that you do. I’ve learnt over time that you have to be very intentional when deciding who to bring on board, how to evaluate their skills and how to train them so that from day 1, they can actually deliver. 

 

Ugochi is a participant in the High Growth Coaching Program 2020. Catch up on her business journey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

“My Goals Define Who I Am.” Meet Ayomiposi Ogunti, Founder of Ideabud

ayomiposi

Your goals are the key to success in your career or your business. As you get closer to achieving your goals, the chances of truly finding yourself increase immensely because you’re constantly breaking barriers and getting to know who you truly are. 

“My goals define who I am!” Ayomiposi isn’t taking chances when it comes to achieving the impossible. She’s the founder of IdeaBud and is breaking boundaries in her business.


Who is Ayomiposi Ogunti?

I’ve lived in Lagos almost all my life till I went to the University Of Ilorin for my tertiary education. Before I started Ideabud, I had worked with two management consulting firms as a research analyst and a team lead for performance monitoring and evaluation. I did this for a while before deciding to start my own business

ayomiposi

I’m really passionate about people’s development as regards their careers and personal growth. I’m also passionate about entrepreneurship and creativity. One thing about me is I get excited about new things. It could even be something old that’s done in a new and refreshing way. 

What ignited the spark to start IdeaBud?

Deep down, I always wanted to help people bring their ideas to life. No matter how scary or tasking those ideas are. I just enjoy helping people out with whatever it could be. People would always say, “Ayomiposi has the answers!”

After numerous conversations with top executives, colleagues, friends and the likes, I discovered that most people had brilliant ideas but couldn’t bring it to life. They were always stuck at the implementation stage. I saw a void and decided to fill it. 

The heart of IDEABUD is passion. Let’s track back a little since I started working with corporate organizations, I had always wanted to see people excel in their respective fields and businesses. Not everyone has the luxury of time to monitor a project from the startup phase until it gains ground and becomes something spectacular. This is where my passion comes in.

What business challenges have you faced and how have those challenges shaped your mindset?

Most businesses that operate in the field of consultation experience a very similar challenge which is getting clients. Without clients, a business cannot operate. You can discuss with clients over and over only for them to change their mind when you think the project is 95% ready to kick off. 

Another challenge I’ve faced is how to create content to drive IDEABUD. This might appear like a minor issue but it was a major stumbling block. The thing with consulting is you have to be careful how you project your content to your audience because it tends to become technical rather than relatable.

It got to the point where I needed to take a step back and reevaluate the situation of my business and map out ways I could reach out to people better. It was during this evaluation stage I came across a guide from SheLeadsAfrica’s Facebook page about storytelling. It really helped me in so many ways. 

These challenges have helped Ideabud become a business that people can actually relate to. It put us on a path to being the best at what we do. 

What have you learned so far from running this business?

I learnt at the early stage that establishing a standard operating procedure goes a really long way. This procedure has served as a guideline for me when dealing with clients, because, before then, I just dealt with clients as the spirit led. It really messed up a whole lot of things for me and the client. So, you should always have a standard operating procedure that helps you identify what needs to be done at specific points in time.

 

Ayomiposi is a participant in the High Growth Coaching Program 2020. Catch up on her business journey on Instagram and LinkedIn.

“Pay Attention To What You Eat!” Meet Patience Bature, CEO Parkea Ventures

Most times, we can’t really determine what life has in store for us. Some people already know how the next few years of their lives would go but all of that could change with one experience.

Patience is the CEO of Parkea ventures. She’s proud of how she’s been able to juggle life as a mother, wife and business owner. 


Who is Patience Bature?

Watching my mum handle food-related businesses sparked my interest in business which grew as I got more involved. After school, my siblings and I had to assist her at the shop so there wasn’t any room for laziness. You always had to be engaged. So I’d say my childhood was really engaging! There was always something to do. 

Seeing the effects of years and years of hard work on my mum made me stop to think and reevaluate things. It gave me an idea, so I switched my focus towards general well-being and why we need to be intentional about the food we eat.

What ignited the spark to start Parkea ventures?

I needed to find the perfect cereal for my baby who was fast approaching the stage where he had to stop breastfeeding. I tried various products but none was able to keep him satisfied till the next morning. This pushed me to carry out research and I discovered something golden.

