Leading Ladies Africa: If you could describe yourself with one word, what would it be?
Chiddie Anyasodo: Orchestrator. Like a music orchestrator who leads different sections of musicians in a band or choir to perform a musical piece in the desired way, I lead my clients and team to produce the desired outcome harmoniously and uniquely.
Leading Ladies Africa: Have you ever had any disappointments? If yes, how did you handle it?
Chiddie Anyasodo: Disappointment is something I have had to get used to as I grow as a person and a business owner. In the past, this got me really upset. I have now evolved into seeing them as learning points or messages coming to me to help other people, a sign to slow down, improve or try another option. I remember an incident that happened so many years ago. As a young Nigerian female engineer working in different countries who wanted to find and get married, I faced many disappointments in finding Mr Right. At a point, this made me depressed as someone successful at a very young age; I felt like if I couldn’t get this one thing, then I must have failed. Finally, after working on my mindset and relationship skills, I found Mr Right, and we have a beautiful marriage. I did not stop there. I learned lots of lessons from that, including building my confidence, knowing the right person for me to experience, and building a more harmonious relationship. It was quite eye-opening to realise then that if I was going to be successful and achieve my dreams, then the person I married was very important and should have the right personality and values to work well. Sadly, I still see people making the same mistakes today that I made in the past. This made me turn this disappointment not just as my own learning point but as a learning point to teach other high achieving African singles going through the same problems. That is how Chotayah.com was born. Chotayah is a luxury relationship service company that helps people build fulfilling relationships using coaching & therapy to equip them to discover their authentic selves and find the right person for them.
Leading Ladies Africa: How do you stay innovative as an entrepreneur?
Chiddie Anyasodo: It starts from the mindset and foundation. From the day we opened the doors to Chotayah, my aim has always been to be a Category of One. To build Chotayah as a company that delivers a magical, profoundly transformative experience to our clients. Our objective was to create a company that is so differentiated that we are the only one in our category that exists. So, we crafted our own path, which is quite different. We have a unique message to challenge the status quo. We have to keep learning from our environment and our customers to achieve this. We are always trying to know– how can we provide the most effective result for our clients in the shortest possible time. What can we do for our customers to ensure that their lives are easier and more beautiful? We use these answers as inspiration to create new things. I am not afraid to get the company to experiment with new ideas, and if they work, we embrace them. If they do not work, we cut them off immediately and try another. And because we are pretty small, it’s easy to evolve very fast.
Leading Ladies Africa: What and Your Plans for your business In Five Years?
Chiddie Anyasodo: Get our clients to have more weddings, happy marriages, and babies. Hahaha, now let me be serious. We are a luxury boutique business and only work with a handful of selected clients. In the future, we want to broaden our reach to make it possible for more people to access our services. We want to fully include lots of our beautiful African marital traditions into our processes in a way that aligns with modern times.
Leading Ladies Africa: Tips on how you handle when the going gets tough?
Chiddie Anyasodo: There are days when it can be pretty tough, and it just seems like nothing is working as it should. Imagine the IT system failing in the middle of launching a new product that many customers are already waiting for. Some incidents make me want to doubt myself and wonder if being an entrepreneur is a good idea. I take a short break from work at those moments – 10 -20 minutes. I centre myself by meditating, grounding or using breathing exercises. These regulate my nervous system, and I can think clearly to know the next action step. I also rely on my team to brainstorm and come up with solutions. No man is the sole connoisseur of knowledge. For me quitting is never an option. My fail-safe plan is always to pivot if all solutions fail.
Leading Ladies Africa: Final words to entrepreneurs who want to go into this industry and women in our community?
Chiddie Anyasodo: Make sure you have a good plan and know where you are heading in the next 1-5 years’ time. Understand your business correctly and have a mentor if you can get one. I work with paid business coaches to help me see the future. Surround yourself with people going in the same direction as you are. Have a long-term vision, make small incremental changes and eliminate all waste of resources (money, time and people). Keep learning and implementing the lessons immediately.
Like every other industry, it has its challenges; you must hold on and keep building till it blossoms. The first five years are usually challenging. You are going to want to give up several times. Customers are going to drive you mad. This can affect your confidence, especially when you think you have gone above and beyond to deliver a service to make them happy, and they still complain. When this happens, take a step back and see if there is any lesson to be learnt. Could it be that your customer sees things from a different perspective? Or are you delivering your best which may not be what they are looking for?
Do not make the mistake of over-spending. Like I said earlier, eliminate waste. Spend as little as possible, especially when testing an idea for the first time. When it works, you can put more money behind it. Cash Flow is the lifeblood of any business. Make sure you have a system to sell your business and maintain cash flow. If it’s automated, better.