MY SUCCESS STORY OR (whispers) MAYBE NOT...
MY SUCCESS STORY
(whispers) MAYBE NOT...
On the hills of “inspire to aspire”, one motivational speaker will tell you “I started my poultry business with just a feather, and now I have one million birds” another will say “I started my business at age 7”. The latter is actually true for me.
I was just seven when I first tried it out, and oh! I got my fingers burnt.
While growing up as a village girl (not so much a village anymore) my Dad was working in the city at the time and will usually come home only on weekends. That meant we, (my older sister and younger siblings) had five whole days in a week to play around nonstop because dad is the disciplinarian while Mum, oh well she can't even raise her voice on any child.
(she is the only African mother who is truly different)
Playing around for me especially was hanging out with other kids and doing what they were doing or asked to do by their parents. One of such was trading. I had friends who would go out hawking early in the morning before going to school and evenings after school. They sold items ranging from kerosene, palm oil, pap (corn starch), etc. This was a means of livelihood for families.
To me, it was an adventure and I badly wanted to be a part of it. I relayed this to my mum but she wasted no time in binding the demon out of me so I let it slide.
|Image source: Nairaland|
One thing I couldn't resist was a new trade that was just introduced, saccharine-colored water AKA ice cream. First, my parent wouldn't let me take it because according to them, it wasn't hygienic enough.
This ice cream is usually made from saccharine of different colors, mixed with water and added sugar, then you tie in nylon, allow it to freeze, and boom, there you have your ice cream.
(Just writing this now and thinking of cholera and other harmful diseases from poor hygiene/ unclean water. My chest!)
|Image source: Linda Ikeji blog|
Anyways, let's continue. So yes, that is how the ice cream is made.
So I managed to find a way to convince my Mom to let me do this and she agreed but not before saying “the day your father will catch you, count me out”. Then I talked my older sister into it too.
Now the only challenge was my Dad.
How do we convince him?
The best option “let's not tell him. He can't know about it if no one tells him right? So let's not tell him”
So let me tell you how the market works. It is usually on every five days. We prepare the ice cream the day before and freeze for the market day. Each market days that falls on weekend and Mondays is off it because “Daddy can't know what's going on” and that was fine by us.
The business and sales was going on well. Money was being made. Before long, we added a new business; washed bitter leave (Verononia amygdalina). (I did a bit of farming too later on as I grew older. I sold the farm produce; tomatoes, pepper, pineapple and spinach vegetables). We even employed some kids who will collect the money from our ice cream customers. (Mom made sure we didn't touch money with the same hand used in giving people iceream. Talk about some Covid hygiene things)
|Washed bitter leave. |
Image source: FamPro
As the business grew, Mom got more tired of it because she had to do extra cleaning for before and after production.
I guess my village people saw how my empire was growing and that caused them great pain because one Wednesday evening, just as we had finished production my dad strolled into the living room.
(Ha! I am shaking at this point. Dad is the lion of the tribe of our house)
We were busy counting the ice cream into the freezer when he strolled in with his driver right behind him. How we didn't hear the car sound is story for another day.
“He whom the gods wants to kill, they first make mad”.
“What is going on in my house Iyen Joshua (Mama Joshua)” he yelled.
“Please count me out. Ask Jesuseme” my Mom replied as she immediately went to stand behind her husband.
I've never seen such swift betrayal in my life )
“Jesuseme or Olo (referring to my older sister)” he asked.
“Jesuseme ooo, this small one” my Mom replied.
Before I could answer a question I wasn't asked I heard “gbosa” on my face.
“Ahhhh! My eye o, Daddy I will confess”
“Confess! Are you a criminal?”
He turned to his driver, “you, go get me a ripe cane”
“And you, he turned to me as he loosened his tie and rolled up his sleeves “start talking”
|Pops AKA The lion|
So I talked. I told him everything from the beginning. Surprisingly he was impressed with the fact that we could come up with such ideas and make so much sales. Then came the big question; “so how much have you saved?”
“Save? We didn't realise we were supposed to. It was all for the fun of it. After each market sales, we will first take out the capital needed for the next production, give money to kids like us who needed it then camp at the puff puff stand and buy out a whole tray with whatever remains.
Talk about the Chop life gang😂😂😂
He was furious. That day be gave a full lecture on how he goes round the whole nation and other African countries talking about cholera and how the disease spread and the effect of an outbreak yet his own family was doing this. He asked me to get dressed so we could go to the hospital and inquire if there has been any report of such and I be made to take full responsibility.
(When I am not the only icecream seller in town mtchewwwww)
Mom had to intervene and explain the process of production to him. She made sure everything was done under her supervision. She made us wear nylon on our hands as hand gloves and tie piece of clothes round our nose and mouth as face shield.
(Whoever knew Covid was coming)
That was quite commendable.
Then he told his own side of the story.
Dad said he had noticed the entire house and most especially the freezer had become too clean all of a sudden. Then once in a while people will tell him “are things now so bad that you make your children hawk after school”. He didn't understand, then he asked Mom and she let him in on our little secret.
He was so pained that I had stained his reputation, thinking of how a whole Director will happen to just come home with maybe a governor or commissioner and they will see his daughter hawking ice cream and bitter leave. I thought it was a cool kid thing.
(Now that I am grown and know what societal status truly means, I feel his pain)
So yes, his driver didn't come back with any cane (I guess he didn't want Daddy to flog me)
But trust my Pops, he took off his leather belt from his trouser and asked me to face the wall while he laced my back with uncountable strokes.
Omo! I cried en (why do you think I badly wanted to become a lawyer? I wanted to persecute someone for child abuse).
And I was made to promise never to ever dream of doing business again.
But why? All I wanted to do was to make money and just have people around me counting the money after every sale, and to build big houses just like my Auntie and Grandmother. And yes, I did report my Dad to his Mum who made him hold his two ears while giving him his own whipping and made him apologies to me (Grandma don't play)
“An okro does not grow more than its owner. If it does, the owner will bend it when it is time for harvest”.
Looking back now, I laugh at my many adventures and the crazy things I did as a child.
Boy! I do have some nerves.
So yes, this is my story.
|I guess my Dad didn't have this kind of picture in mind|
My first attempt at business and I must say I did well for myself. I've done other businesses since then and I am wiser now, but still a chop life gang, lol.
(This is my biggest weakness in business. Help me, Lord!)
I wanted to make sure I fulfill my promise of sharing my first attempt at business.
I hope you enjoyed reading.
So here is a rundown of what I've been up to with the Business and Tech week.
Thank you for attending my Tedtalk.
Business and Teck week
©️ Rachel Jesuseme