Fabulous at 40

Fabulous at 40

And that’s how I turned 40! My goodness! This chic is getting old but I definitely don’t look bad at all! Initially I was wary of turning 40 – terrified almost – but now I am extremely thankful. ⠀

My biggest thanks to God for bringing me this far and for changing my mindset this year. Thank you to everyone who has rooted and supported me in one way or the other. Cheers to many more years ahead! Happy Birthday to me!

Thanks to my awesome awesome photographer: @frkuti_studios and my make up artist: @nikky_glam⠀for making me look soooo glam! I cannot even believe this is me. But it is! You all need to totally check them out!

How to Pay Yourself a Salary as a Small Business Owner & NOT Feel Guilty About It!

How to Pay Yourself a Salary as a Small Business Owner & NOT Feel Guilty About It!

Image from http://scoopak.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Salary-of-the-Month-Funny-HD-Wallpapers.jpg
I thought this picture was hilarious when I saw it.  But the reality for many of us business owners is not that funny.  Many of us are struggling to keep the business afloat that the last thing on our minds is getting paid at the end of the month!  
I personally dread month-ends – and I am sure every business owner does to.  In fact this is the only time I wish I was still working for obvious reasons.  That is when your bank account that you have struggled to build up during the month takes the hardest hit!  Can be pretty destabilizing.  And the worst thing is, it has to happen every month! ;-(  
And like there is nothing even more worse than the worst thing, YOU – the person who does most of the work does not get paid!  🙁 🙁 🙁
And even more worse than what is worse than the worst thing – you get accused by so-called business-people of dipping into the business funds to try and maintain your basic needs.  Yes can be quite frustrating right?!
NOW!  Don’t get me wrong…

Image from http://www.careerealism.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Negotiate-Salary-Without-Pricing-Yourself-Out-Of-The-Job.jpg
Many small business owners are guilty of that because many lack discipline.  Many fail to distinguish between personal funds and business funds.  Heck!  In fact many do not even have corporate bank accounts and those who do are not disciplined enough to ensure every inflow goes straight to the bank account.  No wonder at the end of the month, you have have no idea where all the money you made went to.
Anywayz… the time to pay salaries is coming up soon enough and yet again business owners will shortchange ourselves yet again.  Many have asked me this question and I have posted it in a Facebook group once so I thought I should post something on how to pay yourself a salary without feeling guilty at the end of the month.  
I have literally copied and pasted it (with of course some edits).  This worked for me in the early days and hopefully it will work for you as well. 
Image from http://www.centonomy.com/salary-does-it-work-for-you/
Here goes…
“On the personal / business finances, this is my take on it.

Many accuse business owners of dipping into the company’s purse but I can safely tell you it is the business that actually takes from you.
I put every dime I had into my business. If I wanted to be strict, I would say other sources should go to me directly not into my business. It does not work that way.  Those who say they never touched a dime probably had people footing other bills for them. 

This is what I tell people and my students who ask me for advice.

1. Every business income must go straight into the account. For that reason, I hardly take cash and ask people to pay directly into the account.

2. The truth is, you can never really pay yourself salary until you get to a point because you will only end up using it for a business expense.

3. Determine how much salary you think you deserve and then also give yourself a realistic nominal value based on what your business can afford. Eg. You are a CEO so maybe your salary should be n750k per month BUT your business can only afford N50k. That extra 700k should be recorded in the books as what your company is owing you which will help give a basis for the valuation of your business should you want to go limited and sell some shares.

4. With that 50k, you will probably still use some of it for the business so it is a tall order so this is what I do. 

I don’t spend much on myself so it is easy for me to track my finances. I have a book I record it in.

If I ask my assistant to get some petty cash for the office and say I ask him to buy me something to eat on the way back, I will record that expense as a personal one in my book. 

At the end of the month, I will compute all personal expenses and if it exceeds that 50k, I know next month, I must take out that extra.  Simply put, if I have overspent by say 20k the previous month, this means I can only do say 30k personal expense this month and vice versa. If I have not spent up to 50k, it means the office owes me but rather than take it as cash, I add to that 700k.

It takes a lot of discipline but it does work. That way you do not feel guilty when your salary pays for a sausage roll or a movie ticket. After all, why am I working if the business cannot meet my needs.

I am not talking about 250k Gucci bag needs o. I used to be a Jewellery person before but I don’t do much Jewellery anymore because I am running a lean means approach to everything. 

If I need something that I cannot afford, I ask for it. I will pray about it and put it on social media and funny enough, a friend obliges. That’s how I got my iPad mini as a wedding gift and so many other things I use in my business – things I would not have bought for myself.  I am never shy to ask if I need something.  Worst case scenario, I will get a NO.  

