Arthur Ashie once said that “One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation” Well, he does make sense because self-confidence has played a major role in my life as an entrepreneur so far. You can only have self-confidence when you prepare.
My life as an entrepreneur has been one interesting experience and a life transforming moment that makes me never want to quit being an entrepreneur, despite the challenges that comes with it. Let us get chatting. Somewhere 2016 during my National Service in Pokuase-Mayera, I felt this strong edge to do business, though I didn’t know what kind of business. At that same time, I had the idea of an educational project, Violaforeducation campaign, providing educational materials to pupils in rural areas. I had to put the education project on hold because I did not have enough resources to work on it.
The first business I tackled was clothing. I woke up at exactly 3am and leave to a market in Accra, popularly known as “kantamanto”, to purchase first selection clothes. It was far cheaper around that time and trust me, they were quality clothes you could purchase at a very expensive cost in a first-class boutique. I met a lady in the neighborhood who polished nails and decided to do business with her, since I was busy with service. I gave her the clothes on commission. I enjoyed what I was doing and that was the drive. No alarm woke me up at 3am, my drive did.
Kindly note that, the drive wasn’t money, rather, the joy in doing what I was doing though money was also in my list of priorities, not the first though. I was so happy with the fact that, I was able to get quality clothing at an affordable price to meet the standard of everyone out there. I believed that, there were people out there who wished to dress good but didn’t have the means to do so and this, someway, somehow, drives them to indulge in all sorts of anti-social vices. Though my focus wasn’t mainly on the money, I sincerely made some money.
I later invested my service allowance by purchasing manikins and hangers. I promoted to a mini boutique in the lady’s nail shop. I paid a welder to make a stand for hanging the clothes on. Business got booming.
With time, I broke down. The lady at the nail shop began being unfaithful to me, with regards to my finances. She wore some of the clothes and added the cost to her debt which she never finished paying till now. She misplaced most of my hangers and this, was enough for me to give up but I didn’t because Lance Armstrong said “Pain is temporary but quitting last forever”.
I began to go for one on one marketing on Saturdays and on vacations because Emeril Lagasse once said that “Life just hand you things. You have to get out there and make things happen. It was a nice experience, where I had people admiring what I did and others also, treated me like a hungry bird. It will interest you to know that, some people still owe me till date and I don’t even know their where about. Do you know why?
My mum got admitted at Korlebu Teaching Hospital for months and I had to move from the town I served as a service personnel to Korlebu premises. I paid for a homestel on the hospital premises in order to take good care of my mother. I had no time to chase my debtors.
After she got discharged, I had a job in Kumasi as an accountant but my hard work managed to promote me to a supervisor, personal assistant to the CEO, and an Accounts Administrator.
My sense of exploring got me to Asafo market where I had a great sense of discovery. I had heard about Asafo market but never been there. I just decided to pass by the market one faithful day. As I got there, I could smell real creativity. I saw men creating different forms of footwear with various materials. I got interested and that was the beginning of Viola’s Room, though it all began with clothes. I began to research into different designs of footwear, sketched some and passed it on to the guys to create it. I didn’t start with capital. I began with marketing pictures of designs on social media. I started to get orders from people I did not even know and it served as great motivation to me. I exerted a lot of energy into it from there and it was amazing the returns I gathered.
I leave the office at 5pm and go to the workshop to supervise my orders. Sometimes, I had to stay at the workshop, overnight, order a ride home at 4am, bath and go back to the office. It was as though mosquitoes were brooded at the work shop. With time, I had clients I supplied to in bulk and business got booming.
Later on, challenges relating to the business got clearer and difficult to manage on my part. Combining career and business is one of the toughest experiences I have experienced as an entrepreneur , though I think it differs , especially with the kind of business involved because every business has its own different demands and sacrifices and that is where I boldly say that entrepreneurship isn’t owning a shop, rather, CREATIVITY. Creating something that is rare in the system.
There were times I broke down, cried, felt broken hearted just because I couldn’t meet a customer’s need or at the expected time. At that point, I realized I needed to work on my emotions. My emotions were too weak for business. As time went on, it got better but the challenges kept on increasing. In all these, I got better. I became a better person.
At a point, I decided to resign from my job and be a full-time entrepreneur. It will interest you as I unfold.
I encountered great losses in the course of life. I lost about two hundred and forty something write-ups on my blog. My hard disk crushed and lost everything on it. Write ups I had since 2008. I lost my mother. I really felt like quitting everything I started. Though I admit that by the grace of God I am a strong lady, I had to go on break for a longer time in order to heal because I felt that is the only way I can come back stronger, bigger and better.
That’s just how it is and it gets better……………
Let’s stay back and see how it turns out in the 2nd episode