What I have learnt as the unusual entrepreneur and as LagosMums turns 5!
Lagos Mums turns 5 years old this year and as I reflect and look back both over the years and into the future there are certainly many things that I have learnt.
I say unusual entrepreneur, because I started LagosMums as a hobby and idea and I have grown into my purpose. I call it my 3 P’s – Passion, to purpose, to profit. What started as an idea – a website for mums to support each other has grown to provide content for parents with thousands of followers, holding regular events for mums, featuring recommended products and services and a top of mind destination for parents in Lagos, Nigeria.
What Have I Learnt?
Ask, Knock, Seek – it is true when you ask you get, when you knock you will get an answer and when you seek you will find. Learn as much as you can – you have to be hungry to always learn. You must not play the victim nor be reliant on other people to do for you what you cannot or are not willing to do yourself. You cannot possibly know everything so the more you learn, the better off you are. When you know what you want, it is harder for people to mislead you. Always ask questions, as there is nothing wrong with admitting you do not know, it is only worse if you do not learn. Do not be overly hard on yourself, learn to be okay with making mistakes as that is a way to learn and grow.
Be bold – do not be scared to try, the worst-case scenario never really happens. Be confident as there is no way you can offer your best if you are not confident in what you are saying or offering. Be comfortable stretching yourself! I find that once you are a creative person you need to challenge yourself to stay interested and on the ball. My motto is “ask what is the worst that will happen”? You might hear a No…But that is fine because for every no, there are countless Yes’es on the way.
Deliver First – I remember when I had my first LagosMums parenting event on a bootstrap budget at the Wheat Baker Hotel, Ikoyi. I was only able to achieve it because of God and people who believed in me and gave me the chance to bring my dream into reality. The feedback from the maiden event was encouraging and helped me realize this was for real. As a result of the positive feedback, when I was hosting the second annual event I was able to get fantastic sponsors. The experience from the first one opened the door for future relationships – So always deliver “A game”!
Trail Blazer – Be comfortable being a trailblazer, do not be scared to try new things. There is a reason an idea came to you even if you have never seen or done it before. We are all trailblazers in our own right because no one can do what you do in the same exact way you do.
Dig Deep and look inwards – there is a reason you have gone through your unique life experiences. As an entrepreneur you are forced to tap into your calling and your unique differentiating factor. What makes you who you are? You have to know your why and stay focused. I cannot imagine not running LagosMums today as it has become a part of me! Clarity comes with focus. Digging deep comes with an unwavering trust in God’s plan for your life! I call God my CEO and I am the COO J
Do what you love – when you do what you love it is easier to go through the tough times, lonely times, doubts and other challenges. One of the things that see you through is your network and support system. Who are you leaning on? Always be ready to learn from people, to collaborate and increase the pie – I truly believe that the market is big enough for everyone who truly wants to participate. Every person you meet is a potential customer, cheerleader or referral. It is important to be comfortable networking and meeting people.
Carry your F’s along – carry your family and friends along. You cannot succeed in one endeavor and then let your family or loved ones fall by the side. Work life balance is real and you need to balance all your different demands. I always say that I could not have a better supporter than my husband who always encourages me in all areas! Lean in, lean sideways just make sure that you make time for all the things that matter and all the people God has blessed you with.
Fall in love with social media – social media is your friend! There is no barrier to entry when it comes to social media. Some of the wins I have had, has been made possible through the internet and social media. For example I become a writer on Huffington post because I took a chance by writing to Arianna Huffington! As they say, the rest is history and I became a contributor. I remember when I met Mrs. Oby Ezekwezili for the first time at an Access Bank event, I never expected her to say she knew LagosMums from twitter! The power of the internet and social media cannot be underestimated – use it well. I have met numerous fantastic people this way. People watch what you say and do and will take note if what you say or offer interests them.
You are the brand – You are the brand so be consistent and be real. No branding specialist can make your brand if you do not represent it well. It is easier to think of branding when you embrace what you stand for.
Guard your brand and know what you stand for as you grow and get all sorts of offers along the way. You must do what you can stand by. Your authenticity is key to your success.
Structure – you must put structure in place. I recognized when the time came for me to implement structure and move from a hobby to a business. When you start to offer a service or a product, remember that people don’t see a passion they see a business.
Surround yourself with great people – Be teachable and have people who mentor you. I believe that coaching helps you to go further faster, it helps you be clear on your goals and to set about attaining them. As women we need to debunk the myth that says that women do not help each other. People will say yes to mentor you if you ask them the right way and are clear on what you want. Some of the women who have mentored and advised me have done so based on a simple introduction and never knew me before.
There will always be people who push you to be more than you are because they can see more than you can see of yourself. I also have my mastermind group, a fantastic group of family and friends, we pray together and encourage ourselves to be the best we can be.
Be stubborn – its okay to be stubborn as no one else can see or run your vision for you. It is yours alone and God downloaded it to you only. Don’t expect other people to get it, because they might or might not. You certainly cannot base your actions on others approval. Follow your instincts and do what feels right, but also be teachable and get trusted advice.
Think Growth – Do not get complacent, you can always be better than you are, there is always more you can do. This applies to all areas of your life, personal and professional. Keep improving.
Gratitude – Always remember to celebrate where you have come from, celebrate your wins and your growth. It is only when you can celebrate your small wins that you can then celebrate the bigger ones.
Overall I would say consistency, persistence and enjoying the process are all critical. Life is a set of experiences and is a journey to be savored.
I am thankful for the journey so far and love what I do. I thank God who is my source for everything and I am thankful for the amazing people I have met through the LagsoMums platform. The one thing I know for sure is that nothing is a mistake and God is always orchestrating our steps. Prayer is key and I constantly pray for discernment to hear clearly for direction on how to move and what to do. I know he’s got my back and that is enough reason to be at peace. My favorite acronym is G.I.I.C (God Is In Control).
Watch out as LagosMums continues to grow and be the go to location for Mums and parents on their parenting journey. LagosMums is a trusted resource for content and information on raising children and families. We are a top choice for brands interested in raising awareness and getting their products and services to mums and their families.
Most of all no matter what you do – have fun and be yourself! Everyone else is taken.