The desire to be a boss, to take charge and call the shots, is one of the many reasons why people venture into entrepreneurship. After the desire has been established, the next step is the kind of business to start. This should be easy right? But the truth is that this isn’t always easy.
Figuring out the business to start and invest in, sometimes, can quench one’s thirst for business ownership. Just when you think you’ve settled for something, you begin to reconsider. This is mostly the case for first time entrepreneurs.
For serial entrepreneurs, it’s usually more of “been there, done that”. They know how to narrow down to the next business because they are more enlightened from past experiences.
If you are stuck trying to figure out the best type of business to go into, this Smartpreneur live session will help you.
Smartpreneur host, Pelumi Shittu had a live chat with an amazing member of the Smartpreneur Tribe, Addie Kasali.
In the session, Addie shared her beautiful entrepreneurship journey, highlighting how she settled for the business that she currently runs and how she pushed through from a period of zero sales to cashing out with her fabrics business.
Addie Kasali sells fabrics wholesale and she teaches people how to make at least N1,000,000 monthly by selling beautiful fabrics from their smartphones.
Addie juggles entrepreneurship with her 9-5 job in clinical research and she has a PhD in Pharmacology.
Below is a paraphrased (for clarity) and summarized version of the chat. For the best experience, we recommend you watch the session, part 1 and part 2
Pelumi Shittu of Smartpreneur (PS): You have a background in science so how did you venture into entrepreneurship?
Addie Kasali (AK): In the later part of 2017, I had my second child. I was a wife, I was a mum and I had a thriving career. However, that wasn’t enough for me. I just felt that there was more to life. I just wanted more and I went to God in prayer and He directed me to fabrics. I was shocked because nobody in my family had ever sold fabrics. I have a pharmacology background but God said fabrics. That was how I developed the desire.
PS: What followed next after you got the inspiration to go into fabrics?
AK: I reached out to two people back then that I knew sold fabrics. They told me to go to Dubai and that I’d see lots of fabrics there. I went to Dubai and I bought about $5000 worth of fabrics and I was so excited but I couldn’t sell them when I returned home. For the first six months of my business, I didn’t sell anything, from May 2018 to November 2018, I didn’t sell one thing.
Honestly, I gave the fabrics to my nanny. I went back to God and I was told to go to China. I went to China and when I got there, the holy spirit opened my eyes to the fact that these Chinese fabric suppliers are making billions of dollars in Nigeria. People don’t necessarily have to go to China to buy these fabrics. Chinese suppliers just send them pictures on their phone and that’s how Nigerians buy most of their fabrics.
I figured if the Chinese can do it from China, I can do it selling from America to my people. That was how I started.
I created a WhatsApp group back in February 2019 and I made an ad on Facebook and this ad did a lot for me. I got lots of customers and lots of people joined the WhatsApp group. I hired my first assistant, who is now the manager and overtime, I had remote workers, we would do everything on our phones.
PS: Entrepreneurship comes with challenges but how you handle them is what matters. So how has it been for you so far?
AK: A challenge that I faced, and many fabrics sellers online face, is the fact that people don’t trust us because we are selling on pre-order. They have to pay before seeing the fabric.
Another challenge that I face a lot is centered on how smartphones have different filters so if I send a picture of a fabric, sometimes, the customer can get something totally different.
But I will say in anything that you do, you have to be diligent. Don’t give up. Just like when I wasn’t selling in the first six months of my business, I sat down and asked myself what was wrong. I also went to seek knowledge.
For some people, they get frustrated, but they don’t go out to ask questions or learn to progress their business.
I took a course back then and I learnt something that changed the trajectory of my business plus my trip to China. So when you are facing a challenge, do not give up.
Sometimes, it’s okay to switch if you realise something isn’t meant for you, try something else.
PS: How do you juggle entrepreneurship with your 9-5 job and being a mum?
AK: To be honest, I don’t have it all together but I try. When I first started my business, it affected my family life. But one thing I like to tell people is to get help. I got remote workers to help me in my business, I got a nanny for the kids. My husband is really supportive and I also manage my time properly.
As for dropping my 9-5, no, because I love clinical research and the job comes with a lot of benefits here in America and I have to keep that for the kids!
PS: What do you love the most about owning a business
AK: For me, it’s the people that I come across. I have come across amazing people. And the fact that I’m in a position to help people is number one for me.
PS: What is your major advice to entrepreneurs in every and any sector?
AK: Have integrity. Be true in everything you do. It speaks for you and your business. This is how you avoid getting dragged online.
As an entrepreneur, you and integrity should go hand-in-hand.
PS: As a Nigerian running a business from America, how would you compare doing business in Nigeria to doing business over there?
AK: Residing in America has nothing to do with me having a successful business. I can confidently say this because I have students who are based in Nigeria who make more money than I do. I have a particular student who made a lot of money from selling fabrics last year during the pandemic in Nigeria.
People believe I have it easier simply because I’m abroad but it’s not about where you are.
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