I personally do not think everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur, but then they say “Never say never”. When it comes to entrepreneurship, I think it is only fair to give everyone an equal playground and opportunity to awaken the giant/dwarf entrepreneur within them.
This may be a herculean, near impossible task for some, but fortunately, this is one of the challenges the CEO Memoirs column addresses.
Our guest CEO today is an expert in helping people discover and awaken the entrepreneur within them. We haven’t known for too long but the few conversations we’ve had have expanded my reasoning and at same time opened my eyes to business opportunities around me that I overlook and even render services for free without realising it… No need for plenty long tori, the horse is here for you to hear from his mouth, lol.
I present to you Ayobami Akinade, Managing Partner of It’sAwrap CreativeWorld, comprising of It’sAwrap Outfits, It’sAwrap Photography and It’sAwrap Artworks(Branding).
Please seat tight, fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the ride.
CEO Memoirs: Awakening The Entrepreneur Within You – Ayobami Akinade
I belong to the school of thought that believes that not everyone was born to be an entrepreneur. Some excel better as paid employees and even become renowned intrapreneurs (entrepreneur working for a company that is not his/hers), if they find themselves in the right organisations driven by innovation, creativity and originality.
That said, I also believe anyone who can adequately answer the million dollar entrepreneurship questions can awaken the entrepreneur within them and make success of any business idea they choose.
It is a known fact that the Nigerian economy has so much changed the career plan of many, making those who never set out to be entrepreneurs to change course and become one. The reverse is also true – some who never wanted to be salary earners, now queue up for monthly take home (salaries); sometimes settling for salaries that can barely take them to the next midweek, after several failed attempts to succeed as business owners.
I used to be among the second set of people… Earnestly desired to be an entrepreneur but I gave up looking for business ideas after failing at several businesses which included importing and selling some women beauty kits (human hair). After some time, I gave up the ‘CEO Dream’ and closely hugged my 8 to 5 job. (5:00pm is just the official time on paper. In reality, I often don’t get to leave office earlier than 7:00pm or 8:00pm. My role as a Project Associate/Strategist in a bank demands that).
That said, within me, I knew I needed another source of income. I also knew I needed to do some heart searching and answer some critical entrepreneurship questions if I want to avoid the disappointment and losses encountered in previous ventures.
My success story is what I’m about to share with you – How To Awaken The Entrepreneur Within You.
To awaken the entrepreneur within you, you need to first sincerely assess yourself and answer the million dollar entrepreneurship questions:
1. Why do I want to be an entrepreneur?
If your answer is just to make money, then the probability of you making it big is less than 0.5% as you will give up at your first major loss. (Though Entrepreneurs are not gamblers but calculated risk takers).
2. What am I passionate about?
Nothing pays more than passion. You get rewarded in cash, kind and happiness when you enjoy what you do.
To answer this question, the first step is to LOOK AROUND YOU and discover needs/problems you’re passionate about solving… There are several industries that need to be explored, several businesses to be invested in… Your answer to this question will determine the industry and business idea you should explore and invest in.
Build your business idea around that need/problem you’re passionate about solving.
3. How do I identify what I am passionate about?
This is the formula I use and it has worked for me. I hope it works for you too.
The formula – When you meet people or visit a place for the first time, what is it that you look out for?
I personally look out for the cloth a person is putting on, the colour combination, the shoes (I love shoes) and also the hair style (regardless of gender).
If I do not like what I see, it is a major turn off. (You will have to try hard to get my attention and the only people who have been able to get my attention without impressive outlook are those with high Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and excellent communication skill. If your IQ is low, you better complement it with a good appearance if you need my attention (lol)). Sorry for digressing, the point I am trying to draw out is this – my interest in a person’s total dress packaging is what informed my current business.
Business Idea extracted from my passion – Wardrobe management & Photography.
This is what I have always done unconsciously. Growing up, I have always wanted to be one of those that selects what a groom wears on his wedding day and also advise people on what to wear for various events – weddings, interview, birthdays, cocktail, redcarpet… basically any event – formal or casual.
Before I realised this is a thriving business, I often advised friends and associates on how to upgrade their wardrobes. I also dressed up some friends for their weddings, for little or no pay, because I simply enjoyed the ‘bragging right’ of saying “see that groom, I dressed him up”, lol. Now, I know better and have aptly converted my passion to thriving businesses. Businesses because they’re more than one.
