Tuesday, June 8, 2010

When the chips are down

Hello Everyone,

I have my first guest blogger today, his name is Tobi and you can view his blog here http://tobystic.blogspot.com/

Happy Reading.

I know the first thing that comes to mind is ‘He is going to be talking about some entrepreneurial stuff and all’. Yes! Probably, but in more a practical way without anyone’s ego having to suffer for it.

Before working on this piece, with a little practical section, I discovered that a lot of men would have been doing fantastic if there were no female folks in this world, hence the reason I mentioned ‘ego’ in my first paragraph. I m not being chauvinistic but an individual who is down on his or her own chips can easily bounce back in an environment where he/she knows no one than when she chooses to remain in her immediate sphere of influence or social ranking. If you are a Nigerian reading this piece, ask yourself how you survived during youth service in a land where the number of people you know could be counted on one hand and still have a few fingers left. The basic thing I’m saying here is this, “Life is short, and life’s race is individual, choose your own tracks and spikes and do not let anyone do that for you”. I want you to know everything here is borne out of 70% personal experience and the rest from observation and ‘unconscious interviews’ with friends and focus groups. Let’s get into business.

1. Learn to think like an Igbo man: I once had the privilege of reading 2 chapters of a book about 9 years ago at a friend’s. I have not finished it yet because I could not locate where I could purchase it but the 2 chapters I went through within the short time of visitation changed everything about me. Have you ever been to the market where an Igbo man meets you on the way and asks what you are looking for? In fact, if he sells shoes and you are looking for a blackberry, he would tell you to sit down and he will go get it for you. At this stage you need to ask yourself, ‘How do I convert things around me to money’? That’s a polite way of rephrasing the quote made popular by Mafia Dons “What’s in this for me?” You must learn to lobby. Yes! ‘Lobby’, I used the word. You can’t afford to say ‘No’ when people ask you questions. Right now, you are the magnate of your own empire. You must tell that to your mental imagery. You are a business man now. A general consultant and a service provider. You probably spend considerate time on the internet to have had opportunity to be reading this, there are several websites you can sell things. A friend comes to you and tells you he wants to sell a car and you tell him ‘good luck’? No. You ask him, how much does it go for and what’s in it for me should I get you a buyer? Go to sites like nairalist.com and post it there. Put the best conditions of your product and you are on your way there. The first time I did this; I left my phone to charge and went to work for 7 hours. I came back and saw 26 missed calls all asking for the car.

When it comes to the internet options, there is no limit to what you can achieve I tell you. You generate buyers and sellers in an instant. Another wonderful site to get on a lot of activities is eclemo.com Not really sure how functional it is anymore but exchange of goods and services happen here daily. You can find out more. The list becomes inexhaustible with time. There are so many instances I can give about what I’m trying to pass across. I’ve found buyers for even real estate right there online but beyond that, the real work is the mental part. Our approach to the opportunities that abound. I went to fix my phone once somewhere in Victoria Island and the engineer had this big office and only a little portion of it was useful to him. Then I told him, why you don’t generate more income by dividing this office of yours into 2 partitions and get another occupant? This is Victoria Island. Properties are quite expensive. Of course,I got my cut!

Most of the skills I have mentioned so far are not even peculiar to certain people. How much more, if you have special skills like hair braiding, programming, script writing, drawing and so on? Everyone at one time needs to do a list of gifts he has.

2. The Gift and the curse: Don’t bother much about the heading. The good book says, ‘The gifting of a man maketh room for him’. This has been one truth I’ve learnt growing up. When I was in primary school, in a class of 16, excursions were only open to about 5 every term. The 2 most brilliant, the most creative, the narrative writer to keep the details and the person with a leadership attribute. What happens to the rest? My point is this, as young as we were (just tiny past-toddler age kids), this rule has been taking effect. What are the gifts you have? Take a pad and pen down at least 5 gifts be it academic or comedy, whatever region of extremity is welcomed. The famous Rev Run once said this quote, “If you don’t prepare, someone else will, and when you meet for a competition, the person wins. Period!” You don’t have a job and you let this weary you down. 1, you are wasting time, 2, you are wasting energy. I m trying to keep this as short as possible without getting too religious. At the same time, I would like to say this. Once heard the General Overseer of Redeemed church say this. He was praying to God for more money and God told him to get his gifts into action. He was a lecturer in Unilag then but that year, he added 5 secondary schools to his teaching list. No matter how small he was making from that school, you can multiply it by 5. Just get your ego out of the way and be proud of yourself, the next Jelani Aliyu (Head of design unit in General Motors) might just be in your classroom.

A friend of mine whom I attended University with was always doing badly in academics but he was king of freestyle when it came to rap battles. I told him to make more friends with guys that use fruityloops very well. We were all friends and we did things for free for each other as students. By grad time, he did a soundtrack for the whole class; it was so cool we had him perform at our dinner. Imagine a rap performance at a dinner??? .It was just that cool. If I mention his name, you probably know him, he is all over the air-waves now. START SOMEWHERE ON YOUR GIFTS!

At this stage, be a little less concerned about the pay, build more network of good friends and referrals for other jobs. If you do a good job for somebody, he would always call you back and even call you for other related jobs and also refer you to friends and associates.

One question for thought. Will you prefer to have a good job as an average Joe on probably N2Million a year or be like Ingvar Kamprad (CEO of IKEA furniture) who never ceases to admit he was just a ‘fortunate carpenter’? One more question on that note, “Do you know that about 70% of people with the jobs you are envying were only happy for the first 3 weeks of getting the job, afterwards, the only motivation left about the job is Payday.

A friend of mine working in an international telecom firm right now produces world class standard journals and scribble pads and he supplies them to schools and churches. Now, that’s another instance.

To help make it easier for you, what are those things you have ever done that got you applause. What subject had you A’s with no sweat. What do people enjoy about you the most? If people enjoy your gist, have you thought of having your own blog posts and look for online competitions.

3. Drain your friends

By drain-your-friends, I mean, for every friend you come across, there are certain attributes to learn from them. At this stage, it is assumed you have little capital to do anything because you are either fresh from school or you are in-between jobs. At the same time, So many people have 2 – 3 jobs they are doing. One thing I’ve found out is that the more you get busy, the more you are attracted to more jobs or works to do. Have you noticed how some just keep getting busy and you are wondering how they get to keep up with life. Not to get far from the point, this moment is where you cherish good friends. This is because you get free counselling and support from them. Take this thought off your mindset, that one friend or family member would give you some money at any time. If it comes along, fine. But the celestial point here, people only want to pay you for the services you render to them; they don’t care what you are going through and your tales of woe. So be ready to work. Lack of work got you here in the first place. I don’t mean to sound harsh but, hey, remember; you are the ‘Magnate of your own empire, the architect of your destiny. People that do bake cakes and make beads, more often than not, always never meet their demand. So a good point is to ‘help out and learn’, then ‘break out and blend’. If you know a very good tailor, even if you can’t learn the trade, so long as people compliment his clothing on you, next time you are with the tailor, tell him, you are going into partnership with him and you are going to bring him clients. It’s your job to now tell people those clothes you wear, come out of your factory. You can’t get sued for that. Of course, you get your own cut for that.

#crux of the matter: Attach lucrative ability to your thoughts

Thank you and please leave comments behind.