If there’s one money lesson I’ve learned, but I had to be reminded of again from Chelsea winning the Champions League it is to by all means avoid sunk cost fallacy.
Sunk cost is the misconception that you need to pump more money or time into a bad investment and ‘force’ it to become profitable, or else all the time and money you already invested would have been for nothing.
People spend more time at a job that doesn’t fulfil them because they feel if they put in more time then it’d get better.
People stay in a relationship that drains them hoping their partners will change if they could just show them a little more love.
It’s a fallacy!
In reality, you end up wasting the new investment as well. No upside.
“There are two important rules of business, knowing when to get in and when to get out. Of the two, knowing when to get out is the most important.” – Hymie Levy (The Power Of One)
I’m a stickler for determination and holding on, but whether in a relationship or business, sometimes it’s better to end it. At least for your mental health.
Not everything will work even with consistency.
Sometimes an idea might not be saleable or the market might not like or want your product or it can’t just work.
What many people do is they try to force it into working because they’ve either spent too much time or money on it.
But that’s hustling backwards.
I understand the motivational industry tells you to keep trying. But sometimes the best solution is to walk away & cut your losses.
Sometimes, the best solution is to pivot, re-strategize and come back from a different angle.
We have so many companies, musicians, artists who started with a particular product idea or concept & when it wasn’t working they had to go back to the drawing board & rebrand.
Or sometimes even change direction entirely.
There’s no shame in that.
You don’t have money & time to waste.
You shouldn’t be flogging a dead horse.
This is what Roman Abramovich proved when he sacked Frank Lampard despite his status as a club legend and replaced him with Thomas Tuchel.
Business and sentiments are like oil and water, they don’t mix well.
A lot is going on in the world right now, and I’m rife with emotions this morning.
Chelsea won the Champions League last night.
But today is #BiafraRemembranceDay
At this moment, I don’t know if I should talk about my father who was born in the middle of the war.
Or I should talk about the constant persecution of the Igbos.
Or I should talk about the time when I was in Primary 3 when Igbos in Ikom, Cross River State were attacked, people maimed, their shops burnt, goods destroyed, families separated, people killed, lives never to be the same again.
This happens all over Nigeria every year.
But today, I’ll talk about Mr Laz.
In 2016, I was an intern at VON in Abuja when I met Mr Laz.
I was living with a relative who attended the same church as him. He came for oil prospecting and we all stayed in the same house for months.
I keep a lot of notebooks, jotters and diaries where I write about a lot of random stuff I’m thinking about.
Even my mother insists on taking jotters as souvenirs when she attends weddings, just so she can give them to me. Lol
Mr Laz was probably bored one day, and he started reading some of them.
I have no idea why.
I come back home from work one day and he tells me he has been reading some of my stories. I’m so embarrassed!!!! 😆
But then he starts lavishing me with compliments and telling me they are quite good, and he had no idea I had an artistic side. I start blushing ☺️
Over time, we bonded over stories and then one day he tells me a story about his childhood. A story about Biafra.
Mr Laz was born in the North (can’t remember the exact state). But he told me he was a child, say between 5 and 7 when the war broke out.
His mother was able to smuggle them out and they managed to get on a train headed to Igboland.
They thought they were safe and everything was behind them as they arrived Benue.
Benue is in the Middle Belt, and those who travel to the North from the Southern part of Nigeria know it’s a gateway to Enugu and Cross River.
But what they saw at Benue was unbelievable!
People were lying in wait killing every male that stepped out of any train coming from the North.
Imagine escaping the North and reaching Benue, only to be hacked to death. I mean, you can smell the okpa they sell at Enugu from Makurdi.
You could smell your home, but you’d never reach there. Onwu ejituogi n’uzo.
So, how did Mr Laz survive?
His mother had to dress him up like a girl.
Oh, it was easy.
Mr Laz is a very handsome man. You can only imagine how he looked like a child.
Add a dress, eyeliner and scarf, and you have a beautiful girl.
They hacked down every male – old or young.
Who knows, they might have found him out if some Biafran soldiers who heard about what was going on didn’t pull up at Benue with automatic weapons and dispelled the murderers.
That was the only way the rest of the Igbos running from the North could pass into Igboland.
Imagine a child living through these horror stories and having to remember and retell them every time?
They’ll tell you it was a civil war, but don’t let anyone fool you.
What they did to the Igbos was a GENOCIDE!!!
They didn’t kill you because you were successful or domineering or diligent or hardworking or an overcomer.
They killed you because you were IGBO.
