Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas In A Pen

Discover the future of Nigerian literature in this refreshing read for teenagers and adults alike. Moncoeur Global Concepts presents 'Christmas In A Pen', An Anthology of Teenage Stories and Poems, as published by Zayzee Writes.

This work concludes the writing workshop that held for teenagers between December 18th and 20th, 2017 and is available for free download. In the spirit of the season, don't forget to share with your friends. Click here to download your free copy now.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

What Can I Do Differently To Grow My Business?

Your Money
What Can I Do Differently To Grow My Business?

Hello Miss Tolani
I read your column in the last edition of Drive Magazine. You talked about planning your money. That it is not how much you make that matters but how much you keep.
How does one achieve 'keeping' in a very tight situation? I am an entrepreneur and have been running my business for three years now. I am yet to see growth in my business. It isn't that I don't have enough clients to sustain my business and even grow it. The problem is that I have to support my family from my business and 'keeping money' that I know will assist my husband in our home doesn't sound right.
I love my business. I make enough money a month but my business cannot grow. What can I do differently?
Thank you.

Suzy .M. (Lagos)

Hi Suzy,
this is a problem most women entrepreneurs face. I hope you can follow the steps outlined below.

Analyse your inflows and outflows: The essential first step for your financial plan is to do an outline of your personal monthly inflows and outflows. In your case, you will need to analyse the inflows and outflows for your household and your business. As an entrepreneur, it is important to treat your business as a separate entity from you. Allow your business to have a life of its own, separate from you. Do not treat the income from the business as your own. Pay yourself a salary from the business which should be fixed and taken only when others (your staff) get paid. You can also take a small portion of the profit (profit sharing) yearly and cap it at a particular percentage e.g. 25%.
Inflows are your personal income you earn or receive monthly (income from your business) while outflows are personal expenses or gifts you make monthly. Sum up your inflows and outflows and deduct the sum of your outflows from the sum of your inflows. If the sum of your inflows exceed the sum of your outflows you are in a positive position and if otherwise you are in a negative position; something drastic needs to be done.

Let’s take a look at those Outflows (expenses): let’s drill down! Analyse each item of your outflows above. At this point separate your business expenses and your personal expenses. Your business expenses are the costs incurred for the day to day running of your business (e.g staff cost, rent, electricity bills, telephone bills etc.) while your personal expenses are those you incur on personal effects and day to day running of your household e.g school fees, feeding, house rent, transportation etc. Analyse each item of your outflows and check for excesses. Where you are making unnecessary expenses or spending too much, can you cut out the excesses or look for cheaper alternatives? Discretionary expenses like entertainment, recreation etc. can also be eliminated completely without a threat to your survival.

Set up a Budget: Budgeting is the process of creating a plan to spend your money. This spending plan is called a budget. The word “Budget” makes a lot of us cringe as it brings to mind images of self-deprivation but the truth is you can almost never go wrong with a budget, if you keep it. Your budget is one of the biggest tools that help you succeed financially. It allows you to create a spending plan so you can focus your money in a way that will help you reach your goals. It is easy to spend more than you earn but a budget enables you to see exactly how much you spend each month compared to the amount of income you earn and also enables you to plan in advance.
In your case, you would have to maintain a separate budget for your business and your household. You would also have to work together with your spouse to draw up this budget.  You can maintain the budget on excel format which can be quite cumbersome but luckily there are a lot of mobile applications you can make use of, all thanks to technology.

Increase your earning capacity: you mentioned that you have a steady client base and it seems from all indices that your business is doing fine but it sure can be better and you can earn more. Have you thought about expanding your business? You can create a new product line for your existing client base or review your existing products and create ways you can serve your clients better and also increase your client base. When your earning capacity increases, you will have more money to fund your budget and also increase your savings and investments. However, do not increase your expenses indiscriminately as your income increases.

Set up a savings plan: You have to set aside a percentage of your income monthly. This may not be easy considering your numerous costs and expenses as a married woman but it is the most important process in growing your money. You cannot grow what you do not have. You have to be deliberate about it. Let’s say your monthly income is N100,000, after paying your tithe you are left with N90,000, you can decide to set aside 6%  (N5400) for starters. Banks offer various savings products which you can explore. You can also invest in mutual funds monthly to gain some considerable interest on your savings. Replicate same for your business.

