Think Smart: An Advice from A 22 Year Old Nigerian Tech Employee

After four years getting a Mechanical Engineering degree from a UK university, Victor Iringere is back to see how he fits into the Nigerian labour force.
Here are his tips on survival in a country with many unpredictable conditions:

I recently graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from a UK university and immediately started working for a tech start-up in London.
Over the last four months, I have been preparing for the launch of the company’s first product – a simple device that we believe will revolutionise the domestic heating industry across Europe.
I have been managing all the related processes including branding, digital marketing, public relations, communication, human resources, budgeting, project management, etc.
With the recent expiration of my student visa, I found myself having to return to Nigeria because my company isn’t yet positioned financially to sponsor a work visa yet. So, after four years away, I am back in a country that is very different from the one I left. The future doesn’t look as bright as it once was, everyone seems to be either broke or broken and it is generally a lot more difficult to get by daily. But I still have to be successful.

Have a back-up plan to my back-up plan:

One difficult lesson I have had to learn quite recently is that it is not enough to have a plan A, B and C alone. Not when you’re dealing with a country like Nigeria. The volatility of our political and economic atmosphere means that anything, and I mean ANYTHING, could change at the drop of the hat (emphasis on ‘change’). Hence, it is important to not only have a lot of back-up plans and ideas, but to also be very reactive.
So while I am setting up business operations in Nigeria, I am also actively looking for opportunities to pursue my passion for broadcasting as a side project. I am also staying alert and identifying new business opportunities, both in London and Lagos.
Iringere has his own space at Co-creation Hub, Nigeria’s own Silicone Valley, just a few days back in Nigeria

Hit the ground running:

I believe that there is absolutely no reason to drag my feet when it comes to business or my career. Within two days of arriving in Lagos, I found a co-working space and have already started talking to freelancers to help with the next stage of my project. If I am going to achieve success, then I need to get moving immediately.

Take advantage of every bit of leverage I have:

Some people say you should use everything you have to get what you want. I think you should use everything you have access to, to get what you want. I might not have all the resources I need to do the things I need to do, but I probably know someone who knows someone who does. I am never afraid to ask for help. I reach out to my connections on social media, family, friends and acquaintances to ask for advice, new contacts or favours. In the last few days, I have used my networks to secure an office and find animators in Lagos.
Iringere with friends

Build my network:

Networking is the key to accessing new opportunities. The most effective way to build strong networks is to be genuinely helpful. I actively look for opportunities to attend events and connect with people on social media. I contribute to conversations, offer help and advice where I can and generally try to leave as many people as I can with a positive impression of me. This helps to continuously increase the amount of resources available to me.

Never stop moving:

When you stop being a value creator, you become a value consumer. And the only people who like a consumer are the people that want their money. While rest and recreation are important, idleness can be very dangerous. Even while looking for new opportunities, I never stop moving. I am always either involved in a project, working in a job or starting a new business venture. The key is to not just be busy for the sake of being busy though, but to ensure that every activity I’m involved in is adding value to me and ultimately leading me closer to achieving my goals.
Iringere with a colleague

Stay hopeful:

When trying to be successful in Lagos, it is easy to lose hope. Multiple rejections, business failure, disappointment and questionable government practices can very easily take their toll on a person.
Nonetheless, if I am going to ‘make it’, I can’t stop believing that I will. I take time to celebrate every little victory, ensure I do things that keep me happy and continue to remind myself why I do what I do. In the midst of even the most difficult situations, there is always something to be grateful for. By never losing sight of that, I keep hope alive and keep the fire burning.


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