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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Who are you?

Back to my story, where was I? Aha, the mentoring program.

2012/2013, IBM Women's mentoring challenge.....

The program opened with a bang. Our convener and chief mentor as we christened her, Remi Abere welcomed us and gave us a brief about the program and what to expect. We were introduced to the prospective mentors and had a few sessions with, Peter Evbota and CFA amongst others. CFA, CFA!! This was my first time of being opportuned to listen to Charles Fred Agbata and I was blown away.

The theme for the program was leveraging social media for business. Before this meeting, I would have sworn I had that covered with my plenty facebook page fans and small attempt at twitter. By the time they were through with us, I realized I was still playing. I was merely scratching the surface with my application of twitter and then my Linkedin profile was more or less non-existent! Linkedin was just one of those many sites I joined from boredom and never visited, I didn't even have a profile picture.

I left that meeting feeling rejuvenated with a renewed resolve to go on with Trezorlandia. Before this time I had been hiding my face, not really wanting to come out and present myself as an entrepreneur. Afraid that if I announced myself as a business person and failed, I would have nowhere to run back to. That night however, I got back home, logged on to Linkedin, put up a smart picture and re-defined my title as "Experienced gift solutions provider" and "Entrepreneur"! I put myself out there for the first time and I was not ashamed, not anymore. This was the path I had chosen, this was who I was - Mofolusade Sonaike, the Gift Consultant.

P.S - You wouldn't believe that 50 women were selected for the program and only about 20 or so came through and participated. Imagine.

Life Skills Learnt

  • Define who you are without fear, it gives you wings to fly. Wear it like a badge of honor, there is dignity in business.
  • Myles Munroe wrote in his book, "when purpose is unknown, abuse is inevitable". If your family members, neighbors, friends and acquaintances do not know what you do, then there's a problem. 
  • Linkedin is a very useful platform for networking. Join as many groups as are relevant to your industry or business and participate. Ask for recommendations, don't be ashamed to ask people you have worked with to recommend you.

30 July 2013.....

I know I have said this before, but Lagos traffic can finish you! Gosh. Ayam tire. Meanwhile I finally got all my accounts sorted in terms of online access to spool my statements monthly, UBA was the only one outstanding and I finally settled it on Friday.

Guess what happened today? I had purchased this gift card from some Spa Salon for a client's wife's birthday. At the time of purchase I stressed the ladies that attended to me because I wanted the experience to be seamless for my client, so we took time to confirm everything confirm-able under the sun. This is because they had shown one of my clients pepper before, but even more-so because these two were a new pair at the customer service desk, yet again. This is one major challenge with so many businesses, staff turnover is so high and it's not good for business.

With all of that, I still had to answer a distress call from my client's wife today when they were giving her grief at the Spa, telling her the gift card was purchased at their VI branch (Card that I bought from their Ikeja office o! Shioo) and taking forever to confirm the card. What's the point of a gift card if you can't call up the details from the system pronto?!! What did I go through the trouble to ensure everything was properly recorded for? Could this be the rocket science my bosses from my banking days referred to? Hian!

As if that wasn't enough, they now print out the receipt and hand to her at the end of the service!!! Who does that? It's a pre-paid gift card for God's sake. Besides, they already issued a receipt to me at purchase. Awon alakoba. Her hubby didn't find it funny at all, neither did I. But my saving grace was that, I didn't inflate the price and what they got was exactly what I had told her husband they would. I would have lost a client today, because I could have chosen a slightly cheaper treatment, there's no way of knowing really, but I didn't. An extra thousand here and there was not worth doing that for. These people are going to be getting a good lashing from me though. I would cut them off if I could, but for now, they're the best in that area, so we must work this out somehow. Where's that my "Supplier management 101 handout? hehe.

Entrepreneur Tips

  • Do what you say you would. Things as basic as "I will call you back" make the difference between choosing you and the next competition.
  • Think long term in all that you do, don't sacrifice long term profit for short term gains
  • Do something everyday, no matter how small, towards achieving your goals.

Slowly but surely, you will get there.......

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Wizkid's got a Porsche Panamera (twice over), I want me one of those!

There, I got your attention! hehe.

Here's the real thing though, I think Nigerian entertainers are trying to kill us! Am I the only one thinking this is the agenda? Here we are minding our business, trying to focus and gather our coins, that's hard enough trust me. Then we now have to live with the constant oppression from the media flaunting the flashy car some young entertainer just purchased, like every other day! Ahn ahn, kilode.

Please click the link below to get an idea of what I am saying;

Nigerian Celebrities and their cars

And Badoo Olamide just joined the league too;

2013 Range!!

Not that I am hating on them (okay, I lie!! I am hating on them), just that this is becoming harassment. How can we concentrate? How can we convince our kids to stay in school and study? Pray tell! I just have one request. Can they please give the same attention and propaganda to the work that goes into getting there as well. Did I hear someone scoff? Lol!! I feel you, but trust me any successful entertainer has put in more hours of hard work and sweat than you can ever imagine. I mean the truly successful ones o, not the fake window dressing ones, posing with borrowed everything! God is watching them in 3D.

There is no such thing as an overnight success. Even armed robbers, have to plan and scheme (I apologize! Bad example right?). I have done a bit of research and compiled a few points as evidence of their hard work and I hope some take a cue and help us, biko! Enough with the "see my dollar syndrome", try "see my eight hour rehearsal clips" too.

You want Wizkid's Porsche Panamera? Five things you need to know;

Competition is steep;
As much as it seems every tom dick and harry that picks a mic is now driving an Aston Martin, if we think deeply, we would know that this is not true. Many people, of all ages, sizes and races are hoping to break into the world of entertainment.

The spotlight is on the one's that rise above the pack and when I say pack I mean paaaack! When you have a chance take time out to watch project fame or X-factor and you'll get an idea of how many people are in this rat race for fame and success

Talent is not enough;
If the success of an entertainer was judged by talent only, then we would have more of them at the top of the chain. I watched an interview with Asa on ebony life TV and she said her mentor taught her to always give 200% in performance no matter what, even if it was a one man audience. This requires determination and a Vision. Imagine singing and dancing to a room of three people and doing it with all your heart and might. 

