I was never someone who wanted to have a business and then again I wasn’t even someone that anyone thought could run a business.
My family always saw me as someone that will fit a good 9-5 job all my life. And well it wasn’t that bad to me.
So while I was on break from school, my Aunty was talking to me about having a business. She was asking me why I didn’t have any and my response to her was that, “business was just to make money and I have enough money for where I am right now.”
My parents were sustaining me as a student, my allowance was enough to provide for my needs at that time and I was content with that.
She told me about how starting a business isn’t just about having extra cash and after all she said, I felt like she made sense but I wasn’t ready to take any action yet.
What I didn’t know is that she was going to keep pestering me until I took up the business. She was always asking, always insisting and I could only ignore so much.
She even threatened to tell my parents to stop giving me allowance and have me fend for myself. I always wondered why she really wanted me to have a business that bad.
So I decided to start selling perfume oils because she wanted me to and she won’t stop pestering me. She helped me come up with the brand name and every other thing.
One thing she didn’t know is that I was scared to start the business and my number 1 fear was, “Nobody will patronize me.”
But to my shock, the first week I got up to 20k worth of orders. It was like everyone was waiting for me to start the business. That’s how I also started getting referrals from customers and so on.
Then I send broadcast messages up to four times a week to my contacts and also plead with them to repost. Despite the fact that my Aunty made me start the business, at some point I started to take it seriously.
I started learning more about perfumes and I realized that having a good scent was a priority to people and it became my priority as well.
Right now, I love my business because it has been way more than gaining an extra source of income. I love the joy that people have when they get their orders and their satisfaction has become mine as well.
My Aunty isn’t even as interested in the business as it’s already existing but it goes without saying that I think of her anytime I think of my business.
She passed on a few years after my business started but I’m glad I have something I can remember her by every single day. I’m glad she left something I can hold on to.
This keeps me going even during hard times in the business. I remember her, what she would have wanted and what she would have said if I stopped and I just keep going and it’s funny how I overcome the challenges and my business pulls through.
Today, I’m grateful for her and I’m grateful for the business I now have because of her.
How I got a huge GIG/ business deal that cost me my best friend.
I’ve always loved cooking. Ever since I was a little girl, it fascinated me a whole lot. I was that one child whose mother always chased her away from the kitchen but I kept coming back every time.
As a student in the university, I cooked for all my friends when I could. I also took cooking jobs for those who didn’t like cooking or those who just didn’t have time to cook. I also sold at the food canteen on my free and happy days because I could and also to make some profit.
Tola was my very close friend. She could cook as well and everything just clicked. “Why not make her my partner?”. I mean, “what could go wrong?”. Honestly, no one could convince me otherwise.
So I made her my partner. We agreed to always split the profit 50/50. She was a great cook but there was something wrong; She was lazy. I had started noticing this little by little but I decided to just ignore it. I mean, “let’s cut her some slack?” I always told myself.
I didn’t feel it was fair that I would do the majority of the work, all she would do was stay there and gist but then when it’s pay time she requests equal 50/50. Because she was my friend, I was using plenty of bias to sweep it under the carpet but what I didn’t realize is that it would cause a huge amount of damage in the long run.
Fast forward to when I got this very huge contract. GT bank was coming to my school to have a festival. They would open accounts for people, have this meet and greet whereby they invited artistes and influencers just for everyone to have a great time.
Of course, in such an event, there was expected to be plenty of food. So, I got the contract to prepare ofada rice, jollof rice and every other rice you could think of. I was so happy!
Tola was the first person I told. I couldn’t believe that I would be trusted with a contract as big and serious as this one was. But there were a lot of difficulties, I won’t lie.
One of the most disturbing was that I couldn’t get an industrial gas and so I had to borrow gas cylinders from a lot of my friends, like I mean I had to combine like 8 cylinders at once just to cook in large quantities. It wasn’t easy. But guess what?
Tola did nothing. She didn’t even cut onions. Every time I called on her she moved from one excuse to the other and just watched me suffer to do all the work alone. I would literally cook throughout the night till morning and still have to go to the market to get things again.
Oh, did I forget to say that it was a five days contract? It was! I had to beg my other friends for a helping hand at this point and I had to pay them as well cause they weren’t doing free work, lol. Everyone wants to get paid for their labor and that was fine by me.
It was very stressful but a wonderful experience. I was so touched by the fact that they could trust me with this kind of huge deal and I am so glad that I delivered without letting them down.
Also, one good part of it was that whether people bought food or not, I was being paid before I even served the food.
Tola came to me and asked for her own cut and this was where I exploded. I felt cheated and even more irritated that she would dare to do such a thing. It caused a disagreement between us for days and even weeks. But one thing was sure, she wasn’t getting any of that money!
I made a conscious decision after this to be careful when choosing friends as partners. I also had to understand that when you’re going into a business deal with a friend, you should do so with that risk that the business might just tear you guys apart.
We ended up mending the friendship, I never gave her that money but we apologized to each other and moved on. We said goodbye to being business partners and even close friends as we used to be before and embraced peace at least.