I was able to create a formula that had numerous nutrients which were perfect for my baby. After making the switch to this formula, I noticed that he slept better. He didn’t wake up at intervals like he used to. I just had to recommend it to my friends who were also nursing mothers.

Let’s just say it was a long chain of recommendations, my friends recommended me to other mothers and it went on and on until I could no longer produce at home. Even a doctor got to find out about the formula and requested for a batch. That was how the business itself started. 

What business challenges have you faced and how have those challenges shaped your mindset?

My first challenge was moving from producing in my home to producing in an actual factory. It wasn’t easy getting used to that switch at all. Secondly, we had to approach a commercial factory for production and it’s been affecting our profit margin. The more we discover new products from the archer grain, the more the business grows which demands more from us and that could be tasking.

Thirdly, it’s been difficult to get the necessary equipment that would help increase product range. This leads us to the last challenge which has been funding. It hasn’t been easy getting the funds for this business. I can see there’s a potential market for it. I just need to find creative ways to tap into it. 

I’ve been able to learn from all those challenges that it’s okay to fail and experience difficulties because that’s the only way to truly grow. I could work with smallholder farmers to fight the issue of scarcity which would protect me from various market factors. Giving up is not an option.

What have you learned so far from running this business?

Entrepreneurship is war but the customer is key. This means that everything should always revolve around your customers. This has helped me develop patience. I fully understand that life is filled with challenges and we just have to keep striving till we’re able to achieve all our set goals. 

How have you been able to balance life as a mother, a wife and a business owner 

It’s not been a very easy ride. The funny thing is I’ve always been into business. Till this day, I’ve never worked as a staff for anyone and I intend to keep it that way. The best part about this is I married a man who really understands my goals. He’s very supportive so it’s easy for me to handle all of these without any hassles. 

 

Patience is a participant in the High Growth Coaching Program 2020. Catch up on her business journey on Facebook.

“I Started A Business At The Age Of 8” Meet Mejero Kunu, CEO Pennee Technologies

Mejero didn’t have life all figured out but she was certain of one thing, her passion. She nurtured it until she achieved her life long dream of helping businesses grow and expand.

She is the CEO of Pennee Technologies and an avid contributor to the business space.


Who is Mejero Kunu?

If I told you that I started business at the age of 8 would you believe? That’s how long I’ve been interested in business. I always enjoyed the idea of providing a service and getting a reward in return. Everything about business appeals to me. The ups and downs, the struggles, the fact that you can bring an idea to life and nurture it till it becomes something priceless and so many others.

If I wasn’t doing business, I’d probably be an astronaut but definitely not in Nigeria because it has a way of realigning your destiny and bringing out the entrepreneur in you. 

Growing up in an average home really shaped my perception of life. There were always books around and we always had something to keep us mentally engaged and stimulated. There was this room for communication and self-expression which actually helped me learn how to express my feelings better but this didn’t mean we always had our way. 

If Mejero had her way, I would’ve gone into business full time but they would not have approved. Up until university education, I always helped people with their businesses and got involved with so many business opportunities which cut across to buying and selling, helping people establish their business and the likes. So, that’s where the business part of me was born. 

What ignited the spark to start Pennee?

I’ve always wanted to do something like this for years but it didn’t come to life. In other developing and developed countries, you’d find more small and medium scale business than even large scale businesses. But in Nigeria, the reverse is the case. The sad part is, most of these businesses fail before they’re able to expand and gain grounds. So, the dedication is to help Nigerian businesses grow and expand. 

As I started in 2019, I saw my impact on people’s businesses and how I was able to help them out in very difficult situations. So the driving force was I could help people with their businesses whilst helping myself build the dream I’ve always had.

What business challenges have you faced and how have those challenges shaped your mindset?

The biggest challenge so far is people underestimating my abilities. Some people believe that you must have specific characteristics to be able to handle certain jobs and situations. 

I’ve been able to face this by repeatedly proving myself to those that matter. Making them know that although I might not have certain qualities you might be looking for, I have what it takes to pull this job through. 

