For what it’s worth, entrepreneurship in Nigeria is hard. I don’t know how to sugarcoat this after three months of trying to stand out as a solopreneur. Is it the harsh economic condition or the unavailability of resources? Which do you want me to talk about?
Or the deliberate and strategic placement of obstacles to make sure that you fail? The constant reminder of how Invalid your dreams are in the sea of many other potentially dead dreams. Which, what do you want me to talk about?
The rude shock from trying to be someone with a passion for the Internet, how it works and building influence around it is not something I can describe. The scorn, hurried responses, negative feedback, all from the proposals you submit. This is not something you cook up in a day. It is a roundup of what you believe in, what you want to work.
“Where I’m from, there are cafe’s where you can use some facilities, aren’t there any here? I can’t work on my system because in hours, it’s off’, a friend lamented.
This one is not playing. He didn’t come for Yahoo Yahoo. This is someone with a worthwhile project, a gainful pursuit and yet, nothing is going to work.
In less than 3 months, I know that :
1. Entrepreneurship in Nigeria will teach you some of the things you probably skipped in school
You couldn’t have attended a public school (Secondary or University) in Nigeria to become lax. You would learn tenacity, resilience, discipline, ruggedness, desperate push.
If you per chance got to skip on all of these lessons because… Plenty money, extremely supportive family, over pampering, attended private school…you’d learn every single one of these and more as an entrepreneur in Nigeria.
2. You need strategy and solid plans to pull through
One of the mistakes you will make as an entrepreneur in Nigeria or anywhere for that matter is to jump into it without proper planning and strategy.
What happens when what you have put in place to work doesn’t work? What is your financial map? How do you intend to overcome the ever pressing entrepreneurship challenges in Nigeria? What do you want out of your business? What plans do you have for people who might be on board to assist you? Where do you see your business/dream/startup in a few years, in the long run?
It’s exciting to become a man of your own, your own dictator, your boss. Don’t let the excitement rub you of the opportunity to plan before the big leap.
This is a good read : Aliko Dangote – A Lesson for Africa Entrepreneurs
3. Money will determine many things
I didn’t say finances here, did you notice? I didn’t say resources too, see? I said money. ‘Ego’, ‘owo’, ‘kudi’.
Don’t bank on ‘money will come’. Is the money available for the immediate leap? Don’t stay on, ‘I will pay you your money, don’t worry’. My friend worry, especially if that money will influence the quality of your work.
4. It’s not going to happen overnight
If the boom happens overnight, it is as a result of some of the work you have put in place. Don’t despise the little investment, the small moves, your network and circle, relationships that you have built.
Don’t forget that many of the entrepreneurs you see today started from places that you can never imagine. They did not ‘blow’ until their hard work caught up with them. It was a lot of sleepless nights.
They worked hard, they failed too. They made mistakes and regretted some of their moves. They had some tiny victories to celebrate along the way. They had experiences too and it’s a sum total of their stories. You’ll have to be patient.
5. You might need to get another job to fund your dream job
I am an advocate of not holding on to that ‘bird in hand’ needlessly. Sometimes you will have to free the bird in hand to have the two in the bush.
If you however understand all of the lessons before this one, you see that you need resources e.g money (in all of the languages that you know it to mean), start up materials, funding, grants, maybe. Whatever you need to go through to get to where you want to be.
I know of a popular social media influencer who had to take freelance jobs as a programmer and designer before settling into online entrepreneurship.
It all comes down to planning. Plan and be sure to have other plans in case your original plans don’t work.
Bonus lesson: Be bold about your entrepreneurship. Never cringe at the sight of other established entrepreneurs. There is a line between boldness and pride, locate it and use appropriately.