Self employed 101

Is the self employed dream dead or is is the more alive than ever? In this article we explore what being self employed really means

Chapter 1: Risks

Now to begin, being self employed is not as glamorous as most gurus would like you to be believe. To be very successful on team self employed, you might end up literally creating what you were running away from when you decided you don’t want to get a job. The promise of free time is not that true as most times you end up investing way more time to make the same amount you could have made at a regular desk job for example gig economy drivers in the beginning may have made slightly more than the average worker but as more drivers came into the picture, competition led to a reduction in profits. With most Uber drivers making N30,000 – N50,000 per month in revenue if they are lucky, yearly they would earn roughly N400,000. Now this seems great but this does not account for issues that can arise like flat tyres, engine repair and other unforeseen issues like theft and vandalism. Now someone who chooses this path even though they had the option of a desk job may end up making the same but they have to take on a lot more risks like getting a car, maintaining the car, getting internet connection etc. Now they may or may not have more time and more but the first thing to decide before embarking on the path of self employment what is your appetite for risk. This does not mean, are you ready to jump off a cliff or out of a plane or swim with sharks, although it does say a-lot about your personality, it means are ready to possibly not be able to provide for yourself or your family. This is the ultimate factor when considering which path is best for you because if you feel that you are ready to make the sacrifice of possibly being known as incapable to be a provider no matter your race or gender then the decision will be easy to make. 

Chapter 2: Be prepared 

Now you must be thinking “why are we so focused on finding a job when this is supposed to be about to about being self employed?”. The answer is simple self employment in this day and age should be seen as a last resort if we are being candid. Unless you spot a gap in the market through which your new product or process can fill, you have the adequate expertise and resources to properly deliver you are setting yourself up for failure. When trying to set up a business, there are so many variables you need to consider and the honest truth is you can consider them all you want but if it isn’t for you to be a success then it isn’t for you to be a success. To truly have the best chance of succeeding you need to be adequately prepared to at least counter some of the variables that can either hinder or grow your chances of success. This is why when you really need to identify something unique because the world is filled with people who will always have more information and access than you, so whatever little thing that can help you get ahead needs to really be used to your advantage.

Chapter 3: Depression 

Now all hope is not lost, this is not just doom and gloom. If you are reading this and you are still confident being self employed is right career path for you then it’s time to get to work. Now to be self employed in Nigeria, no one really cares about your new ideas that will change the world or revolutionise the way we do things. All those pitches and meeting you went for that were organised by either your parents or their friends or your school or your church, you got really good feedback and they told you how brilliant it was but how many of them gave you money for it? Oh not as many as you thought? Ok how many of them actually bought your products? Not many. Now before you take it personal you need to understand it’s not you, literally everyone who moves back goes through the same thing and it’s common and they know after sometime you will get tired of it because as optimistic as you want to be, you are a no longer in the system you know. Whatever statistics, numbers or thoughts you hear or see about Nigeria, you quickly learn are not the reality in the country itself. You had good intentions with your idea, the best even but let’s face it, the next Facebook or Mark Zuckerberg is not coming from Nigeria. 

Chapter 4: Go Wayward

Now your dreams of glory and super billions and super yachts by 25 have been quenched it’s time to face reality. The reality is you probably live at home with parents, probably have small allowance here and there or maybe you have some money left over that keeping you going. That’s great but you need to stop spending money stupidly, what does that mean? Start eating every meal at home, pack lunch or dinner with you, avoid clubs and for every Naira you decide to spend you must treat it as something you expect you get a return from. This doesn’t necessarily have to be money but it can be whatever you decide or whatever the person can over. What does this mean? If you go to a restaurant you want to build relationships with the bouncers, wait staff, owner or whoever you can and in Nigeria you do that by giving them or dashing them money. Now the trick is you want to match the money you give them to their position in the hierarchy. The bouncers/wait staff usually can be given lower amounts as long as it isn’t lower than 4 digits (accounting for possible inflation in Nigeria) and should be given every other visit. Be sure to get names and possibly phone numbers for next time. For owners you may not necessarily give him money but be sure to compliment him, his establishment, always pay your little bills and offer him a drink. You will need this relationship because when building your business even if you have no idea what it is yet, a space for official or events use may come in handy. 