Another challenge I’m currently facing is funding. Raising funds to push this has been tasking for me but I’ve been able to allow that hurdle shape my mindset. It has made me more strategic when it comes to funds and trying to achieve the best results.

I’m really passionate about PENNYTECH. I’m very positive about the next few years and I can’t wait to be a part of so many success stories. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up, it’s the last thing on my mind before going to bed.

What have you learned so far from running this business?

To be very honest, I’ve learnt a whole lot of things from running this business. In the past, I could only use Canva to make average designs. Right now, I can use sophisticated applications to make cleaner designs that you’d think I was a graphics designer. Also, I’ve learnt how to work better with people. To get the best out of people isn’t an easy task. With this business, I’ve been able to learn various ways to make people want to be better at whatever they do. This is something that I cherish now.

 

Mejero is a participant in the High Growth Coaching Program 2020. Catch up on her business journey on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

“Writing Has Always Been A Childhood Dream” Meet Julie Ako, CEO Albantsho

If you’re finding it difficult to find your passion and stick with it, Julie’s story can be an inspiration for you. Her story is one that gives insight into various ways you can simply define a clear career path for yourself without having to fail at so many things!

Julie is definitely amongst the category of people that found what they love and stuck with it till it became a source of motivation to make an impact on the world at large. She is the founder of Albantsho.


Who is Julie Ako?

Have you ever been raised by scholars before? Girl, that experience charges up your mindset! My father, was in the science field while my mum was in art, literature to be precise and they always pushed me to do better at everything.

My mum passed down her love for literature to me. She taught me the figures of speech and I just found myself connecting to these teachings without any difficulty. That was when my love for writing started manifesting.

My passion for writing grew to the point where I started writing for magazines, various stage plays and even screenwriting. Back in school, I made it a commitment to learning more about the process of screenwriting to improve what I already knew.

Series of writing and growing and before I knew it, my first screenplay was ready. It was so good that I sold it to Africa Magic. I was super excited. That was how the screenwriting journey began.

What ignited the spark to start Albantsho?

The name Albantsho was derived from the Nigerian word Albasa which means ‘Onion’ and ‘Ntsho’ a Setswana word for ‘Black.’ Albantsho means Black onions. We gave it that name because it represents the different layers of writers and storytelling across Africa.

Before I dive into details of the business and everything it represents, I won’t be saying the story the right way if I didn’t make reference to how it actually started.

After school, I got the opportunity to study film and television production with Multichoice talent factory where I met a lot of likeminded people that complemented my love for screenwriting. That was where I just had to own up to it and tell myself that this is where I want to be. This is where I see myself in a few years.

 

One of Julie’s productions, Ajeji

Being with people from different cultures created an artistic feeling around everything we did. It wasn’t until this point that we realized how much influence we had on each other. We couldn’t let that fire go to waste. We felt that other African writers deserved an opportunity collaborate with other African writers, get feedback about their works, help each other grow and create a transnational network that is capable of standing the test of time.

Nothing is as beautiful as African stories being told by Africans for Africans. The fact that we’re beginning to own up to who we truly are is more than a driving force. We might not be at the forefront of this switch but knowing that we’re contributing to it is more than enough.

What business challenges have you faced and how have those challenges shaped your mindset?

I think startups face more challenges than established businesses because the initial phase of a business determines the pace at which the business moves and operates.

One major challenge is trying to communicate to dream of this project to other writers. Not every writer can see what we see. Sometimes, we have to pass the message in different ways just to ensure that they have an idea of what our focus is.

There have been other business challenges like understanding the niche we operate in and how to make it work for us, streamlining long and short term goals and being able to efficiently communicate with my business partner who resides in Botswana. With all these, we still come out stronger each day.

What have you learned so far from running this business?

I’ve learnt so much already. This one is for everyone that’s either currently running or thinking of starting a business.

  • Plan accordingly. Most of us hear this particular point over and over but we never actually focus on it.
  • Clearly identify your goals. Your long and short time goals have to be outlined.
  • Teamwork is beautiful. It’s practically normal to experience a clash of ideas and perspectives, what you have to do is remind yourself that every team member is after the progress of the business too. Once you bear this in mind, there are no limits!

