Tell us a bit about yourself?
I run a community of #kickassmums under mumpreneur.ng wherein we offer a platform for networking, support and capacity building for mothers in business. Our mission is to raise mothers who can build successful businesses without sacrificing family.
I have a background in Chemical Engineering with an MBA from the Lagos Business School. I worked in the corporate sector for about four years before I decided to exit and start my own business mainly because I wanted control of my time for family.
At what point did you decide to become a mumpreneur?
I had my first son during my MBA, it was through a C-section and I had a tough decision to either defer or return to finish my final semester almost immediately. My mother was a strong support for me during this time and she took time off to follow me to school holding him while I took my classes.
This was my first experience with having to find a balance with fulfilling my dreams and being a present mother. Shortly after the MBA I got a job as a business analyst with Dangote Cement. I loved my job while I was at it, but I hated that I had to leave my son at the mercy of daycare centers and hired helps. I became even more restless when he started school proper and I could hardly ever attend any of the important school functions.
I used to have them drop him off at an after school from where I would pick him up after work. One day, there was this terrible gridlock on third mainland bridge and I couldn’t get to him till almost 11pm. I called everyone I knew who could have helped pick him up, but most of them were not available. This was the last straw for me, I decided that day that I was not about this kind of life anymore. It took me a few months but I resigned in 2010 after I had started and ran a small business by the side called Trezorlandia.
What were some of the fears you nursed at the time and how did you overcome them?
My dissatisfaction with that life was greater than my fear. I had so many of my colleagues calling me aside to advise me out of concern, “keep your job”, “It’s not easy out there”, “save 10million first” and so on. Lol. But I was done.
I would say the day I turned in my resignation was a moment of madness, I had been discussing this with my husband over time and he had his fears. But one thing I told him to at least get him on board was that he should give me just two years, if nothing worked I would dust my CV and get a job again. I said to him, don’t let me die wondering what could have been if I tried.
So, I got courage from knowing that worst case, I would dust my CV and go back to work; this is 2018, I’m still here.
Being an entrepreneur seems cool (it’s a buzzword too). What are some of the harsh realities that come with being one?
I agree at “seems”, lol! I got a rude awakening three years after I resigned. I had just had my second son and business sort of came to a halt. Turns out the business was centered around me, if I wasn’t available, it couldn’t run.
I was broke, frustrated and started to think I had made a big mistake resigning. To make matters worse, I would read headlines that went – “how I made my first million”, “successful entrepreneur does this and that”. I felt, maybe there was something wrong with me. Everybody else but me seemed to be making it.
As an outlet to maintain my sanity, I started a blog. It was tagged an entrepreneur’s journey. I shared my story and reality with no filter. The struggles I faced, the hard truths about being an entrepreneur from my side. Suddenly I started getting emails and feedback; apparently I wasn’t alone. Many other people were facing this too. This was how the whole mumpreneur community started.
I realized we needed real people with real stories so we could learn from and encourage each other because truth of the matter is, entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey. Nobody has it all figured out, we all just keep pushing and doing till that break comes, if it ever comes. This is the harsh reality.
Yes o, it’s not all gloom and doom before I scare people away. It is good to run a business that you are passionate about and one that gives you fulfillment and satisfaction beyond money.
Money is good, don’t get me wrong, but it is not everything and most times, the more you focus on it, the more it eludes you. When your business is focused on giving true value, money is the icing on the cake.
I had so many of my colleagues calling me aside to advise me out of concern, “keep your job”, “It’s not easy out there”, “save 10million first” and so on. Lol. But I was done.
I wouldn’t trade any of my experiences on this path for anything. I look back and I see the highlights of my journey and I am grateful. I have done things I never imagined I could, I have shared platforms with and met people I never would have met if I stayed in my comfort zone.
Entrepreneurship stretches you, if you are consistent and stick with it, it brings out the best in you.
One day, there was this terrible gridlock on third mainland bridge and I couldn’t get to him till almost 11pm. I called everyone I knew who could have helped pick him up, but most of them were not available. This was the last straw for me.
What are some of your highpoints since towing the entrepreneur path?
My very first highpoint was getting featured on Moment with Mo and meeting Mo Abudu just around the time Ebony life was launched. I remember almost passing out when the crew bus showed up at my house. There are some experiences money cannot buy.
I also get high on testimonials from mumpreneurs whose lives have become better because of my message, when people slide into my inbox to thank me for stuff I didn’t even know I was doing, I am encouraged to keep doing more.
I must also add the awards and recognitions I have received over time. Emerging one of the top 100 leading ladies Africa in 2017 felt great. Like I said, these moments for me are priceless and they encourage me to keep going.
Do you have any advice for a career mum looking to tow this path?
I’ll just say, listen to your inner voice, nobody knows you better than you know yourself. Entrepreneurship is not an easy journey, but it is fulfilling when you are solving a problem out of passion.
Be ready to make adjustments and always remember why you decided to tow this path in the first place. Everybody has a different “why”, so you need to focus on yours.
I get up, pray, get the boys set for school, exercise (sometimes the exercise is in my head, lol), then head out to work. I used to work from my home office, but I recently moved to a hub because I wanted to improve my productivity.
Tell us more about your brand and how you help mums in business?
We have different levels of engagement within the community, there is a free to join facebook group where we interact and invite experts weekly to discuss topics that can drive the women forward.
There is a paid online directory on the website where mumpreneur businesses can get listed with benefits like monthly promotions on social media, SEO on the website and referrals once the businesses are verified.
We also have an e-learning platform – www.kickassmum.com, still work in progress, where mothers can take practical courses that would help them in life and business right from the comfort of their homes. Some of the courses are available for free, while others will be at a nominal fee. There is currently an accounting automation course up for free on the platform.
My very first highpoint was getting featured on Moment with Mo and meeting Mo Abudu just around the time Ebony life was launched. I remember almost passing out when the crew bus showed up at my house.
What are the top skills for mums wishing to follow the business path?
The top skills are people management, time management and the ability to make tough decisions in a short time and stick with it. Business is about decision making, every single day. Sometimes we make the right ones, sometimes they may be wrong, but we need to be able to live with the decisions and keep going.
If you could start your career all over again or become a business woman what would you do differently?
I doubt I would want to change anything really, I am where I am today because of all the experiences I have had along the way, good and bad.