But I am allowed to enjoy the fruits of my hard labour. I feel if your business cannot meet your basic personal needs, then you are not running a business!”
That is what works for me!  Remember, DISCIPLINE is key!  You MUST go around with a pen and paper ALL THE TIME and do not say, oh I will update it later.  When you withdraw from the ATM, write it down in the book and state what exactly you use it for real time.  Whilst buying petrol, write it in.  Whilst on the bus, write it in.  You will be better off for it.
You can get something this small that costs N300 or so.  It needs to be small enough so it does not weigh down your bag.
And each page must have: Date / Description / Amount.  If yours is big enough, you can add vendor (i.e. who you gave the money to).  NOTE that this does not replace your company’s expense register.  You should reconcile this with the company’s.  I include both corporate and personal expenses in this one and do a reconciliation when I can.
Okay!  I think I am done with this!  Please feel free to ask questions if you have any and I will be happy to help you out – preferably in the comments section below.  It would be great if you help others out with your questions so everyone learns from it.  I often find people asking me questions privately and I wish they could post it on the site instead.
Before I leave… I think you should read this piece I stumbled upon when looking for a picture… 
I thought it made a lot of sense.
Enjoy the rest of the month and wish me a HAPPY BIRTHDAY in advance! 😀  


Please whatever the case, don't forget to:

- engage an accountant to help you properly qualify these expenses in your financial accounts; and

- factor in the tax elements of these payments and remit when due. 

Recommended Resources:

I also did 2 podcasts on this topic. Click on these links to access them:

Why You Should Pay Yourself a Salary as a Small Business Owner

How You Can Pay Yourself a Salary as a Small Business Owner

What Does Your Business Do in 1 Short Paragraph? (Updated 2020)

What Does Your Business Do in 1 Short Paragraph? (Updated 2020)

I often wonder why companies around here find it difficult to tell us what they do in one or two sentences without making us go through the trouble of reading through an epistle.  I’m sure if you ask the guys in the cartoon up there what they do, they’ll just use one word or max a sentence.  But ask someone around here what they do and they come at you with a barrage of words that leaves you completely confused when they are done.  
Case in point No 1.  

I was searching for a company which provided a specific product I needed and this company pops up.  After almost burning all my data trying to upload the company’s page and reading all the grammar, I was left wondering if they actually offered what I needed.  They had to right?!  Otherwise their names would not have come up.
Case in point No 2!  A mail I received from a company marketing some service I cannot even remember any more.  After reading through an overly constructed mail which I almost had to use a dictionary to decode, I realized when I was done that the company had said a lot without saying anything at all!
And then I recalled Case No 3, a conversation I had with an old colleague about what he does for a living now.  When he was done, I literally asked him again “so what exactly do you do?” 
These 3 cases made me realize that perhaps this is the way we do things around here.  In fact, with the first 2 cases above (and I really wish I could copy and paste both cases), it almost seemed like the companies were trying to “defend” what they were doing.  Almost like if they didn’t say so much, we would think what they were doing was no big deal.  But truth is, every product or service offering is a big deal!  No need to defend it with so much grammar.
As Albert Einstein once said…
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t know it well enough”!

Now don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the need to sound professional and educate people who try to dismiss the service you are offering as a mere “skill”.  That happens often and it can be quite annoying.  We designers bear the brunt of this a lot, when people try to “cheapen” what we do with the usual “so in short you’re a tailor”.  Initially I used to think it was necessary to enlighten them on what exactly I do but now I just reserve my energy for those who have a genuine interest in what I do.  I realized that those who knowingly made those comments either thought they were being funny or felt their jobs were much better than mine.  Better to leave them in their world of ignorance.  

I remember someone once tried to convince me to be proud of my skill, that there was nothing wrong with being a “tailor”.  Throughout the (what she thought was sound) advice, I had this look of “with all due respect, please stop manifesting your ignorance in full view of the public”.  1.  If you knew who a tailor was, you probably wouldn’t speak and 2. If you knew what I used to do, you would know this was a calculated decision and keep quiet.  
But before I digress, yes I do understand the reason for the professionalism in marketing e-mails.  But I also believe many of us get lost in the “English” to realize that we actually have to sell a product or service at the end of it all.  Yes I used to be guilty of such mails.  BUT I take solace in the fact that, at least, at the end of it all, the mails contained the “specifics” of what I was trying to pass across.  THAT was where the 2 companies above missed the mark.
What I would say is… 
1.  If you can tell us what you do in 1 paragraph, that would be great. 
2.  If you need more than 1 paragraph to explain what you do, please go ahead but please ensure at the end of the day, we understand what exactly you offer in clear terms.
3.  If you cannot help yourself, please highlight the important points in your mail so those of us who need the required information asap can simply glance through your message and pick out what we need from it.
And that is my tip for today.  Enjoy the rest of your day! 😀
Voluntary Rest or Mandatory Bed Rest. Choose One!

