You’ve Got To Risk Something To Earn Something-Shekwoyemi Yakubu
Shekwoyemi Yakubu is the Founder/CEO of Empress’ Jewels. And a graduate of Bachelor of Library and Information Science (BLIS) Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria was born into a family of business people and is carving a niche for herself along that line.
TMG> Tell us about your background on how you started Your business?
Shekwoyemi> I was born in Minna, Niger State to the family of Arc. and Mrs. Ayenajeyi Yakubu who are both business people. I am the last of four children with three older brothers. I was raised in Minna and partly Kaduna; I used to spend most of my holidays in Kaduna when I was younger. I attended MYPA Nursery and Primary School, Minna-Niger State and later Anglican Secondary School also in Minna-Niger State. I started my business when I graduated from secondary school by saving up from the little tokens that were usually given me by uncles and other relatives. I used to sell zobo drinks that time and I decided to use what I had saved up to start this. Being born into a family of business-oriented people, I’ve always had this hustling spirit in me; it’s like it was instilled in me right from birth. None of my siblings are even in the public sector as it is now. Everyone is busy hustling in different fields.
TMG> What made you go into Sales?
Shekwoyemi> What made me go into sales was and is still my quest for financial independence; the fact that I did not want to rely on anyone for little things such as toiletries, hair and clothes but now the vision is even bigger, being financially independent of everyone is the goal. I’m old enough to take care of myself and I should be able to empower others. I have passion for creating wealth. I tell you, there is nothing as liberating as being able to spend your own money without fear of being judged or humiliated as the case may be when you ask from people. Even though it pricks sometimes when you spend because you know the stress and hassles you went through in getting the money, there’s still nothing that can be compared to the joy and freedom in spending or saving your money whenever, wherever and however you want; afterall, it’s your hard-earned money, isn’t it? I like to enjoy life, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE!
TMG> What sort of goods does your company sell?
Shekwoyemi> My company deals in unisex accessories especially jewelry.
TMG> Which areas do you need to improve in your company?
Shekwoyemi> I need to improve in the aspect of logistics and online marketing.
TMG> What do you feel is the next step in developing your sales skills?
Shekwoyemi> The next step in improving my sales skills I think is to go for a professional marketing course and also attend leadership training (s).
TMG> What are some of the challenges you have faced in starting your company?
Shekwoyemi> In starting my company legally, I have faced the challenge of getting approved by the Corporate Affairs Commission and also all the expenses involved in being legally registered. There’s also the challenge of getting a reliable, cost-considerate logistics company. The challenge of getting reliable and unextortive supply channel is also there.
TMG> Have you ever lost during sales and what did you learn?
Shekwoyemi> Yes, I have lost especially during fairs. The lesson I learned is to make in-depth enquiries about something before getting involved in it, never be shy of asking questions. Ask, especially when your money is involved, it is your right. But the most important lesson I learnt is you’ve got to risk something to earn something but be careful when taking the risks. I tell people; being careful is totally different from being afraid.
TMG> Who are you comfortable selling to and why?
Shekwoyemi> I’m comfortable selling to people within my age group because I can easily relate with them.
TMG> What motivates you?
Shekwoyemi> What motivates me is the vision to be creator of wealth by being the bigger online wholesaler and retailer of accessories. I wake up on some days not feeling up to it but I tell myself, I can’t blame anybody, I am the center of it all, I am my competition. I can decide to make it or watch others make it which is not an option at all.
TMG> What is your ultimate career aspiration?
Shekwoyemi> My ultimate career aspiration is to become an information and resource facilitator to aspiring youths.
TMG> How do you keep a smile on your face during a hard day to make sure your clients feel good?
Shekwoyemi> I make them believe that I am giving them more than enough for their money’s worth.
TMG> In terms of sales skills, where would you like to get even better?
Shekwoyemi> In terms of sales skills, I would like to get better in terms of talking/convincing, I find it difficult doing that sometimes and some customers can decide to make it difficult for you.
TMG> Tell us about the greatest goal that you’ve ever accomplished professionally?
Shekwoyemi> The greatest goal I have achieved professionally is being able to take the step of registering my business and also creating a well-detailed business model.
TMG> Have you remained persistent during sales, even though everyone else around you had given up?
Shekwoyemi> Yes, I have, even though I get weary sometimes.
TMG> What sacrifices have you had to make to be successful?
Shekwoyemi> Back in secondary school when I sold zobo drinks, I made it a conscious effort to open a bank account and save money every week. Also, I’ve had to deny myself a lot of luxuries in order to see that my business is legal. I paid for driving lessons in order to be able to acquire a driver’s license which is one of the pre-requisites in obtaining a business certificate since my National Identity Card hadn’t been given to me. These are a few sacrifices I’ve had to make.
TMG> How do you manage risk, in terms of damages or loss?
Shekwoyemi> I manage risk by placing and weighing options.
TMG> Who are your role models and people that inspire you to move on in the world?
Shekwoyemi> Dangote is my number one role model. The humility alone of that man moves me.
TMG> What way can you encourage other youths not to depend on government for jobs but to be self dependent?
Shekwoyemi> I would encourage youths to find and pursue their passion and find ways to turn it into wealth. I would also say; look around and use the law of demand and supply to make money.
TMG> Do you socialise and when?
Shekwoyemi> I socialize at events, I try to mingle and also associate with others; most importantly, networking.