By Chikezie Ogbonna
For Okoene Moses Onyedikachi, his journey into the murky waters of entrepreneurship was born out of his desire to be independent and to carve a niche for himself.
The young lad who hails from Ogbozinne Akpugo, in Nkanu West Local Government Area, Enugu State and a graduate of Computer Science from National Open University of Nigeria had always dreamt of being an actor especially in the comic genre. According to him, he also has passion for sports with soccer being his favorite sports. However, due to the need to rise above the fray and stay afloat in his quest to make the best out of his life, he had to take the bull by the horn to solve problems as an entrepreneur.
Narrating why he had to jettison all he had passion for to become a barber and as well delve into entrepreneurship, Moses said;
“Poverty and hunger drove me into entrepreneurship. I come from a family of eight and I happen to be the last, I’m fortunate to be the last, so I have elder brothers and sisters, so because I was the last, I had nothing to worry about. I was well taken care of; I was pampered not until everything changed. The country’s economy became too bad, so everybody had to start striving to survive. Most of my elder brothers and sisters got married, so everyone of them faced their families. At this point I had no choice but to strive to survive.
“Well, I got admission in 2015, after that I thought about the state of things around me. I had no choice but to learn a skill. I considered barbing, sewing, etc but with no much time on my side I had to settle for barbing. I learnt how to barb in 2015 then by 2016, I opened my first shop. When I got admitted into school, I called a few relations, my brothers and uncles for their support. After paying for my school fees and every other thing, I used the remaining cash I had to open my first saloon. I started in a small way though. The days I don’t have lectures, I would go to the saloon or any day I leave school on time I go straight to my saloon. This was same routine on weekends. That’s how I’ve been doing it till date and I’ve been growing.
Moses is that person who could be rightly described as a strategic entrepreneur. He operates multiple barbing saloons in strategic locations in Enugu and just recently started a Point of Sale (POS) mobile banking business to help bridge the rising disconnections many has with having to go to banks to make their financial transactions. For him, his journey as an entrepreneur has been an interesting one which he attributed to God.
“It has been an Interesting journey so far, God has been helping me, I perfect daily. I wasn’t this good when I started, because if I look at the pictures from when I started barbing, I just laugh cause I wasn’t close to being as good as I am today. Even though people still commended me, however, deep down I knew I needed to do more. It is all God’s grace, when I compare when I started to now, I see great difference and improvement.
“In this strive to survive, succeed and to do exploit in life, I’ve read many motivational books, so I’ve come to understand that if u want to make it in life, u don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You have to invest in many things to bring more results. Like I told you, I opened my first saloon in 2016, I ran that one for a year and a few months, and then in 2018 I moved to Uwani, Enugu and opened another on 15th December 2018. By God’s grace we ran that one for about two years and in 2020 we opened another branch at Ama-Street, Enugu South Local Government Area.
“Just this year I thought about this POS business, because I found out that POS business was growing rapidly, and a lot of persons now find it difficult to go to the bank because of the stress of queuing for long and not being attended to. I found out that I could help solve this problem and still earn from it, so, I took it up and since then it has been a smooth one”, Moses said.
Just like the vast majority of business owners in the country, the journey has never been a rosy one and Moses is not new to the many challenges entrepreneurs face in the country. However, because of his background and having been made to face the reality of the harshness of our economic environment on time, Moses has somehow grown a thick skin in tackling head-on the many challenges he faced and obviously will keep emanating from time to time.
“I’ve had many challenges. For Instance, being a barber, you are fully aware that it’s not just you on the street, it sometimes feels like a competition and sometimes when you tell some persons the price for a haircut; they end up asking why you are so expensive when others have cheaper prices. You can’t help but maintain your standard, and the country’s economy has been too bad. We seldom have power supply and cost of a liter of petrol to power the generator is so unfair, but then we keep pushing.
“I don’t regret being a barber because it has helped fund my education with other expenses“, Moses said.
Moses further dished out some piece of advice to young Nigerians on making moves while they can as far as their dream is concerned and no matter how small.
This he has to say;
“My advice to the youths out there is that, as far as you are focused, there’s nothing you can’t achieve. Gone are the days you wait on persons around you to keep funding you. Those things you feel you can’t achieve, you can actually achieve them, just make up your mind and follow the steps, and you can achieve it. I have come to understand that majority of today’s rich weren’t born rich. The rich men out there followed some steps and made it to where they are presently.”
Moses dreams of being among the richest men on earth someday and as the saying goes, never neglect the days of little beginning.
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