After dealing with not being able to spend quality time with her kids while she had a high flying career, Mofolusade Sonaike decided to launch out into entrepreneurship. It wasn’t an easy transition but today she is glad she made that choice and she is empowering other women to do the same through the Mumpreneur brand. Enjoy our interview with her.
Can you briefly describe yourself and your business?
My name is Mofolusade Sonaike, I am an entrepreneurship advocate and an entrepreneurship content creator. I am currently the CEO of Branded.ng, a platform dedicated to creating thought leaders and I am also the creative director of Mumpreneur.ng, a coaching and support platform for mothers who run businesses.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I am a restless person by nature; I can’t sit still in front of a computer in an office all day if my life depended on it. I tried to live that life in the corporate world for a few years but the turning point came after I had my first son. I just couldn’t bear to miss out on important moments of his life because someone was paying for and owned my time. I started a gift consulting business on the side and resigned shortly after. The rest is history. I have the story of my transition journey documented here.
Can you tell us about Mumpreneur? What’s the vision behind it?
Mumpreneur started out as a search for how to define myself. After I resigned and launched fully into business, I went through phases of despair and frustration. In 2013, I decided to start blogging about it; I just wanted an outlet to help me feel better. Soon, I realised that many other people, especially mothers like me could connect with my stories and were also facing challenges like I had faced. This led me to define this niche in entrepreneurship support and advocacy and brought about mumpreneur.ng.
The Vision is to build a new generation of Mums that are not afraid to kick-ass! Hence the tag line “league of kick-ass mums”. Many women’s dreams die once they start to have children, but this doesn’t have to be the case. It’s tough to pursue your dreams and raise children at the same time, but with the right support system, it is possible to do this and do it well. This is exactly what mumpreneur.ng is set to do for mothers.
Working closely with branded.ng, we help women define their unique selling point, design their products of service and build a brand that would stand out. The beauty of all of this is that we take advantage of technology and the Internet to make all of this seamless and build a system that can run on autopilot once the foundation is laid.
Why did you decide to focus solely on mothers?
As I said before, this resonates well with me because I am a mother as well and the whole idea was born as a result of the struggles I had as a mother struggling to fulfil my dreams and raise wholesome children. Everything I say and teach is based on experience and what has worked for me and what hasn’t.
Do you believe that women can have it all when it comes to career and family?
This question is a relative one, when people ask me this, I often ask them to define what they mean by “all”? What is “all” to you might not be all to me. People have different priorities and goals. For me working a 9-5 was depriving me of quality time with my sons, I had a career and was getting paid a good salary, I could buy the boys fancy clothes and toys and even hire a nanny and pay her any amount to fill in for me, but that was not what I wanted.
Fast forward to now after deciding to resign, I have more time with the family, not as much money (just yet… that comes with time. lol) and I am building a business legacy that will outlive me. That for me is having it all. So yes a woman can have it all, when she decides exactly what she wants and goes all out for it. It’s a matter of perspectives.
What will you say is responsible for your success so far?
The very first root is the fact that God holds my center. I was raised by God-fearing parents who taught us to pray and trust God at a very young age. My mother can pray! Back then, my siblings and used to grumble during morning prayers and long church services, but those experiences laid the foundation on which we are building today. No matter how challenging life gets, my center holds because of my faith. Trust me, to build a successful business, you need to have something that holds your center, as one of my facilitators from FIIRO, Dr. Dele Oyeku used to say, you either have the small “g” or the big “G”. We laughed it off then, but it’s true.
Also, I developed leadership traits from being the first of six children. I had to lead by example, I was constantly reminded that anything I did had far reaching effects on my siblings; it was a lot of pressure, but it made me who I am today. I make decisions and stand by the consequences, when it is bad I take the lessons and move on, when it is good, I celebrate but still move on, no time to dwell there.
Finally, I am a continuous learner; I keep an open mind and prioritize personal development on my life journey. I am not afraid to try new things or fail. Someone once said, to be successful, you have to increase your rate of failure. If you don’t fail at something, you need to try more new things that scare you; this takes you closer to success.
Every entrepreneur faces challenges. Can you tell us some of the challenges you have faced in business and how you overcame them?
Every stage comes with a different challenge. The first one I struggled with after resigning was managing my time, it is a continuous struggle to be honest, but over time I have learned to work with a schedule.
Another challenge I had was monetising my services, sometimes passion can supersede your need to make money and you end up doing so many things for free. While there is a place for building a brand by maybe offering free services to key people, there is a point where you must draw the line. People like free things, so don’t be delusional thinking they like you and cannot do without you; the true test of the value of your service is when people are willing to pay. Truth is, passion alone cannot take you to the bank if you don’t know how to price your services. I had to overcome the fear of charging for my services. The key is to be convinced that what you are offering is valuable and know that you deserve to get paid for it.
What keeps you going when the odds are against you?
I remind myself why I started in the first place. With the big picture in view anything is bearable. I just tell myself, I have to cross this hurdle to get to my destination and that’s all that matters. That’s why, whatever you are doing, be sure that it is what you really want to do; it is for you, not anybody else.
In five years, where do you see the Mumpreneur brand?
Five years from now, Mumpreneur.ng will have a huge database and thriving community of mothers who run their own businesses across Africa. The brand will have given birth to other brands, one of which is in the works already – parenting.ng. The community and platform will be the number one resource for any mother looking to start a business, with practical courses which we are currently developing that address key areas of starting a business e.g NAFDAC, CAC, Tax etc.
We will build thought leaders in different industries with our sister company, Branded.ng of Mumpreneurs who will change the entrepreneurial landscape and narrative in Africa. The brand will also house apps to help mothers be more effective in managing their homes and businesses. This is just a tip of the iceberg. It’s a huge dream and I am confident that it will come to pass.
What do upcoming female entrepreneurs need to do to be successful in this path?
The most important thing is to be authentic, be you.