Sunday, February 12, 2017

SNAKES AND WOODPECKERS


unclothed
as we were born
we stand here, alone
tell me how you want me!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

ROTATING SEED FUND – LETS BUILD A NEW GENERATION OF ENTREPRENEURS

We all say Nigeria is bad. We all complain about unemployment. We all blame everyone in sight but ourselves for what is wrong with the economy. We all want it to get better. That is true.
Now, Nigeria is bad and the economy is bad and unemployment is on the rise. We all know that only too well. But how many of us are willing or have attempted to add a little drop of water to the communal bowl from which we can resurrect Nigeria’s vegetable garden?
It is rather unfortunate that we are quick to complain and blame-throw than look inwards and contribute that little quota. Yet we all want things to get better. How will things get better? Who will do it if now other humans, Nigerians, like us? If you and I don’t put in one one kobo, how will we get the billions we need to get back on track?

Today I propose a new direction, a new option, a new dawn – one of hope and change, not the change that will stifle us, but the change that will benefit us all, directly and indirectly.
This morning I made a post on my wall about giving out a loan of N50,000 without interest to be paid back in 90 days, asking for viable business ideas. Frankly speaking, I was surprised by the sheer number of viable businesses and willing youths who want under N50,000 loans to get on their feet.
It is impossible for me as an individual to support more than one (or two) of these people. But, together, we could give hope to at least 10 (or more) of them. I am quite sure that N50,000 is within the reach of many of my friends here. You can invest that sum into someone’s life today and thereby save someone’s future.
To this end, I implore my wiling friends to take a look at the business ideas in this URL (click ) and pick one person to mentor and support towards the actualization of the proposed business. It doesn’t even have to be up to N50,000. Some of the ideas need less than that sum (and some may need more eventually).
We can start a very great thing here – a ROTATING SEED FUND (interest free) – that will last through the years and build a new generation of entrepreneurs who must take the pledge of devoting a portion of their profits (for 1 year) to helping other entrepreneurs get started.
Please if you are interested, inbox me or call me on 08060109295 and we will pair you with one person.
Time for rhetoric is over. We can do this.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

WHY WORKING (FREE) FOR EXPERIENCE IS GOOD: A NOTE FOR UNEMPLOYED GRADUATES

I don’t understand why people become so shocked when I tell them to offer their skills and time for free before they get someone to pay for those skills. To them, it is a most stupid thing. They would rather wait (for eternity) until a paying job comes, rather than do anything for free. But these people rush into internship offers from dubious companies who use them and spit them out to accommodate another set of ‘interns’.
But it really is not. Offering your skills and time for free is actually not a bad thing. It pays well in the long run. In fact, it is a good move for young graduates (and any person) that intends to build a lasting career and stand out, especially those without a job.
While you are looking for a job, staying in shape is very important. Take for example a footballer who is out of the academy without a team. Should he go home to the village and tell his agent to go looking for a team while lazing around, or should he keep going to the gym, training (and playing for FREE) with local teams?

If he stays at home, chances are that he will go rusty and when an offer comes, he will be too rusty to pass the test. If he has been keeping fit, two things may happen: he will be fit when the chance comes and/or he will get an offer, right there where he is working for free.
You have a lot to gain working for free, for experience, to hone your skills.That skill you gain on the free job may be what will stand you out from other applicants, probably with better grades than you are presenting.
Personally, I have made a habit of offering my services, FREE where necessary, especially to those who need it the most because they are the ones that will let me explore and learn.
I wasn’t being paid (much) but I was learning. It reflected in my grades and in my final year project. I finished my final year project six months before schedule and my supervisor made me a ‘mini-supervisor’ of sorts to some of my course mates.
It was at that point that I started my first blog. That blog is the foundation of the Facebook page that has now become my fast growing publishing company WORDS RHYMES & RHYTHM.
For one, your CV will thank you for it. Imagine being unemployed for two years and then you go for an interview and the interviewer asked you what you’ve been doing since you graduated two years ago. What would your response be?

I am a living example of this. When I got my second job at Daily Trust, someone who was a year lower than me in the university and who graduated with a less impressive result than mine (I was the 2nd best graduating student) was placed higher than me on the pay grade, despite the fact that I had worked for some months in Port Harcourt and he had just finished NYSC. Why? Simple: he had written some articles for the newspaper, free of charge, right from when he was an undergraduate. You see? Just a few articles and he skips over my head.

Secondly, the place where you are working for free may end up becoming the place where you will be working for pay, hiring other. Or, better still, you might learn so much and become so useful that someone will poach you from there. An example of the first is my colleague at my first place of work. She came in as a cleaner and decided to be helping out in the accounts section. She soon became a master at Microsoft Excel and was noticed. Then the boss employed her as an office assistant. She was encouraged to write WAEC and JAMB. She did and in a few years got a degree, and then a Masters Degree followed. Now, she is superior to some of the folks whose offices she used to clean some 10 years back. Would she have gotten in if she had refused to help, for FREE, in the accounts section? I think she might have had a stellar career as a cleaner.

