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Know The Entrepreneur Episode 3

Our guest for this episode is Adebukola Bassey.

Enjoy the interview.

Can you introduce yourself briefly?

I am Adebukola Bassey. I started BMS Editorial Services to develop and enhance written content for organisations and individuals.

Are you currently practising what you studied in school?

Yes, in many ways. I studied a wonderful course named Communication and Language Arts at the University of Ibadan. I believe it is not possible to exhaust the possibilities within that knowledge area.

How did you decide to take the entrepreneurial plunge?

I always wanted to be an entrepreneur but I didn’t clarify it enough and did not have the knowledge or boldness to strike out on my own. Internet and smartphones were also not as developed as this. After my service year, I tried to get into any book publishing company but got a job as a journalist instead. Even then, I always used every opportunity I got to start up a business so I have worked in different capacities before I decided to face editorial work squarely.

How has the journey been?

When I first tried to do freelance editing as a fresh graduate in 2008, it was tough, especially marketing myself so I just put it aside. This second time around, I did a MOOC on Digital Marketing in addition to the years of exposure to marketing, corporate communication and business strategies, so it has been much easier than I expected.

Can you tell us about the first sale or contract you got as an entrepreneur? What was your reaction?

I started putting the word out late in 2015 and started getting inquiries almost immediately. I got a contract to proofread a thesis for someone and yes, I was very glad to have the opportunity and I knew what to do but I would still ask myself, “Do I really have what it takes to advise a PhD?” I was so determined not to mess up the opportunity that I ended up reading it four times. The owner was glad to have the proofs and gave generous reviews that bolstered my confidence.

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Tell us about one challenge you experienced as an entrepreneur and how you addressed the challenge?

Financial management was an issue at first. I’m a service-based business and my business input is mainly my know-how. When you have your computer and references books already sorted and you work from home, there’s a tendency to see every payment as 100% profit but that’s wrong. You have to sit down and sort every kobo, and be able to say, “this is my monthly salary, that is going into business savings, this is my medical insurance, that is my tax, I want to start saving for an office, etc.” This is very important and I think I only got it right after attending The Future Project’s Accelerate Labs. I felt like the oldest person there but I made sure to finish the classes. LOL! That’s when I decided I had better get an accountant involved in my business. You think you know these things but when you listen to an expert, you start to really understand how important it really is.


What counsel do you have for a start-up business owner? What can they do for visibility, particularly as many of us do a lot of our work online?


The online space is wonderful. It is one major reason BMS Editorial Services is showing such rapid growth so I don’t believe any business owner should ignore it. Read up as much as you can about engaging online, especially on social media. If you can afford it, talk to experts who know what they are doing so you can have a strategy to guide your engagements. The online space is awesome for introverts like me, conversations are easier and networking is not limited to chatting up strangers during 20 minutes tea breaks at 2-hour meetings. My advice is that you should post more – about your business, your thoughts on issues that interest you and whatever you want to share. Comment on other people’s posts too. If you come across someone who does the same thing as you, engage with them and share learning. Online engagement requires conscious effort, especially if you do not have any real contacts in your industry; you know you have to make up for that in other ways.


What counsel do you have for a network marketer that wants to prospect online? Dos and don’ts?


I think anyone that lasts six months in network marketing already has the perseverance to succeed in any other business. Prospecting is hard work, I know this from experience but one core factor in prospecting that you should remember is that the other end of the funnel is narrow for a reason. You will probably get just 20% engagement and then maybe 2% sales from every marketing endeavour. So don’t beat yourself up, keep reworking your jig and more importantly, expand your reach. No point in prospecting the same set of people.


What counsel do you have for the person that wants to start a business and isn’t quite sure what to do and how to get started?


Clarify. Position. Scream it out loud.
Why do you want to do business? Where do you want to take it? What resources are at your disposal right now? Yes, you need money to start a business so sit down and do the maths first.
Whatever business you want to do has to be grounded in reality. Yes, there is money to be made in Nigeria. Yes, your clients will require excellent customer service. Yes, you can succeed. But you have to position yourself for success.
For example, I am a trained in fashion patternmaker but I decided I didn’t want to do paper patterns all my life. I wanted to learn the AutoCAD version and all but I didn’t have the time and resources to do that back then and I doubt I can even practise in Nigeria if I did because fashion designers who will need that skill set take their sketches overseas where they can get everything done cheaper and faster. So if someone tells me today that they have that same dream, I will ask them to consider going to live in countries where such skill sets are utilised.
You can’t afford to stop talking about your business for any length of time. No, it doesn’t matter if you use your logo as DP on social media. Sell benefits. Tell clients what they stand to gain.
On a general note, it is better to offer services if you are cash-strapped than to go for products or merchanting.

Has your location been a challenge in running your business? If so, how have you managed it?


On spaces like Fiverr, you just have to accept that as an ESL speaker of the English language, you won’t be the first option for most people. Even Nigerians who put gigs on Fiverr mostly don’t want to deal with a Nigerian. So, I ignore and concentrate on impressing those who trust me with their manuscript needs.
Locally, it isn’t a challenge and I think one thing that helps with that is I advertise mainly online. Apart from friends and colleagues, I restrict my marketing activities online. Location is a big reason I started out using #LagosProofreader on Twitter and I still use the email address for business. It already sieves out those who would not want to work with an ESL user, for example. Or clients who want their proofreader to come in to their office to work etc.

To reach Adebukola, you can send an email.



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