 

Julie is a participant in the High Growth Coaching Program 2020. You can join her and many other writers interested in screenwriting for film and television on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

“I Turned My Love For Food Into A Business” Meet Comfort Oluwasesan, CEO HealthyTreatIb

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Anyone can achieve the unimaginable and that includes you! After battling with high blood pressure and depression, Comfort had to relearn everything she knew. She was determined to have a success story.

Today, Comfort is the CEO of HealthyTreatIb, an HR consultant and also a visual artist.


Who is Comfort Oluwasesan?

While growing up, my parents felt I was going to study journalism or law because I always had my way with words. They didn’t know I had plans to study applied arts. I didn’t get their full support at first but eventually, they gave in because they knew I was really handy. I enjoyed getting things done with my hands so much.

Geeting handy is just a piece of the iceberg. Another interesting fact about me is my love for food. I really love food! Yes, I admit I’m a foodie even my favourite TV programs are food shows. I can’t just get enough of it. This was where the passion for the business came from. I’m a very fun person and there’s really no dull moment around me.

 

What ignited the spark to start HealthyTreatIb?

Remember I said I love food? That didn’t do justice to how much I enjoy food. When it comes to everything related to food, I’m there! I could cook for hours without even realizing it. I just decided to go into it once and for all and help people enjoy what I enjoy when it comes to food. 

During the early stages of my marriage, it seemed like things were going bad. At some point, I was hypertensive, anxious and even went into depression. My blood pressure rose drastically. To be honest, I felt like I wasn’t going to survive it. 

This went on till I met a cardiologist who made me understand that I was only experiencing all of that because of stress. He emphasized the benefits of adopting a very healthy lifestyle.

He went further to say how having a healthy meal plan, proper attention to the body and constant rest can help someone live without sickness and health problems. This was what made me start the restaurant. I wanted to create an avenue for people to be able to eat right!

What would you say is the heart of your business?

The drive for my business is the fact that I believe people should be able to eat healthy foods. Healthy eating doesn’t necessarily mean eating boring food. We always want to provide solutions to the problem of food. So the heart of the business is providing quality services for our clients anytime and any day. 

What business challenges have you faced and how have those challenges shaped your mindset?

If anyone tells me that there’s a business that doesn’t have challenges I’d tell the person that I can fly because every business comes with its own challenges. 

When I started this business, it was a whole lot! It was not easy! At the early stage of my business, I once attended to this client who put me through hell. I had to spend hours convincing her that she had nothing to worry about. After the meal was eventually delivered, she practically insulted everything I had done.

I really felt terrible. She compared me with someone who had already been in the business for years! I didn’t let that weigh me down. I evaluated my business and mapped out the things that were not working well and made sure I improved on them.

What have you learned so far from running this business?

I’ve learnt that consistency and patience are very key factors when it comes to business. There are days you make sales, there are days you don’t. On both days, you should ensure you do what you’re supposed to do.

If you’re not consistent, people would forget you. For patience, Rome was not built in a day. You have to believe that as your business grows, things would definitely get better provided you keep doing all the things you need to do. 

Perseverance is also an important lesson I’ve learnt. You just have to keep going regardless.

 

Comfort is a participant in the High Growth Coaching Program 2020. Catch up on her business journey on HealthyTreatIb,.

Challenging Mindsets One Head At A Time With Curl Expert Rumbie Mutsiwa

Every entrepreneur has a story of how they started and what led them on that path. Rumbie Mutsiwa the founder of Rumbie & Co (a Sydney based hair salon) is a Zimbabwean who relocated to Australia 15 years ago and stumbled into the entrepreneurial world.

Her story is one of resilience, pushing the boundaries and taking up space where minorities are often overlooked. She’s been recognised by Vogue Australia for having a unique hair product line that caters for most curly, afro and wavy hair textures.

Rumbie Mutsiwa (Founder of Rumbie & Co)

What was the turning point for you as a Zimbabwean woman living in Australia that prompted or inspired you to start your own business?

