Every month Team Vertopia celebrates one woman who has inspired us in countless ways, as we round up the month of May and being a significant day for our nation we choose to celebrate this amazing woman who is indeed a blessing.
Heart to Heart with Mrs Ibukun Awosika, Entrepreneur and business magnate. First female Chair person of First Bank Nigeria PLC.
Advise for singles
If you are walking down the road, with the wrong man, you are in trouble. You cannot afford to make a mistake.
Don’t get married until you have a sense of who you are.
You have to take this seriously because your life is on assignment. You are accountable to God for your life.
Your life has three parts:
1. Who you are
2. After a while, you get the added responsibility of a wife. This does not replace who you are. Your role as a wife is to help a man be the best of himself, not to diminish yourself
3. After a while, you get the added responsibility of a mother
One part does not remove the other, and it is your responsibility to work out how the three will combine together.
When you know who you are, you will know what to look out for when you are looking for a partner.
You won’t be carried away by “Rich, Tall and Handsome”, Instead you will be looking for someone who can help you to achieve what you are born to achieve.
If you marry the wrong person, and there is a mismatch, there will be a great conflict.
You owe it to yourself not to settle.
Don’t ever settle until you are comfortable that this person you want to marry has your back and will allow you to fly.
If you don’t know who you are, you can start by knowing what you don’t want, and be honest with yourself.
Don’t get carried away with the butterflies in your tummy.
When you are deciding on a man to marry:
Pick a man who is responsible and who is working hard. He may not have made it yet, but at least he is working and he has a vision.
It is not your job to give your husband-to-be a vision. You can’t change him. Make sure that he already has a personal vision of what he wants to become and is already working towards it.
Please take note of this:
The son of a rich man is not a rich boy.
He will take you out on dates in a big car. It is not his car, it’s his father’s car. He borrowed it.
His father will throw a big party for the two of you when you are getting married. This is for his own ego. The father can even pay 2 years house rent for you to impress the inlaws, and hence you might not realize that you are in trouble.
When the marriage starts, it will dawn on you that the boy you married, does not have any money.
He is always dependent on his daddy.
The day daddy does not give him money, you guys will not have money.
All the responsibilities will fall on your head, and this will cause friction in the marriage.
Be warned my daughters.
You can prevent yourself from entering trouble.
Advise for Married Women
At first when you start a business, your husband might seem supportive because he thinks it is just a business to keep you busy.
But as the business becomes successful, he gets scared.
He gets scared because he feels that you might become something else. He has heard so many stories of women who have become rich and are now terrible. He is scared that you might not be able to balance it all.
You have the power to manage this transition.
1. Don’t start what you cannot finish
Breakfast in bed
Cooking fresh food everyday
The day you become busy and you cannot make breakfast in bed, he will say you have changed and will start treating you as if you are a horrible person
2. Make your husband a stakeholder in everything you do
You must have heard people say:
Your husband’s money is your money
Your money is your money
This is bad advice
If your husband has no stake in what you do, what is his benefit? You are making money everyday and you are still asking for housekeeping. After a while, he will begin to despise you.
All this money you are making, you can’t even help out in the house.
One of the wise things you can do is to empower him.
For example, you can say, “Let me take care of the house bills, you can use your money to build us a house”
When he sees how your money is helping him, he begins to get intrested in what you do; he wants you to succeed because your success takes some burden off his shoulders.
Please note: This is why you should marry a hardworking man, who will not take advantage of you because you are contributing to the homefront. If you marry a reasonable man, he won’t start spending his money on other women because you are helping out.
Money is a very sensitive topic in a marriage because it can break a home. A lot of ladies take advice from the older generation, forgetting that the generation of our mothers is not the same as our generation.
In that generation, not a lot of women were career focused.
In this generation, it is the norm for women to be career focused, and hence, the dynamics has changed, and we have to deal with that dynamic.
God knows what he was saying when he said, husband and wife are one
The two of you are one and he can bless the one through any of the halves of the one. He can bless the husband or the wife, but it does not change who is in charge.
Money is nothing.
It is just a tool you can use to achieve what God has ordained for you.
Don’t allow money to control your home. If you do, you are in trouble.
When you understand this, you won’t become arrogant because you are making money.
I want you to understand this because we need to raise a critical mass of women who can be successful and use money wisely, so that men can become comfortable with successful women and it can be easier for our children to become successful
You also need to understand that your husband is facing so many things:
Pressure from inlaws
Pressure from friends
They will be telling him things about you, hence you have to be careful.
Don’t keep secrets from him, secrets breed mistrust.
If you want to invest in property, let him know what you are doing.
If you don’t trust your husband, you can keep the asset in your name or in your children’s name.
If you trust your husband, you can buy property and keep the asset in the both of you’s name.
If you have plenty cash, invest in assets immediately. If your husband knows that you are sitting on so much cash, he will ask you for it and if you don’t give it to him…trouble. You become the enemy.
Wisdom my daughters, you need wisdom.
What business do you want to do?
Do you even know the business?
Have you empowered yourself to make the right decisions?
Have you done due diligence…and this is not about asking your friends for their opinion.
After selling your products to family and friends, how can your business idea become commercially viable?
What pricing and evaluation models can work for your business?
As you go along in your business, it is foolish to not understand the numbers.
Invest in yourself.
There is nothing wrong with not knowing, but you have to have the courage to ask someone to teach you.
Go to Business School. If you can’t afford it, attend business workshops and trainings.
You might think you are smart, but really, what do you know?
We are all smart, but we don’t know everything.
If you think about how many different topics exist, you will realize that you don’t know a lot.
I’m always in school, I spend what people use to buy houses to go to school.
If everybody is deceiving you, do not deceive yourself, nobody knows where you are going but you. You owe it to yourself to invest in yourself.
After you invest in yourself, the knowledge is yours, and you will find yourself in places you don’t feel you are qualified for.
What am I doing on the board of a bank? I am a Carpenter. My first degree was in Chemistry.
It is your responsibility to empower yourself with information that can help you.
Be honest with yourself and identify what your gaps are.
Invest in yourself, this is what will separate you from the crowd.
Another thing you should note, is that it is important to treat people right.
This is how I have gone so far without bribery. I treat people with kindness, such that they do things for me out of love instead of “a cut”.
Everybody from the gateman, to the house keeper, to the driver, to the secretary to the oga…everybody.
It is the gateman you are nice to, that will open the gate for you and find parking for you when you are late to a meeting.
It is because I have help at home, that is why I can be here today.
I have delegated some responsibilities, and hence I can have time to focus on what I know how to do best.
If I did not delegate these tasks to other people, and if I did not treat the people who were helping me out well, I would have to do everything by myself.
Human beings in your life are very valuable.
By yourself, you are limited.
Everybody doing something in your life is valuable.
You lose when you think that you are the most important person in the room.
The way you make people feel affects the extent to how they can help you achieve your potential.
Show care for people
Be kind to people.
If you work with artisans (tailors, carpenters, etc), Be kind but firm.
Be firm, but just.
Don’t become a fool, be firm but nice.
When you are fair, people will fight for you the day you make a hard decision.
I have fired a whole factory before. I was younger than my staff and I was equally pregnant. They decided not to show up at work on one day and we had a deadline.
I found other carpenters to complete the work during the weekend and by the time they showed on Monday, their sack letters were waiting at the gate.
Do not let anyone despise you because of your age.