Starting with Nothing as an Entrepreneur

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Every aspiring and existing entrepreneur at some point has faced this virtual wall called ‘starting with nothing’. Virtual because unlike other things it’s an invisible

presence that surrounds your mind; pointing out the tools, connections and money you lack to execute that business project.

An invisible wall that no one else but you can see, and if you’re bold enough to share your dream with others they too will remind you how impossible your situation is and give you plausible reasons to back away from that dream. All advice given with the best intentions.

A few years ago I had made my pilgrimage to the wall called ‘starting with nothing’. I was a newly married mother of one and pregnant with my second child, moved to a new town with my husband. Separated from a life that I knew, my friends, family, familiar social circles, business hubs (i was into trade –buying and selling).

The internet in Nigeria wasn’t as popular for business as it is right now and social media then was strictly social. I didn’t have access to the kind money i had before to rent a store, i had products to sell but no one to sell to. To make matters worse i had a toddler to care for, i was pregnant and wasn’t mobile. I literally had nothing.

Here I am,I didn’t own my time, a toddler had it. Didn’t own my body, a baby had that. I had things to sell but no one to sell to. Yet in my mental moments, I realised that I still had my mind, nothing had taken my fertile mind. It was still mine and full of ideas of business opportunities that I could see while in my physically immobile moments.

One of those ideas was to partner with the premier entertainment centre in that town to organise trade fairs for small businesses such as myself, giving them a networking and sales opportunity that most small businesses lacked. This was good in three ways: the entertainment company earned revenue from the fair; small businesses had access to a steady stream of new clients as well as much needed instant sales; I now had a new crop of entrepreneurs to network with as well as a sales outlet platform for my business in this new town. This had solved my initial problem of not having anything to start with in a new town!

This is not some Cinderella story as my idea was initially rejected, then tried without my knowledge, long story! The sweet end is that, my input was needed to ensure its success and the rest they say is history. Indeed i have come full circle as I am once again standing at that wonder wall called ‘starting with nothing’ as circumstance has moved me again to a new city.

Once again I see glaringly what I lack in my bid to succeed in this new town, the connections, familiar social circles and even money to start all over again. Yet all I truly need is an idea to barter with the right person/company to achieve my goals in this new city.

You see no one ever truly starts with nothing. It may seem like it, your circumstance will attest to it but you always have something to give in order to get what you need. That is the basic rule of trade, barter, exchange! Except you are a career fraudster or hardcore armed robber, you do have something of value to give the person who will pay you in exchange for your goods or services.

If you’re currently down on your luck and nothing seems to be going your way, this is a good time to become a silent observer in your immediate surroundings as nothing better will serve your purpose, i promise you this. This is not the time to become depressed or blame others as opportunity always presents itself to those who are observant to its passing. Yes, opportunity is always passing! Question is do you see it?

These words may sound bold and motivational but i am currently swallowing this bitter pill of reality. The road to entrepreneurship is fraught with uncertainties and some definite hardships but the risks often yields high rewards for those who stick through the tough times to get to the good times.

Don’t be deceived there’s no definite arrival point. There are new goals to reach ato every level you attain. Don’t be too hard on yourself, failure does not define you it’s only a kink in the process of success. Never be afraid to start with nothing, ‘cause that’s the best time to start at all as you have nothing but your copious ideas to lose, if at all!

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Tonye Alfred Peter

A self styled Iyaloja of sorts. This married mother of two helps small businesses achieve success via the trade fairs she organizes; giving them a ready platform to interact with potential customers & network with peers. You can contact her on BBM: 2AB5ED29, 2BFF80C8. Instagram: @tonyesignature .

1 comment

  • Comment Link John Sep 04 2015 posted by John

    This article is a brilliant read. It's concise, personal and honest. I loved reading it so much, I read it again. Thanks for your honesty. Bravo.


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