Starting a business was never something I thought I would do, let alone the idea of being an entrepreneur. However, I am very grateful that God pushed me in this direction. Early on in my career as a nurse, I started to have this impulse, this impulse was to pray and to work out what I was truly gifted and talented at doing because back then, most people I spoke to and asked whether they liked their jobs  were only resigned to sticking to their jobs because it provided them with an income and life doesn’t always turn out to be a fairytale as we know it.

Something within me just couldn’t take that and I went on this introspective journey. To answer your question about what inspired me to start my own business, I would say there is two parts to this. The first being when my sister suggested I go into hairdressing. At the time, I was not impressed with her suggestion and actually found it to be quite insulting and disrespectful. These feelings probably stemmed from my upbringing in an African household and environment. Those of us who have grown up in these environments can probably relate to this because majority of the time you are encouraged to go down an academic path instead of a creative path.

Despite these negative feelings towards the idea of being a hairdresser looming in my mind after my sisters suggestion, I decided to take a step back to find out why I was so upset about what she had said. I started to write down and unpack the reasons why I felt the way I did and began writing my vision.

This was the first time I was truly honest with myself about what my passions were and I remember that process of writing being quite therapeutic for me. As I wrote down the things that inspired me, I discovered that I loved hair dressing. The moment I felt that I had written my heart out on paper and fully expressed my vision, I threw the pen and paper across the room and in that moment it hit me that I was passionate about hair. I loved hair and I loved the transformation and the power of it and a whole lot of other things about hair and the psychology attached to curly hair.

The second part to me realising I needed to push through with my vision was when I had just opened up a salon space. I thought I would just have something small for myself and my clients but little did I know how busy I would get and how booked out we would be during the early stages. From this I started to realise that no matter how many times I tried to push in another direction, being a hairdresser is what I was meant to be doing.

Back when I was still starting out, I tried to focus more on extensions but there were specific types of extensions that I wanted to pursue, yet those doors kept on getting closed. No matter what I did, and how good the work was people never came back. I started to get curly hair clients and that is how we coined the term “texture specialist.”

 

Rumbie & Co (Hair Salon)

 

How do you feel having your unique brand in Australia has had an impact on people who struggle to find hairdressers that with work with curly, wavy or afro hair?

65% of the world’s population has curly hair. To me that statistic is mindblowing because when you look at this space it’s underacted to. I do understand that there may be various factors at play that have shaped this narrative but I do feel it is now long overdue and having knowledge and information around products and on how to take care of your hair is a basic hair need that everyone should have access to. More work needs to be done to ensure that products which saturate the market are backed with research to minimise having people feeling frustrated with products that don’t work, damage the hair or are deer in price.

Being able to work on my brand everyday allows me to cater a service in Australia that is unfortunately not available everywhere. My goal is to change that narrative and reach as many people as possible be it with my services, products or just my story alone of why I embarked on this journey.

 

Do you see yourself expanding beyond Australia and introducing your brand to the African market?

We are definitely expanding beyond Australia, we want to make Rumbie & Co available to all people with curly hair and we do look to get into the African market because, wearing your hair natural in Africa still is (while it is getting better) something that tends to be shunned upon and seen as a poor persons option for hair styling. When you wear your natural hair, you are seen in an unsavoury light, so collectively with our simple routines and the products, our goal is to definitely bring our brand into the African market. As to when and how that is going to be very interesting because the African market is very new to me even though I was raised in Africa, all I can say is if there is anyone out there who would like to reach out feel free, I am more than happy to link up with people so I do not know the when and the how but I do know this is the goal.

 

What advice do you have for young African women who find themselves in a similar position to where you have been, in terms of living in a foreign country and starting their own successful business?

My advice for anyone who ever finds themselves in a position similar to mine where your dream or passions might not be the most trendy or popular path to take and the odds seem stacked against you is to always remember that God has the answers. I firmly believe that if I don’t have the power to say whether I live or die tomorrow, then I have to take these things to God. So if you take nothing else away from me here are the top 4 things to always keep in mind when pursuing your own entrepreneurial journey:

  1. Find a higher power to believe in: “Take it to God or a higher power (whatever it is you believe in) but I believe in God and that he directed me to what I do and continues to do so.”
  2. Keep your eye on the prize: “Once you are certain on what you love, do not waver. Keep your eye on the prize.”
  3. Sometimes cheap doesn’t always yield great results: “Do not skimp over price because  sometimes cheap things will cost you more if not most times.”
  4. The importance of having a mentor: “Get mentor, find people who have done it before and have them help you and take you through those spaces.”

