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Adédèjì Olówè: So You Wanna Quit Your Job? Hold On… Read this First!

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dreamstime_l_37253845I have had a decent career and everyone expects me to jump ship to run my own business but I haven’t. This is for different reasons, but those closest to me know that I’m a closet chicken. Run my own business, are you kidding me?

Before you finally consider me a loser, listen to the best of my arguments.

You need skills to run a business
Unless you want to sell pepper and goat meat, you need a decent level of skills to run your own business. The more technical your dream business is, the more the skills you need to have before you jump right in. You want to sell foreign exchange? Better be sure you understand how it works. You want to become a real estate magnate? Make sure you know the difference between sharp sand and plastering sand.

Quite a lot of world-renown founders didn’t have long experiences but they created a whole new set of industries to play in. If you think you know as much as the Google boys or Zack, you can start right away! I wish you luck.

You need connections to land customers
Even if you are going to open a shop to sell gúgúrú and èpà, you need to know people to succeed. And you need gazillion of them: someone to buy key raw materials or products from; someone to facilitate licenses with the government; someone to link you with large corporates who will give contracts, etc.

You even need connections to recruit. If you depend on CVs and LinkedIn profiles to hire workers, you have entered one chance! The quality of your network is what determines how many believers are ready to leave their jobs to join your quest for glory.

It takes time and effort to build your business connections. It’s easier for those in front office roles such as marketing and sales to know a lot of people, than those of us who sit pretty in back offices making lives of others miserable.

And while at it, please work on your attitude. The fact that you are a senior executive with contractors and customers kowtowing to you means nothing. You don’t know the value of that network until you are out of a job.

So while still doing this cushy job, cultivate relationships. Be nice to everyone. Be fair to all and sundry. Help others as much as you can and don’t trample on lowly entrepreneurs.

Not everyone is an entrepreneur
We ain’t all born to be same. Think about it: growing up, some of us wanted to be doctors, politicians, lawyers, strippers, pilots, pimps, bankers, etc. The diversity is what makes the world go round. Imagine a world where everyone is a lawyer? I shudder at such thoughts.

So extending same arguments mean we can’t all be business owners and that doesn’t mean we won’t succeed. I would rather be a Tim Cook than a failed business owner.

A note of warning: The fact that you want to do your own thing doesn’t make you superior to others. Remember that you will recruit people to run your business. If you think working class are idiots, then you are going to treat your staff like idiots and they will, in revenge, do you over.

You need money to run your own business
Forget about your friends and that retired army uncle who promised funding for your silly business ideas, you need cold cash to start a business and preferably yours. When you depend on other people’s cash to get things going, you will end up with bosses worse than where you worked before.

You probably have to work for some time, save everything, forgo vacations and Louis Vuitton bags to save just enough to start.

The thing with money is… it is never enough!

You need balls to start a business
Some call it liver, heart or spine. I call it balls, smooth steel clanging balls. You need big balls to start a business. It’s not child’s play at all. This is where many of us are deficit. We are just scared.

Fear is not a bad thing unless we allow it to overwhelm us. At least that’s what I tell myself when I have a bad day at work.

Presentation matters with business
You don’t need spend a million dollars to look like a millionaire; however the way you look, or present yourself is very important. While dressing like a village headmaster mayn’t affect your salary at month end, it affects the pricing that you can get out of that product you want to sell.

Packaging is everything!

When you run a business, especially at the first stages, the first product you sell is yourself. Be poorly presented and you are likely toast.

Dress nicely. Shine your shoes and work on your poise. Let your PowerPoint be spiffy. These are the things the chickens like us look at when you come around to present your products and services for sale.

You need discipline to run your own show
If you think that when you start your own thing, you can wake up at any time you want and sleep when you feel like, sorry dude, you are in for a rude shock. Those who run their own businesses run long hours and ain’t appreciated. Customers don’t care.

If you can afford a vacation, (a big IF), take it and let’s see if you have any business or customers left by the time you get back.

The best place to learn discipline is right on the job you have now. If you can’t make it to meetings on time, you will be severely punished for it when you have your own thing. If you don’t know how to talk to your customers with respect, they will punish you by taking their businesses to those who appreciate them.

Discipline is extremely important!

Back to planet reality
There are a zillion other reasons to start or not to start a business. If you can hear your balls clanging and the wherewithal to start, go for it, but put the things I have talked above in perspective.

Don’t call your colleagues, who are chicken like me, chickens. We won’t forgive you when things gets rough with you. In fact some of us will dance on the grave of your business. Karma is a b*tch.

Save like your life depends on it. You will need that cash and much more.

If you decide not to start a business and be a career suit like me, hey, better be good at your job – else you find your butt on the curb. Appreciate whatever you have and be grateful for it. If you feel you ain’t appreciated, or paid enough, or respected enough, or celebrated enough, or get enough days off, remember, starting your own business is always an option. But if you don’t hear the clanging balls giving you assurance of success, respect yourself and do your job like a good boy.