To be successful, an entertainer needs networking skills, negotiation skills, money management skills and marketing skills to mention a few. You might say, oh they hire people to do that! But it takes skill to even know how to put a winning team together.

Practice makes perfect, be prepared to work hard;
If you watched the ebony life TV launch tonight like I did, tell me you didn't want to stand up and doff your hat at the performances of King Sunny Ade and Victor Olaiya! These senior citizens gave the younger boys they performed with a run for their money. You don't become a legend like that by sitting down and chewing bubble gum, no sir! These men work hard. 

If you have ever tried to use a microphone (without even singing and dancing o) just to give a short speech in front of a crowd, you would agree with me that it ain't no joke. Performing live on stage without going off key or losing your band while dancing requires hours and hours of practice and these guys make it look so easy. That's why we sometimes think they are playing.

Your life is your work;
For many, there is a clear line between work and life. You think this is the case for entertainers? Think about it for a minute? I doubt that. True, this is their passion, they love what they do, so they must be having fun. Why then do you think Amanda Bynes snapped recently? 

Managing fame is tough. You have all eyes on you, you have to smile at fans even when you don't feel like, before your name gets splashed all over the tabloids for being arrogant, unfriendly and whatever. No mercy on the streets for these guys!

What once was, can be all gone in no time;
We can draw up a list of international celebrities who became bankrupt later in life, Dionne Warwick, Gary Coleman, and so many others. In fact, see a list here;

We do not have such a system here in Nigeria, so I can't provide a list of successful Nigerian artists who have gone that route. But we do know quite a few who rocked in their days but are broke as they were rich back then. This takes me back to the point about being financially savvy. The ones who stand the test of time invest wisely or put in the Nigerian way, have side hustles such as clothing lines, hangout clubs and so on.

Ladies and Gentlemen, with these few points of mine, I hope I have been able to convince you and not confuse you that entertainment work is not a small sumtin! Thank you!

Still need me one of these though;

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Your Pigeon Street Crew.......

The school holidays are here! I had to mention this first as my alibi for being MIA for some time. Since we (my family) are doing our own summer holiday at home (we shaa won't go and steal, abi), I have to constantly look for creative ways to keep my little men engaged during this period. Try as I might though, we already have some casualties from their activities! My laptop, my father's printer that I borrowed quietly for one evening and my phone screen! Lord help me.

Meanwhile, where will you be on the 4th of august? My girls, Kike and Rukky will be hosting a lifestyle fair in Lagos. Will post the details here once I have it, but all you shopaholics in Lagos don't want to miss it. Save the date.

On the business side, I continue with my mantra - "Good better best, I shall never rest, until my good is better and my better best". Poco a poco. Earlier in the week, I read something on the forbes site that was so very on point and as usual I will share with you;

Here's my intro'


"If you live in Pigeon Street,
Here are the people you could meet,
Here are the people who would say hello goodbye,
Hello goodbye, every day."

Remember this song? Lol!! If you were born after the 80s, don't bother.

The 6 People You Need in Your Corner
Source :

Nothing incredible is accomplished alone. You need others to help you, and you need to help others. With the right team, you can form a web of connections to make the seemingly impossible practically inevitable.

The Instigator:

Someone who pushes you, who makes you think. Who motivates you to get up and go, and try, and make things happen. You want to keep this person energized, and enthusiastic. This is the voice of inspiration.

I and a few friends who are also entrepreneurs came together earlier this year to from a group called the A-team. We meet quarterly to review our goals and plans and to challenge one another.
The Cheerleader:

This person is a huge fan, a strong supporter, and a rabid evangelist for you and your work. Work to make this person rewarded, to keep them engaged. This is the voice of motivation.

I have quite a few people who believe in Trezorlandia even more than I do myself! Lanre Yusuf is one of such people amongst others. At the lowest points in my walk, he is one of those who would always call to re-fire me. He just never gives up.
The Doubter:

This is the devil’s advocate, who asks the hard questions and sees problems before they arise. You need this person’s perspective. They are looking out for you, and want you to be as safe as you are successful. This is the voice of reason. 

As an entrepreneur, it's easy to get carried away with your passion. You have an idea and you just want to run with it. The doubters bring you back to base, they make you consider all sides. These people can get annoying though, there's the temptation to avoid them, but thing is you need them. As the author of this rightly put, they only want you to be safe as you are successful.

The Taskmaster:

Someone who pushes you, who makes you think. Who motivates you to get up and go, and try, and make things happen. You want to keep this person energized, and enthusiastic. This is the loud and belligerent voice that demands you gets things done. This person is the steward of momentum, making sure deadlines are met and goals are reached. This is the voice of progress.

My slave driving assistant falls into this category, hehe! You know yasef. Sometimes I feel like slapping his head and screaming, leave me the hell alone! Truth of the matter though is, I have achieved more in the short time that I have had him on my case, so its a good thing to have a taskmaster.

The Connector:

This person can help you find new avenues and new allies. This person breaks through roadblocks into finds ways to make magic happen. You need this person to reach people and places you can’t. This is the voice of cooperation and community.

My brother Kehinde is my connector. He knows everybody and anybody who knows somebody, because he is so darn friendly. He walks into a room and takes over. He is an "oyana of life".

The Example:

This is your mentor, you hero, your North Star. This is the person who you seek to emulate. This is your guiding entity, someone whose presence acts as a constant reminder that you, too, can do amazing things. You want to make this person proud. This is the voice of true authority.

 Hmmm, gen gen. I have different mentors for different aspects. My mentor for life however is my Dad.

 Pigeon Street Crew

What do you think? Is there any category you don't agree with? Or perhaps, there's one thing you think should be here that's not. Feel free to drop your comments as always. They make my day!

God bless.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Reach out and touch someone - Part 2.....

I made that trip to Jane's home today. Earlier on, I had told her I wanted to see her after church, she looked scared. Perhaps she thought I wanted repayment for the N800 loan! Imagine that! Funny and not funny. Anyways, I shared the good news with her, I think I have some people willing to help you, I said, but I need to go home with you and meet your mum.