Voluntary Rest or Mandatory Bed Rest. Choose One!


R.E.S.T!  What many of us think we don’t need…until the word “bed” precedes it.  And by then, the doctor is already involved and we really have no choice!

Yes!  Many of us think we are invincible and can do everything.  Typical life of a start-up entrepreneur.  Our usual quote is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.  And whilst that might be true, many of us conveniently forget that on the 7th day, God rested!  

And remember that heavy storm which Jesus calmed with His words (Matthew 8:24)?  Jesus was sleeping before the disciples came to wake Him up.  Yes, He was also resting.  

And why did I decide to write about the importance of rest?!  Well I’ll tell you just now!

I decided to check up on a fashion designer who needed assistance with her business. We chatted about her goals and she informed me about an international competition she planned to participate in.  She also wanted to restructure her operations which was why she chose the FECs.  

I hadn’t heard from her in a while so thought I should check up on her to find out how the competition went and what she told me was completely shocking.  Here is a direct quote from our Blackberry chat.  Don’t worry, I asked for her permission and she said she didn’t mind.  In fact she said and I quote: 

 “I don’t mind, seriously people need to learn from it!” 
So here is what she said to me about what happened to her.
“I’ve been battling with my health since August and didn’t have the privilege to think of work.  Collapsed in my shop Thursday to your wedding.  Almost closed down my business because the doctor maintained it was health related.  I’m walking very well now and will fully start work again”.
Turns out she almost had something similar to a partial stroke.  Just imagine that!  And she is only in her thirties… in fact early thirties.
And what caused it?  Stress!  She was doing pretty much all the work because she couldn’t find the right people.  Which is a valid reason but look at how it turned out.  
This is a snapshot of her typical day:
“I am awake by 4.30am everyday to get the kids ready for school.  I usually pack my breakfast which I usually forget to eat till noon.  I close from work by 3.30 to pick the kids and head home.  I get home between 5pm and 6pm depending on the traffic, feed the kids, bath them and prepare them for dinner.  Once I’m done with homework, I see to laundry and every other thing I could not do before leaving in the morning.  Since I have limited time in the shop, I sometimes bring work home.
I still do freehand cutting so I am usually on my feet cutting for my 3 tailors and at the same time supervising them and attending to my clients who come at all times since I don’t work on appointment basis.  It’s like being under pressure all through the day with no time for rest, recreation, exercise and sometimes food.
You can imagine what my immunity level could be like.  I ignored the signs and blamed it on malaria till the big one came.    
At home and at work, I felt doing it myself meant getting it right because of my past experiences with delegating jobs.  Now I would rather spend time and energy finding the right team than leaving my kids motherless!
My irregular eating habit and lack of sleep nor rest made my blood pressure very low that I found it hard to help myself nor run a business.  I have learnt now to first take care of myself and you can imagine how easy it is to work with a clear head!
My husband confessed he was scared for me but didn’t say it because he didn’t have any solution.  Thank God I am alive to make things right!
And this is pretty much the story of the typical designer out there.  I have often maintained that the major problem with the fashion industry is entrepreneurial burn-out.  We take on too much and believe now is the time to do the work since we are still young.  And yes we might be, but when that is followed by too little rest, which is often the case, look at what happens.  
I still spoke to a lady just last week who said she was too busy to attend a Course her sister had paid for because she could not take any time off work.  I tried to talk to her but she was having none of it.  And I just smiled.  Been there, done that.  Working till 4am in the morning to ensure I delivered on my jobs.  And what happened? Fell ill, complete bed rest twice.  The last one was so bad, I was throwing up and had to be heavily sedated for a week.  And my mum ensured I didn’t get up!  In fact I dared not get up, I was too groggy to even use the loo!  I didn’t even know stress could cause people to throw up.  And I was severely dehydrated so had to be on ORT.  
Only after that did I fully appreciate my mother’s question to me: 
“What exactly are you chasing after?!  Is it this same money?!”… 
Of course that’s a literal translation from Yoruba.
After that, I realized it was not worth it!  If you fall ill, your young business dies!  Only then did I begin to really think about what I was doing and reevaluating my business and its processes.  And even though I changed tactics, I still did not eat well enough, drink enough water or rest well enough.  And look at what happened.  Years later, I landed in hospital a week to my wedding!  Contrary to what people believed, no not from wedding stress.  From working and not resting!  
