Monday, 21 September 2015

Diary of an Honest Naturalista: Week 120


Remember when I mentioned the fact that I wasn’t happy with my life at the moment, cos everything seemed dreary, and I felt I could do more than I currently am? Well, I am very happy to say I have finally started something.

I am now making Ankara accessories. I make sturdy hand bands, head bands, flowers, etc. The truth is I actually learnt the craft online, and was pretty surprised to find out how easy it actually was. For now, I sell mostly to my personal contacts and others who admire the accessories on them. It’s still small stuff for now but I know all big things start from small things. The bottom line is that for now, I am fulfilled, and that is what matters.

As said, I went to see Dimeji’s parents last Sunday, and to keep up good appearances, I had to make sure my hair was well behaved, lol. I packed it well with matching ankara hair ruffles and hair comb.
After some minutes of conversation with Dimeji’s mum, she commented on how she liked my hair accessories. She then opened her wallet to hand me N4000 and asked me to get her some. I immediately rejected her money, and told her that I actually made it, and it was a business I recently started.

Saying that to her made me feel proud of myself, not because I was trying to impress her, but because for the first time in my life, I could actually say I ‘owned’ something.

“Really? You made this yourself?” She tilted back, and looked at me.

“Yes ma.” I said.

“That’s great. You must be really enterprising.” She looked at the accessories again, really impressed.
Me? Enterprising? If only she knew. “Thank you ma.” I replied humbly.

“So how much will you sell a combination of your collection to me?” She asked.

“No ma. No o. Don’t worry. I can’t collect money from you. I will bring some for you.” I protested. See how my potential in-law wants to put me in trouble by making me look like one greedy stingy daughter.

“You won’t collect money from me? And why is that?” She looked quizzical.

“Ha, no ma. You are Dimeji’s mum na. How would I collect money from you?” I began to wonder if this woman was just testing me. If so, then I mustn’t fail this test, even though I didn’t know the right answer.

“Anna, when did you start this business?”

Hmm, trouble was brewing. “Last month ma.”

“So if I asked you to give me ten thousand naira worth of hair accessories, you would give me for free?”

“Ehm…” I hesitated and thought for a while. “Yes ma.” I said assuredly.

Justin Timberlake thinking yes
Source
“That’s nice.” She flashed me a smile before proceeding. “And the next week, I ask you to make a thousand naira accessories for my sister who likes your work, but cannot pay for it, so I want to give her as a gift. Would you charge me?”

“I won’t charge you ma.”

“And two weeks later, I ask for five thousand naira worth for my female pastor’s birthday gift? I can just come and get it from you for free?”

“Most probably.” I said, suddenly unsure.

“And where exactly will you get the money to purchase the materials you would use to keep making these free accessories from me?

I had goofed. I began to see that I was failing this assumed test.

“I am sure you see where I am going. You can’t do business by refusing to collect money from people just because you like them or they are your friends.”

“But I can’t collect money from you ma. You are family.” I vehemently protested.

“And that is exactly why you should charge us. As someone who is newly starting business, friends and family are the ones that should support you and patronise you with their funds. They are your primary market, and the ones whose patronage would expand your market. There are no sentiments in business, and you cannot afford not to charge everyone. You need all the support you can get.”

I began to see what she was saying. It was obvious I had no great knowledge about how to successfully run a business, and I had already started goofing. “Thank you ma.” I said, really humbled this time.”

“You are welcome. And don’t forget to come to me anytime you need any advice on business. Now, take this money, and make me some accessories.”

I dared not hesitate. I took the money immediately. She gave me N4000 but I planned to give her N5000 worth. It suddenly occurred to me that she wasn’t even going to use them, and was just looking for a way to support me, seeing that she is on TWA.

And that was how I got my SME 101 course from the most unexpected source. Who would have thought?

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27 comments :

  1. Dear Anna, please listen to the wise woman.

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  2. Lol.Great advice,we learn from the most unexpected places.
    *coughs*so um as an e-friend,when do i expect to get my own(free) accessories?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. More like when would you send your own donation to her business?

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  3. You've got such a wonderful mother-in-law to be. And she gave you such necessary business tips.

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    Replies
    1. Well, they are not engaged yet, so I don't think mother-in-law to be is a correct term, though the business tips still apply, lol.

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  4. Awwwww . Do you diliver to international people I need some abeg. Plus what was demiji doing when all this was happening ehen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cool down na. She just started. Let international people be patient with her, lol.

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  5. Replies
    1. Well, let's hope she ends up becoming her mother in law.

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  6. She was right about even family paying.

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    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, many family members here have a sense of entitlement.

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  7. experienced something similar wen I started my business... wise woman, wise words..

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    Replies
    1. So did family and friends want free stuff from you or what?

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  8. Well well well Miss Anna soon to be Mrs Dimeji, your own business! I need to reevaluate my life goals.
    I think your were stuck between a rock and a hard place with Dimeji's mum. Sort of d@mned I do d@mned if I don't situation. But you did good. Imagine what would've happened if you readily accepted the money. Yikes!

    Mvumikazi | Urban Mnguni

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    Replies
    1. Lol. I agree. It would have been somehow if she immediately took the money, though I don't think she should have kept insisting on rejecting the further offers. That's just set up for ruining one's business.

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  9. Lol...I just learnt something here as well

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  10. I wish more people were like your almost mother-in-law. I have a friend who sells products, and when she takes from her stash, she actually pays herself. I think it's a great attitude to adopt because those freebies add up.

    Berry Dakara Blog

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    Replies
    1. I wonder why you all keep calling her mother in law. Yes o, freebies add up so families should ease on it, abeg.

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  11. Lol she defs schooled you and it was necessary. How won't you collect money because you want to make a good impression? Girlll..

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    Replies
    1. You know how sentiments go with the nature of Africans naa.

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  12. Business tips for everyone.
    If our friends would support us this way.

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    Replies
    1. Let's all get friends with the right mindset, lol.

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  13. How very nice of your mother in law😊

    ReplyDelete

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