On getting to the single room apartment, deep inside Fagba area of Ifako Ijaiye local government, her mum immediately got up from the bed, wondering what I had come for. She was feeling much better today but not well enough to make church. I briefed her on why I had come and asked if she had any form of identification for a bank account; it would be wishful thinking to assume she had a bank account, and yes, I confirmed she doesn't have one, not even any form of identification. Whatever happened to our national ID cards? Nigeria!

During the week, I managed to gather some small change for them to get a phone, so I gave them the money and my number so we can communicate and follow an action plan. That I'll share here, because without your emails, phone calls and comments, I couldn't have come up with this;

Action Plan - #ProjectJane

We all know the saying,

 "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime"

We can raise loads of money and place Jane and her mum on support, but for how long? This can even do more harm than good, making them dependents for life. The main objective of this action plan is to empower Jane through a series of activities and support so that she can stand on her own and be the best she can be. Everybody is born with a potential to be great, we all just have to be able to connect with that inner greatness.

  • Take off the current pressures and free her to think:

By this, I mean placing her and her mum on basic support to take care of their essential needs such as feeding, accommodation and clothing. She goes to a public school, so her education is covered for now. With these out of the way, Jane can channel her energy and thoughts towards other creative things. The steps to take towards this are,
1. Open a bank account for Jane's mum
2. Agree on a monthly stipend that covers the essential things and commit to it (I currently have more than enough volunteers for this)
3. Start paying from the month of August

  • Change her mindset. Poverty is a state of mind:

A mentality of poverty is a limiting one. Any person with that mindset cannot dare to dream, let alone achieve anything out of the ordinary. Imagine how far you can go if you believe nothing can stop you! That's what I want to attempt to achieve with this reading plan. The first 3 months will be in this order;

- Think and Succeed  Read about it here
- Parable of Dollars Read about it here
- Start with what you have Read about it here

I have exposed myself! haha. I am a huge fan of Pastor Sam Adeyemi's mini books and I am a lazy reader, I have only read a handful of books. I recently joined a book club to expand my reading, still...... *covers face*. If you know any other books that would be good, please feel free to recommend. Let's do this #projectJane

  • Teach her the value of money through the following process:

Step 1: She will have to present a report on this. "What businesses can you start with N 3,000 capital without interfering with your school?"
Off the top of my head, I can think of a few, she can sell water, sweets or biscuits, nothing grandiose, just something that brings in N 50 a week or more. It will be interesting though to see what her mind thinks up.

Step 2: Run a pilot of the selected business after an elimination process.

Step 3: Review the business on a monthly basis, how much is going out, how much is coming in, what can be done better.

During her long holidays, she will be attached to a small business where she can earn a salary as a receptionist, typist or sales girl. She needs some exposure and experience.

This is the action plan I have developed for the rest of the year. I am grateful to all those who have shown interest in supporting this cause, together we can make a difference. #projectjane

I cannot categorically tell you that this is a fail proof plan (borrowing a line from our "oga at the top" saga, hehe), so please your comments and suggestions are more than welcome. It would be nice to read your comments on here, but you may contact me directly if you prefer, by mailing me at

God bless!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A typical Nigerian Start-up Entrepreneur's Survival Kit...... #leggo

I had a target to post a note everyday this week; this target was set by my slave driving assistant! See me see wahala o, na me go find trouble. Yesterday I rebelled and refused to post because I was tired. Graduating from nursery to primary school is now quite an event. My son's school had us engaged from yesterday. I got home and the young man was on my tail, reminding me that I needed to post; I just put up a hard face and disappeared. I can't come and let somebody kill me.  

I read through my blog again from the beginning, I have quite a few promises hanging! Not good. I need to remedy that, starting from the entrepreneur's survival kit I promised to share;

A typical Nigerian Start-up Entrepreneur's Survival Kit......

I am approaching this differently; most of you know the usual business school type things such as Passion, Perseverance, Selling and Negotiation skills and the likes, so I am not going to bore you with that. I am talking practical everyday things you need to survive the “valley of death” (the first few years of a business before money starts rolling in, if it does!), particularly in Nigeria. Most of them are based on my experience.

#Leggo J

  • Spirituality 

We are Nigerian! How can we not mention God? Hehe. But seriously though, without my relationship with God, I bet I would have lost my sanity by now. In Nigeria, we tend to hang everything on God because nothing works the way it should.  My problem with this however is that people wait on God and do nothing. This is not the kind of relationship with God I am referring to here. So get off your lazy behind and get busy while you pray.

  • Family and friends

Everybody needs the right support system, a family that stands by you even when they don’t understand what you are doing. Friends and Family that believe in your vision and do what they can to help, like borrowing you money and still believing in you when you fail to pay as at when due! I promised to be real on this blog. No forming.

You can write all the plans you want and make all the projections too, demand is still an uncertainty. The risk factors are minimized when you plan but not eliminated. There’s always a learning curve you have to go through, so yes you will owe money at some point, just be responsible and try to communicate (I am talking to myself!).  If you have never been in debt, please mail me the formula you use, I need it.

  • Smetoolkit

As a startup, you need to minimize money that goes to consultants (if you are a business consultant, no vex!). This online resource center is very useful for templates and other business tools to get you going.

  • Smart Phone, car charger and a spare battery

You may laugh if you’re not a Nigerian blackberry user, because you won’t understand. We are predominantly blackberry users here and those batteries just never last! Ever since someone suggested I get a spare battery, life has been so much better. Before, I would be in the middle of a transaction and the “battery too low for radio use” message would just come up! Aaaargh. No more! Out with my backup.

If you run a business where you interface a lot with customers in Nigeria and you do not use a blackberry all I have to say to you is Haaa! Maybe you are waiting for BBM to debut on you other device though. Happy waiting.

  • Car

When I was leaving my last job, a friend put her car up for sale. I knew the history of the car, it was well maintained and the offer was good, but I thought no need joo, let me invest this money in goods and car can come later! Omo, na God save me. I thank God for my husband and siblings because if it were not for them, I would be mega frustrated by now. They more or less forced me to buy the car, with me kicking and screaming.

Depending on your type of business and location, a car is not luxury! Don’t do ijebu and cut your life short. If you can raise the money, just buy that car, put it on your business as part of the costs of running the business, because it is really (Accountants, can explain this better). Don’t tell me you can’t drive, go and learn. Make sure it’s a strong good car too; you don’t want all your margins going to our trial and error mechanics!