“I Discovered My Passion During An Extra Year” Meet Ibukun Martins, CEO FitandPro Gears

Ibukun Martins is the real definition of “circumstances don’t define who you are.” She found her passion while in school and turned it into a successful business. 

She is an athlete, engineer and also the founder of FitandPro Gears. If you’re looking for some inspiration this week, read her story.


What ignited the spark to start FitandPro Gears?

It was getting closer to the end of the school year, and I had that relief that I was finally leaving school. Sadly, I got an extra year at the university I felt bad because this meant Ibukun wasn’t graduating with her mates! For a second, I thought of my future plans and asked myself, “Is this it?” The whole situation may have gotten to me but I made sure I didn’t dwell on it.

I had so much free time because I wasn’t taking as many courses. I would go to the sports centre to relax and watch people doing all types of exercise. The frequent visit, soon got me interested. So, I started. Sports and fitness activities became a lifestyle for me! Sometimes, you never know where you’ll find your passion.

ibukun

After months of enjoying my fitness journey, I noticed something. All the sports and fitness enthusiasts had a common problem. They couldn’t get good quality gym wear at an affordable price. I saw the problem and decided to fill in that gap. That was the silver lining for me!

What business challenges have you faced and how have those challenges shaped your mindset?

Businesses go through highs and lows and that’s something I’ve come to acknowledge. The important lesson is, “don’t dwell on the lows for too long!” One challenge I face sometimes is low sales. When I experience this, I take some time to reflect and think of possible ideas to make things better.

I start by reaching out to our customers to give feedback on the products and how they can be improved. I note and discontinue products that haven’t done well. This changes the way I approach many aspects of my business. I go back to the drawing board and restrategize! 

ibukun

One thing, I, Ibukun Martins is proud of is product improvement. I’ve been able to create better fitness gears due to customer reviews. This has led FitandPro Gears to gain partnerships in sports and fitness-related fields.

What is the heart of your business?

My customers are the heart of my business, every positive comment or feedback they share pushes me to work harder. I feel I’m getting closer to my dream, the bigger picture which is to be the biggest sports and fitness brand in Africa. I know it’s not impossible!

Also, seeing the impact and growth of the business and how far it has come gives me joy. Overall I would say, being passionate about sports and fitness got me here! A “not so good experience” turned into favour!

ibukun

What have you learned so far from running this business?

A lot! I’m going to drop them all because I believe my fellow sisters in the entrepreneurship game will be reading this.

  • Believe in yourself!
  • Have a vision to always remind you why you started.
  • Always track your growth and improvements.
  • Face your fears! To build a successful business, you must take risks.

Ibukun is a participant in the High Growth Coaching Program 2020. Catch up on her business journey on Instagram.

Forget your job! Build your career.

Dupe Akinsiun, is a seasoned HR professional with extensive years of practice that cuts across Management Consulting, Financial Services, Pharmaceuticals, FMCG and career-building across West & Southern Africa. She is a certified professional with leading international HR associations like SHRM, HRCI, HRMA.

She currently works as a Leadership Capability Development Expert with a leading multinational FMCG company with presence in over 20 countries.

This is a summary of Dupe’s insights on building the career of your dreams and tackling career challenges.


Having a job is different from building a career. A career is a combination of jobs, skills, experiences, relationships, and qualifications you gather over an extended period of time to add some sort of value. This can be through entrepreneurship or employment.

When it comes to career building, I advise professionals to think long term. Thinking long term gives you the chance to look beyond current limitations. Focusing on a job instead can restrict your thinking and make you myopic.

The career you decide you want to have will influence the kind of jobs you seek. Building the career of your dreams starts with knowing what you want. While it might sound easy, it can be difficult to articulate what you want.

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Here are some tips for building the career of your dreams:

1. Look within

Spend some time to identify what you have to offer. We need to learn to be able to reflect without paying attention to the noises or distractions that come from what people think we should be doing or not doing.