Chapter 5: Vision

Now a majority of your time has been spent being wayward but if you have any sense you will have been using your team to build connections. This doesn’t mean you should have been telling everybody you need a job or even talking money, no you have started to build new connections maybe through outings or just constantly bumping into people. Whatever it is the people you have bumped into while being wayward will eventually trust you enough to enlighten you on how they make money. Now this is not necessarily guaranteed depending on the people you have built connections with but not to worry you can continue to meet people till they eventually do. The beautiful thing about this country is everyone is ready to make money. 

Chapter 6: Never Fear

By this point you should have realised that everyone in Nigeria is some form of middle man. What does that mean? The simple reason development in Nigeria is sluggish is because everyone wants to be a middle man. What does this mean? No one wants to really produce anything, most people are trying to make money by taking a piece of whatever transaction they can find. It doesn’t matter if they add or reduce value to the country, as long as they are fed everything can go fine. People blame politicians but almost everyone does it. From your local supermarket, to your local tissue distributor most people are in the business of being middle men. Now you understand this you can finally decide, do I want to be a middle man? And if you do what can I be a middle man in? My suggestion is looking into real estate(sales), finance(agent or platform), farming(B2B sales) or any middleman business you can get your hands on. Now once you have found a possible opportunity to be a middle man, the unfortunate thing is you probably will have zero to little experience doing that thing but don’t worry there’s an answer. Lie. Now I don’t mean go and over do, I mean lie and say whatever you can to get the opportunity because the honest truth is you can’t do what you say you can do for the first possible client then that is possibly not the business you were born to do. Never fear however repeat this process until you finally get the opportunity and most importantly show up and give the client absolutely nothing to complain so you can with certainty say, yes I think I can do this on my own. 

Chapter 7: Understanding Value

To begin what is money? To some this a simple question, because they have the answer. The answer will simply be it is what we use to buy and sell goods and services. That’s after all what most people see money as but what we have forgotten in this day and age is money is actually something made out of thin air. This we think is obvious if you have a basic understanding of the banking system but why is it is really important? With the rise of cryptocurrencies it has become more evident people are looking for new types of “money” and finding new ways to supply it but again why is this so prevalent now? Why do people need new forms of payment and ways to make more money? The answers aren’t as simple as we may believe because it requires us to revisit how we ascertain value, a key component in creating a new system of value. To begin with when looking at the value of a product, it is important to remember that as humans first of all we have a will to live. This simply means from the day we are born, we begin a fight to not only live but survive in a new unknown world. This means when looking at creating a product we must first ascertain what is most valuable to us or our customer with at survival at the apex. This means when conceptualizing value or analyzing pricing mechanisms we should always start off with how well will a product let me or my intended audience survive. For example without water for a prolonged period of time we would get dehydrated and die. This means water is key for survival. Other key factors for survival in the 21st century are food, shelter, clothing, energy, security and human connection. This means when analysing value these key components must be present as they assure the survival and continuation of the human race. The industrial revolution/rise of technology/machines has seen us include and almost value the expertise/labour necessary to extract value from this raw materials as more than the raw materials themselves. Unfortunately when looking at the fundamental economic problem which states “We have unlimited wants but limited resources” the issues facing certain countries/corporations begin to show. Now you may be wondering what am I getting at? Well I believe that fundamentally our current way of valuing expertise in Nigeria has to be challenged. What does this mean? It means we need to reduce the emphasis we give on rewarding ourselves for doing absolutely nothing. In certain countries people are in position collecting resources worth a lot more than they are actually contributing to the organisation thanks to made up valueless titles/roles. Now this is not to bash billionaires or call anyone criminals but it is to fundamentally let people understand if we want to genuinely grow as a nation we must do our very best to remember as middlemen you are adding to the inefficiencies in the system. This means although you are now seeing success from being a middleman you must also be able to be as efficient as possible. Now this is very easy in theory because yeah you can decide to be better but will everyone else? A question you may ask along with what are the consequences of my inefficiencies and how far will I be willing to go to remain a middleman. The simple answer in practice will probably be once there is bloodshed depending on your business that’s how far people are willing to go so if you are prepared to go that far then your inefficiencies can continue. 

