Motherhood Nigeria present to you the success story of a stay at home mum in our Mumpreneur feature this month, we have been consistently showcasing the stories of amazing female entrepreneurs to inspire and motivate you as Nigerian mums.
We are excited and honour to feature an amazing Chidinma Olanrewaju, the Founder of Chit, Chat & Mingle, Mom, life coach, Speaker, and Sisterhood Expert.
Chidinma has a B.A in French from the University of Ibadan and a certification in events planning from the Certified Events Academy in Florida.
She created Chit Chat Mingle as a forum for women to connect, support each other and still mingle and have fun in the process. It’s a sister connect to a network that’s geared at inspiring women to revive old and forgotten goals, make new ones and successfully move towards accomplishing these goals, all in an intimate and informal environment where women can gather to network and share resources. The network hosts regular events like spa parties, coaching programmes, seminars and conferences etc.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START THIS BUSINESS?
I was inspired by the need I saw around me. The need to debunk the myths that stay at home mums are potato couches and no longer intellectual houses. And also to provide a platform for stay at home mums to network, connect, learn and be constantly engaged intellectually.
FROM HAVING AN IDEA TO STARTING YOUR BUSINESS, SHARE YOUR JOURNEY WITH US?
My journey started with me at my wit’s end. Tired and in dire need of a new lease and purpose to life. I was a depressed, sad and very frustrated stay at home mum in need of adult company and simulation and also easy access to information. I also craved a support system where I could have meaningful conversations with other mums while having fun.
Thus the Chitchatmingle Network for stay at home mums and also the Slay At Home Mum Academy was born with the intention to provide a platform for women especially stay home mums find expression in everyday living while taking care of their little ones. It sought to address the need for the stay at home mums to constantly live life by design.
GREAT IDEAS DON’T ALWAYS MEAN GREAT SALES, HOW HAS IT BEEN MARKETING YOUR SERVICES?
I totally agree with you. However, we’ve managed to leverage on the power of social media to market what we are about and to create awareness about our services and what we stand for.
Our greatest marketing strategy however still has been word of mouth marketing, referrals and testimonials from the ladies that have benefited from our services, coaching sessions and training.
WHY DO YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO? THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER BUSINESSES YOU COULD HAVE EXPLORED, WHY THIS BUSINESS?
I love impacting, teaching and motivating people. And I would say I’m fortunately in my area of calling doing all of these things.
I also love beauty, enhancing a space and making it more alive. I’m actually a certified events decorator, so I run an events company passively in my free time.
DID YOU DISCOVER NEW THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF IN THE COURSE OF STARTING AND RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS?
Sure. A whole lot actually. I discovered I’m actually a tech wizard. Just kidding. Before now anything techy got me thinking oh that’s not me. But now, I’m more open to trying out new applications.
I also discovered I’m not as bad with numbers as I had made myself believe in the past.
And lastly, I’ve discovered my never say never attitude. When I’m told something cannot be done, I’m challenged to refute that claim.
HOW DID YOU RAISE THE CAPITAL TO START YOUR BUSINESS?
From friends and family. But the bulk came from my husband.
WHEN YOU STARTED THIS BUSINESS, DO YOU ENJOY SUPPORT FROM OTHER FEMALES?
Yes, I do. I have some really amazing friends that have stuck with me from the beginning. Abutu Ishotu, founder of TOWOT. An organisation passionate about making orphanages world-class standards for orphans and also equipping orphans with skills.
HOW ARE YOU BEING ABLE TO TRANSLATE FROM PAID EMPLOYMENT TO STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
It was not easy initially. My transition wasn’t as smooth because I wasn’t ready to leave paid employment as at the time I did, but family responsibilities came calling. My business started as an offshoot of the challenges I faced being a stay at home mum.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF HAVING A MENTOR IN BUSINESS SUCCESS STORIES?
Hmmmm….very key. A mentor helps put you on track and also helps communicate effectively your ideas when you seem to lack the right perspective. My mentor Steve Harris has been very paramount in my business success. I constantly involve him in business decisions and I can say he’s been extremely helpful. Thus I would advise all business owners to have mentors that help propel their business vision forward.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACED AS A YOUNG BUSINESS WOMAN AND MOTHER?
Initially, time management. Having to effectively balance my time between my family and my business. But thank God for the gift of being blessed with an amazing spouse who constantly stands in for me when the need arises.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE MOST ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR WOMEN TO START BUSINESS IN NIGERIA?
Technical skills for me is very key. Also accounting and management skills.
HOW PROFITABLE IS RUNNING YOUR KIND OF BUSINESS?
Profitability as in all business depends on the stage of the business cycle a company is. The strength or profitability of a network is in the size and quality of the network. As a growing network, profitability is limited because of the focus on growth and investments in capacity building. This, of course, improves over time.
DO YOU THINK BEING A MUM CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR SUCCESS IN BUSINESS?
Yes to a very large extent. As a mum, you’re blessed with the gift of multi-tasking, an essential skill equally needed to run a business.
Also, mothers learn patience when dealing with their kids, another essential trait needed to run a business when dealing with people in your establishment.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE FAMILY WITH RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
I have systems in place that can run
itself when I’m not their physically. I also delegate duties as much as I can. And of course, I’m blessed with an amazing spouse who just supports me always.
Any advice or tips for Aspiring mumpreneur?
Yes. Just do it. Refining and perfecting of your ideas come in the place of doing.