“The Art Of Leadership Is Saying No, Not Yes. It Is Very Easy To Say Yes.” ~ Tony Blair 2014 started at a record low for my company. First, we...
The year was 2011 and I had gone far north to serve my Fatherland.
Now permit me to take you back to the years before this and I believe we’ve met, yes, you.
Remember that girl who could never look a stranger in the eyes while talking?
What about the one that would change her step like a hundred times while walking past a group of people?
I believe you recognise her or you just heard about her.
That girl WAS me.
I wished I could be more vocal like the girls in my lesson center. I wanted to be able to flip my hair and give those weird looks to the boys but I couldn’t, I was simply too shy to talk. But deep down, I knew there’s a fire waiting to light up the world.
Now back to my service year and I had mastered to balance myself by making people not see the shy and introverted part of me.
I mean, who would believe that a girl who won the Miss Camp (NYSC) pageant had the tendency to be shy? Well, I was.
Then one beautiful day, I had one of my lodge mates enter my room with a black leather case and some books. He was a marketer and by the time he had finished with his business sermon, I was about making payment for goods worth a little above 18,000 Naira when I paused.
“I could make so much money doing this; Why dish out this much cash when I can get some by simply talking to people and having them buy from me” I thought.
“But you cannot even talk to save your breath; Who do you know in a strange land; You haven’t even sold before” went my then companion, Mr Fear.
Finally, I decided for all it was worth, to give this part a chance. Little did I know that this single step was beyond a money making venture but a door to self-discovery.
Suddenly, I developed this hunger to know more and was excited about what was to come.
Like a hungry lion, I voraciously read everything on Marketing and Perfumery that I could lay my hands on. My researched went from “how different temperaments gravitate towards certain scents to how to spot a person’s temperament and things they like through their immediate environment (offices and workspace)”.
I had known I wanted to have the career people as my major customers so I put in more effort into all of the kinds of topics above.
It was time for action as I finally got my first products. It was one of the worst jelly-like days of my life. I was fidgeting as I held my pack while wondering what bank or office complex to get into.
Finally I summonsed the courage and walked into an office, introduced myself and after 15 minutes of talk I was rejected.
That was the worst blow.
I had the option of going back to my lodge but for some reason (which till date I cannot tell), I decided not to retire till I had made a sale.
It was a decision that led me to over 500% profit in exactly 17 days of business. I started out with about 16,000 Naira and in two weeks I had over 102,000 Naira in total.
I became intoxicated and wanted to sell more and talk more. I focused on a particular set of customers and researched on their interests, such as political happenings and social issues.
Back in school (especially in my first year), I remember buying newspaper every school day with 80 Naira out of my 200 Naira transport fare and I I’d trek some distance to cover up for the expense. Those tiny details I picked from reading papers came in handy during marketing as I’d make reference to some past events while connecting them to the present and it paved so many ways for me, business-wise.
I am glad I made that first move and Yes, I am the dreamer who broke up with fear… Now I am living my dream. Let’s live our dreams together!
I am Debbie,
An intentional woman, wife to a fine man, mother to three awesome boys and an educator.
I enjoy cleaning and am partially addicted to DIYs
Facebook: Smartie Debbie Oruma