I started working in 2002 and was fortunate to work for a good person who knew the architectural profession. I worked with him for over nine years and learnt as much as possible. He was someone who believed in training so he sent us on training as much as possible. Where he could not afford training for all the staff, he sends one person who would come back and train the rest of the staff members.
I left paid employment because I got bored. I had learnt different aspects of the business and even though I cannot say I am an expert on all aspects, at least I knew enough. So, I spoke with my wife about it and considered the transition thoroughly before launching out. Thankfully, my wife and family were very supportive.
Have a plan of at least six months before leaving paid employment. This involves having a means of covering your expenses for the next six months especially when you have a family. This is in case things do not go according to plan, then you have something to fall back on.
When transitioning from paid employment to entrepreneurship, I advise you start from where you are. I started from my former place of work but even though I was using the office, the one thing I never did was to use my employer’s time to do my personal business. I always did my private work after the close of business, during my break time or when on vacation.
Have a good reason for being in business; in other words, have a vision and a purpose for your life. Never start a business just for the sake of making money. A purpose/vision keeps you in business much longer than just being in business for money.
Develop yourself professionally and in all areas of life. I was privileged to work with someone who encouraged training; so in my business, I develop my team. I send them on training and allow them to also train others.
Never overlook staff members that use their initiative or those that do more than others. Ensure you invest in and mentor such staff but always be prepared that they will also leave. Never begrudge their leaving; chances are, they will always refer to you and still seek you out.
Don’t burn bridges – either the ones that connect you to your superiors or subordinates. I formed strategic partnerships with people I knew were good in specific areas of work. That means recognizing my strength and also knowing the strengths of others. Even though I had learnt and also had training in various aspects of the job, I did not think I knew it all, so these partnerships help me add quality to the jobs I deliver. Just know that you don’t necessarily have to do it all alone.
Having people around you is good but ensure that the people around you are those that add value. The more successful you look, the more people will flock around you. Always remain grounded, never forget yourself and never forget your source.
Know that INTEGRITY is very key when doing business. People will come to you when they know that they can trust you. By the grace of God, I have never had to chase after clients; most of my jobs come through referrals.
My name is Olumide Akinyemi. I am an architect by profession and I am the CEO of Tetrarch Nigeria Limited, a Lagos-based architectural company that is into designs and construction.
INSTAGRAM: @tetrarchng, FACEBOOK: @tetrarchng