Tiny Obeleville Town, Is A Well Of Entertainment

If you are wondering why you haven’t heard of Obeleville town before, it is because it is so tiny, no one has thought to put it on the map. Yet.
Kate Iffy Chukwu is your child’s best friend because she keeps them entertained with beautifully written stories. She talks to UZEZI ADESITE about her new book, ‘My Name is Kosi Kamsi’, which is set in the tiny town of Obeleville, located on the African West Coast. In this interesting town, we meet a regular child who dreams big.
So, let’s know more about this book. Excerpts:

Congratulations on your new book, My Name is Kosi Kamsi. What is it about?
Thank you so much. My Name is Kosi Kamsi is a compilation of eight warm stories for children from 6 years old and above. It tells the story of seven-year-old Kosi Kamsi, who wants to be a president when he grows up. His experiences in school and at home give him some ideas of what he would like to change when he becomes the president - this includes not doing any homework! In this book, which is the first in the series, Kosi Kamsi wants to save the world. He wishes he had a dog. He practices bravery when he finds out that he is the only boy at Cooking Club. He chases a fat stinky goat. He learns about Mount Kilimanjaro. Kosi Kamsi is the everyday child with a big dream.

Can you tell us what inspired this story?
When I was younger, I read varieties of books. Now, I love reading books with African themes. However, in recent times, children’s picture and chapter books written by Nigerian or African authors are still few. I had read Ifeoma Onyefulu’s picture books, Atinuke’s Anna Hibiscus and No 1 Car Spotter, I didn’t see more. Maybe there are, but it’s a rare find. That gap gave birth to my first idea.
Then, my first book was a retelling of Tortoise folktales titled A Week of Tortoise Tales.  I wanted my next book to be about human characters children could relate to. Another idea was born.
Another great inspiration came from my children and their cousins. Every child is different. After hearing dialogues during family gatherings, I pictured a book about a family full of opposites. I wanted the family to live in a fictitious town in Africa, so that children all over the world can learn a thing or two about Africa and some of its cultures. Not the Africa badly painted by the media sometimes.

How long did it take you to complete it?
It took me about a year to complete the writing process (the publishing aspect was a different ball game). I wanted my characters to interest my readers, so I kept on writing and re-writing and refining my characters and their environment. Thank God for computers. If I had used a typewriter, I would probably have given up!  

Writing for children is considered difficult. Why did you go for children category?
During my Masters in Creative Writing, I started out writing women’s fiction and short stories. I did not go to children’s category. I think it came to me. Looking back, it could possibly be because I had children who I loved taking to different libraries and bookshops. I also read with them books they brought back from school. We read together. We discussed the stories. Probably I was drawn to children’s writing because I had read lots of children’s books. Children’s writing is different because in order to write a good child-friendly story, you have to “become” the child. Think like them. Reason like them. Talk like them. Enter their world. Otherwise, the story or dialogue loses the intended tone and feel.  

      How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first children’s book, A Week of Tortoise Tales in 2013. Prior to that, I wrote short plays and short stories for competitions. However, my first published work was in 2007, where I wrote a couple of non-fiction articles online for Nigerian Village Square.

Are you a full time writer?
No, I’m not a full time writer. However, I always have something to write!

Can you tell us about your other work/s?
I do African storytelling workshops here in the UK. I have a weekly Storytime channel on YouTube. I create online courses for parents, teachers and Sunday school teachers in storytelling, story writing and drama.

How has the reception for My Name is Kosi Kamsi been?
It has been amazing! The feedback I am getting from children are just awesome. These are some of them…
“Made me giggle a lot.” “ Kosi Kamsi’s dad loved fish and avocado smoothie! Who actually drinks that in real life?” “I like Kosi Kamsi for dreaming big.”
Recently, a child asked if I would do a TV show of My Name is Kosi Kamsi because the book was so interesting!
I wrote a message on the last page of the book for readers to leave a review. So please leave a review on Amazon!

What marketing plans are you using to reach your target? Is there a book tour coming?
As a children’s book author, I know I have to target both the children who will read the book and their parents/carers who will buy the book. Therefore, it is a tougher plan.
Social media has been a powerful tool. I had a book launch team at first on Facebook, which helped spread the word when the book first came out. And that’s how I met you! (smiles). Social media will be key.
My offline school book tours will be after the Christmas, where I’ll do workshops and have Q&A sessions with students and parents. I have some education industry events booked as well. Word of mouth cannot be underestimated! 35 copies have been sold in Lagos through word of mouth!

Are you working with schools to see that this book is adopted into their list of literature books?
Absolutely. My first move was to get as much copies into Nigeria. Currently copies are in Lagos and Abuja. I have contacted schools. My next move is to go to these schools. It would be lovely for schools to have it on their list. My Name is Kosi Kamsi is educative, informative, entertaining and an excellent book for any child who wants to just read for pleasure or build up their reading confidence.

