Determination is everything

…it helped me start my own business

Determination is everything

It all started in our family living room.

My friends, my siblings and I were talking about how to make it big in life. You know, become the next Dangote or Tiwa Savage. We do that a lot.

But this time it was different, my older brother’s friend told me something that changed my life.

He said, ‘Zainab, you like shoes, why don’t you start a shoe business?’

I laughed at first and told myself only people from rich families can start that kind of serious business.

But then I thought about it again. Nobody was born successful, we all start from somewhere.

All of a sudden, I was deep in research. I went online and started looking for people in the shoe business. I started following them and some of them even followed me back!

I started asking them questions – how they started, how they manage their businesses, and so on. I learned so much.

I decided on a name for my business and started drawing designs for sandals. I looked for a good shoemaker in my neighbourhood who could help me make them.

Next thing I did was ask family and friends for help. I saved some money but I needed more. I wrote down all my plans and used this to help my family and friends understand what I would do with the money.

I didn’t get all the money I needed but I still started with what I had. Instead of making 10 shoes like I planned, I made just 3 shoes.

And people in my neighbourhood bought them all, they said my designs were so different.

The way I danced that day eh!

I felt gingered to continue and I was doing well. My shoemaker could not make too many shoes at a time so after a few months I decided to start importing shoes.

I did some research and asked my online shoe business friends for some contacts. Finally, I decided to buy some shoes from a woman in China. That’s how I started international buying and selling lol!

The shoes came into Nigeria 2 weeks later and I was so proud when I went to pick them up. They looked as beautiful as they looked in the pictures. I was so happy that I took time to find a trusted seller.

Of course I had to overcome many challenges – the fear of buying from the wrong person, the fear that nobody would buy my shoes, the fear that I would lose my money. In fact, for some of my first sales I made a mistake and did not charge enough money to make any profit. But I learnt fast from my mistakes, I asked questions all the time and I had the determination to make it work.

I am still working on making my business better and sometimes I still make mistakes. But the most important thing is that I keep my main goal in my mind. I want to grow my business to a point where people from all over the world know about my shoes. When I know my goals, I stay focused.

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  • Education
  • Goals
  • Confidence