Meanwhile…If I haven’t started my own business, where do I get these nuggets of wisdom from? Well, one last rule, don’t believe everything you read on the internet!

Adédèjì Olówè is too ashamed to call himself a geek. Despite two degrees in hardcore engineering, he’s spent all his life as a banker. He’s known as one of the best out there in data and analytics. He’s spent the last five years as an expert in FinTech where he’s making electronic payments simple, safe and available to all and sundry irrespective of where they are. Although an ardent believer in customer service, he thinks the dude who invented the telephone should be in the deepest part of hell and those who invented emails should be canonized. He also blogs at www.dejiolowe.com.

29 Comments

  1. Ada

    March 15, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Good stuff! The business thing no gree me do as supposedly outgoing as I am. As if being outgoing is all that is required to run a business! Na so dem convince me to register on forever living products. You won’t sell, just use the products and ask people to register, na so I register, now the money don go. I tire o!

    • Mama Ijebu

      March 15, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      Forever is a wonderful business that works!

      You probably went through the wrong aproach. First of all, your team matters. What personal development tool does your team use, do they offer any form of coaching? What mindset training/personal development do you do personally? What tools do you use to build your forever business? You see, some of these reasons are why your business failed.

      I have being doing former for a while now as a part- time buz and it’s amazing. I just had to comment so someone else doesn’t miss the opportunity based on your own experience.

    • Mama Ijebu

      March 15, 2016 at 9:17 pm

      Plus, I will be glad to share how the structure works for anyone interested.

      Email : [email protected]

  2. Bubu

    March 15, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Your write up makes sense but at the same time I don’t agree with most of it. Except the part that says not everyone is cut out to be an Entrepreneur. If u are shaped to be a career person pls stay on your job but if business is your thing all these reasons are the reason why u should go for it. You don’t need to know a gazzilion pple, u don’t need a million dollars to start, and lastly fear is the vital factor if you have no fear for what ur about to embark on, the truth is its not really a big dream. So once u sense fear, that’s a good reason to go for it.

    • Bubu

      March 15, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      *not

  3. Cynical

    March 15, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. And like you I am a ‘career suit’. It’s never been my dream to have my own business and to be honest I’m not even sure I can take the stress of running one. My husband built his business from the ground up and boy,did it take a lot??? Me I just want that cushy multinational job that takes me around the globe(but where I wan take get that one as a doctor). Still keeping my fingers crossed though.

  4. Gbenga

    March 15, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    Nice one…bitter sweet truth!!!..

  5. Nelo

    March 15, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Unique writing style. BTW, selling pepper and tomato is not as easy as it looks. But i think i get your point.

    @Bellanaija: Please are you in need of a freelance feature writer? If Yes, how do i apply?

  6. Radiant

    March 15, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    It was not a waste of time reading this.

    PS: I remember you/your cool ‘red’ work bag that I wanted so much. Anyways, moved on to other things.

  7. tito

    March 15, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    that is my boy right there. Deji, im coming for you !!!!!!!!! lets see how far you can run

  8. keke driver

    March 15, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    I’M frankly tired of my job……Am currently researching on starting other businesses as I have a small one awdy.

    • Layo

      March 15, 2016 at 2:47 pm

      And while you research, please endeavor not to use redundant spelling like “awdy” when communicating with potential business stakeholders.
      You’re welcome.

    • keke driver

      March 15, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      Lmao, really??

    • anu

      March 15, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      there is a better way ask me how what app 08075537240

  9. Wunmi

    March 15, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Nice write up! I don’t think you need to know gazillion people before you can start a business. When I started my business 5years ago ,my close friends didn’t patronize the brand now they are begging to be associated with the brand. I will say consistency and passion are the keywords.

    • lily

      March 15, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      Thank you. This is what I need to hear. Started business in October. Paying staff is becoming a problem. Very few friends and family are patronising. A client just called and said our services are too expensive. I am just weak. And I know its only a matter of time. Someday, customers will flock.

    • anu

      March 15, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      that the spirit,for more tutoring ask me what app 08075537240

  10. Adeyemi Zainab

    March 15, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Interesting article. Some of us are born enterpreur from insurance marketing, to catering and now to buying and selling. Cant wait to leave this bush courtsey of NYSC. I cant imagine myself earning monthly Pay. I preffer paying myself per hour. Nice read.

  11. Ima

    March 15, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    This make good literary sense but has zero practical value on the reader. Yes I want to start my business but that is not enough reason to stay on my job. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur, but many have trained themselves to become one. You dont need any skill to start a business, you can acquire them as you go or hire the right people. How much skill or connection did Dangote or Kentucky fried chicken owner have??? Do your research well and you will scrap this article, it is well crafted but gives no insight to readers, It was an absolute waste of my time. I guess BN readers are smarter than this.