They killed you because an Igbo is all of the above and more.
And even though I have certain reservations about the current state of the Biafra Movement, I choose to know my story.
Know your story too.
Because one day we’ll all tell our stories.
Maybe yours truly might even make a movie.
#Ozoemena But until then… #Echezona
PS: Who knows, maybe my father or Mr Laz might have been one of the children in this picture.
“Until the lion learns to write, every story will glorify the hunter.” – Chinua Achebe (Things Fall Apart)
I just discovered why I’ve been falling sick repeatedly for the past year, spent hundreds of thousands in hospital bills and eye care, almost overdosed on sleeping pills, lost my sight a few times, and nearly went insane.
So, in 2020, I got an offer to work in one of the top five Nigerian banks.
I worked for just one day, and then I left.
Now, I had a major reason for turning down that job offer (which I’ll share with you guys someday).
But one of the reasons why I said no was because I felt working at the bank would hamper my personal development.
During my NYSC in 2018/19, I had developed a routine that helped me read for at least 2 hours every day while writing a bit on the side.
I read over 60 books within 9 months or thereabouts as reading was what I used to fill up the day.
I moved to Lagos after NYSC to teach Spanish and I pretty much kept the same routine.
It was easy for me because I was teaching Spanish for just 2 or 3 hours a day, 2 or 3x a week.
I just needed to wake up early in the morning, exercise, eat, and then read before going to my classes.
And then the bank job came around October.
It was an offer to work for one of their branches in Victoria Island.
It was HUGE as I’d gone through rounds and rounds of interviews and performance-based tests for months.
This was the finish line.
But a part of me felt somehow.
I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about the job anymore, and I had no idea why.
After everything, banking school training and all that, the onboarding session was supposed to last for a week.
On my way home after day 1, I called my mother to tell her I wasn’t doing it anymore.
I lived around Mile 2 at the time & working in Victoria Island meant I had to leave home by at least 5 every morning or get stuck in traffic.
Bank closing time was 5 pm, but then we still had to service customers who were still inside and this could take up to 2 or 3 hours depending on the size of the crowd.
Then we’ll have to wait for the cashiers to balance their accounts and then the vault locked up.
Then I would get into Lagos traffic, and start making my way home.
Give or take I got home between 11 pm and 12 am.
Then I would have to wake up by 3 am to be able to read, exercise, eat, and then leave home by 5. Every day.
It was a perpetual treadmill.
One I had to run on for the next couple of years.
I tried to look at my life for the next two years ahead and it didn’t look like I’d be getting anywhere fast.
I’d just moved to Lagos, and I wasn’t making a lot of money yet so getting a house on the Island wasn’t possible.
So, I quit.
Fast forward to 2020, I got a job offer that was more suited to my skills, flexible, better work environment, and with a higher ceiling.
Since I was coming from the Mainland and traffic is terrible, part of the offer was coming in for 2 or 3 days a week and working from home on the others.
But less than a month later, I fell out with the friends I was squatting with and had to move out.
Moved to a place on the Island about 20 minutes drive from work.
But then moving to the Island meant I started working every day and I loved it.
I was waking up at 3 am to pray, read for 2 hours, write for an hour, exercise, eat, nap for a bit and still get to work before 9 am.
Close at 5 p.m. & still get home before 8 no matter how bad traffic was.
I was growing like crazy.
But then COVID struck!
It meant I could still do my routine without any problems.
But the downside was I had too much free time since we were all indoors.
To fill up this free time, I turned to books & sales copies.
But there’s only so much we can do in total isolation and over time I started filling my free time with sleep.
Sleeping during the day meant I wasn’t falling asleep easily at night.
So, even if my body was tired and screaming for me to sleep, I couldn’t sleep for long because I’d been primed to waking up by 3 every day.
I started having headaches regularly.
I chalked it up to the blue light from my laptop and got antiglare glasses to protect my eyes.
One night, I was working when I stopped seeing anything for almost 2 minutes.
And that’s how my monthly journeys to the hospital started.
I couldn’t sleep.
I was a walking zombie.
Went to an eye clinic for a checkup and was recommended glasses.
Stopped working heavily.
Stopped reading for long too.
But my sleeping problems didn’t stop.
I kept getting admitted into the hospital, and drugs and supplements kept draining holes in my pocket.
I even got prescribed sleeping pills and nothing worked.
Not being able to read and do research as I used to meant I fell off so badly at work.
I had to skip work, I missed project deadlines, lost much of my creativity and practically went from flying at 100 to zero.
