LET’S PREPARE FOR 2024
The next few articles are exclusive to those who planned to have multiple streams of income in 2023 but are somehow still managing their one inflow. They are for those who have so much potential, they know it and people have even affirmed it but for some reasons, those potentials have remained untapped. The third category of beneficiaries are those who have worked on so many things; they say that people are making it big in Forex trading for example, you jump in but instead of profits you have a long record of losses. They say this time around, Transcribers are making so much money, you jump in, spend over $30 dollars equivalent in your local currency buying fuel (PMS) for a weekend and you make only $13.8 in revenue. The last category of my target audience for these write-ups are those who have made all the mistakes anyone could possibly make in business and are all gearing up for a 2024 that is eventful, successful and impactful.
Indeed, the only way to accumulate wealth is to generate a lot more income than you can consume. Of course, this is not an easy feat; in fact someone once said that the way nature made man is to be self reliant and to relax after eating; he said that accumulation is contrary to the basic nature of man. This means that success and wealth would only come with calculated effort, resilience and continuous self-development. This next year will stand out and be different if you make effort beginning right now to change the trajectory; make adequate preparations to break free from procrastination and finally choose and sustain those other streams of income you have been thinking of.
In the ten weeks remaining in 2023, there are a few steps that you should take:
- Decide what business you want to go into.
Please note the various ideas and why they appeal to you. Just on the face value, strike off the ones that look bogus and check the viability of the ones that appeal the most.
- Assess the viability of your new business ideas.
Don’t be too quick to jump into any business. Check how well the business suits you and your present circumstances. If you are working as a paid employee, the business you choose to pursue has to be the one that can fit into your present job schedule such that it receives the adequate attention it deserves without taking away from the one that pays your bills. I always advocate that people should not resign from their paid jobs until their side hustle can support them effectively. Therefore, it is imperative to start a side job that blends well or can fit into your personal hours. All over the net, we hear of ideas that take only 3 hours of work daily and yield admirable income. You have to check and confirm this claim as part of your assessment.
- Develop a business plan.
Your long term and short term goals will help you to decide which businesses suit you. Settle down and develop business plans. Ask some necessary questions; can the business grow into something major or is it just a small venture for extra cash? What can you afford to put into it in order to grow the business? What kind of structure are you looking at? Can you work by yourself or would you need staff? Can you work from home, from your phone or out of your vehicle or will you require a dedicated space. If you are dealing with services and products, what is the market share? Is there a high demand for what you are offering? How do you advertise the business? How visible are you to your target market?
Have a detailed business plan before you set out. If it is possible, where you have more than one business idea, develop plans for both and compare.
- Choose a business name.
This is the fun part; many people already have names for their businesses in their heads before they even formulate a plan. Remember that there are policies governing registration of business names so you should have several options to choose from in the probable event that your desired name is already taken.
When you have taken care of all the personal inputs into the framework for your business, devote time and money into research. Learn all you can about the business and market that you are going into. Study the policies guiding the business and success stories of people that are doing well as well as challenges you are likely to encounter. Brush up skills that you may need in this business; fortunately there are several free courses online that can help you.
- Choose a mentor and a coach.
Many business people neglect this aspect of growth and collaboration. A good coach will help you through the teething period in your business and connect you with a support system. Fortunately, your coach can be thousands of kilometers away and still render incredible assistance. Your coach makes the journey smoother and less bewildering. Of course that also means that you should choose one carefully. (Check my earlier piece on what to look out for when choosing a mentor).
- Develop and implement your prelaunch marketing strategies. Make sure you have your sourcing and channels of distribution well-defined and organized where applicable.
Build your website and use SEOs that will get you noticed.
When all is set, go ahead and launch your new business.
The time to start the groundwork is now; don’t procrastinate.
Next edition, we will review a few of the lucrative online businesses that require low-level fund input and are said to yield handsome dividends. The beautiful thing is that many of them can fit in with your present engagements.
Fatherhood with Ibe
A FATHER’S PAIN
Sometimes, it is difficult to differentiate the genuine beggars standing along the roads soliciting alms from motorists and passersby just to feed, from the petty thieves who take advantage of any loophole and careless moment to rob people on the road. I have heard enough stories of people that have fallen victim to these robbers whom they mistook for some disadvantaged and needy persons. I decided long ago to channel my benevolence through organised channels that are designed to reach out and help these genuine beggars and hopefully succeed in getting them off the streets. So on that faithful day, in the bustling city of Abuja, I kept my eyes on my phone; glancing up from time to time just to be sure we were on the right route.