  • Music

Music takes stress away for me. When I am driving in traffic and a good song comes up, I just relax and nothing else matters. I love feel good songs that make me laugh, right now Olamide ( Baddest guy ever liveth) takes the cake, that fella is a nutter. Also, give me great vocals and a background with string instruments or  any day and I’m good, Niyola’s Toh bad o and Glen’s Orekelewa are on top of my list for now. If you haven't heard any of them, listen here;

  • More than one internet provider

With the way internet providers go up and down, you need alternative sources of internet. A strong online presence these days is critical for any business, especially for small growing businesses that need to expand their reach. Earlier today, I was copied in a tweet where someone was asking how he could get flowers sent to his mum. Imagine if I wasn’t online.

Apart from engaging customers, I use google maps when I need to go somewhere and I don’t have a clue. I check @gidi_traffic’s timeline before I head out to avoid getting stuck in traffic and missing deadlines. Then there's research, in this information age, you can't afford to be left behind. I am constantly reading and trying to stay up to date with business trends within my industry and in general. What would we do without the internet! 

There's a Glo and Etisalat too o, for my smart devices, hahaha!

  • Alternative Power sources like an Inverter

God bless the inventor of the inverter! After I quit my day job, PHCN dealt with me. We had a generator, but to run a diesel generator all day and then all night, you would have to be on what we call “armed robber” salary. Since we don’t fall into that category, we had to ration the use of the generator. It made more sense to run it at night, so I would spend most days hoping and praying that PHCN would have mercy and give us power during the day. I hardly got a lot of work done because no power meant no internet, no smart phone and ultimately no laptop (battery sef go quench naa).

  • Humor

Anybody who knows me knows me and my Blackberry display pictures. Hehe. I should share some of them here sometime. I like to look at life from a side of humor. If I take life too seriously, I doubt I would survive. Now this is a ‘me’ survival tip, you may take it with a pinch of salt.

  • Dedicated team

To survive you need to have a dedicated team at home and at work. If the home front is not stable, you can’t work.

I am blessed with people who can take panadol for my headache.

That’s all folks! I wanted to keep this as simple as possible, that’s why I stopped at 10 but feel free to share your own survival kit as it were. Remember, no business school type ones and if you are not in Nigeria, share the typical survival tips for your location. It’ll be nice to read.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Be Alive, Don't be a networking Zombie!!

I am overwhelmed by the responses I have received to the "Reach out and touch someone" post from Sunday. My assistant took the time to send the story to several blogs and most of them published it; I appreciate all of you from the bottom of my heart.

I am tempted to start reeling out names, but I know I just might leave out some people and then I'll be in trouble, so I'll refrain myself.What needs to be done is getting clearer now and by the time I meet with her and her mother on Sunday, I will do a sequel to the story. We can make a difference, touching one life at a time!

July 16 2013.......

I got rather upset this evening. I left my office laptop at home on the table this morning because I was running late. Lo and behold I return home to find that the charging port is bad. Why? Because my second son dragged it off the table and smashed it on the floor before the nanny could rescue it. I can't cry and I don't want to use the "me that I am managing myself" line again (Okay, I used it, stylishly, couldn't resist). But you know now. To think that the long holiday just started! I need to find a way to keep these little men engaged or I am in soup. Okay, I am not in soup, God forgive me. I am grateful for the gift of children given to me, but I could use some help here Lord! Sighs.....

In other news, I found something interesting in a google plus group I am in. I am really feeling this infographic about networking. Let me delve a little bit into the ones I found most interesting;

Z -  Anybody here got those people on their contacts who are all about marketing their business? No human-like conversations ever, not even a personal hello, they hardly even bother to read your own messages, just broadcast messages every morning and every night! Puhleease! Get a life and stop clogging our timelines and emails.

Or what about those others that you meet at events who can't wait to download all the information about their business to you the moment you say hello. Send them this infographic and add a note to say read "Z". Hehehe.

F - Not too sure about this. A personal facebook fan page ke? Unless the author means a page for your business. Or perhaps they are referring to artists.

K - Call that old friend you haven't spoken to in ages now before you need to. Not that I am trying to boast, but my I still have friends from my secondary school days and University days (chemical engineering family!), that come through for me every now and again.

Q - I know the tip in S says sell yourself, but this doesn't mean you need to talk that poor person to stupor! Listen twice as much as you speak.

L/T - Twitter and Linkedin are great resources for business networking. What are you doing on twitter? Make your tweets count. What's your network strength on Linkedin? Is it for show or are you leveraging on your network? How many relevant groups do you participate in?

I can say something about every single letter, but seeing as you can read too, I really should just stop here.

Enjoy! Please share your thoughts too.

Here's the link to the post It was originally shared by

Monday, July 15, 2013

Broke, Busted and Disgusted......

I changed my blog layout. What do you think about this new one? The other one was looking too serious and people complained that they couldn't view the comments. I am not afraid to try new things, so I changed templates.

2012...... What have I done!

Apart from hunting for nanny Mcphee, I spent this year trying to get my business going again. The orders were coming in trickles and I was getting tired and desperate. At some point I was thinking, who sent me! I sat down and started to weigh different options;

Option 1: Look for a government job

I felt this would entail less hours and would not involve the Island-Mainland commute but would guarantee me the oh so desperately needed predictable income.

I harassed the hell out of one of my uncles and he did give me a referral note to the civil service commission. I dressed sharply and went with my heavily loaded Resume to see the contact person in Alausa. He took one look at me and then my resume and said, madam why do you want to work here (in a very concerned voice)? Lol! I never heard from them.

Option 2: Get a part-time Lecturing job

I got a contact in yabatech and went to see him. I told him my mission. Sir, I want to lecture part-time; something related to business, I have an MBA. Hahaha, as if that would mean anything to him. He asked me the usual Nigerian question, what is your background/discipline? I knew where he was going, but still I answered, Chemical Engineering sir. Why don't you go to the engineering department? Excuse me?! Engine what? Someone remind me what Chemical Engineering is again *covers face*!