I will talk about three instances on my professional career.

When I was an undergraduate at the Ahmadu Bello University, I offered my services to a lecturer as a research assistant. I would scour hundreds of books and web pages on his behalf for hours on end. It was rigorous.
I still make some money from researching, especially content analysis. My research skills have helped me in every single place I have worked since then.
The second instance is during my NYSC in Anambra state. I created a volunteer team of teachers to boost the English speaking and writing ability of students in the senior classes at the Nnamdi Azikwe Senior Secondary School Abagana where I was posted. It was there that I was scouted (by the principal) to teach English and Literature at the African Thinkers College of Inquiry (ATCOI), an institution affiliated with the Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka. I was paid a weekly wage there. It is no wonder that I left NYSC with nearly NGN100,000 while my colleagues borrowed transport fares to return home.


I also remember that, on returning home from NYSC and finding no job, I visited one small internet café in Maraba a lot. I spent a large part of my NYSC savings surfing the web for jobs and scholarships. Soon, I was close pals with the owner of the café, because I spent a lot of time there. I offered him my typing services since I had nothing to do with my free time. I was faster than he was (another skills gained working as my lecturer’s research assistant) so he obliged. He rewarded me by allowing me to use internet free, provided there was no customer.
Can you see now how offering your services (and time) without pay is actually not offering it out for FREE. Volunteering for a cause, helping out at hospitals etc are not only skill-building opportunities but also good for networking.
Above all, using your skills to make someone happy gives a good feeling. I love it. You will love it too. Just give it a try, today.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

HAPPINESS IS A CONSCIOUS CHOICE


are you looking for ultimate happiness, trying hard day and night to get to nirvana – that particular place/achievement where you'll be in a state of perpetual happiness? well, the bad news is that you may not find that place where you'll get ultimate happiness (while on earth at least). indulge me with a bit of your time to explain this submission.

i have come to learn, the hard way, that happiness is not place or time bound. you have to constantly make it and practically carry it around. happiness is not a degree you earn and own perpetually. no, it is daily wages that you have to pray and work for. of course some happy times may linger, for a long while. but you'll be left wallowing in sorrow very soon if you relax, thinking you've reached destination happy.
don't postpone your happiness for "when i get married", "when i get a better job", "when i win a scholarship", "when i do this-or-that",... enjoy it now!
happiness is in the things you do every day, the things you do for you, for people, with yourself and with people. happiness is you having a slice of bread to swallow while planning to own two tomorrow. it is sharing that slice with someone who has none. happiness is laughing at yourself while plotting your comeback. happiness is making things happen around you – for your people, for yourself.

in other words, you must find happiness on a daily basis and enjoy those little things, moments that make you happy. find humor in the little things of life, because you may die before you attain that goal you think will make you happy. what if you don’t attain it? what if you attain the goal and it turns out to not be as exciting as you anticipated?

celebrate your little victories. you graduate with a 2nd class, congratulate yourself, instead of rubbishing it because you did not get first class. what of those that are still looking for admission? if you can afford a second hand suit, wear it with pride, instead of sulking around. what of those that cannot even afford anything? if you have a 40k job, do it with a smile, instead of envying those earning 400k. what of those who are walking on the streets looking for a job, any job?

when your dark clouds part
for the penis of happiness
will you allow yourself
enjoy the orgasm
before it ends?
happiness is ice cream in a cup
you should eat it, before it melts
into a cup of useless sweetness


we live for
tiny moments –
like slivers of sunlight
penetrating the hymen
of a virgin rainforest in Africa

do not postpone the moments
in vain search for hours of bliss
for hot coals soon become ash
so, when your dark clouds part
for the penis of happiness
will you allow yourself
enjoy the orgasm
before it ends?
life is progressive if you want it to be so. small pockets of happiness, when recognized, become building blocks of your happiness-mansion. remember that even those who dig for gold in the fields only get tiny nuggets which they gather, not huge gold bars.
to be happy is to make a conscious choice. do you want to be happy? make the decision…

Saturday, January 7, 2017

LOANS, CAPITAL & DEBTS: A GUIDE FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS by Kukogho Iruesiri Samson

Whenever I see young people with marketable talents and I tell them “live your dreams” or “turn this idea/skill into a business,” the first thing they say is, "I don’t have MONEY/CAPITAL.” Each time, I take a deep sigh and share my experience while building Words Rhymes & Rhythm Ltd, my social media pet project that I am gradually transforming into one of Nigeria’s foremost publishing and literary organizations.

Yes, every business needs a capital to exist. But there are many capitals involved in a business. The idea and its development is a capital, the time put into it is another capital, then the big one – money.

It is true that many people do not have the money to become entrepreneurs. So they either discard the idea or go on whining about not finding an investor, a benefactor. They pursue another direction and become a failure before even starting the race.