How would you describe the writing industry in Nigeria, especially the children category?
The writing industry has evolved. When I did my Creative Writing in 2013, I used Eghosa Imasuen as my case study on the problems of publishing in Nigeria. It was tough for writers to get their work published. However, with more and more people writing publishable work now, publishers like Farafina, Cassava Republic and Lantern are getting more writers on their list.
It is still challenging, but with online publishing arms like Amazon, Smashwords, more people have hope that their writing will be published.
Within the children’s category, honestly- I would love to see more.

What can be done to help our children know more about our history?
Museums help people to know more about history. A museum is designed to inform and teach. Children will be happy to learn our history in such an inviting place. Mind you, a museum visit is not only for academic learning, it opens the door for more curiosity. Children will ask questions. They will think. They will imagine. They will have ideas. They will re-tell the stories of what they have heard. It is that type of learning that children rarely forget.
If we had more museums where schools took their students on educational trip or parents took their children during the weekends, children will be happier to learn better or be more curious about the topic than sitting in the classroom, just staring at a teacher teach.
Another way for children to know more about our history is to give them easy- to- read books about our history. History does not have to be all gloomy and frightful like the wars in Queen Amina’s time or Usman Dan Fadio. Now even if the story is about a certain war, it should be written in a child-friendly way.
There has been amazing times in our history. There have been great people who did great things. Great events. Nigerians doing amazing sports. Nigerians been awarded for their achievements (both young and old, home and in the diaspora). These should be documented and schools should have these in their reading rooms or libraries.

If you were in government, what would you do differently to promote the arts?
The importance of book -filled libraries cannot be over-emphasised. Every town (big or small) should have access to libraries where children and their families can have free membership and access to borrow books. Only if they fail to return it or return it in a very bad shape can they then be charged for it. These libraries should also have a few computers where people can use them as a library catalogue, or children can use them for their homework.
I totally love the idea of having good museums. There are different types.  Museums are for everyone. If I was in the government, there would be book museums, where anyone can read about authors and see samples on display. There should be free books, art and craft events that promote art and culture. These will inspire young people to be creative, dream big and develop special skills.

Are you currently working on a new book? If yes, when should we expect it?
Yes, I am currently working on Series 2 of My Name is Kosi Kamsi. To be released middle of 2018. By God’s grace.

What Nigerian writer did you last read, and which are you currently reading?
I re-read a novel by Lola Shoneyin, Baba Segi’s wives. I am currently reading Amaka Azie’s Melodies of Love.
I am yet to read children’s chapter books by Nigerian authors. The children’s books I read a while ago were Atinuke’s Anna Hibiscus and The No 1 Car Spotter. She is a Nigerian living in the UK. I would love to read more literature from Nigerian children writers. And I don’t mean the little pamphlets about a young child having to fetch water, cut firewood, and look after his entire family before going to school...if at all he goes!

Friday, December 22, 2017

New Edition Of Drive Magazine Is Growing

 And finally, our last edition of Drive magazine for the year is out. ‘Growing’ is the theme for this edition. Even when things don’t go the way we plan, we should always be excited about tomorrow and the possibilities it holds.

In this edition, we have not two but five interviews. Wow!

On our Cover is Amina Turnbull, who has created a business out of her love for the Ketogenic lifestyle, and helping people lose weight and live healthy. We also delve into the business world of Rukky Ohiomoba, founder of Ruvero Designs.

And newly introduced with this edition is ‘Drive Africa’, a section dedicated to entrepreneurs from around our beautiful continent, who are doing amazing works either in their countries or abroad. In this section, we meet the lady behind Maria Bradford Kitchen.

… plus other entertaining and enlightening stories to make this holiday a good time to reflect and grow. Dare to dream to keep growing, no matter what!

Don’t forget to connect with us on social media.
Twitter: @DriveMagNG
Instagram: @drivemagazin
Facebook Page: Drive Magazine NG

Download the new edition of Drive Magazine here

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Build Your Capacity, Increase Your Wealth

*As published in the last edition of Drive Magazine under the column 'Your Money*

Wealth is often misconstrued as having a lot of money, but money is not equal to wealth. I tag real wealth as ‘Capacity’. Capacity is the ability to hold or contain resources; to effectively manage them. Wealth is the ability to hold and effectively manage limited resources. It’s not about what you earn or have but how you can effectively manage and grow your limited resources.
 The ability to turn one loaf of bread into a bakery and keep the bakery running, turning a loaf of bread and 2 fishes into thousands to feed a multitude is what I call wealth. Do you ever wonder how the first and second servants in the parable of talents were able to double their talents? They are not wealthy because of the amount of resources that was available to them but the capacity they had to double their talents. We often seek for more money but not enough capacity through wisdom.

