Damilola Jonathan Oladeji is the Chief Editor and founder of cfwirterz.com, a literary community that trains and support writers, organizes contests for writers and encourages their daily writing activities.
cfwirterz.com also has an e-shop where entertaining, educative and informative ebooks and e-magazines are sold. Damilola’s facebook wall is an interesting place to be, as he shares thoughtful and engaging posts on his timeline
Pelleura met with Damilola to discuss his business, entrepreneurship and more. You definitely will learn something from this. Below is the interview.
Pelleura: It’s nice to have this chat with you, Dami.
Damilola: Thank you.
Pelleura: Please can you share details of your background with us?
Damilola: I grew up in Ibadan. My parents worked with Scripture Union Nigeria and the Civil Service. This meant that I had a lot of contact with religion. I am a Christian now of my own Choice. My background was such that a lot of activities and ceremonies were done perfunctorily. I found myself identifying how I could be the better human that I so yearned to be. I had academic challenges growing up but ended up finishing at Obafemi Awolowo University with awards.
Pelleura: What were your dreams like when you were in school?
Damilola: Hmmm, I really won’t say I had dreams up until University. I was a boat adrift most of my Primary and Secondary School years. I really had no clue what I wanted to be and didn’t ask either until I had to pick a course in my Jamb examination slip. University opened my eyes to the future and I started hoping I could help humanity through capacity building, lecturing or consulting within the real estate industry. This was also when I became quite aware of my writings. I remember writing stories in tracts and distributing them to my colleagues in class.
Pelleura: Are you full time into business? Or do you have a daytime job? Why?
Damilola: I am currently a Research Fellow at the University of Pretoria. This is a full-time study and I fund most of my living cost by writing and content development. I don’t have a day job but I am always on my job as requests come in.
Pelleura: Please tell us what your business is about.
Damilola: I write brand stories for business startups; About Us pages, Website and Blog Brand content, I ghostwrite books and also create ebooks, blog content, and articles for businesses.
Pelleura: What inspired you to start this business?
Damilola: I had just returned from Delta State after working a few months with a real estate firm and I decided I needed to go back for my Masters since I always had a passion for lecturing. I knew if I would achieve this, I needed to have a financial plan. After considering all my multiple skills, I realized writing was still my top performer and I could do it on the go. It is also not capital intensive like real estate or music; I play the saxophone and would have loved to attend a good music school. Writing became my major business tool for generating revenue.
Pelleura: What are the obstacles you’ve faced and how were you able to overcome them?
Damilola: Mostly, the obstacle I face is growing a clientele base. There have been good times and there have been tough times. I have also struggled to combine the content jobs with my studies, my own books I want to author. My struggles are not unique, everyone goes through this phase and it takes varying time intervals to overcome. This understanding has always helped me. Whenever I am at a loss about what to do, I pick up my diary and journal and start to revisit all the milestones or ideas I have mapped out. I pick up each of them and pursue anyone at a time. I don’t pressure myself to always do all I set out to do but I make sure my goals are well mapped out and I never give up on them.
Pelleura: In a country like ours, do you think the government has put in place structures that help small business survive?
Damilola: No. I had my own real estate office in Osogbo before I traveled to South Africa. Every day I would open the office I rented, I had a few things plus a table and chair. I would start to call prospects I felt I had not reached in a while. I would leave my office and visit the few properties I managed. I even had to travel sometimes monthly to Ibadan to check a property I managed there. There was no part of this process that had government intervention. In fact, every little encounter I had with the government was a roadblock rather than an enabling role.
I once nursed the idea of running a waste management line in the same office. It took me a while to find who was in charge; the offices at the secretariat were a wild goose chase. When I found the final stop, I got nothing concrete or encouraging enough for me to start. The government is a failed mechanism when it comes to business in Nigeria.
Pelleura: So presently, what are those achievements you’ve made in your business and what future goals are you aiming for?
Damilola: Presently we have registered the CF Brand & Media PR Services which is still the business structure on which we float the literary platform I started in 2016. We have published three editions of the Freedom Magazine and an anthology in collaboration with Authors Without Boundaries. We have over 60 Nigerian ebooks published on cfwriterz.com and are looking to expand our operations soon enough. We have also hosted a number of literary Awards including the designed Life Literary awards and The Freedom Magazine Awards.
Pelleura: How have you used social media to your advantage?
Damilola: Social media is where the majority of my clientele comes from. I have met collaborators, sponsors, and partners on social media. It’s my office space right now and whenever I’m online, I assume I am at work.
Pelleura: What’s the most important social media activity you engage in daily, to grow your business?
Damilola: Social community engagements. I write daily to share my thoughts on various issues, I engage people who are interested in writing. I give people free advice most of the time and I use my business platforms to project my portfolio of work.
Pelleura: Do you have your own online platform?
Pelleura: If you were to do it all over again, would you choose to start and grow a business, or would you rather stick to paid employment?
Damilola: I honestly don’t have a straight answer to that. I don’t see it as an “Either this or that” situation. I have had different opportunities to take paid jobs if only I applied but they did not fit into the lifestyle I see myself living and they were not my dream job. I’d rather stick to business on my own than taking anything outside lecturing or consulting in capacity development and housing.
Pelleura: What advice do you have for other small business owners?
Damilola: Be tenacious and don’t start if you know you can’t bear the struggle. If it’s a job you really want, focus on writing applications, get your qualifications and apply. Doing business does not make you any better than others in paid employment, just do what offers you the best out of the life you want to live. This means you have to discover what that life looks and feels like for you.
Pelleura: This is a powerful one from Damilola, and you’ve read it all. In life, you have to know what you want and actually go for it because, in our world today, nobody hands you anything on a platter of gold. You must work for it, one way or another. And there’s really nothing like luck. People only get what they consciously or unconsciously asked/worked for.
Please don’t forget to share this post with your friends, they just might learn a thing or two from Dami’s experiences. Thanks so much for your time, Dami.
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