Let's get right into it Wale, tell us about your business.
I’m the CEO of Helium Media, a company dedicated to telling original African stories through our platforms, The Naked Convos (@thenakedconvos) and TNCTV. We work with creators to develop content into podcasts, web series, feature films and several other media formats.
So, how did you get into being an entrepreneur and is Helium Media a side hustle or a full-time gig? Also, have you made mistakes along the way?
No, Helium is not a full-time job.
I’ve been an entrepreneur for several years and I have enjoyed successes at some of the highest levels locally and internationally but there’s also been a lot of lessons.
I’ll share a couple – first, in a country like Nigeria, it’s easy to quickly convince yourself that you have to be an entrepreneur because it is almost a norm.
But it is important to know that it might not be for everyone. Starting and running a business, though more fulfilling than a regular 9-5 is not easy. If you can, make sure you find that one thing you are truly passionate about as your choice of business.
Second thing is that there are many things, you have to pick one or the other. Again, access to capital in Africa isn’t great. Having a day job might be the easiest way to finance your business. Start off with both and when your business grows big enough to the point you need to quit your day job, you will know.
What’s your take on doing business in Nigeria?
I can tell you all the negative things we all probably know. It’s a tough business environment, there’s little or no support for SME, lack of infrastructure, etc But the truth is, amidst all the chaos, there are a lot of opportunities.
How has being a father impacted on you as a brand owner?
Building a brand is like raising a kid. I have adopted a lot of life lessons I have learned from raising my kids to my business. A notable one is patience. If you thought you were patient before having a kid, parenting a toddler, in particular, will teach you to be even more patient. You can’t make a decision hastily, you need to consider the facts, do a lot of research, consult experts before making a decision.
What is your favourite thing about being an entrepreneur?
For me, it’s the way we are able to impact lives. The lives of the creators we work with to help monetize their talent and the lives of the many Africans who connect with and consume the beautiful web series, podcasts, and stories we create.
What’s your least favourite thing about being an entrepreneur?
Like I said earlier, it’s not easy. A lot of people think working for yourself is the best and the easiest thing in the world. Having to be accountable to yourself requires a lot of discipline – this is something we all struggle with as humans.
Would you encourage your children to be entrepreneurs?
Well, it’s not so much about me encouraging them. You are either an entrepreneur or you’re not. If I see signs that point to any of my kids being entrepreneurial, I’ll definitely encourage them to explore. If not, I’ll encourage them to pursue a successful career in whatever field they choose.