From Oyo, she came to Adamawa state in the year 2013 as a member of the national youth service corps (NYSC) but decided to stay back to explore new opportunities and businesses. Making around ₦150,000 monthly, now she’s living comfortably, expanding rapidly and have great plans for creating new academic ventures, uplifting education and women empowerment.
Welcome to the #CeleWeekly series once again…great people are featured here…dream chasers, time changers and selfless humanitarians.
Africa is a great place to explore almost everything. Africa is everything we got, and all we need to create the change we want to see. CeleWeekly series is my way of giving back to the streets; to showcase how young people with African nativity can do great things with their zeal, talents and acumen.
Biola Adekunle will tell us more about starting a business that don’t really look like business to many people.
Staying back after your service…did you plan this before coming to the North or you just discovered a treasure and decided you have to stay?
Actually, the North is a scary place for any Southerner who has never been here, especially a lady. We heard stories about horrible experiences and exaggerated statements about NYSC members being exposed to violence and hardship, which will scare anybody. The plan was to come, finish serving and just leave. There was no plan whatsoever to stay, but along the way things just changed. I don’t know of other states but people in Adamawa are very kind. They accept strangers as their friends and provide you with all support you need especially when they recognize you as a youth corps member. So, even after my service I decided I could stay and explore everything for a few months before I will finally leave.
Yes, everything. From business, ways of life and even job opportunities. Because the most important thing after graduating is serving and then securing a good job. By the time a finished my service I was ready to start a new life in Adamawa if I could get a job.
Wow, your plan to stay wasn’t just about business, am I right?
You are right.
So, in the midst of other work or business options, how did you settle for tutoring jobs, since its more like freelancing?
I was posted to teach during my service just like many youth members, but I was able to start tutoring secondary school students in the evening and in the weekends for free. At that time, the aim was to help them become better in physics. Since I graduated from the faculty of pure science, other subjects such as chemistry and mathematics are also my specialty, so I started to combine them altogether. I didn’t charge students for the evening lessons during my service as a result of the time limits and the inconsistency of the whole thing. The parents did actually commend my efforts and the students begin to perform better.
So, I guess that was the motivation behind starting a tutoring job?
After I finish my service, I contemplated between staying back and leaving immediately, then I realize I could explore some job opportunities or even get the school to offer me a permanent job. That didn’t happen actually, so I decided to try to convince the parents of the students I’ve been tutoring that I’m starting anew, although it will cost them N3000 in a month. Considering the value I’m offering, 3k is too cheap for 3 subjects. Most of them agreed and by then I had about 7 serious students. That 3k times 7 was 21k, even higher that the NYSC Allawee I used to get.
How did you scale up? Like, how did it turn to 150k monthly?
It’s not 150k monthly. Averagely you can say 150k, considering my last month earnings. If I do my calculation well, the previous month was lower but things are getting better. Students began to increase in number; by the end of 2014 I had roughly about 20 students. Since I’m not operating a school, the numbers will keep fluctuating. Most of the students were ss2 and ss3 students, trying to graduate with good grades. As of now, I have around 27 to 30 consistent students, most of them ss2. But the main expansion is when I started home tutoring some particular students singly. The parents will demand that I teach them a specific subject like maths and we negotiate the price.
What is the price range?
The price ranges from 5 to 10k, sometimes even more. In this year I haven’t tutor a student singularly for less than 10k, I think that was my New Year resolution. To sum up both the group tutoring and the home tutoring, I made 150k last month, roughly.
I’m an entrepreneur myself and I know how time affects income vs. productivity. With all these, how do you deal with time management?
Hmmm, time is very important to me. I usually weight the, money I make based on time and energy spent. Since I don’t have anything to do in the morning or afternoon, I use that time to rest, do other things I suppose to be doing in the evening, before the time for the lessons.
How about Saturdays?
Sometimes I postpone Friday lessons to Saturdays since most of my Muslim students would be going to Mosque and after, they may need to rest.
Have you ever thought of increasing your price for the group tutoring?
Yes, I once thought of that. But I realize that some of the parents tend to be hesitant with N3000. Increasing the money will be a disaster. So I just focus on increasing the number of people, not the price.
That’s good thinking. Quality + tolerable price = increased profit.
Now, what is your plan? I mean, do you plan to just keep expanding the group tutor or what?
My plan is to expand, because the expansion hasn’t been much, although I give glory to God for the consistency. The people I’ve started with have graduated and the ones I currently tutor are new. So, growth seems to be steady. I plan to invest more in this business by employing tutors, while I explore new businesses. Also, I want to build school.
What? Just like that?
Yes, based on my budget I need 5 million naira to make this happen and it will happen in a few years.
I believe you.
How many years are we talking about?
Two or three, once I am able to employ someone to tutor for the students, I will concentrate on expanding the number of subjects we treat and the price will depend on the subjects. I also have plans to create an association that will promote women empowerment and female child education. Things are better than the past, but I don’t think female child education is taken really seriously especially in the rural areas.
Would you accept a government work today?
No. I think government work is a limitation. If I have to work, that means it has to pay me better than I’m making, and it won’t consume my whole day. In business you have power over the money you make even if you have to deal with uncertainties.
What other potential business or businesses would you consider as a form of contribution to the society?
There are many businesses out there, but I will consider agriculture as the best option if you want to contribute to the society. Most people ignore agriculture but there is still money in the farm. Nigeria made billions from agriculture before the focus was shifted to oil. In order to grow the society, we need to get back to agriculture. We need to start exploring our forgotten treasure.
Thank you. What advice would you give to fresh graduates and other youths businesswise?
My advice for youths is, they should stop depending on the government. Yes, some people have to work for the government but you may not be among. If you have a passion, make a research on how you can turn that passion into business. The internet has helped me understand the essence of good business planning. Business is not just about buying and selling, it is a continuous process of relating with people and making sure you provide the expected quality. So, you need to know your passion, develop the right skills and start doing something.
This is very inspiring!
Is there anything you want to add, anything at all?
The only thing I want to add is, to the young people, your beginning is not the future. We all have to start somewhere and we have to start humble. What you do for money should be carried on your shoulder like a price. You should be proud of your position, work toward achieving better and make plans to pursue greatness.
Thank you very much. I really appreciate you for being on the #celeweekly series.
Thank you. You rock.
Stay tuned next Friday for another episode of the #CeleWeekly series. If you know someone doing great things in your community that deserves to be featured in this series, you can always use the “contact us” tab to let us know of this person.