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How I manage several businesses alone –Seyi Oderinde

Mr. Seyi Oderinde is the founder of Genii-Prints Limited. Sometimes styled as GPRINTS Nigeria, it is a brand, marketing and advertising agency. He also founded other ventures and co-owned multiple businesses at the same time. In this interview, he told Saturday Sun how he juggles his time managing those businesses, his early struggles and how he transitioned from an entrepreneur that does everything on his own to becoming a multi-preneur who now has a system that works on managing those businesses instead of running them.

 

How have you been able to juggle many businesses as an entrepreneur?

It’s no easy task managing different businesses alone. It was easier when I first started, because I only had a few projects to work on and small clients to deal with. But as time passed by, it became extremely tasking to reach out to clients myself, prepare proposals, schedule a meeting, go on call, ask questions, take notes, execute the projects and deliver the project. Also, as the business grew, there were a series of clients I had to deal with and I had a struggle with time. It was difficult but I found my way around the first business and after then, I found the rest one after the other.

How did you manage in the early stages of your business?

Many people believe the early stages of business are always difficult. But in my case, it wasn’t. Why? That was because I only had a few clients to deal with and few projects to work on. But the early days are not rosy when it comes to income and profits because I only get about a project per month. But my time is always free for me to brainstorm on business ideas and other side hustles which later led to some of the businesses I manage now. This means my business early days only served as a foundation to build my experience in entrepreneurship and the few projects I got gave me time to study many books on entrepreneurship. YouTube also helped. There were also webinars and events. The early days weren’t difficult but helped in building my experience to learn more about entrepreneurship which I never had the chance to learn in my education.

How does your past education relate to your current expertise?

I had a good streak of education. I went to a good primary school, a good secondary school in the science department and also my polytechnic. By God’s mercy, I finished my tertiary education with degrees in electrical electronics and also computer science. Looking at what I do now, neither of my academic pedigrees reflects my current fields. One of my businesses is in the branding, marketing and advertising industry while another one is in the entertainment industry and one also in fashion. Although, in my polytechnic days, I had a knack for talking while people listen. I have the ability to advise, I have the ability to foresee and convince, which led to my interest in marketing, advertising and branding. Unlike what I studied, I love helping businesses grow, get more people to listen to them and more. The only overlap between my current expertise and my academic field was when I handled the school cyber cafe. I applied my computer knowledge and my marketing instinct and I did well as an upcoming entrepreneur.

What were your early days like after school?

When I finished polytechnic, I didn’t start a business yet. Instead, I tried to climb the corporate ladder by finding a job in my academic field (electrical electronics). After a few interviews, I secured a job at PHCN and worked there for eight years before I finally quit and pursued my interest in marketing and the other businesses I founded. After polytechnic, I was more about raising capital to cater for the cost of my living and everything else. My time working for PHCN also helped me in cooperating with different people and team management which are important to my successful businesses today. My 13 years working with corporate bodies helped me develop sustainable skills that are important for the success of any business and it reflected in all my businesses when I founded them.

What were you earning at that time?

When I started my first business, the earnings were low and insignificant if I may use the word. I started off with word-of-mouth, telling people about my business and my first few projects were from families and friends which literally meant I didn’t earn anything. My colleagues were my first clients. Then one of my bosses, Toufic El Hajj of blessed memory believed in me so much that he started linking me up with his friends. My top priority during these times was to prove myself and I didn’t care how small a project was. I did a lot of free jobs, I earned nothing, just they paying only for the initial cost but I didn’t care because I wanted to prove myself at what I could do.

Could you share your experience as an entrepreneur?

It’s a very interesting aspect of my life because I get to deal with people in-house and also with clients. I get to know other entrepreneurs. It could be difficult dealing with people but I never had any problem with that because of the experience I got when I managed my school cyber cafe and my 13 years working for a corporate organization where I had to deal with different people above me and also managed the ones below me. These experiences helped me immensely when I ventured into entrepreneurship. Naturally, I’m a calm person but my past experiences also helped me in dealing with clients. Some of them are cold, some are unsatisfying, some are irate while some are understanding. Although I never had the chance to study entrepreneurship as an academic field, I’ve got the spirit in me. The small projects I had when I first started gave me free time to study entrepreneurship materials online. I also took some online courses, attended some online webinars and some online and offline events which helped me become who I am today. Today, entrepreneurship reflects in every way of my life from managing many businesses I founded and in my professional dealings with other co-owners and the people that work for me. And especially, in my day-to-day life and also my family

Did anyone support you when you made the transition from your education to entrepreneurship?

I have always made decisions alone which reflected when I started my first business. I was a solo, managing every aspect of the business myself – from finding clients to final delivery

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