Before the office opportunity came, I had already started out with my marketing plan of moving around with letters of introduction as I stated in my earlier post. I was really very encouraged by a senior colleague I had worked for. I happen to tell him about my sudden detachment from work and he was glad to tell me to come see him and see how I can fit into some of the projects he had on ground on freelance basis.
FJ had a small studio in his house where he majorly carried out his jobs. He had a couple of jobs on hand and decided to let me handle some for him. With the little funds coming in from my freelancing works, I was able to survive in the mean time. I continued with both sending my letter of introduction and taking on freelance jobs from my senior colleague and partner, FJ, until I saw an office space in a good location.
Going through my regular exit and entry route to Lagos from my house, I saw a sign of an office space (more a lock up shop kind of thing) to let sign so I decided to call on the agent in charge for inspection. On my first inspection of the place (though I had been there before when it was used as a stock broking firm) I needed nobody to tell me that it was just perfect for what I wanted to use it for. The space (two medium sized shop merged together) had been partitioned with glass and aluminum. This would be very presentable to anybody and would serve for what I had in mind.
But there was a coincidence. This was the very same place I had come to invest some money sometime ago that I almost got duped. The stockbroker and owner of the business, one so-called ‘Pastor’ Samuel, had convinced me that he had the capacity of giving me a 10% monthly cashflow yield on my investment of N200,000. He showed me the market trends and displayed his skills as a highly competent technical investor – all na wash. He had all proof and I was sold out. Six months down the line, nothing came forth. Not even my initial investment. Samuel was nowhere to be found. His contact lines were not accessible, as a matter of fact it was switched off all the time I kept trying. He was never in the office. I later got the police involved and was able to eventually get N190k from my money. Others that had invested hoping for a refund were not as lucky.
Why did I need an office space?
The thought of getting an office space was really quite ok for me because I was really getting too relaxed working from home. My habit of waking up very early had dropped and I was really bothered by this development. I had gotten deep into the habit of being an early bird long while I was serving as a Corper in Ife, Osun state, southwest Nigeria. Moreover, it really improved my productivity and helped me plan for the day in very good time.
A Base, A training Centre, Cashflow, Plan
Secondly, I needed a base to spring from. Working from home is ok but I was just getting too relaxed and felt I needed to key into this office space thing. It would also afford me the opportunity of also doing some other stuff that could generate cash to keep body and soul together.
Since I had training as part of the services I was offering, the office space could provide a base centre for people that would like to visit and see what I had on ground (I’ve been asked before, where is your training centre in one of my introductory visits to a school in my vicinity). The office space thing would also afford the opportunity of doing additional support services that could generate cashflow to take care of daily runnings. The office space would also afford me the opportunity to plan, review and implement.
Take that thought of getting a Job off me
Benson, one of my very close friends (as a matter of fact we knew back in 1997 when I started my internship with Minaj Printers, Lagos) encouraged that the only way to keep off considering employment and stop basking in bitterness from my recent experience was to get a place I could kick-start -no matter how small. I thought of it deeply and reasoned that it was true. I had to convince myself that getting a place of my own would further reinforce my believe in my dreams and help me to FOCUS (Follow One Course Until Successful), grow and live my dreams. Even at this stage, temptations out of fear, to go job hunting, kept creeping in. I thought a place of my own would further ward off such thoughts at least for the now.
Now here it comes, the next was funding…