My challenge as an entrepreneur (24) – Fola Daniel Adelesi

A lot of people have asked me questions about how I fund the publishing of my books especially because they knew I did not have any income apart from the honourarium I was given after speaking in some meetings. Some of the envelopes given during those times could barely cover for transportation back home and in so many cases there were no envelopes at all. I just look at myself and laugh when I remember that my first envelope after speaking in a meeting while still in secondary school or call it high school was two hundred naira (N200). That was a budget for a high school modest launch!

With time I started packaging some of my lectures on CDs for sale and it was not bringing in so much profit because some people didn’t want to buy from a speaker whose face was not familiar to them. Others who wanted to buy only expressed desires. They didn’t have money, or so I taught so I sometimes got so angry that they could not afford a cheap CD and would give it out to them. The only other income that I got was my allowance as a university student at that time and I have talked about how the allowance I had not received had gone into somebody else’s pocket already because I had done conferences that left me with debts. So I obviously did not save enough money to be able to publish a book.

Apart from my first book which was sponsored by the university management, the second was a little hectic. What I refer to as a little hectic here would mean terribly hectic to another person. From May 22nd 2007, I started writing for sponsorship of my book. I wrote directly to the head of the organization. I wrote to the manager of the publishing outfit in order to negotiate an installment payment mode. The head of the organization was not responding so I started writing to him through some of his subordinates who were held in high esteem. The subordinates also helped by writing internal memo and attaching them to my original letters. This went on until May 2008. Remember I had been writing since May 2007. I printed several letters and made several photocopies as a proof of follow up. I made series of endless calls and sent emails but there was no result. I had tried a couple of other places and I remember very well that one of the people I approached said that the money I was requesting was enough to start a publishing out fit of my own. I wrote to some others who simply filed my letters in their cabinets and that was it.

Finally, my 23rd birthday was approaching in year 2008 and I wanted the new book to be one of the things I could point to. I had a goal but some bottle necks were standing in the way so I changed my strategy. I woke up one morning with ten naira in my pocket and I opened my mouth to say that I am not coming back to this house with anything less than ten thousand naira. Though I did a little calculations of some money I expected but that will not make up to ten thousand. Just as I walked out of my room, less than five minutes after speaking in faith, I was called upon and offered fifty thousand naira. I will talk more about this partnership later. With the fifty thousand, I called the publisher, paid forty so that he could commence work and I used ten thousand to prepare the launching. Some books were made available and the launching yielded more than two hundred thousand naira already received. Sounds nice but read about the challenges of the launching.

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