My Money Mistake is a weekly PiggyVest series that explores the worst money mistakes real Nigerians have made, and the lessons they learnt from it.
For this week’s episode of My Money Mistake, we spoke to a serial entrepreneur who relocated to another state to start a business that never took off. He tells us the risks he took and what he would have done differently.
Could you tell me your money mistake?
In 2019, I had a profitable business selling toast bread, noodles and fried eggs. I started out with a ₦15,000 loan and soon, I had made close to ₦90,000 profit.
Then I heard about a lucrative business opportunity that came up in Kano state. I closed up shop, took all the profit I made, borrowed ₦40,000 and moved to start this business.
What was this business opportunity?
In 2017, when I did my NYSC in Kano, there was a lady who was coaching corps members to rear poultry. She helped some of them start up small poultry businesses and even shared some of her clients with them.
At that point, I didn’t have enough capital to start, but we were in contact. So when she reached out with another opportunity, I decided to take it.
What was the experience like in Kano?
The move from Enugu to Kano wasn’t easy. I was new in town and had to get an apartment and spend on some other expenses, but I was quite optimistic. After waiting two months for feedback from her, we finally met.
That was when she informed me that business wasn’t moving as expected.
Oh, no! What reason(s) did she give?
She mentioned that her major client in the hospitality business had changed management and this new management wasn’t buying as much and as often as the previous one. She also complained about having difficulty selling off her own stock.
I’m sorry. Where did that leave you?
I had already made a commitment to relocating so I was determined to wait things out. I tried getting a job and starting a baking business, but neither worked out. I even tried doing odd jobs to just see how I could survive at that point, but things weren’t looking up.
What were your expectations when you made the move?
I felt that within 6 to 8 weeks, I’d see returns, make profit and reinvest to grow the business. But I failed to recognise that things weren’t working. If I did, maybe I would have tried to make some adjustments on time. I regret taking such a risk with all my funds. Eventually, nothing worked and I had to move to Lagos.
What would you have done differently to avoid this mistake?
Looking back, there were a number of challenges I hadn’t thought about, like the language barrier. I probably would have chosen a familiar environment where navigating business would have been smoother or I could have gone to a place where I had family ties or friends.
What’s your biggest lesson from this?
I probably should have started small and paced myself with a three-month trial before going full-time. Also, I shouldn’t have relied solely on someone else.