Money Conversation with Tolu

Meet Tolu - the queen of effortlessly juggling work, style and finance. She speaks on transitioning from a 9-5 gig to becoming a fashion entrepreneur extraordinaire.

Money Conversation with Tolu

What do you do? 

I'm Tolulope Aribisala, a Communications Specialist, fashion entrepreneur, and brand influencer. My journey towards financial independence and entrepreneurship has been a transformative one.

When did you first understand the value of money?

I was financially sheltered during my university years, thanks to my parents who provided for my needs. However, the transition to the real world after graduation opened my eyes to the value of money. I landed my first job even before receiving my degree, realising that I needed to make my own way in the world.

What was the motivating factor behind starting your own business?

The motivation to start my own business stemmed from my salary not fulfilling all my desires. I've always had a penchant for luxury, and the joy of being able to afford the things I love is incomparable. Consequently, I ventured into the world of entrepreneurship, selling clothing alongside my 9-5 job to bridge the financial gap.

Did you see money differently after you started running your business?

Starting and running my own business fundamentally changed my perception of money. It showed me the empowerment that financial independence brings, enabling me to rely solely on myself, make important decisions, and build the future I envision. Money gives you the ability to take action, and as I started earning, I learned the importance of money management. Managing expenses, paying salaries, and saving became crucial aspects of my financial journey.

What challenges have you faced running your business in Nigeria?

Running a business in Nigeria has its fair share of challenges, from logistical hurdles to human resource management. Currently, my biggest challenge is the fluctuating exchange rates, which have forced me to increase the prices of my outfits. This directly impacts my customers' purchasing power, which is a concern, but in all things, I thank God.

How were you able to balance running your business with your 9-5?

Maintaining a work-life balance is an ongoing challenge, but I've found a strategy that works for me. I prioritise my 9-5 job while entrusting the day-to-day operations of my business to my capable team. This way, I can focus on building the brand, enhancing our output, and finding new avenues to boost revenue.

What financial habit do you wish you had imbibed earlier in life?

Reflecting on my financial journey, I wish I had started saving much earlier. My father tried to instil this habit in me by occasionally increasing my allowance to see if I would save the extra, but I often ended up spending it on more clothes. Looking back, I realise how much more financially secure I would be today if I had started saving earlier.

What financial advice do you have for young professionals just starting their careers and aspiring to become entrepreneurs or brand influencers?

For young professionals embarking on their careers with dreams of becoming entrepreneurs, I want to encourage you. Your dreams are attainable, no matter how daunting they may seem. Maintaining a thorough record of your finances is crucial for a healthy financial future. The salary you save today could serve as the capital you need to fund your dreams tomorrow.

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