He went on to tell me there was a long queue for lecturers already. Long queue ke! Here I was thinking nobody was interested in lecturing. It was then that he told me that as a lecturer in government owned schools, you were automatically a government worker and that came with healthcare benefits for you and your family, as well as other allowances and welfare packages, no wonder! I didn't even know that.

Next stop, Unilag. At least my alma matter should favor me, I thought. Favor koo, favor ni. There were no smiling faces. The stern faced madam I met in the Faculty of Business Administration just looked at me like I was a rat and said, we are not recruiting (case closed). On my way out I saw an elderly man and told him my mission. He asked the same "what's your background/discipline" question, mscheew. Then he said if I wanted to lecture in their department, I had to come and do a three year post graduate course ...... #fade (everything else he said after that, just faded).

Option 3: Apply for the PHD/Research assistant program at Lagos Business School

Right from the time I finished from LBS, I had considered this program, because "predictable income" aside, lecturing is something I have always seen myself doing, perhaps as a retirement job. But when I heard that GMAT was a criteria for the program, I was like no way jose! At the point I was in during this period however, GMAT was a small obstacle and I was determined to surmount it. My brother-in-law bought me the GMAT prep kit and I engaged a tutor for a 3 month intensive brush up of all that algebra and stuff (reading in old age is not a beans!). I crossed this bridge, but don't ask for my score, hehe!

I started the process, chased Tunji Adegbesan around like a pendulum and then Banky of the enterprise development center. Tunji was of the impression that I would do better there based on my discussion with him on what I really wanted. We are still on this matter. At least, GMAT is out of the way! whew.There's my plan B. I know they say when you have a big vision, you follow it with all your heart and forget all else, taah! It would be evil if I lied to you that I do not have a plan B.

Option 4: Just look for a job!

I dusted my Resume and embarked on a half hearted job search. I had hit rock bottom!

Then one day, I am sitting by my computer and I get this mail from SMEToolkit (a community and resource center for entrepreneurs). They, in conjunction with IBM and EDC were looking for 50 female entrepreneurs for a mentoring program. I applied, thinking whatever!

About two weeks later, in December 2012 I got a mail that I had been selected as on of the 50 women for the program. Oh what great joy.

Life Skills Learnt

  • There is no final destination in life, it's a journey, you have to keep moving.
  • Decisions, decisions, decisions. They told us during my MBA that business is about analyzing alternatives and making decisions, I say life itself is about analyzing problems and making decisions.
  • There is no perfect answer to any situation you find yourself in, the key is to pray, seek counsel, analyse the available options and make a decision.

July 15 2013.....

I haven't been to the Hub in almost two weeks! So much to do, so little time. Our oga lesson teacher came today. The term is ending so I told him we'll stop lesson for the holidays. It's a long holiday so I am hoping by the time it passes I would have summoned enough courage to say thank you sir, we no longer need your services, so help me God. Chai! See my life.

Business has been so so.  On some days it's like so much activity and no results, on other days I feel like I am on fire. I am pressing on. I know I will get there. Everyday a new idea pops in my head, I act on it and see see where it takes me. I can't afford to stand still.

I had this press release sent out today by my very able oyamag fella;

Nigeria's No 1 Gifts Consulting and Solutions Company
Introducing trezorlandia, nigerias no1 gifts consulting and solutions company

Please share on as many platforms as you can! I am counting on your support to make Trezorlandia a household name synonymous to gifts. God bless!

Someone sent in his recommendations for the "reach out and touch someone" post from yesterday. He has also indicated his interest in helping out. Great people like this still exist! There is hope. I promised not to disclose his name, but I will share his propositions in my next post.

Entrepreneur Tips

  • Marketing is everything. I'll say this again and again and again.
  • I saw this somewhere and borrowed it;
    Remember that it's impossible to get everything done. Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results. So focus on that 20 percent. Read more:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Reach out and touch someone......

I need advice! I want to help someone and don't know how best to. Here's the story;

I got to church a bit late today. One of the girls in my class, Jane* (name changed) said to me, aunty please I need to speak with you after class. Another girl was there teasing her, trying to make her laugh. Apparently, she had made attempts before I came in to bring her out of her shell with no luck. Jane is not new to my class, from my observation of her, I find her to be a teenager full of mood swings, upbeat this Sunday, broody and aggressive the next. On one occasion I had scolded her for using abusive languages in class.

After the class, I called her aside to have a chat. She asked me if I could borrow her N800 (eight hundred naira), for two of her school projects, N400 for each. She explained that her mother was having difficulty raising the money but promised she would pay N200 every week from next week if she could get someone to borrow the money from. I could see how hard it was for her to be doing this, at barely 14 years old, no child needs to be put through this! But ladies and gentlemen, this is the reality of the Nigeria we live in and believe it or not, this is not one of the worst cases.

I pressed further and she told me her story. She's the only child from her parents, her father is late. Her mother has another daughter from a previous marriage that ended when that husband died as well. Her sister who is about 17 years older than her ( it took some time for her mum to move on), is estranged because her mother sent her packing when she got pregnant out of wedlock. Her mother used to be a cleaner at a school where she was owed about 5 months in salaries and had to quit when it didn't make sense anymore to continue. Some good willed people in their neighborhood came together to raise some money for her mother to start a food selling business on the street but gathering the money to survive from that is still a task.

I asked about her sister, any other family? She said she went looking for her sister at some point and found her; she has three kids now and is struggling to survive too. Her mother's siblings have tried to offer the little help they can, but even they are living from hand to mouth. Right now, her mother is ill and needs N2,000 for blood pressure drugs.

That's it in a nutshell. By the time we finished, I was just weak. There's so much poverty around us. Yet some live in such affluence and waste! It's not right.  I gave her what I could, for her immediate needs. But I have been scanning through my brain, thinking of what I can do to help her in a more permanent way, but haven't really come up with an acceptable solution. Here's a list of the thoughts I have had;

  • Connect her with and NGO that supports children through school
I really don't know many of them or how they are run. I wouldn't want a case where she would fall into the hands of a bureaucratic system that can frustrate her further. Besides, if there are a few good ones around, I bet they are already laden with myriads of such cases.