Chapter 8  The efficient Middleman

By now you’ve probably realised you have to try and be more efficient as a middleman. Well to truly grow and be more efficient we need begin to understand what is really valuable and what isn’t. What does that mean? The population of earth is growing everyday, as unfortunate as it for us to accept we are not that valuable in comparison to most people in the population. You might get a degree that says you are or some nice trinkets or you might even find a way to get something done but until you realise you are not as valuable as you think you will continue to hinder yours and the growth of the human race. What does this mean? This means that as a middleman to truly grow you will need to be more efficient than any one else. What does this mean? Take Amazon or to the peer to peer industries popping up everyday. They are nothing more than glorified middlemen but guess what? People do not care because they are focused on being the most efficient middlemen just like you should.

Could your phone keep you safer?

With safety being a major issue in our lives, this article explores a possible solution.

By Karl Idowu

The new-normal, before its emergence had the Old that had by the time of its premature extinction required an overdue mode of fine-tuning which made the new-normal ground rules ‘over’ over-due. However, due to the unprecedented appearance of the new normal, these adjustments are being re-worked still and might take decades to get 100% right. It is then a great delight to note that Nigeria is headed in the right direction with the creation of a preventive mode for the new-normal in the form of safety, security and information, all with the use of technology; on the MyRadar Application. This seem too good to be true, right? Well, I thought so too until I downloaded and installed the application on my device. And then I saw how much power I can wield in my fingers; power in knowing that you just a little bit safer in an unsafe world.As you would find on the ‘about’ of this App, My Radar is exclusively designed to help battle and limit the alarming surge of insecurity in Nigeria. Once you have the app on your device, and provide access to your location, this goes live, but have no worries because this is no way intrusive as it gives you the power to limit the access to your location by having just a much smaller community of people you decide to add into ‘your circle’. So, if you are someone like me who never enjoys picking up the phone to relay your location to ‘your people’ especially when going to new locations, all you just need to do is turn up your location, and voila, your circle knows where you are. If this isn’t preventive security I don’t know what is because as I have mentioned, My Radar is designed to provide plethora of more functions to include automatic access to emergency numbers in whatever location you are in in Nigeria. So, you have access to Fire department, Police and so onThe icing on the cake is that for your much larger community which My Radar also provides, you have the access to follow up with community news, events, traffic news and so on to better stay informed. You become a big part of this community in that you not only have access to get this information, you are also given the ability to provide this relevant information in relation to your location, your neighborhood. My Radar creates one big family of citizens of all demographics that watch out for one another. With My Radar, think daily Communal Dailies, think accessible Neighborhood Telephone Book, think human google traffic maps, think both family online and IRL. Amazing, right? I told you it would seem too good to be true! But, I can tell you for sure that My Radar absolutely delivers. Get it for yourself and your loved ones, available on google playstore.

Post graduate

Leaving school can be difficult so in this article we explore what it means to be a post graduate in modern times.

By Karl Idowu

Competition. Commitment. Consistency. It just so happens that all three of those words begin with the letter C. For that reason we will refer to them as the three C’s any post graduate must become familiar with in order to survive the ever evolving jungle known as the real world. Let’s first off establish what world I’m talking about here. Not the world where your parents come in to talk to an official to move you up the ladder. Not the world where your hard work is guaranteed to give you the outcomes you aspire for. Not the world where failure is alright because you can go home to a nicely prepared meal and a warm bed and can try again the next day. I’m talking about the world that will chew you and your ideals up and spit you right back out just because it felt like it. The world that doesn’t need a reason to take away everything you’ve ever believed or worked hard for. The world that doesn’t care who died in your life because time goes on regardless of whether you can.