  12. Iphee

    March 15, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Having worked in the Business Dev. Unit of a bank and analysed a zillion customer requests for credit/ loan facilities, I feel the writer clearly articulated so many aspects of being an Entrepreneur that so many people don’t think about . The most frequent question i used to hear then is ” Does your bank grant loans” as a pre requisite to opening an account . Sometimes it was just easier to lie & say yes ( then give those long list of “terms & conditions” later Lol. ) #don’t hate me. No wonder the bad loan portfolio of Nigerian banks is very high.
    Most people think wanting to be your own boss is all it takes to run your own business. Nice article Deji

  13. Bey

    March 15, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    I actually admire business men/women, its not easy. It takes guts.
    I guess im too lazy to leave my regular 9-5 , that comfort of knowing on the 22nd my account will be credited come rain or shine.
    I

    • Kokoro Dudu

      March 15, 2016 at 3:57 pm

      I remember school days. You must be an NFA!

  14. dee

    March 15, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Brilliant write up.

  15. Onyinye Sonny joe

    March 15, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Lol! Adediji Olowe,
    You totally nailed it! You see, when people say they need their time and space to do their own thing,I smile because they do not have the slightest clue about what we entrepreneurs experience.When the entrepreneurs say they need to get back into the labour market and join the “grueling” 9-5, it seems as though the one speaking has gone stark raving mad! May I indulge you? Lets start with the bill board signage payment collectors,service charge,staff salaries,damaged or undelivered and or lost goods,lost contracts,unpaid contracts,months of non profit,unreliability of the foreign exchange,staff that lack total dedication plus those with their own agenda whose sole aim is to use you and climb their own success ladder.

    The entrepreneurial world is not for the faint hearted! The ups and downs are many to contend with but regardless when one is able to set sail it may or may not be smooth. Just keep an open mind for eventualities or should I say happenstance because they will raise their head once in a while and that is when the business and entrepreneurial skills MUST come to the fore. You either have it or you simply do not. How well can you handle situations of success or failure? Ever asked yourself that pertinent question?

    With your paid job no matter what, you are sure of receiving something at the end of each month. Entrepreneurs are not always that sure.Even if your employers owe you ,they will eventually pay you. Doing your business, you weather your storm solo~! When it is good it is good if it aint you still square your shoulders and keep pushing.

    So before oogling at those flying continent to country pushing their”own thing” selling “guguru and epa” or otherwise loool, do ensure you do your math well before you quit your job!!
    Thanks
    Onyinye Sonny Joe

    • Vic

      March 16, 2016 at 8:07 pm

      I’m surprised many people keep talking about monthly end of pay. Have you guys heard of the words downsizing, redundancy, sack and the lots. I live in Ph, and while growing up Michelin was the company for the big boys. Guess what? It folded and many of their staffs are still suffering till today. The oil sector is crashing, Shell and Chevron reportedly had to sack some staffs; so stop making it seem like it’s all safe in the 9-5 sector. Banks aren’t left out with their massive sacking either.
      The reason why unemployment is at its peak and our economy is growing sluggishly is because of our lack of entrepreneurial spirit. The government should never be the highest employer of labour.

    • Onyinye Sonny joe

      March 17, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      when you have the necessary paraphernalia to run a successful business why not? But when it is close to non-existent what do you do? Yes there are job cuts and lay offs I agree, so the people you referred to who were laid off, why did they not just slide into the business world and rock it? It is not easy! Entrepreneurship is fully worth it when you have at least 80% of your operational needs either available or obtainable. Without those,you’re gonna keep swimming with sharks of all species!

  16. hauwa

    March 16, 2016 at 5:24 am

    Thanks Deji Olowe. This write up is direct, well articulated and honest. As an alumni of a prestigious business school, my dreams upon graduation was to get a plum multinational job. Life happened and I did not get a job for about 3 years post MBA. I delved into a few businesses. to make ends meet. What a rude shocker! It was not as easy as i thought. Losing great customers by not bn consistent in quality of services or delay in product delivery was so fast n frequent. I learnt d hard way dat Once u lose, a good customer, it’s very difficult to get them back! Or is it d various uncles and friends that promised to loan me capital??? The disappointment was brutal n heart wrenching! I had to get a job to survive and re strategize. Yes, I stooped low to accepting a receptionist job at an NGO for it fat pay! Just to raise money for my business. I am now in my dream career. Running my biz as a side gig and seriously saving!!! A word is enough for the wise. Check out Nachalle footwear on Instagram, twitter and facebook!!!

  17. Ttt

    March 16, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Thank you for speaking the truth about FLP. A lot of people won’t say the truth

  18. W B

    August 13, 2016 at 10:58 am

    LOL

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