#LadyBoss Interview: “Entrepreneurship is a mindset. It’s a state of viewing opportunities as investments,” Tolulope Ibiyeye, Founder, Crazy Ambitious Moms Group.

Image credit: Tolulope Ibiyeye

Ibiyeye Tolulope is a home business owner who has been working from home for the past 3 years. A trainer and independent marketer for a European beauty brand, she’s passionate about creating genuine conversations around topics that matter and helping businesses and brands use conversations to move sales and customer service. She’s mom to 2 adorable kids and when she’s not found training her tribe online, she’s most likely having conversations and making news friends on social media before kids and family life takes over.  And now that everyone is home and social distancing, she’s even more open to connecting with people and building more meaningful friendships. Connect with her on LinkedIn @tolulope-ibiyeye or via email – txt2lex1@gmail.com.

In this interview with Leading Ladies Africa, Tolulope shares the inspiration behind becoming an entrepreneur, what entrepreneurship means to her and work-from-home tips for women in the same scenario. Lean in!

What does Entrepreneurship mean to you?

When I started my entrepreneurial journey 9 years ago, my view of entrepreneurship would have simply been “starting a business of your own and making money”. Over the years as I grew in knowledge and experience, I’ve come to realise that entrepreneurship is much more than just starting a business. Entrepreneurship is a mindset. It’s a state of being where you start viewing opportunities as investments and your mind is constantly open to taking the risks involved, innovating and constantly evolving on the way to seeing it to a profitable end. Because in reality, anyone can start a business, but not everyone has that capability to stick with it through thick and thin to finally make something profitable out of it.

Tell us the inspiration behind establishing Crazy Ambitious Moms Group and what this group is about?

I am a lady who has always pursued whatever I set my mind to. I started my first “profitable” business right out of university just because I wanted to keep myself busy while waiting for NYSC posting. I simply turned my dad’s backyard into a farm and decided to put into practice all I had learnt in school. In 8 weeks I made over 40,000 naira profit. That was in 2011 and I’m sure you would agree with me that that is definitely something for a graduate. I built a factory and registered my business immediately after NYSC because I realized that the knowledge that I gained while serving was enough for me to create opportunities for myself.

So, during my service year, I applied and took part in a competition that won me a grant to launch that business. So when I got married, I already had my business up and running and my husband who was my fiance during NYSC has always been there to assist. But oftentimes as women, we experience some sort of setback especially when children start coming into the picture. By the time I had my second child, I wasn’t as “passionate and relentless” as I used to be.

Hence, what prompted me to start the Crazy Ambitious Moms group was to inspire women like myself to keep going regardless. That our dreams and aspirations do not have to take the back seat simply because we now have other responsibilities and to help my fellow women to understand that to get to the top and be the best; it’s not enough to simply be ambitious. You’ll need to push a little bit more, put in some extra time, loose extra sleep, make extra efforts and just get crazy about your dream and ambitions. Hence the name, Crazy Ambitious Moms.

Image credit: Tolulope Ibiyeye

What “tough” moments have you had since establishing your business and how have these mistakes shaped you to become better?

One of my toughest moments was during the recession of 2016/2017. We lost so many customers who couldn’t hold up their businesses and at that time we came to realize that we also didn’t really have a proper accounting structure in place. Another quite tough period was in 2018 while trying to combine 2 businesses, raising kids, managing the home front, altogether with starting an internship at an NGO all at a time when my husband had to relocate to another city. I was thrown into a serious state of overwhelm and at a point finally broke down. It took some months for me to bounce back but when I did, I took charge of what I needed to and took note of the lessons it taught me.

Those tough moments taught me the value of self-love above everything else. An overwhelmed woman is a ticking time bomb and it is only a matter of time before she explodes. I learnt to shed off responsibilities that don’t serve me and I hired help. I started taking myself more seriously and putting myself first. Because I realised that it is when I am happy as a person, only then can I be my best self and radiate that happiness onto those around me. 

Image credit: Tolulope Ibiyeye

If you could have a lunch date with one Lady Boss you admire – who would that be and what would you ask her?

That would have to be Mo Abudu of EbonyLife TV. My question to her would be quite simple: what does she do in her spare time? 

Image credit: Tolulope Ibiyeye

You have quite an experience working from home. How have you made it work? Can you share tips for women working at home?

Working from home is quite different from working in a designated office. Often times, you don’t have anyone looking over your shoulders or motivating you to get things done other than yourself. Here are some tips and strategies that have helped me stay focused and accountable while working from home:

  • Be clear about what your work goal is and write down all the activities that would get you to achieving that goal. This includes drawing up a long draft of tasks and activities to get done in let’s say a week, everything should be included in this. Daily, you pick out which activities you want to tackle to completion, then create a daily to-do list from that.
  • Tune out distractions especially those from our mobile devices. For me, I turned off all notifications because my biggest distractions are from social media and the sound of a notification coming in. What I then do is block out a particular time during the day to check all the activities that I missed out on.
  • Attach rewards to completing a  task. It doesn’t have to be something huge, it could just be a little indulgence like 15 minutes nap etc.  And when you finally tick off all items on your to-do list, remember to celebrate that small victory.

 

The Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.

It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.

If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email lead@leadingladiesafrica.org, and she could possibly be featured.

 

 

 

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