In one of my quick glances at a very busy junction, I saw someone that looked quite familiar approaching two cars ahead of mine. Instinctively, I looked down as if I was afraid of being recognised. I was trying to place that face. He was a tall young man, perhaps in his early thirties. He looked unkempt, like someone that had been sleeping under the proverbial bridge. Why did he look so familiar, I asked myself, stealing more furtive glances at his side profile? I wished I could look at him properly and at the same time, I wished the traffic would ease up and allow us zoom off without the young man coming close to my car.
He started running after the car as the car moved a few metres. At a point, he started pounding on the roof of the car. I was alarmed; his actions spelt VIOLENT in capital letters. I told my driver to try his best to avoid the violent beggar. My driver tried to join the lane on his left and this seemed to attract the young man. He left the car that he was soliciting from and walked towards mine. That was when I saw his face fully and immediately I knew who he was… who he reminded me of. He surely was not that person; I rejected the idea as quickly as it formed. No way, I thought in alarm.
He reminded me of the son of a very nice neighbour we had when my family lived in a rented house in Ikoyi, Lagos. The man, Mr. Kusu worked for a big organisation then, just as I did. We used to leave for work at about the same time so gradually, we went from horning in greeting to waving and then once in a while, we would stop to greet each other and exchange a few words. One day, the man walked over to my premises with his wife and we were all properly introduced. Rather casually as we all sat in my living room, he told us that he and his wife had been married for 12 years without a child. I saw the pained look on his wife’s face. She obviously did not like that level of openness. We had one other visitor in our house that day, a distant relative who had come all the way from Agbara Estate near Badagry to visit us. His visits were always infrequent but extended and Brother Jayjay always had an opinion about everything. As soon as he heard Mr. Kusu talk about his childlessness, he jumped into the conversation.
“What are you doing about it?” He asked.
Mr. Kusu obviously did not have any problem about sharing such a private matter with a stranger; he told my relative all the medical, spiritual and herbal remedies he and his wife had sought in vain. He was in his early forties and according to him, his wife was just two years younger.
“Let me advise you,” Brother Jayjay said in his characteristic way of starting his unsolicited counsels. “Go and adopt a baby girl. She will comfort your wife and with time, she may bring God’s grace and your wife will take in. I have seen it happen countless times. Some of these adopted children are angels; they bring good luck into the family if you treat them well. When she grows and has children, they will be your grand children.”
I was bothered. I wished I could cover Bro Jayjay’s mouth, but he just went on, planning not just the adoption but the entire life of the child and the grandchildren. He even threw in an advice about where to go to adopt babies and how Mrs. Kusu should make sure the adopted child is treated same as the children she would eventually have.
My wife and I were relieved when the visit was over without the visiting neighbours getting offended or our budding relationship ruined. Imagine our surprise and elation a few months later when Mr. Kusu came over to the house to invite us to a dedication service for their baby girl. I blurted out that I didn’t know that they were expecting a baby.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Kusu told me that they took my relative’s advice to the letter. He said his wife travelled outside the country the past four months while they waited for the birth of the baby, “just to confuse the relatives and nosy friends,” he added with a smile. He said he had done all the paper work for the adoption. Mother and baby would be home three days before the service.
He asked me if it was possible to invite Bro Jayjay. I knocked that idea off immediately.
Little Angel was dedicated like a princess and treated as one.
We moved out from that neighbourhood but two years later, Mr. Kusu called me excitedly one evening and said his wife was pregnant, just as Bro Jayjay had predicted. He asked if he could see Bro Jay to show appreciation. I told him that I would convey his good news and gratitude. Mrs. Kusu gave birth to a baby boy and my wife and I went for the dedication ceremony. If that of Angel was grand, this one was fabulous. Mr. Kusu spared no expense. I was particularly touched when he said the name of the child was Jayjay.
I met young Jayjay a few times and for his National Youth Service Corps programme, his Dad who had retired asked me to help him get a placement in a good organisation. I tried to get him engaged twice. The first company rejected him after one month because they said he was totally unserious, the second one had him arrested for ‘gross misconduct.’ His father called me on the phone, almost in tears. He begged me to intervene and beg the management to release his son from custody and allow them settle the problem amicably. I did. I wasn’t happy to exhaust my goodwill with the organisation but we were talking of Jayjay Kusu, the long awaited and greatly beloved son of my dear neighbour. I called the MD of the organisation and Jayjay was released and disengaged. I told Kusu that I was done helping Jayjay and asked him to make sure the boy pulls his acts together.
Jayjay! It was him. He was surely the one with rough hair and beards, looking homeless and angry, banging on cars and shouting obscenities at occupants that did not give him alms. He was walking towards my car.
(To be continued next publication)