An Entrepreneur's diary of Being Broke and in Debt

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by Olulu, Nov 10, 2020.

  1. Olulu

    Olulu
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Part 1: An Entrepreneur's diary of Being Broke and in Debt

    When I left banking in February 2019, I knew the journey was going to be tough at a point.

    I remember "Vusi" saying, "List 10 things you hope you won't experience as you wait for your business to become profitable." Then he added, "be rest assured, 9 of the 10 things would happen to you."

    Well, like most optimist and first time (full-time) Entrepreneur, I assumed, the tough rough times won't be long.

    "After all, I have been doing spoken word poetry events for a while. Our brand should be able to carry me through," I thought to myself.

    However, I did not tell myself, that the spoken word poetry events had not been profitable in terms of liquid cash. It had largely been funded by our salaries.

    Upon leaving my banking job, I gathered my severance pay and savings and warned myself over and over again, "you will play it safe, no risk whatsoever, stay within the limits of what you can see and not what you think you can see."

    So some months later, when my guys asked me, "How far with War Of Words Season 8?"

    My normal logical and playing safe answer should have been, "NO. We would only do it if we get sponsorship."

    Instead, my dream and imagination got the better of me (as always) and I jumped right into it.

    Yes, I did pray to God about it.

    On a certain day at midnight, I said, "Baba God, do we do WOW 8 or not? You know say salary no dey again o, I no want make my wife pursue me comot for house. So Baba God, give me a sign. If you want us to do WOW 8, let rain fall from 6 am today. If not, don't let rain fall at all."

    Well, at exactly 5:55 am, the rain started. I was excited and thought. "wow, it is a season of overflow, too much money is coming our way." However, at exactly 5:58 am, the rain stopped.

    Haa, which kain sign be this?

    Did God get the timing wrong ni?

    Should I shift the goal post?

    Or did I mistakenly say 5:55 am in my prayer?
     
  2. Olulu

    Olulu
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Part 2: An Entrepreneur's diary of Being Broke and in Debt

    I know some of you might ask, what is the big deal about getting a sign? Why not just do what you want to do?

    Well, my English name is Gideon. Like the biblical Gideon, I am big on God and on signs. So for most (not all) of my major decisions I usually seek for a sign.

    And in case you're wondering, what is the big deal about spoken word poetry? Must we organize a show? Well, I've asked myself over and over again, and now I no longer ask again. My gift/ talent is writing, my passion is spoken word poetry, and in these two lies my purpose and fulfillment.

    Ok, there was rain, but it fell and stopped before the stated time. So it was a sign, but it was obviously not in line with what I asked for. No rain would have meant no show. But there was rain, so we went ahead with our annual poetry competition, War Of Words Season 8.

    We used the same venue from the previous year, and paid only for fuel for the generator. Our service providers got no upfront deposits, we had won their trust over the years. Most of the poets had to pay a registration fee, so there was a drop in the number of entries. Then we sold some merchandise during the 8 weeks of events.

    Prior to the start of events in Oct. 2019, the cost estimate was about N5 million. My rent was due early 2020, as well as, school fees for my children. The fear of my wife, made me save for rent, school fees and some for Christmas.

    But, isn't it crazy to invest money in something that has no guarantee of returns?

    Yes, in reality, it is crazy. But in my dreams, it is not. Besides, nothing ventured, nothing gain. So I would rather regret what I did, then regret what I should have done but did not. If I wanted to play safe, I would never have left banking.

    The poets gave it their all, the judges added value & the audience were in awe of the poetic display. It was a great show. The show was awesome & all that.

    However, after the show was over, my eyes cleared when my crew served me with about N1.5million as outstanding expenses. This sum was mainly made up of the cash prizes for the top 3 poets & unpaid biil of 2 service providers.

    For the first time in my life, there was no safety net of 13th month, salary, leave or the annual upfront allowance.
     
  3. fisicx

    fisicx
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    Active Member
    Community Liaison 1.0

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2016
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    234
    Eh?

    Weather forecasting is based on probabilities. Rain does what it does. It's not a sign of anything.
     
  4. Olulu

    Olulu
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    We all have our personal beliefs, and sometimes weather play a factor.
     