To help with your reflection, ask yourself questions like:

  • What are my strengths and skills?
  • Are there problems I can solve?
  • Which of these problems do I feel inclined to solve based on the skills, education, relationships or resources I have at my disposal?

2. Look without

Spend some time with a professional who can guide you. Some people find reflection challenging and are unable to do it effectively. These people may need to get help either from a coach or a more senior professional who can help them light the path.

3. Define your career challenges

There is no blanket solution to all career challenges so you need to find out what your challenge is.

I have seen people wrongly define their problems and as a result, they do not get the desired solution. The first step to solving any challenge is defining the problem.

Find those who have the same career struggles as you, but are successful. This will be a lot easier if you are actively connecting with your network. Seek advice and make necessary adjustments.

Keep reviewing and iterating the solutions until you get on the right path

4. Beware of Imitation

Learn from people, but remember to adapt their recommendations to your reality. This is because you are unique, the circumstances surrounding their own issues may slightly differ from yours and so may not make their recommendations 100% applicable.


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Hey Sis, Where Does All Your Money Go?

Have you ever wondered where all your money goes before payday? You are not alone in the struggle. Tracking your expenses is an important first step in financial literacy.

Zikoko, a culture and entertainment digital magazine based in Lagos, Nigeria, asked a sample of women how they spent the bulk of their income in the past month of the interview.

Here are some of the ways women responded. Can you relate?


I spend a lot on Uber rides

I don’t have a car and I hate moving around with public transport, so all my coins go to Ubers. Thankfully I can afford it.

It’s hard to calculate how much of what I earn goes to Ubers because I have a 9-5 and a pretty great side gig. But I’d say 20% of the income I get from my 9-5.

I’m aware that it’s a little ridiculous to spend so much money on just transport. But my life’s motto is comfort first. Plus Ubers saves a lot of my time, and I hear time is money.

Weaves. Weaves. Weaves.

I have a government job so my salary is a joke. But I have an online business that does quite well.

The average cost of my wigs or weaves is about 150k (~$400). My 9 -5 pays about 80k (~$210) a month. So I guess I spend like two-months salary on hair.

I’m not ashamed of it. It’s not like I buy weaves all the time. I can still afford to put food on my table and pay my rent thanks to my business.

My rent is expensive

The first year I moved out to live on my own, I had a flatmate. She left the country the year after, and I got stuck paying the full rent. I paid it in hopes of getting another flatmate, but I’ve had no luck yet.

I’d say the bulk of my money goes to rent. I earn 300k ($810) a month and my rent is 1.2 million (~$3,260) a year. This means 100k (~$270) of my monthly income goes to saving for my rent.

I really like my apartment and have no plans to move out. So for now, I have to keep paying the rent.

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Internet is so expensive

I don’t have a job so my ‘income’ comes from an allowance from my parents which usually adds up to about 50k (~$135) monthly. I spend about 15k (~$40) on data every month. So data costs make up most of my expenses.

Food, I don’t like to cook

I don’t like to cook, so feeding can get a little expensive for me.

I’ve never sat down to do the math but between groceries, eating out and buying food every day I must be spending about 40 to 50% of my income on food.

My struggle skin won’t let me live

I have very problematic skin. I decided to start paying more attention to it about 2 years ago because a girl must SLAY.

The only problem is good skincare products are expensive. Don’t let those people telling you that black soap is all you need, lead you astray. They just have good genes.

I don’t buy skincare products every single month thankfully. On months where I run out of everything at once, I can spend almost 50k (~$130) on products. My monthly salary is 220k (~$590).

Makeup is expensive

I’ve always loved makeup and buying it wasn’t always so costly. But with the way the economy is set up, everything I love is now so expensive.

I just started a business as a make-up artist so I think most of what I make goes into buying new products. I spend like 80% of what I make on that.

I have way too many friends

In the past year, I’ve spent a ton of money on Aso Ebi. I’m at an age where all of my friends are getting married all at once and I’ve come to the realization that I might have too many friends.

I’m currently in between jobs so I can’t say how much I spend exactly. But based on my last salary, I’d say last month I must have spent 40% of my old income on just Aso Ebi. That’s ridiculous!


Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world. Learn more about Zikoko here.