Interestingly enough, now that I think about it, this problem is not only specific to designers.  I think it is pretty much affects every one who works around here, either at a skill or in a professional environment.  All we do around here is work…so much that the average individual is already growing grey hair at 27!  In fact we work so hard we even refuse to take a vacation.  And during vacations, instead of resting, we are busy either writing exams or traveling and going shopping, or learning one thing or the other.  
Has anyone stopped to analyze their typical week?  This lady did and I am sure deep down, if you look at it, your day is not much different from hers… even if you don’t have children.  Have you stopped to take a look around on a typical Friday or Saturday?  Friday evenings, people are drinking – loads of bars come alive on a Friday evening; Saturdays we’re at weddings and Sundays we are at church and visiting family and friends.  When do we ever have the time to rest?!
I only truly appreciated the real value of unadulterated rest during my honeymoon.  All I did was sleep!  I had no choice.  And boy… now I can fully understand and appreciate why the Western world do not joke with their holidays!  They plan for it in advance!  And I wish we had that same culture.  
I honestly believe we all suffer from very poor time management skills and bad work ethics in Nigeria.  I once asked myself why everyone was always in a hurry around here.  I only realized after careful observation that it was because the typical motorist is constantly running late for one appointment or the other.  That’s why they drive like maniacs, trying to beat the lights or refusing to give access to other motorists!  No wonder there’s so much traffic because the bad time management really skews our sense of reasoning that rather than wait 10 seconds or less to let the next car in, we waste 30 minutes on the road and perhaps an hour or two of other people’s time when you both hit each other!  
Honestly, there really is no reason why people should not close at 5pm.  I am firmly of the opinion that whatever it is can wait till the next morning.  I can understand the odd instances when we close late but it shouldn’t be standard practice.  That’s why I try as much as possible to let my staff leave at 5pm, except when we have serious work (which is not often) or our classes end late.  And whatever happened to family time?  In fact, I believe some of us take pride in coming home late…. just to show that “oh no!  I work really hard!”  Guess what?!  You are playing with your health!  Surely it cannot be healthy getting home at 12am and starting the rat race at 4.30am again, barely 4 hours later.  Not to talk about how that affects our eating habits!  Gosh!  It must be tough!  
Please please please people, you need to take it easy!!!!!!  I beg of you!  You forget that if you fall ill, your business stops!  Forget what anyone says… except you run a conglomerate, I am yet to find a fashion establishment that has reached a stage where it can continue to run itself perfectly in your absence.  Well except a major factory… and note the word “major” where there are systems and processes in place!  You need to rest!  
Now I understand why my husband sleeps early.  He jokingly calls himself “a hen” when I harass him on how early he sleeps.  Yes he might be the worst person to watch a late night movie with (because he’s asleep like 20 minutes into the movie), but better that than indulge me and wake up very grumpy which has happened on a few occasions.  And he’s an early riser as well… unlike me!  I am more of a nocturnal person; sleep really late and wake up early, consoling myself that the biggest entrepreneurs claim they have only a few hours sleep!  Ha!  Guess our bodies are different!  And who knows how many drugs they swallow in a day anyway?!  Clearly Benjamin Franklin knew exactly what he meant when he said:
“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise!”  
I honestly did not expect to hear this story from this lady who had such bright plans for her business and honestly, I am glad she plans to make things right this time!  And not a moment too soon thankfully!
I’ll leave you with verses from the Bible about rest…
Psalm 127: 2 “It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows, For so He gives His beloved sleep.”
I am sure there might be a deeper interpretation of that verse but I’ll take it at face value for now.  
Honestly, I really thank this lady for sharing this with us!  It is SUCH an eye opener and an wake-up call.  Ecclesiastes 3:13 says:  
“And also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labour – it is the gift of God”
Yes!  It sure is!  I tell you, there is nothing more painful than spending all your hard-earned money on drugs for your health.  Makes you wonder what the point behind it all is is right?!  Besides, if only you knew what the lack of sleep or rest does to the body, you will be amazed.  I watch The Doctors a lot so now I have learnt to respect myself!  I take it easier now, sleep more and if any of the recent compliments I have received are anything to go by, it appears to be working.  People have commented that “I am now glowing”.  😀  And I hardly even wear make-up these days…
That said!
We are about to start a new week people.  Please make a resolution to take it easy.  Even if not for ourselves, for the sake of those who love us and who gave up a lot to help us get where we are today!  Rest and a good night’s sleep are both free!  Please take advantage of them.
Here’s wishing you all a very productive yet restful week ahead!
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