I will say my life is a product of my dreams and somehow God has helped me bring it into fruition.
I am the first child from the family of four , my mum was a primary school teacher but she’s retired now , my Dad a trader and his business never really did well but my mum found a way to support me and my younger sister and made sure we went to the university , but sadly I graduated with a third class and became really devastated and felt like a failure, I became unusually reserved and withdrew into my shell..
I have lived all my life in the east, Anambra state to be precise, lived and schooled there. But as a child I always fantasised about living in a fancy city and travel the world .
I was never in sync with my environment as I always felt out of place . I always borrowed a copy of hint magazine from a class mate and would head straight to the last page to read the adventure stories of the prostitutes on Allen Avenue, Ikeja, That was how I started building fantasies about living in Lagos .
I have friend who lived in Lagos from my uni days . They talked me into coming to Lagos for my IT , my mum did not buy it , but I pushed and came. Luckily, an in-law took me in and found me a place at an hospital as I was studying microbiology in school.
I was posted to Ogun state for Nysc , but because school was always on strike. I always came back .. No one knew about my class of degree except for my mum and sister , I never included that on my cv as well. So I spent hours applying for a job hoping I would get one that wouldn’t consider my degree and luckily I found one where they didn’t bother about my degree.
I was employed as a personal assistant to the MD with a salary of 45k. (that was in 2010.) I took it happily and went from surulere to Lekki every morning and wasn’t paid till very 3rd week in a new month . I worked and worked and worked, in short the only thing left for me to do was to wash my MD”s pants. I got two other jobs while I was working there and they were willing to pay me 25 to 30 k more but this woman deceived me and I turned down the offer.
A year later I got frustrated and resigned . At that time my sister had joined me here in Lagos . 2 months after I resigned , we were thrown out by a relative who was harboring us , we scrapped all our savings and found a self contained .. not a proper stand alone house. This one was attached to the fence of the building and we always scooped water out whenever it rained , and at some point, the roof started leaking . We never told our parents before we rented the house because our two year rent could pay our parents three bedroom flats’ rent for two years and moreso, they didn’t have that money ..so I assured my sister that before the rent elapsed in two years that something must give.
We moved and three months later, she found a job . But I couldn’t find any .. months later I also found a locum job at an oil gas clinic which I was paid daily. After one year it stopped and I started staying at home again. Everyday, I put in at least 5-7 applications , but I couldn’t find anything . The pay was either miserable , or the location was quite far. So I decided to start something and the only thing that came to my mind was food.
I had catered for a few friends’ party while in school, I convinced my sister and a few of my cousins to speak to their colleagues about me bringing them lunch daily. It worked. So every morning I will cook and dash down to Lekki and vi before 11am and sell to them . After three long months I became worn out and stopped.
It was so so stressful, I started staying at home again whilst figuring out what next to do . And then I ran into an old friend one day, we got talking and I opened up and told him everything and shared my struggles as well. He promised to look out for opportunities for me though he doesn’t know how as he is a professional, an Engineer who worked with an oil and gas .Three months later, he called to say his company staff club house was looking for a Chef , he knew I could cook but since I had no certificate to back it up, he doubted that I stand a chance .
Two months later he called again to say they were looking for a food item supplier and asked if I could do it , I told him I could try, He gave me someone’s contact , I called and booked an appointment and I was asked to bring a quote along. On getting there I got an LPO that same day and commenced supply the next day.
One LPO was going to cost at least 600k and I was to supply twice a week. And get paid every 2 weeks . I called everyone I know to raise some money to add to what I already have saved . And every Tuesday I would go to various food market in this city sourcing and buying all various food items as seen in their PO
I watched my earnings grow tremendously , sometimes I could have more than two orders in a week , they were always throwing parties. I was always on my phone waiting for their emails. I wasn’t afraid to get my hands dirty , I was on the move . The business didn’t allow me to dress nicely as I always wandered the length and breadth of various markets in this Lagos
A year later I went to a catering school and after four months of learning , I disengaged all the other vendors who supplied me small chops, asun and a few other snacks . I got people to assist me in making them and supplied them as well and my earnings skyrocketed even more. Gradually I started getting more catering jobs .
I was very disciplined with money from day one , I saved and saved and saved some more and bought a car to aid with my supplies, my sister and I moved to a more comfortable apartment and we began to help my two younger ones through school and also support my parents who are retired.
Last year I expanded the catering part a bit more , Rented an office space which is like a mini restaurant in surulere and started a catering rental business as well.
This arm of the business is not there yet , but I am hopeful it will soon.
In January this year , we catered for a friends wedding of 600 guest and It was the happiest day of my life. I was all smiles that day . It was the biggest I have done .
I am off to Dubai next month to officially train as a chef at the institute of culinary arts . This venture is costing an arm and a leg , but it’s part of my goals this year to invest in myself.
I hope to branch into culinary training when I return not necessarily for money but to inspire and help other young people who are willing to work hard , empower themselves and endure hard times.
As I have noticed a lot of young people are not willing to get their hands dirty , they are looking for honorable jobs and decent/ classy jobs that will pay them well. But sadly ,not all of us will get that opportunity and all of our stories to success can never be the same.
My hustle has no shame right now as long as I make money , I really don’t care who sees me . And least I forget to add, I have been able to get massive support from friends and family who have seen how hard I have pushed and determined succeed , so I will say that if you looking to start something and your waiting for someone to give you money to start , you are wasting your time , start with the little you have , push with what you have and I can tell you people will come through and all the help you need will show up easily .
Oh how could i forget my wanderlust life , you see I am not big on clothes , jewellery, hair , shoes , make up and all. Travel has always been my reward for all my hard work . I love to travel , have done 11 countries in 5 years .inshort enh! if I didn’t have a family to support, I probably would be bag-packing round the world .
It’s been four amazing years on this hustle and I am not slowing down soon.
Above all I will like to ascribe all the glory to the almighty God , and yes the place of prayer can never be neglected . God has showed up for me many times , I am always on the road , I have never been hit by a car nor hit anyone , never been attacked by robbers seeing I carry lots of money around most of the times.
And yes I have been depressed a few times , considered suicide as well . Now a workaholic, single and searching.
Written by anonymous for DiaryofaNaigagirl.ng