• Competition: There are many roles to be filled, but there are many more qualified candidates competing for those roles. You must get used to the idea that no matter how far you’ve gone during your job application or how interested the company may seem in you, it only takes a second for someone better to come along and steal your thunder. You WILL be dropped without a second thought.

• Commitment: You can’t fake it. There is no substitute for hard work and passion. So if you think you can postpone writing that cover letter you needed for the position at your dream firm, think again. There’s someone out there who’s looking over her essay twice and putting finishing touches she discovered from a cool website that she managed to stumble upon just because she put in that extra effort. The opportunity won’t wait for you, so I recommend you don’t wait either.

• Consistency: Understand that failure is just as guaranteed, if not even more certain, than success. You can’t let minor setbacks and shortcomings demoralize you. Jack Ma (Alibaba Founder) was rejected from every single job position he ever applied for, including McDonald’s and even the police academy, but not before he was rejected a position at Harvard business school 10 different times. Your mindset is the most important factor in determining if you can become successful or not. When you fail, take notes, acknowledge the feeling, appreciate the experience, then get up and try again. It will go right at some point. I promise.

I wish this was all there was to it. I wish I could tell you that this is all you need to do to succeed. I wish life was this easy and that the real world was this transparent. But I’m not going to sell you false dreams. There will be situations you can’t predict or expect that will knock on your door and let itself in whether you welcome it or not. The only advice I can offer you is this. Focus less on the situation and more on yourself. The way you react, and respond during the most difficult and trying times of your life will go a long way in determining who you will be in the long run. Be a master of yourself first of before you even think of trying to tackle anything else. Your emotions, your habits, and every little detail you can about yourself. Here’s my reasoning for this; if you don’t even know who you are, how will you know how to react when something unexpected happens? The answer is you won’t know. Causing you to panic, which in turn will just drive you down a path of confusion, frustration and anger which will either be directed at yourself or at those around you. You are now well on your way to developing symptoms of depression, which are actually more common in the average millennial than any other generation (please look it up). Now you’re closer to landing a spot in a mental institution than at the company of your dreams. Its fine though. Things don’t have to go that way, and in fact, things most likely won’t go that way, because you’re reading this, good job! So establish what your beliefs are, the type of person you believe yourself to be now and the type of person you aspire to be in a year, 5 years, 10 years, and never let anyone or anything make you doubt yourself. Trust that as long as you are in control, then nothing can go wrong. And when things do go wrong, still have that belief at the back of your mind that you are capable of handling the situation, because you are! If you are successful in doing this, then no one will ever be able to alter your confidence and self-belief ever again, let it be Bill Gates or Barack Obama. So put on your lab coat, your hard hat, your badge, your uniform, or in my case, the suit you’ve kept at the back of your closet that you’ve been saving for your first day on the job, and go out there expecting the worst but praying for the best.

Unique: A philosophical insight

In this article we explore what it means to be unique. Are we unique? What makes us unique and if everyone is unique doesn’t that mean no-one is unique?

By Karl Idowu

Questions to ponder before progressing.

Are you unique

Are you religious

Do you believe in God?

if you believe in God, why do you believe?

if you can’t explain an event, do you automatically turn to God?

If you don’t believe in God, what do you believe in and why?