It’sAwrap CreativeWorld, a business I built with a friend of mine, comprises of It’sAwrap Outfits, It’sAwrap Photography and It’sAwrap Artworks (Branding).
You too can launch out and cash in on your passion. Here are some tips that will help you know the industry (industries) where your passion lies.
- If you’re like me, interested in people’s outfit, you may have a calling in the fashion industry e.g making or selling clothes, shoes, bags and any other fashion accessory. Be sure to critically examine your target market before you decide on what section of the fashion industry to launch in because the fashion industry is so large that you need to define your target market and develop the appropriate strategy; else you would be lost in the crowd.
- If you love taking Selfies or taking pictures of beautiful sceneries – You may want to join the photography industry.
- If you dislike seeing imperfectly arched eyebrows, wrong use of foundation/make-up – You may want to give make-up business a trial. You can start from being a middle man between the customer and a professional make-up artist and charge a commission.
- If you are one of those that write “PLEASE WASH ME” on cars – You may need to start washing cars. Target the high class areas providing them home service. Get people to sign up for a month or more with attractive discount for those that can sign up for several months at once. You can have a plan where you wash their cars at their residents thrice or less in a week. You can also get customers from your Church. You may need to offer atleast two (2) weeks free service to prove that you can really be a good cash washer.
- If you’re passionate about putting things in order and making a house/office clean – you can consider helping people especially the busy or lazy ones clean their houses/offices. You may adopt the strategy stated for Car washing above.
- Are you a shopaholic? – Sign up people who hate shopping. Help them shop for anything and everything and charge them for the service (service charge). You may need to develop the catalogue of what you can chop for. You can build trust, loyalty and credibility by offering free services for a while.
- Are you an internet/social media addict? – You can consider making your time online more worthwhile by getting paid for surfing the net. Get entrepreneurs to sign up with you and help them build their online reputation and brand on the social media. Businesses also need online managers, so you could be one. You can serve as a dedicated virtual/online customer service manager. (You may need to offer free service for 1 – 3 months as a trial period to enable them access your ability to help them grow their businesses.)
There are so many other business ideas but let me pause here. You can learn most, if not all you need to know about the industry of your interest on Google and YouTube. I personally am a graduate of Google.
Another good news is, you don’t necessarily need a physical shop before you can start up your business. The first shop you need is the internet and your social media platforms – make maximum use of them.
“Social networking sites would either fizzle out with time or continue to grow extensively and customers are customers regardless of where and how they are won” – Ayobami Akinade, 2011
I started my fashion outlet with a Capital of 24,000NGN (twenty four thousand naira) and within 60days had a cash inflow (not profit) of over 500,000NGN (five hundred thousand naira) with more than 90% of my clients/customers gotten via the internet.
You also don’t necessarily need an elaborate business plan for some of these business ideas… and some of them require little or no capital for you to start.
Some businesses never started because the supposed entrepreneur could not get past the business plan development stage. Do not let your business be one of them, get up and run with your ideas. All you need to get up is to identify your target market, what you want to offer, what to charge, how to communicate and how to brand your products or services.
Thank you so much Ay! I’m really grateful and honored you made out time from your busy schedule to share your CEO Memoir with us.
Ayobami Akinade is an ACCA award winning candidate, Wardrobe Manager, Photographer, Dramatist, Activist, Financial Analyst and Business Strategist who currently works as a Project Associate/Strategist with one of the Leading Commercial Banks in Nigeria. He is also the Managing Partner of It’sAwrap CreativeWorld comprising of It’sAwrap Outfits, It’sAwrap Photography and It’sAwrap Artworks (Branding).
Ayobami is also the initiator of RAISEONETODAY, an initiative designed to restore hope to the increasing number of school dropouts.
You can connect with him on Twitter/Instagram @ayotivity.
Twill be a dream come through for me if at least 50% of all who read these CEO Memoirs are challenged and take a step to start their own businesses or excel better in their workplaces.
Please don’t forget/hesitate to share your thoughts/opinions in the comments box.
PS: Talking about the internet/social media, I was recently in an interview with 2 other bloggers talking about some benefit of the internet. You can read the post HERE
PPS: Sorry and thanks for bearing with my appearing and disappearing acts… It’s not intentional.
Wishing y’all a productive Midweek.