My name is Mofolusade Sonaike; most people call me Mumpreneur because of my work. I run a network and support group for mothers who run their own businesses. I love God, I love life and I love people.
I am aware you have a degree in Chemical Engineering. What made you drop everything to pursue entrepreneurship and can you give us some background into your college days as a Chemical Engineering Student?
I wouldn’t really say I dropped everything to pursue entrepreneurship, at the time I was graduating from the University, entrepreneurship was the last thing on my mind. I actually had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. We all had big dreams of getting employed by big multinational companies and earning fat salaries, but the reality of the job market hit a lot of us sooner than later.
I started exploring my options. I only knew one thing; I wanted to do something I would enjoy, so I took a dive into the IT world and got my first job with an tech company. My career in IT continued in the banking sector. After a while though, I got restless again and started looking for new challenges. This led me to resign and pursue an MBA at the Lagos Business School. I worked with Dangote Cement for about two years. Right after that, I decided I wanted to take charge of my life and time, especially because I had a young son at that time.
What does your company do?
Mumpreneur.ng is a networking and support platform for mothers who run their own businesses. The vision is to help mothers run their businesses successfully without sacrificing family.
The website has resources tailored to help mothers become better in all areas of their lives and businesses. We also hold monthly meetings where mothers can come together and learn from each other, find synergies and leverage.
What inspired you to start your company?
After I resigned from full time employment and launched my first business, I struggled a lot. There was so much I didn’t know and needed to learn fast. It got to a point when I began to feel I had made a mistake and so I started blogging about my challenges to maintain my sanity. It was in doing this that I connected with a whole community of people, especially women like me who were struggling too.
This motivated me to dedicate my time and resources to connecting women like me to each other for support and information. I love collaboration and I believe that when women come together and work together magic happens.
Can you share a little about your entrepreneurial journey?
Oh wow! Where do I really start? Like I said, I resigned from paid employment to start my first business in 2010. It was a gift consulting business called Trezorlandia (Gifts to treasure). We delivered surprise gift packages for people to their loved ones. I was really passionate about this and to be honest I enjoyed doing it, but there were a lot of gaps in my targeting and pricing so I ended up pretty much broke all the time.
Two years after, just when I was close to slipping into depression, I stumbled on an IBM mentoring program online and applied for it. This was my first attempt into anything entrepreneurship. Originally, I took my MBA as a means to get a better paying job, and not really to start a business. This was the turning point in my journey. I met a lot of women running their own businesses and most of us are still in touch today.
From then onward I embarked on a quest for knowledge in entrepreneurship. I took courses on Coursera, enrolled in a program at the federal institute of industrial research in Nigeria amongst others. I joined associations and networking groups as well. Between 2013 and 2015 I must have attended hundreds of seminars and training programs. All these formed the foundation for what I do today.
I gained clarity for Mumpreneur in 2016 when I met with my current brand manager who runs branded.ng . We teamed up to structure the business and I became a co-founder in Branded.ng, which offers services to Mumpreneurs and other entrepreneurs alike.
What gives you the most satisfaction as an entrepreneur?
For me I would say it is the freedom to control my time and live my life on my own terms. This doesn’t mean life is easy, but everything I do today, I do them because it is what I really want to do. Above all is the opportunity to impact other people’s lives. Nothing makes me happier.
In what way(s) has your company been beneficial to women?
The role of women in the society is very important and cannot be overlooked, but the challenge is, many women get the short end of the stick because of their unique circumstances. Over time many of them resign to fate and let go of their dreams to settle. With Mumpreneur, we have inspired and motivated many women to pursue their dreams and have offered them support to get through the tough times and thrive. Sometimes all a woman needs is a little encouragement and someone who can listen to her and understand her without judging her. This is what we offer.
I am aware that you are guided by the principle “doing unto others as you want to be done to you”. Can you please shed more light on this?
This principle is just basic ethics on how I deal with people. Before I do anything to others, I ask myself how I would feel, if they did same to me. It keeps me in check and it is a good balance in helping me make decisions.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I have big dreams to have a hub for Mumpreneurs where they can collaborate and work together. I also plan to start a TV series to showcase the challenges that Mumpreneurs face, because if you don’t understand these challenges, you cannot help them effectively.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful female entrepreneur in Nigeria and what advice will you give Nigerian women aspiring to become entrepreneurs?
I think skills can be learned, what is most important is the right attitude; an attitude of positivity and perseverance to be able to keep going even in the face of failure.