It affected my writing output too.
I had to stop exercising too because my body couldn’t keep up.
My eyes would be aching, my teeth chattering, and I’d feel so weak.
Then I would get some relief and then it would start all over again.
This has been my story for the last year.
I just moved to a new place closer to work late last month.
And then this week, my eyes start hurting again.
In my head, I say “here we go again”😁😁😁
But then I decided to try something new for the last two days.
I decided to start sleeping latest 10 PM.
And brethren, I just discovered the reason I’ve been feeling this way was that my sleep pattern had been disrupted for over a year.
The result was I started getting up at exactly 3 or 4 am, pray, read, exercise, do a little bit of work at home before getting to the office.
The only downside is I feel a little sleepy during the day.
But I’ve been doing some of my best work this last week. I can’t even lie.
Dan Go put out a tweet once saying a tiny majority of people can get by with less than four hours of sleep, but most people need at least 6 hours of sleep to function properly.
I think I’m most people 😁
So, the goal now is to shift my bedtime to 8/9 pm and waking hours at 3/4 am.
Waking up at that time when the rest of the world is still asleep means I get to start my day in turbo mode.
That’s when I function best.
So, unless I’m out partying, hanging out with friends, on an online webinar or having sex, I have no reason to be awake past 9 pm.
That’s the reason why I’m putting out this tweet by this time.
I had noodles for breakfast at the office this morning.
As much as I’ve never been a big fan of noodles, I’m thinking about how far we’ve come as Nigerians eating noodles.
You see, Nigerians had never eaten noodles before Indomie came in.
They even accused the Indians of trying to feed them worms.
And it was a serious struggle for Tolaram (makers of Indomie) to sell it to us.
But the makers had a target – an inexpensive easy to prepare a meal that would carter to two things:
– The average Nigerian didn’t have a lot of money but needed to eat.
– The average working-class Nigerian (woman) didn’t have time to prepare food because it’s time-wasting.
It’s even said penetrating the market was so hard they didn’t make any profit for the first 4 years they operated.
Whatever they made they kept reinvesting into the business.
But once they blew up, it was MASSIVE!!!
And this brings me to the concept of coming up with big ideas.
You see, to come up with a big idea, you either create demand or chase demand.
The easiest way is to chase demand. You’re just going to have more competition.
The hardest is creating demand and it’s like 200x harder than chasing demand.
But it’s like crack because when it works, it’s fire!!!! Some addictive shit!
Think of Defi & crypto
People have always been looking for ways to move money without hassles or being noticed.
Whether for good – asset protection, importation of goods etc, or for bad – tax evasion, funding terrorism, paying for drugs, prostitutes etc.
If you’ve heard of The Silk Road, you’ll catch my drift.
If you haven’t, well, it was an online black market and the first modern darknet market, best known as a platform for selling illegal drugs.
Rich people or people with an eye for investment have always been looking for a new asset class or store of value for their wealth.
Defi came in chasing a demand – for mostly rich people, investors, nerds, geeks & rebels looking to beat the system or just people with sinister plans.
That was big money but to a smaller pool of people.
It became bigger when average people figured out a way to make money daily from cryptocurrency – by trading it.
Think of Airpods
Apple took out earphone jacks first and told you it was to give the phone a better overall look.
Then they packaged earbuds and sold them to you as swag later on 😁
That’s how they created demand.
There are other noodles in the Nigerian market nowadays, but there’s a reason why we call all noodles Indomie.
And that’s because creating demand is crazy.
Joe Schriefer (the copy chief at Agora Financial) had this to say about big ideas: “I’d say 80% of our ideas are chasing demand. The other 20% are wildly swinging shots that we’re trying to create demand for.
These fail 90% of the time, but the 1 out of 10 that we do have when we create demand can be a grand slam.
Now if you can do that, that can also put you in the 1000 orders a day range, and much higher than that (some of our best promotions have done over 10,000 sales a day).
So, you can chase demand and hit the 1000 order a day range and have a lot of competition, or you can create demand and carve out a nice moat that the competition can’t keep up with.”
This is creating a demand style of coming up with big ideas falls within the part of the economy called non-consumption as explained in The Prosperity Paradox.
I won’t go into explaining that in this tweet.
But @TheEmmaIbekwe once made a tweet asking why fufu was more popular than yam in Igboland despite yam’s status as King of crops and I told him it was because of:
N50 Santana would hold body, soul & spirit together. But king of crops is too proud to be satchetized 😭
King of crops means yam is darn expensive compared to fufu. – Seasonality – Durability
That’s a template for your big idea.
