I want to talk about entrepreneurship – my love hate relationship with it. Firstly let me explain what it is I do for a living – at the moment I run a business consulting outfit – primarily targeted at Small to Medium Enterprises. It involves doing a lot of business plans, continuity plans, or even restructuring plans. Sometimes I also engage in the preparation of manuals across the organisation. I have had the opportunity to work with organisations ranging from some listed on the Nigerian Stock exchange to start-ups.
I sort of fell into what I do on accident. In that – I am an applied Math and Statistics Bachelors Degree holder, with an MBA (finance specialisation ) and a Masters in Enterprise Management -I am looking for how to do a Doctorate in Education right now lol.. Professionally I have worked in accounting (3 years), budgeting/ proposal writing (5 years), Ratings and economic Research (4 years), and investment banking (6 months) across about seven or so countries. I am not old oh- forever young lomo! After the six month stint at the investment bank – i was sort of decided that corporate Nigeria wasn’t for me – and Nigerians don’t really know how to use graduates like me – we don’t do derivatives or heavy quantitative analysis per say – however Applied Mathematicians can fall in any where analysis is involved.
I began getting calls for freelance work from some of my former corporate clients…sometimes people have more faith in you than you do in yourself. I opted not to look for a job and began writing the business plan for my early childhood center- i sat and took my time..in about 2 months i was able to do my research and benchmark rates etc. Alas thanks to CAC and a few other matters I am still at it (side eyes).
One job turned into two, two turned into referrals, which turned into other refferals (quality of work is important). Alas by September 2014 i had to register an entity, billing clients under my name- i was short changing myself. I was out of work from November 2014 to March 2015 (rightfully so, death in the family)…as soon as i got back to Lagos, the work began dripping in.
As of this week, my sleep has been very dynamic- putting it mildly, I have thus far been a one man team and hope to engage a free-lancer soon. While I like the process of writing business plans, the creation of the financial statements is extremely time consuming – i have stayed up for 48 hours straight before building statements. I do great with income statements and cash flow projections, but that damn balance sheet….
I love entrepreneurship because i can wake up at 9am on some days and go to bed at 4am on some days. I can also make the decision not to actively work on days when my mind and mood aren’t right. Some days i just want to take a shower and get back in bed and sleep my life away. I work from home so I have that freedom. Other days i am glued at the table for 80% of the day, or days I have to wake up at 5am to go to Abuja to meet a client and come back. There are also some days where I have thought about refunding clients money when the work gets really annoying. Sometimes midway through the work it gets extremely frustrating, and I realise i underpriced the job…. to counter this i have started using the larger organisations as a benchmark.
It got so bad that on Tuesday morning someone sent me a BBM asking if I was awake..I actually responded “no” and sent the message. Lol. It was work related as you can guess.
And I have thought about it…for me, there is dignity in labor. I also like having money- my own money. Not necessarily to spend the money, but to remind myself I have it. I have always worked since I was 16, so i don’t know how to not work- this trait means i am unlikely to go hungry-ever so long as I have good health, but it also means I might not truly know how to enjoy life with reckless abandon. You know those people who do whatever the hell it is to have fun on a whim and aren’t worried about the consequences? I dont quite know how to do that.
I have had one hell of a work week, hence my relative absence. It should get better before the week runs out. Even though I have work for the next two months at least- I promise to find that balance…I always ask God to bless the labor of my hands, and the work is just body slamming into me, maybe I should just ask him outright for free money? Would that make me an infidel or an ingrate?
Are you an entrepreneur? Or a salaried employee? Please share your struggles and victories as it concerns your career or line of work.
“No career path is a walk in the park, even successful armed robbery requires diligence”- Baba Pynk (My Father).
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