  5. nclighting

    nclighting
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2020
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    4
    In my opinion, when you are passionate about something that brings so many failures, it's best to stop.
    Sometimes you can't choose what you like.
    Jobs choosing me, not me choosing jobs.
    Take a lesson for yourself.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Olulu

    Olulu
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0

    Part 3: An Entrepreneur's diary of Being Broke and in Debt

    "It's only after we see failure that we can know if we misjudged the risk...a decision can be right even if it leads to failure." - Shimon Peres (No Room for Small Dreams)

    We managed to convince the poets and the service providers that all outstanding expenses would be settled early 2020.

    We expected the video clips and pictures of the competition, as well as other post event activities to catch attention of potential sponsors and investors. And of a fact, it did.

    In January 2020, we got talking to two potential sponsors. Everything was sweet and talks went on great. Well, until the news of Covid-19 started to be a major distraction. These two individuals were international firms. So one by one, the hot leads, turned to warm leads, then became cold leads and eventually no lead.

    COVID came and did its thing and the outstanding was still pending. One good thing about COVID was that it saved me the trouble of 3rd term school fees. It was not hard convincing my wife that home schooling was a good choice for our children. Even data was becoming an issue.

    As we embraced the financial impact of COVID, I was told our brand was going to be dragged online because of the outstanding expenses. That got me worried for a long while. I started to wonder if I got the vision (i.e. to help develop a vibrant and profitable Spoken Word Poetry industry in Nigeria and beyond) all mixed up. Maybe I should have kept my money and spent it on only my family and myself. I could not even remember the last time I truly had a vacation with my people. All my past leave allowances had always gone into poetry.

    But after two months of some deep thinking, I realized controversy and conflict can sometimes help a brand.

    After all, M.I and TuFace sang that, "if nobody talks about you, then you are nobody..."

    Bad news spreads fast. So if we were dragged, it would make people who didn't know we exist, know about us. Most people would cuss and yab us well well, but a few of them would dig further to know what all the fuss was about. And knowing that we've done more good than harm in the past. As well as, na condition cause our present predicament, we just might win new friends, investors and/ or sponsors.

    However, it was just a rumour, they were not going to drag us. I was almost tempted to ask that they do.

    But I remembered what Falz the bahd guy sang, "if you fake your own death, you still fit no blow."
     
  7. Olulu

    Olulu
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Part 4: An Entrepreneur's diary of Being Broke and in Debt.

    What if I faked my own death?

    The thought did cross my mind briefly.

    But I couldn't.

    Death was not something I toyed around with.

    No, I'm not scared of death. After all, no one would leave this world alive. But I had experienced it way too often to toy with it.

    In 20 years, I had lost my father (1999), my elder sister (2012) and my immediate younger sister (2019). Faking it, and my mother hearing it, might be fatal.

    During the lock-down proper that we all had to spend most days indoors, I began to think of how best to maximize time. So I started to read the Bible, specifically, the Book of Proverbs. After reading chapter 1, I rewrote the chapter as a story that buttressed the core principles therein. The idea and the execution came easily and quickly.

    The next day, I read chapter 2, and again I rewrote the chapter as a story that buttressed the core principles therein.

    In less than three weeks, I had written 15 stories based on the first 15 chapters of the Book of Proverbs.

    "Kai, when you broke, ideas go dey drag for attention inside your head."

    Anyway, I edited it, and also used Grammarly for editing. Voila! I had an E-book ready to sell.

    At this point, you are probably expecting a fairy tale spin to it, that I sold 1 million copies. Me sef was expecting the same thing o.

    After an initial flurry of family and friends paying for some copies, things slowed down.

    So I picked up the Bible again and wrote about (The Untold Story of) Uriah the Hittite. I wrote it like I would like to see it in a movie.

    After that, I delved into an aspect of writing I had never fully done before, fictional storytelling. And voila! Two books were birthed - The Way of the Lion and Smoking Guns & Bleeding Streets.

    How do you sell books of fiction when people are losing jobs and businesses are crashing?

    I don't know too. I'm just a writer, so I write.


    But I have this dream that someone would come buy the rights to the books and turn them into movies.

    “Baba God, if you are reading this, please treat as urgent!!!”
     
