Recently, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced that Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 11.08 per cent in July from 11.22 per cent in June, for the second consecutive month, the lowest since February 2016.
While these statistics may be slow in reflecting on the living standards of the average Nigerian, youth unemployment rate appears to be on the increase as more university undergraduates flood the market in search of white collar jobs.
However, despite the alarming figures that come with this reality, not everyone is waiting to be given a white collar job. Some seem to have taken their destinies in their own hands by daring to do something different for themselves.
This story features a young man in his early 30s going the extra mile to carve a niche for himself in the service industry, as an Event planner, Interior designer, Make – up Artist, Fashion designer as well as a Caterer. Some call him a ‘Jack of all trade’ but he is determined to prove himself ‘Master of all’.
Joshua Solomon is from Coutonu republic of Benin but resides in Nigeria. He has very little education, but quite a number of skills. And with these, he sets a mark for himself striving not just to survive in a challenging economy, but as well thrive as a young business man.
101Business: So, what was growing up like for you?
Solomon (Smiles) hmm…Growing up…well I didn’t grow up in Coutonu. I am the last born of the family. My mother left Coutonu with my siblings and I for Nigeria when I was one year old. Growing up was very
rough and tough. We only had my mother who was doing menial jobs to put food on the table and also
pay for our education.
101Business: Talking about education, can you give us an insight into your educational background?
Solomon I only have a Senior Secondary School Certificate. I was unable to make it to the University because there was no money to continue. (Looks up with a sad expression) well, there’s no use crying over all of that now.
At a point, my mother was unable to do any more menial jobs due to her failing health condition.
And so, my older siblings and I started fending for ourselves and had to survive with the little we got off the streets.
I still remember wondering to myself just how far the situation then would take us, considering the fact that we couldn’t even pay our way through school.
101Business: And so what did you do?
Solomon Well, I came up with a plan to save towards learning a skill of some sort. And for me Fashion designing was a passion, and so I went for it. However, in the course of studying through Fashion School, I soon discovered I had other skills. You know, determination to succeed made me learn fast and within few months I could sew perfectly.
And that was when it dawned on me that I could do a lot more than I thought I could. I developed interest in interior decoration and immediately after I graduated I went to learn event management and decoration.
101Business: How did you cope, combining all of these together?
Solomon Well, I actually went beyond all of that, I also went to a Catering school where I learnt how to make Pastries, African and continental cuisines.
101Business: So you are also a Chef
Solomon Yes, I am also a hair stylist, a Makeover Artist and a member of a Music band.
101Business: How do you cope with the stress that comes with all of this
Solomon (Smiles) I am human with no extra power but I will definitely say, I am a guy with extra determination to succeed.
101Business: You have multiple skills no doubt, but surely you must have one major area of passion
Solomon My first love is Fashion designing, followed by Interior design, and then catering, but the truth is I am talented in practically everything I set my mind to execute. And I do all excellently well. I carry out all jobs I’m contracted to do with all seriousness to yield perfect result.
101Business: How do you juggle in between all of these jobs?
Solomon It’s not easy, but because of my determination, I manage well. Although most times I’m fagged out at the end of the day. More so, I really don’t get to do more than three different kinds of jobs all at one go. I also contract other assignments to vendors, but then because I have a background in what they do, I am able to supervise and scrutinize effectively.
101Business: How do you get jobs?
Solomon Mostly through referrals and that alone gives me more than a fair deal. Initially when I just started out, I took advantage of Whatsapp and Facebook, but now I have changed my marketing strategy.
101Business: What is your unique selling point?
Solomon My personal touch. Everything I do must get that SJ touch, it is what differentiates my business from the rest.
use to market through whatsapp status and other social media platforms but had to stop because it was getting out of hand. Now I’m planning to rebrand the whole thing.
101Business: Re-brand? Are you planning to learn another profession?
Solomon No. I’ve had clients who want me to manage their events from top to bottom but most times I get other vendors to come in. The rebranding is to set up an organization that will incorporate all the
profession and set it up as a strong unit that gives the best to clients.
101Business: Waoh! That’s great
Solomon Thanks. The whole idea is to take full charge of the event and make sure there are no flops. Although there is no event company that’s has incorporated all the segments of event in the industry which is why some failures have been recorded but we are setting the pace by incorporating all in one so that we will be able to monitor every aspect of the event to ensure everything goes on perfectly to the satisfaction of our clients.
101Business: How do you intend to run each segment or do you plan to run everything by yourself?
Solomon Like I said earlier, I’ve got no super power so I can’t run every segment by myself(Smiles) There will be a supervisor running the day to day activity of each of the unit. They are to also ensure that there are no flops during an event. The supervisors will give me feedback on what is going on in their units as well as report on challenges they are facing.
101Business: This means you’re getting more people to work for you….
Solomon That’s the whole idea, apart from setting up the company to incorporate all vendors, we are also creating employment opportunities for people out there. Each unit will have nothing less than 10 people working there and we have more than 10 units.
101Business: Well Solomon, it’s been great chatting with you.
Solomon Same here.
101Business: But before we draw the curtain, what’s your advice to the youth out there
Solomon Know that you are the cause of anything you become in life. Either a failure or a success. Stop blaming the government for all the problems in your life, rise above any short comings on the part of the
Government and make something good for yourself in such a way that it makes a positive impact on the next generation.