• Lawunmi A. Nwaiwu

My Author-preneur Journey

Growing up, my dream was to own a business - what line of business, I wasn’t sure of but I've always had that entrepreneurial mindset, being surrounded by family & friends who owned businesses. It encouraged me to live a more organised life and feel the constant need to improve my skills and take continuous action on small ideas till I was able to figure out my true passion. After completing a Master’s degree at The London Metropolitan University, I longed for something bigger and knew I needed a change.

I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone, free myself from distractions and challenge myself to grow and explore my career interests.

I decided to take a year internship in hospitality and events in Orlando, FL. My mother was very much surprised and confused by my intentions to go on an internship to a new environment, to experience a different working culture and just being away from home but something deep down kept attracting me to the idea of exploring my career interests in Orlando. Needless to say, that decision was one of the best decisions of my life because it was also a great opportunity to wet my feet into the real word of business. During my internship, I was able to gain international experience along with the knowledge and skills I learnt on the job. I had the chance to network with professionals working in that part of the world. After completing my internship, I came back to the UK and even though I was keen to get a job that matched my credentials, I was unlucky - instead I got miniature jobs of basic salary but that didn’t discourage me. I was still driven to start my own business to do what I truly enjoy and with the right mindset, I started talking to people that were out of my circle of comfort. I began doing the very small things to increase my self-confidence and experience in events. I got better by learning to do and by falling over, getting involved in organising church events, youth conferences and event shows. Occasionally, I’d help a couple of friends in coordinating their private functions and that was how my journey to become a wedding planner started.

A Business Without Any Clients

My journey still had it's highs and lows because I needed to learn perseverance, most especially to keep going when people doubted my abilities. I didn't get my first client since not till a year after I started out on my own. It was a challenging phase of my life because while I was working a 9 to 5 office job, I also needed to be consistent with my side business.

It seemed almost impossible; but I wasn’t ready to quit!

So, to increase my awareness of my services, I decided to put more time into writing blogs, networking and reading wedding related contents and figuring out the hangout spots of potential clients. I didn’t take a wedding planning course, but by attending entrepreneurial events, conferences, wedding exhibitions, seminars, volunteering in some events and looking for leadership opportunities around me, gave me more self-confidence to lead a team of wedding vendors and grow into my own entrepreneurial skills. I ventured into bigger projects by organising a fundraising event and wedding fairs, which gave me an opportunity to practice my time management, organisation, leadership and teamwork skills. I have learned from my mistakes in the planning process of these projects and it has not even by one bit, discouraged me from my passion. In fact it pushed to never give up on myself and that is why I decided to share my experience with other aspiring young entrepreneurs who are yet to experience their career path, or inspire those in similar situations and need the encouragement to rediscover their true passion by writing about my journey. I have also experienced self-discovery through writing, it helps me connect with myself, understand my life and my thoughts, self-reflect on life’s memories and clear the clutter from my mind.

How Did I Keep Igniting My Passion?

Watching some TV shows have truly contributed and impacted my journey as an entrepreneur. To name a few, the Apprentice show UK and the Dragons Den have really inspired me and driven my passion and business acumen. One of the major things the Apprentice show taught me is that, it’s all about teamwork, not ‘I’ and so it helped broaden my knowledge on real life business situations. The on screen tasks revealed a lot of truth about the real world of business. It taught me that communication, showing leadership and reliability is what makes a good business leader.

Sometimes, watching TV shows that are in line with your interests really helps in determining whether it is something you’ll like to build a career on. You can gain an educational knowledge of how business works, identifying business risks and opportunities, demonstrating leadership, and how to understand more about your market. There are free resources out there that you can make use of, for your own development.

As you decide on your entrepreneurial journey, remember when you take the initiative, surround yourself with good people, those who can inspire you, so that good things can happen. I hope this story will inspire and motivate others to take their entrepreneurial leap, a journey to achieving greatness.

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