  8. fisicx

    fisicx
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    Active Member
    Community Liaison 1.0

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2016
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    234
    Maybe you are not very good at writing. Maybe that’s why no one or buying your books.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. nclighting

    nclighting
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2020
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    4
    Wish you well developed your work. Be consistent with what you have chosen.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Olulu

    Olulu
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    There is a market for every product, but no product for every market. Also, selling books (or any product) is usually not about being (a good or) the best writer but the best seller.
     
  11. Olulu

    Olulu
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Part 5: An Entrepreneur's diary of Being Broke and in Debt.

    "You can walk in front of your enemy when hungry, but you should not walk in front of your enemy when naked."

    The above (I was made to believe) is an Arab proverb.

    Naked was exactly how I felt writing this series.

    My plan was not to write this series at this time. My plan was to write it after I "don blow." This will then allow me use the write-ups as a sales pitch to get people to come learn "how I don did it."

    Thus for over a month, I struggled not to write this series. I know enough about God and the Holy Spirit to know it was an uncommon urge to write. So my question to God was that, "if I am not writing this thing to celebrate my breakthrough, who is this for?"

    And question 2 was, "I am King Olulu o, you know the part I have played in poetry in Nigeria, how would this be received by family, friends, fans and foes?"

    I got two questions as replies,

    One, "is your gift for you?" and two, "who did you say you are again?"

    I kept shut and write I did and I'm doing. So this might just not be about me. But I wonder who needs it.

    The funny part of it is that since I have started this series, my younger sister had been sending me information about vacancies in different organizations. And two of my best friends have called me stubborn for not seeking another job.

    I use to tell my friend and my sister, (Atilola), that she is aggressive. Each and every time, she would replied, I'm not aggressive, I am assertive.

    So to me people, I'm not stubborn, I'm focused.

    I see what I want, I know what I want, and I'm working towards it.

    Besides, I knew there was a process involved before I achieve my desire, and that it was not going to be a simple walk in the park.

    I was prepared for the long haul.

    Ok, I admit, maybe not well prepared. Because I was optimistic that it won't be "big long" but "small long" (to borrow the vocabulary of my 4 year old).

    As part of my preparation (before I left banking) I did case studies of people who had achieved some measure or a part of the success I seek for. And from the case studies, 4 of them readily comes to mind: Jimi Tewe, Teju Babyface, Vusi and Pastor Sam Adeyemi.

    I got to know that after Jimi Tewe left banking for entrepreneurship, he did two years in the "financial wilderness" before he reconnected with Fela Durotoye and got sorted out.

    My study of Teju Babyface was as regards getting sponsorship. For years, he sought for sponsorship for his TV show. I bought his books, CD and watched all his YouTube videos. In his own words, "sponsorship does not respond to the merit or brilliance of ideas. Sponsorship responds to self-interest. Sponsors respond to where or what they will get calculated maximum benefit. Sponsors have no interest in what benefits all of us."

    He concluded by saying that, "you must learn how to go to the market (to sell your products). Also, getting private individuals to invest in you is usually the best route to build your idea/ concept/event into one with an enviable track record. After which, corporate sponsorship would come."

    As regards Vusi, he stated that for 7 months he slept in his car which he parked in his office basement at night. He would leave the car at 4am every day to bathe in his office and won't leave the office until 10pm at night to go sleep in the car. In order to get a good meal, he would go to the house of his then girlfriend (now wife) to eat.

    As regards Pastor Sam Adeyemi, I binged on his content - books, CDs, DVDs and all. One thing that he usually said was that, "it is always easy to say here are are 7 ways to make it or 15 steps to wealth, when you have made it. But if you are honest enough to admit it, there was a time you tried all those steps and none worked."

    My first training after banking was on Marketing and Sales as organized by SalesRuby. I have done several other trainings after that.

    I have tried plenty things and still trying plenty things. Some work e.g. the occasional $2 or $5 from Amazon. But most are not working yet. However, I document it all. So I can know what worked and repeat it.

    It is a process, I don't like it, but I know I need it. I probably won't have written the books I wrote if things had worked out earlier.

    Besides, this series is another book in the making. Or, don't you think so?

    "So no cause for control, everything is under alarm."
     
  12. Olulu

    Olulu
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks. You are appreciated.
     
  13. Olulu

    Olulu
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Part 6: An Entrepreneur's diary of Being Broke and in Debt.

    "All enemies blocking my breakthrough...die...die...die..."

    This is not a bad prayer.