  • Help her raise the money she needs to learn a trade
She mentioned that she considered learning tailoring so she could start a small tailoring business and use that to support herself and her mum. The charge was 10,000 and she started on credit but was kicked out when she couldn't pay. Perhaps this could be a good solution, but I have concerns about how this would interfere with her schooling. She starts her final year in September and needs to focus so she can get good grades.

  • Open an account for her and put her on financial support
Even if I could afford this, what would be the right amount. Not too much, not too little. Just what she needs to get that balance. I could get people to donate or one person to take her up as their responsibility, but it has to be sustainable and meaningful.

  • Adopt her or get someone to
She attends a public school in Oko-oba and from what she said her school counselors have been very supportive and have even offered to take her in. But her mum is not comfortable with their offer because she says she doesn't really know them and that they live too far away from her, so access to her daughter would be hard. I think too that Jane is all she's got left, so it would be hard to deal with a separation.

These are the options I have thought up so far. What do you think? How can we help this young girl? Please send your thoughts and proposed solutions to 

We may not be able to change the world, but we can help as many as we possibly can!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Nanny McPhee, where are you?!!.......

It rains for a day in Nigeria and all the networks go belly up!It's been raining almost everyday now so you can just imagine. IPNX is non-existent and swift is off and on. I find this extremely frustrating. Awon disgor. I won't let them get to me, ara won lo ma frustrate. Mscheew.


By the year 2012, I had weaned my second son and was ready to face the world again once I got the right nanny. About that, it was a nightmare. In our own growing up days, our parents had housekeepers that would stay for years, even get married from our homes. Nowadays however, those 419 agents collect your money and send you girls that stay for only a week or less. I was so desperate, I got duped by some Ghanaian agent, Julius or so.

A friend had this Ghanaian nanny that was spectacular, she made me so jealous. So I thought maybe I should try me one of them nannies. Julius the Ghanaian agent, told this woman all sorts of lies to get her to come over, she came and ran back to Ghana the next morning; she was already paranoid about coming to Nigeria. Besides, based on what he told her, she was expecting a Lekki type abode and was not too excited when she entered my tiny Otedola flat in Ojodu. When I was paying the agency fee, I was promised a refund or replacement if I was still within the 3 month probation period. So I called Julius to inform him and he promised to send a replacement within a week. Till tomorrow, I never got the replacement nor my money back. Sighs!

Next attempt, I got this madam from Togo. She was a madam in the actual sense of it. She took one day off every other week and had this biker (not okada o, bike as in power bike!) boyfriend that used to come and see her at my house. The day I found out, I almost passed out. You have your day off, why don't you see him then, how can he be coming to visit you at your work place for God's sake. Was that too much to ask? Anyway, she sacked herself after a while, even you already know that those types of  "madams" don't last.

Then I tried the smallies, from the east, from Benue, from Togo! I tried them all. One was a professional thief. She could lie and raise the dead from lying! LOL! Me that I was managing myself with no more office salary plus entrepreneurship hustle, one small rat was now trying to rob me blind. I had to ship her back to the agent that got her for me quick. The smallie from Togo was another matter, it was as if I was the housekeeper myself. Fon Fon (that was her name, seriously!), had to be prompted for everything. Its time to wash (baby clothes o), its time to pack the clothes from the line, its time to fold and I just did the ironing myself, too much headache. To now make matters worse, I realized she had been sneaking out at night to go and spend time with my neighbor's houseboy!! Lobatan. I wasn't ready to be a grandmother by force, so I shipped her back to her people quickly.

At this point I was already tired of trying. I quit for some time and was a stay at home mom, carrying the boys everywhere I went. We even did some deliveries together. Then one day my mom got the contact of one of the old housekeepers she had when we were younger. She called her up and she came. Unfortunately, she had her hands full and couldn't stay herself so she got me someone else who came with her grandson to resume! Huh?! She came explaining that the boy's mother was working out of town but would come and get him once she got back, in two days.Okay o.I showed her round the house and she settled in. Settled in with my kid's beverages and milk! This one was a case of, I have entered my paradise. No way I was going to work with this madam, no no. So I found a way to say, you know what I don't think we can work together, sorry for the inconvenience and I paid her half month salary upfront. Na yam! Is it easy to give up your paradise just like that, this woman (a grandmother!), knelt down and started to beg. I was embarrassed. It took wisdom from above and my mother's intervention to move this rock of Gibraltar out of my house. Whew!

I had given up and was already looking for a creche, when an aunt who works in a school came around to say she had this nanny and housekeeper from her school who was looking for a better paying job. I was skeptical at first but my aunt vouched for her, she had observed her work ethics for some time and assured me that she was good. I met and interviewed her and we reached a workable agreement, Mondays to Fridays with weekends off except on request. She has been working with me for close to a year now and after all my eyes have seen in this quest, I thank God for restoring sanity to my life with a good nanny! She's not perfect, but then who is? Not me for sure.

Life Skills Learnt

To be a successful mumpreneur, you need not only your office team, but also a reliable team at home and you must manage all these stakeholders well to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

10 myths about Entrepreneurs.....Lies, lies, lies!!

It's time for that sanction again, no stepping out nor food till I update my blog! Yes I can!

It's been a hectic week. Apart from being a mumpreneur, I am the first of six children so I am like an octopus with many legs. One of my sisters wasn't feeling very well and I have been supporting her at home with housework and cooking. I said it before, on my list of priorities, after God, family comes next before all else. I started typing this at her house yesterday but didn't finish because I spent almost two hours in traffic and just fainted when I got home. This is the story of a life lived in Lagos. O ga ju!

July 9, 2013.......

I was on air earlier today with Ayo and Debbie of 102.3fm, yaaay me! hehe. We talked about entrepreneurship, the challenges and how I have been surviving. This inspired today's post. Based on our discussion I am going to share ten myths about an entrepreneur;

1. Entrepreneurs are Lazy

Why would you go and spend 5 years in school or go and get an MBA and then not work for some big named company? It must be because you are lazy and don't want to work. . This is one of the greatest assumptions people make when they meet entrepreneurs or "dreamers". My friend, will you go and get a job!"Ko fe sise ni, ole", as yoruba people would say. Lol

Perhaps, there are some who do not want to work within an organization because they cannot submit to authority nor work hard to save their lives. These people may hide under the guise of entrepreneurship for a while, but they can't and won't last because no, entrepreneurs are in fact hard working people.

