No matter how passionate you are, if you are not making money, you will get frustrated – Mofolusade Sonaike
Popularly referred to as Mumpreneur, Mofolusade Sonaike is a consultant, blogger and entrepreneurship advocate. She had a background in chemical engineering from the University of Lagos with work experience spanning four years in the IT, banking and manufacturing sectors. She left the corporate world in 2010 to pursue her vision when she established Trezorlandia Limited, a gift consulting business. Her experiences in this transition have led her to become a strong voice for entrepreneurs in Nigeria. She is an associate member of the Institute of Entrepreneurs, Nigeria. Mofolushade believes “Mumpreneurs” are superhuman and should be encouraged and supported, she tells her story in this mind blowing and very educative interview.
Raised to be a Leader
I am the first of six children; I was raised to make sacrifices for my younger ones. At an early age, I learnt that true leadership was by example. I think this is why I can relate with so many different kinds of people, both old and young. Also, my father always said to us, “Nothing is impossible”; if he told you to do something, you had to have tried a million and one ways before you reported back to say you couldn’t achieve it. This shaped my spirit of taking on challenges and not backing down without the fight of my life.
Inspiration behind my brand Mumpreneur
Nothing prepares you for raising children. The moment you have children, life as you know it changes. You have to make hard choices. There are no manuals; maybe books and old wives’ tales, but no step-by-step guide to living your newfound life. I resigned from full-time employment mainly because I felt I wasn’t there for my son at the time. I wasn’t regular with homework, I couldn’t attend school plays and events, and I hated that life. I resigned to launch my own business but quickly got to a point where I started to feel lost and confused. You see, I am quite restless and all the free time I suddenly had was driving me up the wall. Business was moving, but not quite like I imagined. In 2013, I decided to start documenting my journey in a blog called the entrepreneurs journey. It made me feel better because it gave me an outlet. Soon I realised that many other people could relate to my stories and were actually inspired as I shared. One day, I was writing my bio on the blog page and I had to define myself in a phrase, I looked online for other blogs about entrepreneurship and I stumbled on the word “Mumpreneur”! That was it. It resonated with me and I adopted it immediately.
Initially, it was just a name to define who I was: a mum and an entrepreneur. As time went on, however, it got clearer and I took on entrepreneurship advocacy and support full-time. I spent time interviewing entrepreneurs and researching existing solutions to their challenges. I only recently decided to focus on the niche of mothers who run businesses, mainly because that’s who I am, but also because you really can’t serve everybody effectively. Mumpreneurs are superhuman and should be encouraged and supported.
Building Networks of Entrepreneurs
I have various projects I am working on, but the most recent ones are my upcoming show and coaching programme for mumpreneurs. Over the years, I have built a network of entrepreneurs, entrepreneur associations and regulators like NASME (National Association of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises), TIC (Technology Incubation Centre), FIIRO (Federal Institute of Industry and Research Oshodi), and EDC (Enterprise Development Centre), among others. As a result, I have a body of knowledge that I know entrepreneurs need in order to get ahead. I already get calls and requests from people looking to start businesses and I tell them, “Ask me anything. If I don’t know, I at least know someone who does.” I am building a structure around that, and it will all be housed on my new website, mumpreneur.ng, so entrepreneurs do not have to grope in the dark anymore.
Although I have a background in engineering, I have always loved the expression of anything through art. In my third year at the University of Lagos, I got a few friends together and we formed a group called “Kolo Manifest.” Lol! We started presenting plays about the struggles of being engineering students at our year-end dinners and events. It was unprecedented. Engineers were expected to be a certain way, nerdy and serious mostly. I wasn’t. This is my third year as a Global Entrepreneurship Week partner of the Enterprise Development Centre. Last year, I teamed up with the Spirit of Enterprise to do a N50,000 challenge for upcoming entrepreneurs. This year, however, I decided to step away from the norm and do something different. Entrepreneurship is stressful enough; we are out there building capacity and learning every day. Let’s just hang out and learn differently. You are more likely to remember a lesson you got from a movie or play than from some lecture. So, the question is, why not a play?
The challenge being asked: what do you do?
My first major challenge was defining what exactly I was doing. I did everything and anything. I just had the passion to share, to express myself and tell my story. It took a while to really see where this was going. I would go for networking events and when people asked, “What do you do?” I would sigh and not know quite where to start! Lol. How do you deliver an elevator pitch when you don’t even know how to define what you do?
Secondly, no matter how passionate you are, if you are not making money, you will get frustrated. So my second challenge was streamlining and monetising my projects and activities. I met an amasing strategist recently and we have built a winning team. Watch out! Hehe….
Balancing it all
Balancing the home front and work is not a one-time achievement. It’s a journey, a process that I improve on every single day. I have built a process that works for me. I also have an amazing support system in my husband, parents and siblings. I must mention my nanny here; she has been with me almost five years. I have a whole blog post dedicated to my search for a nanny and how hectic it was. I used to try to do everything myself. I still do sometimes, but the truth is, it is not sustainable. A typical day for many mumpreneurs I know here is from breakfast, to school run, to business run, to maybe second-leg school run, then lunch, then homework, then dinner, then work when the kids are asleep, sleep, wake up, repeat! No wonder many women look older than their husbands!
Being one of 50 game changers in Nigeria
I recently received an Xceptional Women’s Role Models award for my contribution to enterprise. I didn’t see that coming; it was a great surprise and encouragement that confirmed the value of my work. I also got listed as one of the top 50 game changers in Nigeria by the Keniisplace blog. Another reward that is priceless and cannot be quantified is the joy in an entrepreneur’s face when they find a solution through me for something they have been struggling with for a while. An example is when I introduced someone to the Technology Incubation Centre where she was able to finally sort out her NAFDAC registration.
Advice to women
Find out what makes you happy and do it! It’s your life.
I think one of the greatest assets I have is my positivity, I don’t take life too seriously. As a result, I am always (well almost always) happy. When you are in a happy place, you are unstoppable.