Last year I felt there has to be more to life than being a wife and mother.
Then I read Sunday Adelaja’s book where he said even pigs and goats have mates and children. So definitely God will not call us to have the same function as animals.
I have a job with the but I felt there has to be more. Am not ready to leave the job yet but there has to be more. After praying and asking God questions about certain things. I reached the conclusion that I am going to look for it.
I set out to interview different people. working in different fields whom I could find in different places. What makes them tick? What motivates them? How did they start? I wanted something close to home I could relate with.
I discovered and l learnt a lot. My colleagues kept telling me I look alive and different when I started this journey.
I am going to be sharing some of those interviews here once a week.
Do enjoy… tell me what you think and share your journey to discovering God’s path for you.
My first feature grew up in a rich home with a wealthy businessman father and mother. He grew up with the dream of being a medical doctor. He worked hard to make the cut off mark for his school of choice… what could go wrong?
My name is Peter Onujeme the MD/CEO of Pee-Links Nigeria limited. We are into electronic sales and services.
How did you start?
I am from the South eastern part of Nigeria. and traditionally the Igbo people, go through apprenticeship to learn a trade. I went through the same process. I did about eight to nine years of apprenticeship under my uncle. He was into electronics, I finished by 2002 and was set up
Was that the field you wanted?
I had no option or choice. I was very good in school, did well in WAEC and JAMB. had plans of studying medicine to become a medical doctor. In fact if you go through my notebooks then, I wrote Dr. Peter Onwujeme Mbbs blablabla. But within the period of entering the university, my father’s business failed and we had to move to the village.
My dream and that of my twin brother of furthering our education got put on hold.
My parents decided we were to learn a trade instead. because they could not afford the university fees. It took me a year or two to accept that I was going into business and not academics but that was my new reality. so I had to face it.
Electronics was not a new field because that was the business my father did. and my boss was my uncle was into electronics. so they chose the same thing for me. I had no option.
Life after apprenticeship…
It was a frightening period for me because I was on my own. It was like stepping into the dark. When you are handling your boss’ business, the foundation is built. And things have been setup. You are there to manage and control what is already on ground. But starting yours, there is this uncertainty…
I lost over 10kg within one month due to sleepless night. Between when my boss told me I was ready to go on my own and when I started.
I kept wondering, is it going to work? How am I going to start? Am I going to break even? Am I going to succeed? We see a lot of failed business and that was the fear that pushed me. I was not going down that road or be comfortable doing what my mates were doing.
The fear of being a failure spurred me into working at it and keeping at it. I remember someone once telling me “take it easy! You work too much!” He used the Igbo proverb that means “it’s not who hustles more that makes more money, its destiny that makes you rich.” but I knew what I wanted
I went round most of the local government in the state and tried all sorts. Then I became a middleman between supplier and end-user. Looking for the users and connecting them to the supplier. I took ideas from different places. Learnt more from those in the business. It was not easy at the beginning. I slept in my shop without toilet facilities for two years. Later I got a motorcycle that I rode around for about five years.
Were you discouraged?
Oh yes I was, a lot of times. The first three to six months I wasn’t seeing any results and I had lots of doubts. Friends and family kept telling me what are you doing in Kogi state? There is nothing in that place. My elder brother told me to come to Abuja and he will help me out. I have friends who left in their numbers to go to more developed states to start-up. But I said let me start with my local connection. Kogi is a virgin state with lots of welcoming rooms for new ideas. If after five years nothing happens, then I will leave. After five years, I saw some result and gave myself another five years. Well here we are now.
Overcoming challenges is in progression. There will always be challenges. Capital can never be enough, People who do not keep to their words. You are eager to make customers, so you end up making some bad decisions. Projections can be shattered because of one man’s whims. Which can end someone’s dream. Issues with boys working under me.
I do not succeed all the time. But I love the challenges and failure because I have learnt a lot from it and I have a very good shock absorber. I have had bad times but I am fortunate compared to what others have experienced
My major fear is failing… because my father did this business. And he was a successful businessman in Kaduna. But at a point he became complacent. He felt he was rich. Distractions set in. Like Saturdays, he leaves everything to the boys. He was flying all over Nigeria, for weddings and different occasions. That is why, now you hardly see me travel except for business.
The only compelling need I have is to be here. I spend ninety percent of my life here. I believe this business is the vehicle that will take me to my destination so I give it my all. My father is a good man and too trusting. He had a big business like this, cousins are managing, and nephews are managing. At the end of the day, they ran everything down. I still have the fear of failing.
I am also very good at delayed gratification. I do things because I want to do them and not because people are doing them. My father’s laxity changed my dream of becoming a medical doctor. I will not want to go down that road in my business and make the same mistake.
Discovery about success..
Read wide, learn everyday…In as much as I love Robert Kiyosaki, Schuller and others and learn a lot from them. I concentrate more on and pick mentors from Nigeria. what they did well, how did they fail/succeed. because we have similar challenges and I can relate to their stories.
I will tell anyone coming up in whatever field to have a singular sense of purpose. Know everything you can about that thing you want to do. A hundred percent involvement. If you are completely involved in whatever you are doing, be it academics or business. There is no way you will not succeed or rise above average. Worst case scenario for you is average.
Using ourselves as a case in point. We are the biggest electronics shop in the state. It didn’t happen overnight. Lots of hard work went into it. People from the outside might think how did we get to this place? Some may even think its black magic but it’s a mindset thing. People who have known me for 10-20 years (I have been in this town for about 20years) know I do not joke with my business. it comes first.
Even when my wife was my fiancé. She complains “you do not have time for me.” And I told her business first, you second and I meant every word of it.
I was speaking somewhere and I told them people might be saying you are lucky and all that. But I want you to know that even if I were to be an okada rider. I will be ‘the okada rider’ because I will make sure I do it with style and panache. And you will want to ride with me. Be your work.
Where does family come into all this?
Well my wife understands all that I do. She is a graduate. I am a democrat when it comes to handling my home. if she wanted a job she can go for it. I do not force things on her. But I explained to her the advantage of teaming up to run the business and she agreed to it. Immediately she came, there was massive difference.
I travel around for business a lot. the people you left behind may not have the same vision with you. Some are there to siphon funds and other vices.
She came in and about 90% of the issues we had resolved itself. By teaming up with my wife, the synergy between handling family and business became a lot easier. We have a comfortable nursery for the children upstairs, so when they come from school they are around us. I am fortunate to be able to have my family and work with me at the same time without friction.
I now have a diploma, I am currently running a degree program in Criminology and Security Studies. Surround yourself with people better than you. People with focus. Especially in your field. If you want to remain where you are or do not want to move forward in life stay with the same set of people. Who will keep saying/complain about the same thing they have been saying for the past 10 years.
Whenever I travel anywhere within and outside Nigeria, places I have not being to before. I go to the electronics shops to see what they are doing. I discovered one in Ilorin and I was wowed, it was better than what I have here. I felt I was doing great but when I saw what they have, it inspired me. I came back and incorporated some of the things I saw there in my business. I made friends with the owner and we are more like family now. I convinced him to join me in traveling out. I told him don’t do only local, let’s travel out spread our tentacles, you are doing a good job here but you can do more.
We have a lot of good things going great for people in other countries that gives them a great boost. We do not have that here but Nigerians are wonderful. A very great and resourceful people. We need to change the focus from the government. Think of things you can do for yourself, family and people around you. Education is good, having a government job is okay but it should not be your only focus, let it be a second option. Learn something, do something. find it… work it! no one is coming to do it for you. it’s your show.