2. Entrepreneurs answer to no one

You can't stand your annoying boss right? So you want to resign and "run things". Think again. As an entrepreneur, you have even more people you report to if you really want to succeed. Here's a list - Customers, Investors, Shareholders, Employees (yes o, believe! you pay salaries before you pay yourself), Society. So are you still thinking of resigning just because of that one boss? *Raises eyebrows*

3. Entrepreneurs have more time to do whatever they want

I read this and laugh in swahili!! Time! True, I don't have to wake up at 5:30 to dress up hurriedly so I can get to work on time, rather I get up at 5:30 to pray and plan my day so it doesn't go to waste. Time management is a critical skill for any entrepreneur. The days go by so fast, you can go from day to day without achieving anything and there's so much to do. So yes, perhaps we have more time but more time to do what we want like sleeping in? Don't know about that, especially if we want to be successful.

4. Entrepreneurs with an MBA are more likely to make it

Wrong! This in it self can even be a challenge. I saw this somewhere this morning, "In theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice, they are completely different". MBA's are more likely to experience analysis paralysis. Preparing financial projections, drawing up plans over and over again while others are busy doing.

5. Entrepreneurs who have adequate funding will surely make it to the top

I have said it before and will say it again, Capital is overrated. Common sense is more important. Making the most of what you have, your time, your network and other resources.

6. Entrepreneurs are happy automatically because they are doing something they like

It's great to be doing something you enjoy, but doing something you enjoy profitably comes with a lot of things you may not enjoy. So there are days when entrepreneurs get sad, infact very sad! This is why we constantly look for ways to stay motivated. I still owe you a post on my survival kit.

7. Entrepreneurs are born and not made, it's in the genes

There are two different schools of thought on this subject. Scientists have even carried out research and propounded theories about this, no kidding! I am no expert on the subject, but here are my thoughts. Entrepreneurs have certain character traits that set them apart, yes. But you can have these traits and never explore them or have them lead you to entrepreneurship. Circumstances in life lead people to a point where they make a choice to become entrepreneurs. At this point in life, those who already have these character traits can soar naturally or not, those who don't have these traits can either build their character or fall out. It's a choice.

8. Entrepreneurs are greedy people who see business as a path to riches

Money is good. Infact it is great. But if you take a sample of entrepreneurs and ask them what motivates them, I doubt that 3 out of 10 will name money as their motivation. A greedy person can't even survive as an entrepreneur, because they would want gratification now! This is so not the case. We have to learn patience and endurance. Delayed gratification is our watchword.

9. Entrepreneurs are people with great, novel ideas

Sometimes, people think that if you don't have that idea that is completely fresh and hot, you cannot start a business. I have a friend who has a thing for catering, but dumped the idea because she said everybody is doing it. I told her two things. First thing, the market is bigger than you imagine, segment the market and find your niche. Secondly,  everybody is solving a problem, but how? Your how can be what would set you apart. Study the players in the market and find a better way to do what they are doing.

10. Men make better entrepreneurs than women

Someone once told me to get a job because business is not easy, it is not for women. It's too tough.  Kai! This is the mentality that limits a lot of women in Africa, even in their careers. Let me just list a few attributes of women that makes them better entrepreneurs. Women are, patient, have the ability to multitask at the same time focus, have the ability to motivate and inspire a team, can negotiate, can build an empire from nothing (how many times have we had to cook a  meal from what looks like an empty fridge?). Any man out there up for a challenge?! Lol.

I saw something on Omojuwa's site, you might want to apply;

Enter for a chance to win 800 through the AWP network

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Reality check....... Take charge of your life!

2011….. 1st year as a full-time entrepreneur

One of the first challenges you face when you resign from a regular office job is TIME MANAGEMENT!! Not in the sense of how do I manage all these things I need to do within this short time, but rather, what do I do to fill up all this time! Hahaha. The first few days after, you are very happy sleeping in and turning off the alarm when it goes off at 5:30 with bliss! Then the orders that seemed like they were coming non-stop while you worked will slowly start dwindling and before you know it you are broke, busted and disgusted (in the words of Pastor Paul Adefarasin).

This doesn’t always have to be the case with anyone who quits a fulltime job to follow entrepreneurship. You can hit the ground running and sustain it in your case, but this wasn’t the case for me. It was as if I resigned to become a full time housewife (this is not a bad thing, its about choices really and trust me, it is not an easy job either), especially after the project with Jobmag ended. In these parts, not a lot of people understand the concept of working from home.  People will show up and expect you to have their time, “sebi you are not doing anything”, “Sade help me buy pepper and tomato and drop it off for me on your way back from Ibukun’s school, sebi you are free”. It was as though I was a lazy loafer. Besides, PHCN made things worse, no light, no internet, no deadlines, no money then the icing on the cake, I found out I was pregnant. Egbele o!

I was happy about the pregnancy, don’t get me wrong, especially because my 1st son was already 4 and it was as if all efforts to have another were failing. I had even resigned to fate and was conditioning my mind to enjoy the fact that I had one child, after all some people don’t even have any. God must have a sense of humor you see because sometimes his timing is just funny, it’s like he’s up there watching you run helter skelter and laughing because he knows what is in store and if only you knew, you wouldn’t worry so much or maybe you would!  Oh well! The real work starts when the baby comes out, because I am usually able to bounce around still when I am pregnant. So I worked, I worked hard till the delivery day then everything came to a grinding halt. Shey if I was still working at least they will be paying me salary abi, or better still if I had a structure in place already, it wouldn’t have been that bad.

I lost a lot of my clients during this time, mainly because the business was built around me. This taught me a valuable lesson though, structures and systems are very important for business. 

Life Skills Learnt
  • No matter how scarce funds are, try to have someone that shares your vision and can represent you when you are not there.
  • You are not in a race, live your life and enjoy every stage, like the opportunity to care for and nurture a child.
  • If you must run a home office, create a calendar of activities and stick with it, be disciplined. Soon everyone will know and accept your timing.