But the plain truth is no one wants to invest in an 'IDEA' that has not been developed. As an individual, if your friend comes to you and says “guy, give me N200,000 to start an make-up business”, a lot of questions instantly come to mind. Above all, you'll want to know if the money will ever come back to you (with profit!). That is the same way any investor will think. And that is why no one will give you money for an idea you only nurse in idle time.So, if you think a idea is valuable, start something small with it.
When people see the emergence of a PRODUCT from your IDEA and the potential VALUE, they will rally round (to help or to steal it). Investors put money into products and (potential) value.
Let’s take the example of a youth who learnt shoe making. He is skilled and wants to start making formal shoes. He lives near a corporate environment sand thinks he can turn the people who work there into his customers. That is an idea, a good one. But there is a problem. He has no money to buy equipment and materials for the work. and decides to ask for investment/loans to start.

To him, all he needs is MONEY. But he needs more than money, if he intends to start and SUSTAIN the biz. Sustenance is key.
The question is – how do you make a biz last beyond the initial capital? If you don’t answer the question before investing a (loaned) capital, you’re in deep shit.

The business will go to bust and, if you have unpaid loans, you become a debtor too. What then is your gain?

So how do you go about it? What capital do you have that you can afford to lose without running into debt? Time. Yes, invested time fueled by your belief (passion) in your idea is the way to go as a small starter. Start your business with your own investment: plenty of TIME supported by whatever FUNDS you have, not LOANS.
With your own (small) money and time, you can afford to make mistakes, learn and unlearn, strategize and restrategize, all on the job, while growing slowly.
With a loan, you can’t afford to make mistakes or learn and the pressure of (paying back) the loan and accumulating interests will stifle your creativity. It is enough to kill whatever motivation you have.
Aside that, no one gives you a substantial loan and sits back to watch you experiment. The investor will at some point interfere. So you stand the risk of losing control of the idea you so love.
As a matter of indisputable fact, the more dependent your business is on LOANS the less CONTROL you have. In many cases, by the time the biz breaks even, you would have become an employee not the owner of the business. If it doesn’t break even, you are tied to a debt – double loss.
So let’s go back to our shoemaker guy. He takes an N1m loan (from an investor/bank/friend etc) and spends it on renting a shop and buying (high end) equipment and raw materials with prospective customers. The biz starts.

The LOAN payback time starts counting before sales begin. By the time he is renewing his rent he is yet to make any substantial sales, and by extension he has no profit. He has not made sales because his big shop is not enough to convince the big customers he had his eyes on. They don’t trust him yet. They do not patronize him much. He is broke. So he needs another loan.
His debt piles up and he has yet to break into the market. A few years later, he closes shop, sells everything at half price and goes home to sulk about the unfairness of life.
Could he have done it better by starting the biz without a loan? Yes, I suppose. He could have gone about it differently by calling on his two capitals – TIME and SOCIAL CAPITAL. Time Capital is time invested in the business while social capital is input from social connections invested into the business.
So I ask: could he have done better by starting small and turning members of his social circles into CUSTOMER and stay that way until he has build a reputable BUSINESS PRESENCE, noticeable and 'trustable' to those clients he originally had in mind?
The advantage of a SOCIAL capital, business built on people around you (social media, work, church, mosque etc) is that they give precious instant FEEDBACK which is important for GROWTH and LEARNING. FEEDBACK from your first customers will help you REPOSITION your business strategies for (maybe) SLOW and (certainly) STEADY growth.
This is like FREE consultancy from different people (agencies) which you can cross-reference. How cool is that?
When you have built a reputable BUSINESS PRESENCE with an identity, then you can seek investors and take that LOAN – if you really do need it – with a clear plan. Remember: you take the loan if you really do need it. I have not taken a loan yet and WRR is doing fine.
Now, the question is, do you really need a loan, knowing very well that EVERY loan you take compromises your position in a way and puts you under pressure? Yes? No?

So what is d alternative to a loan where you need a base MONEY capital to start up? If you ask me, I will say get a job. Any job. This brings the question many people have asked – Pursue Your Passion or Get a Job?

Many millionaires/billionaires today raised their first capitals by literally sacrificing a few years of their lives in a job they may or may not like.

For example, the shoemaker guy can decide to add a low-paying clerical job to his part-time shoe-making and SAVE. It might take him years (like me) to save capital to match the N1m loan he would have taken. But there is a marked difference between the loan and the money saved:
  1. he has no interest to pay on his savings turned capital
  2. his business has over the years been growing on the side
  3. skills gotten from doing other jobs will come in handy
  4. he still has total control over the direction of his business 
Permit me to conclude by stating that loans are not bad. On the contrary, they can actually be all a business man needs to move to the next level. However, the decision to borrow funds should be based on tested and trusted strategies, not wavering ideas.
You can start your business today. The question is: what capital will you call upon?

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