Pathway to convince your Nigerian parents that you’re an Entrepreneur
"Quitting your job or not getting one at all after graduation to pursue your passion especially in this recessive economy is a load of crap!"
- At least that's what your parents think.
Especially coming from a family with no entrepreneurial background, the way your parents were raised, you go to school, you get a job, let me put it this way;
Douye is a computer science graduate from the University of Port Harcourt, he spends his days designing UX interfaces for apps and websites. He considers himself an entrepreneur and he makes a good sum for it, but working in a cubicle, wearing shirts, ties and ironed pants to work at an 8–5 schedule is not his forte. But his retired ex-banker dad would just not understand his plight.
“Well, when will you get a real job?”
“What will you do now that you have finished ABC Company’s project?”
“Are they not taking on full-time staff?”
And these I say are the million dollar questions! Convincing your parents that the next path in your career journey is one of true knowledge, understanding, and total domination is one tough cookie. Prejudice will become the order of your day, so you must be strong and forge a path to creating your own destiny.
He hopes that one day the conversation would go more like; “Mum, Dad, I want to kick off my own company, as a matter of fact, I want to be a big innovator in the Tech industry.”
These are the dreaded words Nigerian parents aren’t looking forward to today. Not all parents are tolerable, understanding and convincible about this sort of behavior, especially those who have invested a lot into your education and financial independence, but some parents tend to allow their offspring shine and strive for their identity. We all believe that entrepreneurship is now more widely accepted, especially with more entrepreneurs coming into the limelight, and school curriculum being well tailored to support growing businesses and the lifestyle, but do your “traditional” Nigerian parents really think this is a viable career path, nah, not really.
Now, how do you convince your Nigerian parents that you’re an entrepreneur and that you’re damn good at it?
For one I bet it would be difficult to explain your situation to them. You don’t want to come across as spoilt, entitled or privileged, but you also don’t want to be identified as the underachieving child either. Luckily there’s a middle ground, and this is the part where you try to get them on your side and ultimately support your decision.
…here are some guidelines I’d suggest you to follow when broaching the subject:
Make your case and sell the dream
Entrepreneurs are good at making presentations, designing a workable portfolio, and marketing these innovative ideas to potential partners, investors and customers. Think of your parents as the first hurdle in your business deal, create a long term effective business plan, and sit them down, detail your business goals and strategies to succeed, your business startup capital and your first-year profit analysis. Being passionate in your description might not only give you their blessing but also their money!
Map out your personal financial plan
Your personal financial plan is also part of the deal; give them a briefing on how you intend to cover your living costs, food, medical and travel bills. They will definitely not want you leaving off them during your emancipation; you must be able to cover your expenses and be stable when you walk down this path.
Allow them criticize your business portfolio, query your ideas, explain their viewpoints, ensure that you fully understand their side of the matter while holding your ground. Then you can proceed to ease out their fears, this will further give you a chance to address every doubt and misunderstanding they might be having towards your ideas and your plans to succeed.
Work hard and let your seriousness show
Get your business started on time, don’t give a futuristic timeline and it never comes to pass. If your kick-start date is October, let it begin when due, register your business, open a business account, be on top of your business finances, and most of all hit career milestones.
A leader leads by example and for your startup, you’re the leader hence the need for you to get off your ass and do some real work. Show an immense level of maturity, don’t sleep all day or surf the web claiming to an entrepreneur, mediocrity will take over. Have a business schedule, plan your time, develop effective strategies to improve your startup and grow your business.
Be passionate about your startup
“Doing what you love is happiness, and loving what you do is freedom”. If you’re passionate about your business, it will be easy convincing your parents as well. Be enthusiastic and optimistic about your business. Even when all else fails, quitting is not an option.
Give updates on your progress
Think of your parents as your de facto bosses whom you give status reports to. This could be done monthly, quarterly or yearly. They should hear about your successes and achievements from you, your partner, friends, relatives, press clips and everywhere possible.
There’s this tradition in most families in Nigeria, the first fruit is donated to the family or at least celebrated together. As soon as the success (Money, achievements, contracts or whatever) starts coming in, celebrate with your parents, thank them for letting you follow your dreams, there’s no greater moment than for a father or mother to marvel at his/her child’s glory.
At the end of the day, you might just realize that this is not a one-off logical argument you can win, just keep pushing and constantly stand by your decision. Whatever happened to the phrase “you will never be rich working for someone else”, let this be your mantra. Finally, mutual respect, perseverance, and success will one day help you achieve the support you so desire.
Now! That I’ll drink to.