Known and loved for the inspiration and guidance she provides writers through Sparkle Writers Hub and her work at Content Craft, creating impactful content for clients across different industries, Adedoyin Jaiyesimi takes us through her entrepreneurial journey and the lessons she has learnt along the way.
If someone had told me a decade ago that I would run a business that consults for leading organizations and notable individuals in Nigeria, I would have disputed it. Looking back now, I am glad I was thrown into the deep waters of entrepreneurship.
Has it been tough? Of course it has! Starting without funding, I quickly learnt that if you task your mind, you will overcome the limitation. I didn’t have money but I had my writing skills. I sat down and drew up a plan. I knew the services I wanted to offer, what I wanted to charge and the target audience I wanted to attract. I researched and discovered a network where I could find my target audience. However, I did not have enough money to register for one of their events. Thanks to a friend’s advice, I wrote a proposal to volunteer my services. This was a turning point in my entrepreneurial journey.
During this event, I was so engrossed with work that I didn’t have the time to network as I planned. In fact, I forgot my business cards! But I learnt a crucial lesson. Networking is not about the number of business cards you can shove into people’s hands; it is about the number of people you can successfully pitch the value you have to offer to.
I have to pause here to talk about the grace of God as my entire life revolves around Him. I remember when I realised I had forgotten my business cards at home. I was a bit distraught. “Adedoyin, you are about to miss a golden opportunity,” a voice in my head said. I ignored the voice and prayed to be divinely connected with the right people. And this is exactly what happened! I met a young lady working behind the scenes with me. She shared a particular challenge with me which was in my area of expertise and I told her what she could do to solve the problem. Four months later, she was instrumental to me landing one of my biggest clients. I find that it is very easy to get carried away with meeting the big people who you believe will make you ‘blow’ but it is more important to pay attention to the ‘regular’ people. They may just be ones who will orchestrate that big break.
I have to confess here that I got carried away with the ‘grind’. I pushed my body too far. I was diagnosed with illnesses I never knew existed. There were times I fainted, and times I just couldn’t get out of bed because I was too weak. I have learnt the importance of boundaries and balance. I now have days when I unplug and relax. There’s more to life than work and I remind myself of this daily.
These health challenges also taught me the difference between working hard and working smart. This is where I remain grateful to mentors and fellow entrepreneurs. You need to reach out. Find out how others are doing things to see if there is anything you need to tweak in your operations and processes.
I call myself an accidental entrepreneur but I am glad that I am on this path, firstly because God has a purpose for what I do today and also because I have become a more refined woman. It is essential to always have a plan but know that things will not always go as planned. And when you fall and fail, own up to your mistakes. I’ve had to apologise to a number of clients because I (or someone in my team) dropped the ball. Instead of beating myself up, I take on the lessons to be learnt and I move on.
The beauty of it all is that, no matter the setbacks, being able to sit back and assess how far I have come is always a blessing. I have a vision, God gives the grace and I run with it with as much grit as I can muster, trusting that by the end, I will have built an enduring legacy.
I am still on my journey and I’m looking forward to the future chapters of this entrepreneurial story.
- Money will not be an obstacle between you and your dreams if you’re willing to apply yourself and think out of the box.
- Even when you have a plan, life can throw curve balls at you. Be flexible and adaptable.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in The Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.