Let it guide you.
By the way, if you haven’t read The Prosperity Paradox by @EfosaEjomo and @ClayChristensen, you’re sleeping on a bicycle.
Yam is special because of it’s seasonality.
You can warm fufu.
But how dare you warm the king of crops? How dare you?
That’s a template for your big idea.
Let it guide you.
By the way, if you haven’t read The Prosperity Paradox by @EfosaEjomo and @ClayChristensen, you’re sleeping on a bicycle.
A question most of us DR people don’t ask when we are creating copy is “What is going on in the world that is influencing or might influence and shape the decision making by our prospect?”
This is why most copy falls flat because we try to copy old sales messages from back in the day that were speaking to issues prevalent at the time.
Plus, some of the adjectives and language you think would elicit certain reactions in your prospect’s mind have either been overused or irrelevant at the moment.
Case in point, RELEVANCE!
Was on a Twitter Space last night hosted by @bruno_nwogu when @ronaldnzimora highlighted this.
So, quick tip:
Are you Nigerian & you’re creating copy for stock investing?
You can highlight:
– The importance of earning in dollars to keep up with inflation.
– How muddled investing in the NSE is.
– You can scrounge through comments and see people who bought shares of prominent companies years ago and those shares are worthless now.
But most of these things are already known. So, what do you do?
Either connect a past event (history repeats itself) or a current event that ties in with your marketing message.
What of how Nigerians interested in moving abroad can use their American stock portfolios as proof of earnings?
Mad idea abi? I say make I dash una that one 😁
Are you creating copy for crypto?
Instead of talking about the technicalities of white papers and Defi, you can highlight how your prospect can make good money off crypto and not bother about his holdings whether Elon Musk tweets or not.
My Igbo brothers were early adopters of crypto because it promised them they could pay for their goods without all the CBN stress this current regime has been causing.
If you’re creating copy for pension schemes, how about using Argentina, France & Venezuela governments borrowing from their pension schemes & then their economy falling into tatters as examples? And then tying them to the Nigerian government trying to do the same.
It may work shaa 😁
@ronaldnzimora talked about a copy he wrote for saving money abroad using the Biafra War and the outcome for Igbos as a pain point.
This is how you create a sales message – drawing a thread between the past, present and future.
Do you want to understand how sales and marketing work?
Then watch how a typical Nigerian Pentecostal Church operates to understand how.
I’ll explain below 👇🏿
At the end of the service, the pastor or whoever assists him asks for first-timers.
Then they get a free welcome song – You’re Welcome In The Name Of The Lord is usually the song of choice.
Members of the church hug them or shake them and welcome them to the church.
Some give you a gift – soft drink, meat pie, jollof rice or sometimes a jotter & pen etc 😁
All for FREE.
Look at this when crafting your offers while trying to sell a product – this is how gifts & bonuses work.
“I’ll add you to my special group/community where you’ll meet other guys like you killing it”
“You get this, this & that when you become a member”
This work as first-person reviews and word of mouth marketing.
A typical example is when they’re about to raise money or ask for seeds.
Some members are called to talk about how their situations at one point in time changed after they had sown seeds.
You’re sitting in the audience telling yourself this church won’t get 5 Naira from me…
Until someone tells a story about the time when they failed a course & were supposed to rewrite it. But then, the lecturer asked them to sort, but instead of sorting, they took that money & dropped it as a seed.
Well, a miracle happened.
The lecturer fell sick & a better lecturer took up the course and that was how they passed.
In your mind, you’re like “Wow, so this thing works?”
Oya, go to the front and drop seed joor 😁
By the way, the story above was a true story.
“Hello, Brother Uche, how are you today? We just called to check up on you. Hope you’re good.”
Then they assign a beautiful sister to check up on you 😁
I remembered a few fine sisters that were on my matter in University.
They were the reason I used to attend midweek services and cell meetings 🤦🏿♂️
Ours are emails and DMs with discounts & last minute offers.
Choir, ushers, worker groups etc.
But in our case, emails, Facebook, and Telegram groups.
Traffic generation works as crusades, seminars, programs, evangelism and other activities.
Whereas we run ads and promotions.
The controversial part is how tithing and sowing seeds make you emotionally invested in the activities.
That’s almost how the difference between getting a course for free and paying for access works.
You want to get your money’s worth.
When they tell you pastors are the biggest and best salespeople, don’t doubt it.
PS: I’m not dragging your pastor. I’m just stating the obvious.