Olukayode Olayemi, founder of Thrive Financial, is one of the few people lucky to have made a successful career out of his passion. In university, he discovered he loves helping people make better financial decisions and hasn’t stopped since.
He tells us about how his love for financial education made him quit his job as a stockbroker, and he shares a few lessons he’s learnt from his passion-driven entrepreneurial journey.
What do you do?
I’m a financial educator who teaches people how to make better financial decisions. I do this via the social media pages, courses and the newsletter of Thrive Financial, my company.
Interesting. How long have you been doing this?
Since 2018, but I delved into it full-time in March 2022.
So you were juggling other jobs before March 2022?
Yes. I was a stockbroker at a foremost financial institution in Nigeria. I did this between 2010 and 2022.
That was a long career.
It was. [Laughs]
What made you decide to build Thrive Financial?
Well, I had always been interested in financial education, even as far back as my undergraduate years. For instance, I once tried to set up an investment club in university, but it didn’t succeed.
Fast forward to when I started working: I launched a financial blog, but I couldn’t follow through. In all, my efforts to become a financial educator didn’t work out until 2018, when a book by a friend motivated me to open an Instagram account. Everything worked out from there.
It’s been four years, and you’ve consistently created content helping people make better financial decisions.
It must be hard being that consistent.
Do you handle all the backend processes yourself?
I handle 95% of the social media strategy and execution myself. One time, I had an intern handle it, though. But currently, it’s just me handling social media and our courses. The newsletter is a different ballgame; I outsourced that to someone else.
How did you juggle this while working as a stockbroker?
Canva made me efficient because it has ready-made templates for everything I post on social media. I used lots of templates. Also, the newsletters were biweekly, meaning I had enough time to create content ahead of time.
Overall, Thrive Financial wasn’t as demanding as it is now.
Have your efforts been financially rewarded, though?
Yes, it has, but not at first.
Only about two people paid for our course in the first two years of operation.
Wow. What kept you going?
My passion for financial education. As I mentioned before, I have always had a flair for helping people make better financial choices. For each person I teach about finances, I feel I have done meaningful, satisfying work.
So even when my efforts didn’t yield monetary returns, I had enough reasons to remain consistent. Also, I’ve seen companies like Thrive Education achieve record-breaking success, so I know our time will surely come.
Amazing. Will you say Nigerians are open to paying for financial education, though?
They are. First, there is a huge interest in becoming financially literate because our schools fail to teach students basic financial concepts like stocks, budgeting, tax payment, etc. It’s only when these students-turned-graduates get to the real world that they realise how much they don’t know.
Also, the deteriorating rate of the economy has forced many people to look for ways to improve their income. This interest translates into a willingness to pay, especially from the ladies.
Yes. Most of Thrive Financial’s customers are women.
Any particular reason why?
I can’t figure, to be honest. But that’s a trend I noticed.
What are your monetisation plans?
Currently, we sell courses, but there hasn’t been any significant monetization strategy, as we are taking things one step at a time.
Why are you taking things slowly?
I just started doing this full-time, so I haven’t fully settled in yet. I wouldn’t want to make premature decisions that could kill the company. We already have the traction needed for success, so it won’t be hard to make a profit when we go full-scale.
You’re not doing any other thing besides Thrive Financial, correct?
Does this mean your personal finances aren’t as buoyant as when you were a full-time stockbroker?
Not necessarily. I had saved enough money to comfortably cover my expenses for at least 6 months after quitting my job. The company is also making revenue, even though it is not as significant as we want it to be.
Great. What are the top observations you’ve noticed since you launched Thrive Financial?
First, there is a huge financial gap in Nigeria. Unfortunately, bridging that gap isn’t straightforward. There are not enough tools and solutions to help people manage their finances in the first place.
Except for PiggyVest, there are not many platforms assisting people in getting financially disciplined.
Back to your background as a full-time stockbroker. Do you think your experience helped your entrepreneurial journey in any way?
Yes. Working in a corporate setting helped me adapt to systems and structure. As a result, I’m highly organised as a founder. I’m also able to delegate effectively. The relationships I built during my time have also helped, too.
If you could go back to 2018, what would you do differently?
I’d try to master social media better. Earlier, I thought being a certified educator was enough, but building a brand on social media proved tough. Your content can be the best, and algorithms will still mess you up.
For this reason, I’d have read more resources and learned how social media and branding work.
What would you advise anyone trying to be a financial educator?
The first thing you need to do is understand finance properly. To achieve this, read classics and follow finance thought leaders. Additionally, get your hands dirty and start teaching. You don’t have to wait to be perfect.