Never Beg, Don’t Sell, Hustle for Your Money



Some people assume that I give up on things easily… well, it depends on what I’m working on. If I have considerable control over the process, I hardly give up. But if other people are in control of the process, and they start forming wait… wait… wait… while they sit down in a chair talking thrash on the phone with girlfriends, If I come to you today and you say come back next week, I come back next week and you say come back next week again, if I come back the third week and you still tell me to come back again, that means I don’t have any value to you. The same thing you tell me to come back for again and again is the same thing you’ll do immediately if it involves your guy/babe. You won’t see me there again. I hate to disturb people.

I thought about how I could raise capital to set up a small enterprise I could manage for meantime. There were many options before me. First option is what they call… fund rising. Second is to sell off some available properties to raise the capital. Third is to put my skills to work. Fourth is to sell off the rights of my works. Fifth is to hustle for small cash for cash and save up over time and let me end it at the sixth… make money off the internet.

Now the first option… fund rising. I crossed it out almost immediately after writing it down. Why? Same reason I stopped hunting for sponsor. Though the variables are different as in, you draw up a list of people you think can help you, put your idea to them and ask them to help you with a fraction or so of the fund you require. When I looked at it again, I crossed out the option vigorously with my biro until I couldn’t see any letter there again. In our culture/social clime, whether it is fund rising or soliciting or asking, it is all seen as… begging!

Why should I beg anyone for money? What do they have that I don’t have? They have job you say? Without savings or investments, most salary earners are really no better than job hunters. Two weeks after getting paid, they are already broke looking forward to the next month’s pay. If they lose their job, within two months, they’re penniless. I have friends who earn up to N150,000 monthly but if you call to ask them for N1,000, they will say they don’t have money. Is it those kinds of people I will call to ‘fund raise’?

As for the rich folks, though some of them are relations and neighbors, to approach them is waste of time. My tribe peoples’ mentality is that, most of them, when they become rich, they will build a small bungalow, buy a high end car, and blow the rest on frivolities. Some of them would look at you with these silent words… “Since I suffered to get to where I am today, you too should go and suffer.” If you approach those kinds of people for anything, no matter how small, you’re wasting your time.

Then comes the property selloff option. You know what workers who just lost their job would begin to do? They’ll start selling off properties to settle bills instead of selling to invest. That was what my dad did when he was shut out. He was hoping his gratuity would be paid soon after and he would invest the fund but even after six years, they still refused to pay him. A time came when, it’s not that he didn’t have anything to sell again but it didn’t make sense to sell. After selling off everything you own, what will you and your children use for personal convenience? If you have a house and you sell it, if the money ‘flies away’, you will regret it. Landlord will become tenant. I crossed out the option.

Now on putting my skills to work… What skills do I have? No doubt I can write. Except hardcore medical or tech jargons, I can write virtually anything thrown at me. What more? I have good computer skill I can put to work. However, my socio-economic environment does not appreciate these skills. In my country, it pays better to be a thug or militant than to be genius. Another snag is that, in this country, raw talent means nothing to the bosses. What they want to see is the finished product. So if you have a great concept, beautiful song lyrics, or prototype of a unique machine… in this country, your talent is a waste.

The ‘people in charge’… the old fools who run the country aren’t making matters any easier. They don’t believe in their youth. To build a simple gutter, they will go call foreign contractors. They say their people don’t have the capacity to handle such projects, whereas, if you go abroad, it is the same people they say they don’t have the capacity that are running the show in other countries. Imagine a senator whose people don’t have common electricity transformer splashing $300m on luxury cars. Hmmm…

To sell off the rights of my works is another option that is environmentally hampered. I have many good manuscripts being eaten by rats under my grandpa’s bed. I tried the course once and ended up even more frustrated. I took some movie scripts to film producers and marketers in Onitsha hoping I’ll find someone who likes the script but they all said they don’t buy manuscripts.

When we got tired, my bros now called aside one of the marketers’ errand boys to explain things to us. The guy said it is the same people that write the scripts that also produce the media. That is why you will see a person’s name appear five or six times in a film’s production crew. In short, nobody buys manuscripts here. If you want to make money from your manuscripts, you will have to produce it yourself. That would mean raising capital and mobilizing logistics… back to square one. I crossed out the option.

To hustle for cash, I had few options too. Only artisans, manual laborers and mechanics were needed in town. The few companies that could require my service in town were constrained by very poor power supply, about once in a week which means they have to run on generator everyday and keep expenses as low as possible. I didn’t bother wasting airtime calling any ‘big man’ to let me work for him. I chatted up Bros J, told him plan and asked if he had anything I could do for him. I used to do tech article writing for him about a year earlier but had to stop when my laptop crashed. He said I could continue article writing since I’ve got another laptop. One goal scored, but sadly ruled offside. Since there’s no power supply in a town that plays host to about six oil companies’ base offices, how would I get power to do my work? I’ll have to relocate to somewhere power supply is guaranteed.

Around the same time, four months long ad hoc data entry gigs were coming up at my bros, Emma Fal’s place. I promptly packed some stuffs and headed to the Coal City. When work started, I did data entry in the day and article writing at night. To combine two jobs together wasn’t easy. Since I’m very poor at saving, I told Bros J I would prefer accumulated payout at the end of the year. I hoped the accumulated payout and earnings from the data entry work would be enough to start up my biz plan.

In real life, one plus one is not always equal to two. It is one thing to make plans… it is entirely different for things to go as planned. The data entry folks got entangled in contract logjam with the Ministry they serve after the elections. The new Commissioner wanted bigger share of the revenue chunk but the other guys refused to bend because if they did, other clients would start haggling for bigger shares too and that’s bad for business. So the next works were halted by the Ministry. Bros J on the other hand ran into some murky waters and was unable to make my payout until three months after it was due when he made part payment. I was so relieved when I got the alert. . Nigeria is such a tough country… for tough people.

To make money from the internet, I’ll discuss that in the next chapter. Though there are lots of potentials to reap from the internet but you have to consider a lot of variables and determine how and where to get what you want, otherwise, you’ll end up even more frustrated than before.




Culled From: Memoirs of A Job Hunter  || By: Stephen Oweniwe. ( )

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