Six Figure is a biweekly PiggyVest series that focuses on how real Nigerians achieved dramatic income growth that made them millionaires.
For this week’s episode of Six Figure, we spoke to a Microsoft ERP consultant who earns around ₦2 million every month. He tells us about how he grew and diversified his income, and shared some lessons he’s learnt along the way.
What was your first job?
A month after NYSC, I started out as a graduate trainee with an IT consulting firm that provides business solutions to enterprises.
When was this?
What was it like?
It was a lot of learning. Luckily for me, I did my IT at the same company, and I had gained some knowledge of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) applications.
Let me guess, you studied Computer Science?
Can you tell us more about this experience?
Basically, we deploy Microsoft ERP systems. ERP is a software that helps organisations manage all their business activities. I was put on a project with one of the bosses. And after a while, I was left alone to finish it.
Was it hard?
Not really. In fact, I outdid myself for a graduate trainee. I surprised my bosses with work that should have been beyond my capabilities. This immediately gave me an edge, right at the beginning of my career.
How much did you earn?
My first salary was ₦80k monthly.
So what do you do now?
My current job title is Senior Business Application Technical Consultant. I’m still with the same company I started with.
Wow. Must be nice.
So far, so good.
What has changed in this time?
Wow. It’s been such a long time [Laughs]. Seven years of gaining invaluable experience. I’ve spearheaded many large-scale projects in the five major industries, and I’ve gathered new skills along the way.
I’m sure the salary has changed as well.
Oh sure. I currently earn around ₦650k monthly. Thinking about it now, the progression was alarming. From ₦80k to ₦120k to ₦150k to ₦180k to ₦200k to ₦250k.
The big jump was from ₦250k to ₦450k. This was in 2019. Then from there, I grew to ₦500k, and I’m now currently at ₦650k.
That’s a lot of patience and loyalty.
You can call it that.
What new skills helped with your growth?
In my line of work, it’s the soft skills that are lowkey the best skills. I’ve learned how to train and communicate efficiently. You don’t want to be speaking with a CFO of a company if you don’t know your onions. I learnt to have the facts and the ‘as is,’ not assumptions or guesswork.
Body language and carriage are crucial as well; everything counts. That’s how you gain trust and clients. I’ve learnt other skills not relevant to my day job but still helpful in general. This way I am able to have other income streams aside from my salary.
Is your side hustle as lucrative?
Sometimes. I currently work part-time for a company in the US that makes sewing and quilting equipment.
What does this entail?
I’m a technical contract employee. I was brought on board to manage their ERP systems. Now I maintain and upgrade their systems whenever they need me.
Does it pay well?
Around $2,000 monthly. I’ll say I earn around ₦2 million every month. Some other gigs come and go, but this has been the baseline for over a year now.
You’re a hard worker. Who inspires you in your career?
I’ll say my MD. I know his career progression over the years and it’s admirable. He’s also big on empowering the people around him.
That’s great. Do you have any advice for our readers?
People will pay you for what you know, and the value you bring to the table. It’s rarely ever rosy, but skills are king. The industry is very vast. There are so many niche areas you can choose, speaking and writing included, depending on your threshold. Just pick one thing and specialise.
Learning how to acquire skills is only the first step, but you can’t do this without humility and patience.
Also, have a plan. Aside from job interviews, you should also ask yourself often, ‘Where do I see myself in five years?’ Make a list and check things off. Follow through with your plans. Don’t be afraid to modify your plans as well. You’ll have some really hard times, but at that point where you want to give up, push even harder.
Lastly, and this might not be for everyone, trust in God and you’ll see his favours.
- Gain skills: You’ll progress faster in your chosen career path when you actively build valuable skills. People will pay good money for value, so if you want to earn more, you have to learn more.
- Be patient: Nothing good comes easy. You may have to do the backbreaking work for a while before you start to reap the benefits. Hang in there.
- Diversify your income: If you can, have multiple streams of income. Most of your ‘rich friends’ or role models do things on the side that give them the financial comfort you admire.