‘Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think’ — Ayn Rand

King Solomon was extraordinarily wealthy and wise. Wisdom was the only thing he asked from God and in his writings King Solomon lists wisdom and knowledge as the two most important gifts to ask off God. Wisdom and knowledge are what created Solomon's great wealth. ‘Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding’- Proverbs 4:7

‘True wealth lies not in silver and Gold, but in learning, wisdom and uprightness’ — Khalil Gibran

Wealthy people know how to make money, effectively manage and multiply it. With these you can build sustainable wealth.

As an entrepreneur you must:

1. Develop a Wealth Mindset: Money is a means to an end and not an end itself. Wealth is not built through spending but through profitable investments. Developing a wealthy mindset requires understanding that the way we spend, invest and manage ten naira is the way we will spend and manage ten million naira. It is not all about how much money you can make but how you can effectively manage and grow your limited resources. Note that you can have overnight riches but not overnight wealth; it is a process.

2. Think Value: As an entrepreneur, value creation is one of the most important steps to building sustainable wealth. This includes finding the thing in you, your products or services that can be of value to others, harnessing it and finding that person or those people that are willing to collect your valuable commodity and give money in return.  People will continue giving you money as long as they get value for it.

3. Get Knowledge: Your personal knowledge is the bedrock of anything you want to achieve. The knowledge you have and keep acquiring is what distinguishes you and your business from the competition. A lot of people want to and can become rich. But only financially intelligent people can become wealthy — and that takes a strong financial education that allows you to build cash flowing businesses and assets. Financial Education involves learning how to effectively manage your limited resources through savings, budgeting, proper expense monitoring and investments.

4. Plan Your Money: Ultimately, it’s not how much money you make that matters but how much money you keep — and how long that money works for you. Every day, I meet many people who make a lot of money, but all their money goes out of their expense column. Every time they make a little more money, they go shopping for something newer or bigger than what they had before, which results in long-term debt and more hard work. Nothing is left to go into the asset column. It’s this kind of behavior that separates the rich from the wealthy. That is why wealthy people in our society are often tagged as ‘stingy’, but they plan their money rather than merely spending to appear rich. The goal of planning your money is to get to a point where the assets you have accumulated can pay you enough of an income to pay for your lifestyle.

About the Writer:
Omotolani Ashiru is a Personal Finance Planner. She has worked in the financial sector for six years and is passionate about helping individuals and businesses plan, manage, invest and increase their resources.  

Contact: 08030964574

Thursday, September 21, 2017

My 7 Work From Home Success Tips

Uzezi Adesite

So I posted these tools a while back on my Instagram page @iamzayzee, and thought to share it here as well. A lot of people wished they worked from home and some do make that dream a reality. But working from home is actually not very easy because of the distractions and we tend to be less committed to tasks. Being successful as a work from home entrepreneur involves a lot of discipline. You must approach it the same you approach leaving home and going to an office.
For me, these 7 tips guides me.  

1.       Establish your work space away from your bed and pillow. Unless the work requires a bed and pillow.

2.       Determine your work hours. Don’t mix doing house chores with your office work. Resume for work, close from work.

3.     Switch the TV off; don’t MUTE the volume. And if the cable expires, great; don’t renew right away. You will get much work done.

4.       Break time is necessary. Stretch your legs if you sit long hours to work. Turn the radio on and have lunch. Don’t get tempted to watch one Telemundo show during your break. One will turn to three and today’s work will be carried over to the next day. Avoid unnecessary headaches.

5.       Be smart. Work around power supply. Sort out what can be done with and without power so that ‘No light to work’ will not be an excuse.

6.       Know your necessary tools and have them within reach.

7.       Social media is your friend and your enemy. When you visit her, stay focused.

Monday, September 11, 2017

New Drive Magazine Is Out

It gives us great pleasure to introduce you to our ninth edition, themed ‘What Can I Do Differently’. The stories in this edition are carefully selected to make you think along our theme.

Our Cover Interview features Chioma Joy Peters, an event planner who understands the importance of turning her passion into a business and running it professionally.

How I Started My Business features a young publisher, who changed her unemployment status by using her talent to launch a media outfit.

Also, meet Hardy, extremely driven to succeed, an entrepreneur whose desires to change the reality around him motivated his works.

And our regular columns will get you nodding your head. New additions are: Your Money and Picked for You. As entrepreneurs, we desire to succeed and grow our resources, which is why Your Money will be our guide. Also, it is essential that we keep growing along with our businesses. Development is vital to growth and success. Thankfully there are lots of courses we can take at our own pace. Our intention with Picked for You, is to featured one course per edition, so that whoever it is suitable for, can consider going for it.

Yes, this edition is doing things differently, and we hope that you too will. So dare to act and succeed.
Don’t forget to connect with us on social media.
Twitter: @DriveMagNG
Instagram: @drivemagazin
Facebook Page: Drive Magazine NG

Download the new edition of Drive Magazine here