    But what if the trouble was customized for you and ordered by God?

    What if what I'm going through has nothing to do with enemies?

    Yes, God does not do bad things. But like "Job," He can allow it.

    That's why I find the Parable of the Paralyzed Man carried by his friends very instructive.

    Truth be told, the Bible is the best Business book in the world. You just have to learn to read and see beyond the words.

    Each and every time I read the story of the paralyzed man, all I see is the journey of an entrepreneur. I could, should and would write a book about it. Just wait small make I hammer.

    The Parable mentioned above has everything that an entrepreneur goes through.

    The paralyzed man is the guy with the vision (to get healed).

    His carriers/ friends are the co-founders aka partners. But the best description for them is "burden bearers." They probably don't need healing. But they bought into the vision of the paralyzed man and decided to help him actualise it.

    Who is Jesus in the story?

    He is the sponsor, the Angel investor, the financier, the fund provider, the money bag, the bank etc.

    The house is the the marketplace.

    What about the people in the house?

    They are the competition. Some of them need healing, some don't and a few are just there to criticize and distract (aka Lastma, VIO, Local Government officials, politicians etc). Also, I can further divide them into the concepts of market share and pocket share (I'm sure you know about these terms).

    Because of the people in the house, entry to market has obstacles. Or should we say, access to funds is cluttered.

    So what do you do?

    You have to take risks.

    Have you ever tried climbing up a ladder with one hand and carrying something heavy in the other hand?

    Climbing up the ladder is like the risks involved in business. One of the burden beavers could fall and break a leg, one of them could pull out due to the risks involved, or worse still, the paralyzed man could fall off and die.

    The ladder can be likened to your money aka savings or borrowed funds.

    How bad do you want it?

    If not bad enough, you won't climb the ladder aka you won't risk your money. So you will play it safe.

    What about breaking the roof?

    It's not their house. So that one na gbese aka expenses or even debt incurred.

    Also, going down into the house through the room was risky. However, it was less risky, and you know by now that it must be the people in the house (i.e. the competition aka market forces) that pushed him in front of the Angel investor.

    The healing nko? That's easy. It's like getting that N10m or N100m or $ 1m investment for your business.

    Don't forget the broken roof o. The thing would still need to be fixed. All outstanding expenses and debts would need to be paid.

    What's my first key take away from the Parable?

    If and when you have burden bearers, even if just one (e.g. wife, friend, website manager etc), you no too get problem. The main issue would be how to get up to the roof and down into the house. I'm grateful to all my burden bearers (especially my wifey aka me sweet potato). Where would I be without them?

    What's my second key takeaway?

    Whatever you do, ensure you get that ladder, get on the roof and break that roof.

    Breaking the roof is getting the attention you need.

    It's getting known for something (even if controversial. No, I don't mean like bobrisky o).

    It's getting the trust that activates the investment.

    In summary: Be seen, be known, be trusted.
     
  14. fisicx

    fisicx
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    Active Member
    Community Liaison 1.0

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2016
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    234
    Where are you going with this? At the moment is a quasi-religious ramble with no real direction. All we can extract is the point that you have failed to achieve anything except breaking a roof.
     
  15. Olulu

    Olulu
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0

    It is basically a journal of my entrepreneurial experience. Is it wrong to share? Is there a particular format of writing one's experience?
     
  16. fisicx

    fisicx
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    Active Member
    Community Liaison 1.0

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2016
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    234
    It’s not a journal. It’s not anything really. Most of it is rambling prose pertaining to your religious beliefs.

    If you want to tell your story do it on your own website. You can then post a link here for those interested in reading about your failures.
     
  17. Olulu

    Olulu
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2020
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hmm.
    Do delete the thread if it makes you happy.
    I'm out of here,
     
  18. fisicx

    fisicx
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    Active Member
    Community Liaison 1.0

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2016
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    234
    Not going to delete. It would just be better if it were more concise and focused.
     
  19. nclighting

    nclighting
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2020
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    4
    Fisicx is right. It's best to write a description and a link to your blog for people to read it.
    Something too long and rambling is not good either.
     
  20. VITS USA

    VITS USA
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2018
    Messages:
    927
    Likes Received:
    71
    Your experience and writing skills are good, so do you want to ask something? or just want to share your knowledge with us?
     

Share This Page