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Monday, 28 April 2014

'You Can Run a Business From Anywhere in the World' - Fola Lawal

Ms Fola Lawal, owns her own business Shecrownlita Scribbles, a publishing firm in Nigeria, and at the same time works in faraway Qatar as a Project Coordinator. In a recent Tribune interview, she says that despite being an employee of an organisation, there’s no reason for anyone not to be an entrepreneur. See excerpts below:

I understand you're on a full time employment in Qatar, yet you run a business here in Nigeria. How do you juggle it?
I work from 8 a.m to 5 p.m in my professional employment and 6p.m to 2 a.m working on my personal business. I have zero social life. I have a small home office corner where I spend most of my time. That’s every day.

How do you run a business in Nigeria from abroad?It is a good thing that we have the internet. Most of my work is done over the internet and phone calls. I have couple of people working for me on distribution.

Some people say to run a business in Nigeria, you have to be physically present to manage and oversee it, at least the startup phase.
Yes, I agree. I spend a lot on travelling home back and forth and spend a fortune making phone call, but I needed the job while I stabilised my business but I'm glad I have competent people who constitute my team in Nigeria. The world is a global village, you can run a business from anywhere at any time.

What sacrifices does an entrepreneur need to give to be successful?Being successful as an entrepreneur has more to do with sacrifice than with riches; I haven't met any entrepreneur that didn't sacrifice when they were first starting out. You have to give up your freedom, when you are trying to make ends meet as an entrepreneur it is hard to give yourself time off because if you aren't working then you aren't getting paid or moving any closer to where you want to be.

What would you say are the habits of successful entrepreneurs?Entrepreneurs know that problems equal opportunity – and opportunity equals success. Entrepreneurs should make a habit of finding out what people don’t like and find a way to make them like it. Look for the things that cause trouble and find a way to make them less troublesome. Start with simple things – even things around your house. Listen to your friends and family. What challenges do they deal with on a daily basis? Once you identify the problems, you can begin to build solutions to those problems and then turn those solutions into a business.

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