The SME Owner

Diary of an Entrepreneur – Episode 1Hi, I’m Segun Abodunrin and I run a local marketing agency in Lagos. I’ve been in business for four years, starting with personal funds and grew from a N500k yearly revenue to over N80 million in 3 years without raising external funding! So how did it all start? For as long as I can remember, I’ve been insatiably curious about human potential. I wanted to know how I could add value to other people and make them do more for themselves. I mean, why do some people struggle while others find a way to thrive, even despite the most challenging circumstances? I was also passionate about a multitude of seemingly unconnected things: teaching, day-dreaming, psychology, entrepreneurship, creativity, spirituality, fitness and philanthropy, just to name a few. After several attempts at corporate jobs and a lot of angst trying to focus on one path in life, I realized that my unusual combination of interests and skills was a strength, not a liability. I decided I was going to make something out of these skills, and every day, that idea gained more ground in my head.Eventually, I gave up the security of the 9-5, attended a Google Digital Skills training (put together by Digify Bytes back in the day), and eventually signed up to become a Google trainer to keep a roof over my head while slowly building a digital business from the ground up. It was from the training job that I found a few business owners who trusted me to proffer digital solutions for their businesses and as such, Teras Doxas Limited was born. I’m someone who’s fondly called a “Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur” because I just didn’t (and never will) fit into a conventional box.So today, 4 years on, what is it like to be an entrepreneur? I’ll start with the first misconception I had before becoming one. You’ve heard people say when you become an entrepreneur, you have more time to yourself. It’s absolutely false! You can control your time but you have less time for yourself. As much as you have control, you will most likely have to put in more than a regular employee. The success of your business now rest solely on you, an onus that was previously exclusive to the CEO and the board when you were an employee. My last regular job was Marketing Manager at Lagos Business School, and my typical day went thus: I resume 8:30 and close 5pm. Once home, I have no reason to open my laptop. From the first day I started the entrepreneurship journey, I have no official working hours or days. Countless vigils and the work never ends. Despite the never ending myriad of responsibilities as a founder, there’s an unusual strength that keeps you going, For me, it’s the joy of building something, a legacy, a brand set to impact thousands of people. The vision keeps me going regardless of the challenges. I can remember my wife always complaining that I work too much and I don’t have time for anything else. Sometimes, she will angrily close my laptop and force me to go to bed, but then once I hit the bed, I would be dreaming of work and what’s left undone. Few hours later, am up again, excited about the possibilities of a new day. This was my reality as an entrepreneur. One of the biggest challenges I faced early on was effectively managing my time as I was involved in everything from strategy to marketing to accounting and human resources. I leveraged technology as much as I can using platforms like Google calendar to schedule important meetings so I don’t forget to project management tools like Asana that allowed me to assign tasks and collaborate with clients globally. Thinking of how to be productive and profitable was an everyday affair. Different ideas, execution pathways and what’s next occupied my thoughts and I found myself moving round in circles trying to achieve everything at once! Part of time management is setting priorities. Knowing what matters now and what can wait helped me. Being an entrepreneur made me understand more what Charles Richards said about time: “Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week”.

In my next episode, i will be talking about people and why they are the most important asset an organization can have.
See also  Diary of a Naija Banker
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