July 04 2013

Today was a good day generally, I think I might have found my executive assistant and I am looking forward to working with him. I also took time out to do a plan for recruitment, highlighting the categories and skills I need to run trezorlandia and the stages at which I would need them. It’s a bit sketchy now still but I have asked my friend Ibironke who’s an HR expert to look over and fine tune it for me. Ronke, this is your subtle hintJ, thanks in advance! hehe

We had this discussion in a group I am in about how we are losing values in the society because we are not taking charge of our lives and setting right priorities. Too many mothers are pursuing careers at the expense of their children and companies are not helping. I think we need a re-orientation about the role of women in the society; employers need to understand and incorporate flexible hours into their system. Employees on the other hand need to be able to speak up and not be afraid. It has become urgent.

Here’s my call, what are you doing with your life right now? Are you happy? If you are not, why are you still doing it? What are you afraid of? Have you explored all other options available? Life is too short to be living a life you hate, people! Think about this.

I read a post from a friend that I would also love you to read, it has some important points about pursuing your dream, the right attitude to adopt and most importantly knowing when to quit or retire;

Entrepreneur Tips

Let me share some of the useful sites I visit regularly as my tip for today

  • they’re on twitter too so you can just follow them on twitter @projecteve1
  • This is owned by a blogger from Pakistan, Irfan Ahmad. I stumbled on the infographic he shared about the startup entrepreneur’s mind and since then I have been hooked on his posts.
  • This is an online repository for almost any template you need for your business, it features entrepreneur stories and updates registered users with information about seminars and programs in their countries. People always ask me, “how did you know about this free (say Free!, free is sweet especially when you are a startup) seminar” here’s how o, I am not a witch. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Writer's Block.....

Blogging Recess….. Yes, Non?

I have to admit! Blogging is hard work! Boy oh boy! Yet, there are people who have been doing this for years! Biko, I need to have a chat with those people, how do they do it? I sat in front of my laptop last night for a couple of minutes, when nothing was flowing, I decided to take a brief nap, perhaps a clear rested head would do the trick. Brief nap koo, brief nap ni, lol!! I woke up this morning at 5:30, hurriedly said a prayer, and turned on my laptop and still ….. nothing.  I have placed a sanction on myself to say, no going out and no food today until I at least put out something. I also have the JDs (job descriptions) to finish. So that too. Military confinement style it is! Until I finish all my to dos.

I had to deliver a spa voucher yesterday. I chose a spa around the Lekki environs because the recipient stays in Lekki. My plan was to pick up the gift voucher and head to hers straight. I got to the spa expecting to just pay, pick up and head out, 10 minutes maximum. Please someone should answer me this! What is wrong with our people fa?!!! Imagine the lady telling me to go and come back in the afternoon because their finance people were closing their books! Huh?! I was like, what has that got to do with anything, besides do you know how far I had to come to get here. You would think this was my first time doing this transaction with them. She said the vouchers are with the accountants and they won’t have our time now. I had to ask her to call her manager or I would report the case if she didn’t get me the voucher NOW! What the hell! A few minutes later, I had my voucher and left the place. Sheesh! Nobody wants to make the required effort anymore. SMH!

Is it just me or is the weather funny. It’s getting tougher for me to get in the shower every morning and my boys are coughing and sneezing. This is even contributing to my struggle to stay up at night and work, brrrr! I am in Ogun state more or less, so if you’re not feeling it, it means this wind hasn’t hit Lagos yet. 

I have started getting interesting emails in response to the tweet I put out two days ago. Let the weeding begin. I haven’t listed any tips in a while; today I will borrow some tips from various interesting materials I have been reading across the web.

Entrepreneur Tips
  • The right people make the difference. You can only do so much. Don't allow scarce funds restrict you, consider hiring interns or trainees and see how your business transforms.
  • In everything you do consistency is very important, 15 minutes of dedication daily is far better than eight straight hours once a week. Apply this in your social media marketing efforts
  • Work hard, stay humble. 
If you are interested, I will share a couple of the sites I visit regularly to get useful information. After you read up on all your linda Ikeji gossip (Yes You! You know I am talking about you), you can try to spare a few minutes to visit these other sites, that help you become a better person.  

Monday, July 1, 2013

As you begin the second half of the year #Rejoice

"Just because it's & things seem not to be going according to plan doesn't mean U've lost the ... common now... "

  • Life: A lot of times we tend to take this for granted. That phrase that goes, when there is life, there is hope, is no joke. I may be behind on many of the plans and aspirations I had for the year, but I am still here and therefore I can do something about it.
  • Good Health: Some people are alive but confined to a hospital bed. They would give anything to be you, driving home in traffic and feeling sorry for yourself.
  • Family: I can't trade this for anything ever. The most important things in life are free indeed. I don't ever have to walk alone.
  • Friends: I don't know about you, but I have the most amazing friends. Cheering and supporting me all the way, even when I don't have a clue what I am doing. Hehe.
  • Keystone Bank: Now this is very specific detail but I can't resist! Whoever initiated the "spouse gets a salary" scheme is my hero! That little stipend I get by virtue of being a Keystone bank spouse is a monthly life saver!
  • Trezorlandia: Its not been a walk in the park. I am definitely not where I want to be, but I am closer than I was yesterday (I know, I stole the line okay! No better way to say it). I bless the day I decided to pursue this dream.

I am truly blessed.

I have been evaluating my progress so far and I have come to the conclusion that I need a strong team. As if my website developer, Rotimi read my mind, he buzzed me today and fired me up.  He is a great believer in the Trezorlandia dream and checks in every now and again. I had a chat with Maureen on friday as well and we reached the same conclusion. I need to have structures and systems in place if I really mean business and you can't have these without a team. I will pour my energy into building a winning team as well as a structure that's built to last, one tiny detail at a time. In the meantime, I need to document Job descriptions, that much I can do today.

I put this out on twitter today;

Are you young and passionate, internet saavy with a thing for gifts? Trezorlandia is looking for you! Mail

It'll be interesting to see the responses I get.

In other news, who has been following Ebonylife TV on DSTV channel 165? Not bad at all. Hearing Mo Abudu's story has inspired me. Look how many years it has taken her and her team to get to this point? Just don't give up.