You are unique. Oh! yeah, I never heard that before you might think to yourself but are you unique? Are you one of a kind? Are you the only one of your “kind” that exists? The simple answer isn’t all that simple. Our opinion on our levels of individuality are subjective but are you unique? Yes. yes, you are. Now you know you are what does this mean? Does it mean it makes you better than your fellow man? Does it make you smarter, stronger or even more special than your fellow man? No, in reality, it doesn’t so what does the label unique really mean? Everyone has an answer but if everyone has a different answer does this mean there is an actual answer? A scientist asked might go into a scientific argument of genetic composition etc while a religion sympathiser will make claim to God’s and their powers. Others might say things like you are a combination of factors which are only specific to you. All in all, everyone seems to have their own views and ideas about what makes an individual unique. It doesn’t make me cynical to believe we have our views on our unique attributes, it’s just based on people’s historical behaviour. Now another question to ponder, should the search for answers to questions about life, it’s true meaning, our purpose and finding true happiness divide or bring us together? It brings me to my favourite saying “birds of the same feather flock together”. it’s not just about being unique but it’s the understanding of the fact that you may be unique in your being but in reality, you are just another sand in the hourglass that is the days of our lives. It’s not about thinking your unique, it’s understanding being unique doesn’t make you special. it makes you normal. The view that all reality is one being is called monism, and although I wouldn’t consider myself a monist the ideas shared here have logical merit. One implication of monism is that all entities, including ourselves and the things around us, are somehow parts of one single being. According to the findings of Spinoza each individual is composed of many other individuals, forming a series increasing in complexity. For instance, multiple cells and micro-organisms make up a fish; multiple fishes, plants, stones and water make up a river; multiple rivers, mountains and land make up the earth; multiple planets make up the universe, and so on. The existence of every finite thing is caused by another finite thing. So using this premise would it be safe to say God is not a creator who forms individual things and beams them into existence. Nor did God create the world, or the universe, in this way. All finite modes, including the earth, the sun and the stars, are caused by God as other finite modes. Now as a deeply religious person reading this, you may call this blasphemy before even considering the logical nature of this argument but doesn’t that say more about your religious tolerance than it does my disbelief? Religion dictates People have free will so you choose to serve God but religion also states God has a master plan. Another contradiction of itself.

Let’s see and question some religious beliefs.

●  the belief that God acts with an intention or purpose; Human construct and not proven

●  the belief that God has organised the world for the sake of
human or divine purposes; Human construct and not proven

●  the belief that natural things exist for the sake of human or
divine purposes; Human construct and not proven

●  the belief that the universe has a final purpose, and that the
universe is moving towards fulfilling that purpose. Human construct and not proven

ethics

Spinoza’s ethics argues that these beliefs are superstitions that do not reflect the truth. Now the fact some of the ideas shared in the work is taken from the work of Spinoza could give way to the religious reader saying he was an atheist, devil worshipper etc but I employ the religious to go search and find how condemned him and his work was. I employ the reader don’t just the read the about the fact he was condemned but i employ you to search by who and why was he condemned. The simple answer is the religious community, in this case, the church but this is not about religious condemnation. Not to say the religious are judgemental but the history of speaking out against certain beliefs/religions has seen condemnation and still remains a trend in modern day society.This brings me to next point would it be false to say human beings developed an image of God based on a maximised version of their own abilities and tendencies? No, it would not be. This is because every finite mode naturally regards things from its own perspective. As Spinoza puts it, humans think of God as eminently human; if a triangle could speak, it would say that God is ‘eminently triangular’”. Our human-centric view of the world leads us to judge things and events according to what is most useful to us. Consequently, human beings have developed a series of value-terms with which we judge natural phenomena: good, evil, order, confusion, beauty, ugliness, etc. Since people have different experiences and different purposes, we disagree with one another and differ in our judgements. Evidence of this can be found through the fact, most rural tribes and people believe in God’s of their own creations without ever witnessing or seeing an outsider’s God’s. Most writer start of writing a piece of literature, usually with the intent of having of a conclusion this piece does not try to do that. It is trying to help shed more light on the issue of the religious division so we can continue a dialogue as we can no longer be silent about the religious path of destruction the world is on. There shall not be another world war this time based on religion for we shall not be silent. Religion and God are superstitions that keep people ignorant. Only by breaking free of this superstition will we be able to seek true understanding of the universe, thereby gaining true insight into ourselves as the unique human beings.

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