I studied Geophysics at Federal University of Petroleum Resources Effurun (FUPRE). I had an extra year because of an 100 level course I had carried over repeatedly (Organic Chemistry). My life began to form during this extra year (it was only the Organic Chemistry – 2nd semester course I was to write). I had new friends who indirectly started shaping my thinking on going into the business world, being a billionaire and the likes. We would talk about being among the “men that would turn the world around” (those who make decisions that affects humanity).
I never had any fear about how the world would be like after school but I knew I was destined to be great. I love cooking, I love food and my mum actually stirred up the cooking hobby in me (story for another day). I knew no lady on earth will do shakara for me. I merged my cooking passion and entrepreneurship spirit and decided that I will build a restaurant chain that will be great in value (just like McDonald’s, Domino’s, etc).
During my NYSC, at the orientation camp, I enrolled at the pastry side of the SAED (skills acquisition) programme. I decided to start a business during the full NYSC programme. I started selling bread and egg to banks in Ogbomoso but I ended up selling to just one bank. It was a huge success as every single staff of that bank did business with me multiple times (including the Marketing manager and 2 different Branch managers). Each morning, I will set up my tent on the street (beside the bank) and wait for orders. At times I put on agbada and at times I will suit up (because I saw myself as a CEO and not a “hustler”).
After NYSC, I came back home and looked for how to further my business (considering the success I had in Ogbomoso). I decided to write letters (business proposals) and send via email to many bank headquarters in Lagos. I didn’t get any favourable response from any of them but I wasn’t bothered. I decided to try out TV stations (since the banks didn’t work out). I didn’t know anyone – I haven’t even visited a TV station before. I used the same approach, yet I wasn’t getting any “green light”. I even got a “thank you for banking with us” reply from one TV station.
I was watching a breakfast show on TVC one particular morning and found out they had a section where they invite Chefs to cook live on TV. I said within me that I WILL GO FOR THIS NO MATTER WHAT. I believed I will get an invite. I used the same approach and sent email to them. This was in August 2018. I kept bombarding them with emails just to get responses from them. At a point, they will respond and for like 2 weeks or more, I won’t hear anything again from them.
I kept bombarding them with emails, refusing to give up because I believed I will get it. I wasn’t getting much headway, so I decided to try another approach. I found the email address of some of the hosts of the show via social media and decided to send the same emails to them. When you desperately need something, you will go all out and find solutions. Still trying to get a favourable response from them, I found the personal number of one of the hosts (still via social media). I then decided to go personal and send her an SMS, informing her of my emails. She said “she will refer my email to her superior”.
At this point, I gave up. I wasn’t expecting anything again. I wasn’t sending any email again. I was done. Then unexpectedly, on December 13th, I received a call, asking me if I would be available for the show the next day. I was elated and filled with joy. FINALLY, I said. Till today, I have appeared on TVC multiple times, cooking on air.
On January 2019, I applied for the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program for the very first time. On March 22, I saw my name among the selected beneficiaries, today, I can say I am proud to be a Tony Elumelu Entrepreneur. I didn’t know anyone from Adam. I just believed in myself and tried everything possible to achieve my goal. I was flexible, willing to try every option until all is exhausted.
This statement has been my driving force and “secret” to my success thus far: YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE WHEN YOU MAKE A MOVE, BUT YOU COULD LOSE SOMETHING IF YOU DON’T.
Story from- Disu, Nathanael Wilson
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