Posts

Back in London, But Catch Me Worldwide

No Excuses

I apologise to my readers for taking this long to update my blog.  I constantly tell my clients that their blogs and other social media must be active and updated, so my blog shouldn’t be months old!   I don’t accept excuses from my clients for not updating their blog (I may allow personal or family health-related issues); so I won’t give one. 😊

A very short back-story for new readers, I decided to go on a business adventure to Nigeria to set up a new business and an office base – previous posts will update you on my experiences, such fun!!

Nigeria – Only the Brave

The past few months have been quite intense.  Setting up business in Nigeria is only for the brave, especially if you’re self-financing like I am.  Remaining sane while putting deals together is a real testament to the human spirit, hats off to all of us who do it!

That said, although the country is tough, the rewards can be HUGE, more so than most countries in the West.  Well, that’s one of the reasons I’m doing it – I’m not completely crazy.😊

Doing business in Nigeria has taught me a lot, namely, patience, perseverance and focus.  It’s so easy to be distracted by the ‘next best thing’ when the results you’ve been working towards seem to be taking too darn long; but I can attest that if you keep your eyes on the price you will achieve your goal(s).

Pic 1 300817

Same Services More Global

Since I started my business I’ve been fanatical about providing a more personal and tailored service to my clients, which has included a lot of face to face meetings.  Unfortunately this has meant that my clients in other parts of the world may not have received the same level of service when I wasn’t physically available; not something I would ever want for them.

My time around different parts of Africa while dealing with my African-based clients has taught me to think bigger and more global, ensuring I find ways to provide the same level of service to ALL my clients around the world.

Too Close To See

As a business coach and consultant, I pride myself on knowing how to help my clients navigate the labyrinth path to success in their businesses and somehow it’s taken me a bit longer to find a platform where I can provide value to all my clients at the same time!

Working closely with my clients has shown me that irrespective of where you are in the world, as long as you’re in business – whether you’re an entrepreneur or career professional – you’ll have similar challenges in the areas of marketing, business growth, increasing customer base, etc.

So, to put what I’ve learnt into practice and cater to you, my wonderful clients, even better; I’ll be offering bespoke courses, videos and webinars to address the challenges that you all face in your respective businesses.

You’ll find the videos and other information I’ll be uploading on my site to be useful for your business and of course, fun.  While we all know that business isn’t easy, there should be some fun added to the mix…otherwise, what’s the point, right? 😊

So how about you?  What experiences have you had in your business, where you had to change strategies?

How long did it take you to change strategies?

Please feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts on this new avenue I’m using to reach you.

You can send an email to me on aydaonthego@gmail.com

Remember to subscribe to my blog!

Failure is Your Friend

You must fail.

It’s very important for you, for me, for everyone, to fail at something.  Whether it’s at school, at work, in business.

This is because you learn more in failure than you do in success.

Failure separates the weak from the strong; the ones who give up easily from the ones who are determined, who dig deep and keep at it.

Failure builds character.  You learn incredibly important survival traits in failure, like commitment, perseverance, resilience, resourcefulness and many more.

I’ve known this for a while; however, it’s one thing to know it on an intellectual level and quite another to experience it.  I can definitely say that I’ve experienced it a lot lately; several times😊.

Failure gives you the opportunity to take a step back and do an autopsy on your idea, your business, your project; to go over and understand the what, where and why of the failure.

To ask yourself what went wrong, how (if) you could have done things differently and what you can do to make things better – because the only person you have control over, is you.

I’ve had to do autopsies on a few projects I put together.  Although they haven’t failed, they’ve been quite (very) slow in coming to fruition; which to some (and my previous self) may feel like failure.

I would never have anticipated that it would have taken this long; however, the delay has given me time to take a step back and see where I could have done things differently to avoid being affected by the inactivity of key players.

Now I know there’s a quicker way and I know where the less lucrative ‘low hanging fruits’ are that can be worked on whilst waiting for the ‘bigger’ projects to be processed.

My everything has been and is being tested.  I’m currently having to dig deep on my reservoirs of commitment, perseverance, resilience, resourcefulness and many more; and you know what?  It’s not that bad, not a piece of cake but it’s not impossible and I’m still here – fabulous as ever 😉.

Now if only I felt the same way about the power cuts……

 

 

The Decision

A few years ago I read that one of the quickest ways to build a successful business is to take a product that has been successful in a country to another country that either doesn’t have that product or isn’t saturated with it.

This made (and still makes) perfect sense to me.  So with this in my mind I decided to take my business services to Nigeria.  This process was a long time in the making mainly because I left Nigeria as a child in 1993 and only started visiting in 2012 after I set up my business in UK.

When I started my business in London I was working as a contractor and on my business; I was doing 16-hour days at a minimum, which was tough.

Frankly, I had to make it work because I was using my contract job to self-finance my business and my life.  Once I decided to take my business to Nigeria (and the rest of Africa), I knew that I would have to leave the contract job to focus on my business.

The period between deciding to take my business to Nigeria, have an office in Nigeria and physically having an office took about 4 years.  4 YEARS!!  4 freaking years!  People have been married, had children and gotten divorced in less time!  Do you know why it took so long?  A combination of fear of the unknown and luxuriating in my comfort zone.

The thing is my comfort zone wasn’t a ride in the park.  I was bored to tears in my ‘very well paid’ contract job, yes, I needed it to self-finance but the only things that kept me going were working on my business and travelling to Nigeria twice a year to get the lay of the land, network and build contacts.

I could have done all of that in half the time if I had sat down, put a proper workable plan in place and stuck to it.  Hindsight is a superpower, I wish I had!!!  It would have been very useful!   Especially in avoiding con artists clothed in respectability.

I digress, once I decided I had a service that would work in Nigeria, and after painful lessons, I realised that to build a successful business in Nigeria I needed to stay in Nigeria for a lot longer than a few weeks.  So with my mind made up and a plan in place (lessons learned), I chose a date and bought my ticket to Abuja.

There’s nothing that motivates me more than lack of change.  To not have made any progress in a year?  That was enough to get my ass moving pdq!!

My family were surprised by my decision when I told them I was staying for 3 weeks on my first visit; most of them didn’t think I would last that long.  They said I’m ‘too English’ (whatever that means), I’ve lived in London for too long, I’m an ajebutter (damn spellcheck), NEPA (power cut) would drive me crazy, it would be too rough for me, Nigerians are too blunt, too impatient, the airport is a nightmare.  There’s some truth to that.  However, my desire to succeed trumps (damn the man!) every negative.

‘Too English’/Ajebutter – yes but when it comes to my business or what I want I’m a rottweiler; definitely an ajegpaki.

NEPA – I’m used to it; I’m more bothered by the afternoon sun.

Bluntness – I’m now an expert in counting from 1 to 1000 under my breath whilst giving a very sweet smile.

Airport – I’ve never had any problems in Abuja airport; infact a customs officer once gave me some money to hire a luggage trolley to use when he saw me struggling with 3 big cases.  Yep, a customs officer 🙂

So summer of 2016 with the blueprint of my Plan A in my hand and the burnt bridges of Plans C to Z behind me, I hopped on a British Airways flight to Abuja for three months.

……..The Adventure Begins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naomi Campbell – Role Model

Naomi-Campbell-on-The-Face-2

Drive

Discipline and a

Thick skin…..

I never thought I would ever, in a million years mention Naomi Campbell, role model and me in the same sentence but please hear me out.

I recently watched a couple of episodes of a reality model show called ‘The Face’ which features our very own Naomi Campbell as one of the coaches/mentors.  The concept of the show is that out of twenty-something wannabe models and a series of tests, three supermodels – Naomi Campbell, Karolina Kurkova and Coco Rocha – each select four girls who they want to mentor, making a total of 12 girls.  So each supermodel is a coach/mentor to her group of girls and each week all the models go through various tests as a group to get to the winning team.

First of all, it goes without saying that Naomi Campbell at 42 looks great.  Yes she has money and good genes; however, I suspect that she works hard to look that good so note to self.

What is striking about Naomi in this show is that she doesn’t apologise for who she is.  She plainly says that she is very competitive and wants her team to win.  She mentions characteristics that she is looking for in her girls – Drive, Discipline and a Thick skin.  She acknowledges that the fashion industry is ruthless and competitive and in order to survive it you have to suck it up and keep going irrespective of how you’re feeling.

In one of the tests, the girls were required to choose a complete outfit and strike a pose. One of the girls chose a shoe that was too small and was a bit teary about it, even I could feel her pain through the television!  Miss Campbell asked her ‘what’s wrong with you?  Are those tears I see?’  After denying it a bit the girl finally owns up that her shoes are too small.  What did Naomi say?  Something along the lines of ‘You can’t go in front of a client and complain about what you’re given, you have to wear it, pose and suck it up!’  Bloody hell I thought!  That’s tough love right there. 

As harsh as that may sound, ‘suck it up and get on with it’ is true, it’s life!  Life isn’t always easy, things don’t always go the way you want it, when you want it; you just have to keep moving forward.  Don’t stop and turn back just because the only pair of shoes available is a size or more too small.  On runway shows the models aren’t always given the right size shoes, with the heels that they’re comfortable with. 

And that’s the same thing in life, in the real world.  In order to succeed you have to keep going no matter what.  Drive, Discipline and a Thick skin.

Drive – to keep going no matter what, irrespective of the setbacks, the knockbacks and the rejections; believe me, you will encounter a lot of those on the road to success.

Discipline – to ignore every unnecessary distraction that will keep you from doing the things that you need to do to achieve your goals.  Isn’t it funny how when you need to study, do research or make an important phone call, all of a sudden tidying up, doing the laundry or doing the dishes become all important? 

Thick skin – oh yes, in order to succeed your skin has to be thicker than that of an elephant and a rhinoceros combined (if that were possible!).  This is because you will experience some level of failure and rejection; people will say negative things about you, about your goals.  Colleagues, friends and even family members will try and knock you down but you have to be strong enough for those things not to set you back; for them to be like water off a duck’s back.

Naomi Campbell is a perfect example of having these qualities; please don’t get me wrong she isn’t an angel, far from it but then who is?  I love the fact that she’s been through what she’s been through, fought her personal demons, and paid her dues.  From the show it seems that she now knows who she is and she doesn’t apologise for it.  She acknowledges that she’s competitive and wants to win; you can take it or leave it.  Of course such an attitude comes with age and experience, knowing and accepting who you are.

When you’re young irrespective of the facade you try and project, you want people to like and accept you.  When you’re older and you’ve gone through all sorts of experiences, you don’t care whether anyone, with the exception of close family and friends, likes you.  When you’re older you know who you are, what you want, what you like, and the things you won’t compromise on.

So you go Naomi, you’ve come a long way from the crazy temper tantrums, the phone throwing, the drugs, etc.  You’re showing yourself to be a competitive, driven and disciplined woman with a thick skin (with all those tabloid reports you have to have one!) who knows what she wants, sucks it up, goes for it and will not stop until the goal is reached.

You have officially joined my list of role models which include, my mum, Oprah Winfrey, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, women who are strong, driven, flawed, imperfect, disciplined and ambitious; and I salute you.

Yes, Naomi Campbell, I salute you!