Award-winning businesswoman, Sotonye Deru, shares the reasons why people should consider utilising their God-given talents to start their own business
THE HARD TRUTH
“Bob, we would like to thank you for your 20 years of service at GPO but, unfortunately, we will have to let you go.” This was the reality for many of us, or for someone we knew when recession hit.
The life we had been promised, the job security we had dreamed of, the pension scheme we were looking forward to, all came crashing down, and many were left hopeless, jobless and broken. We had put all our eggs into one basket called ‘9-5 JOB’, and had nowhere else to turn for financial stability. For many, it was the end of their life; for some, it was a pay downgrade and, for a small percentage, it was the birth of their independence!
Whatever the result, it was an awakening to the truth that we needed to start developing multiple streams of income with our natural gifts, skills and talents given to us by God; to start small businesses, which could be started anywhere, anytime – at university, whilst working for someone else, or even after retirement.
I have always been of the strong conviction that, as people of faith, we need to really take hold of the Scripture in Deuteronomy 8:18 that says, ‘God has given us the power to produce wealth’.
One of my favourite stories in the Bible that illustrates this is the story of the widow and the jar of olive oil, found in 2 Kings 4, where, after almost giving up, the widow was able to become debt free and build a successful business, once she had identified and started to use what she had in her house. She mixed her faith with all she had, and trusted God.
At this point, I want you to ask yourself: If you knew you could not fail, what would you do? What business would you start up? What social enterprise would you give birth to? You have the choice to either take the bold step of living your business dream and be on your way to financial freedom, or join the millions of people who have sadly traded their dreams of freedom for the competitive rat race they call life!
As we know, there is no such thing as ‘job security’. True wealth and freedom are created through having your own business; generating passive income (making money while you sleep or even on holiday). Could you be the next millionaire? The next Richard Branson? The next JK Rowling? Maybe….
When I started my first business, running a legal clerking agency at the age of 22, it was not easy – and I never thought it would be – but one thing I knew was that, if I were to put all my resources, energy and expertise into building my empire ‘cash machine’, then it was bound to succeed. I had enough faith and passion to get the journey started, and allowed God to guide, lead and connect me to the right people.
I made a decision that I wanted the freedom, fulfilment and legacy that came with running my own business, and took the steps and actions needed to see that dream become a reality. Since then, I have been blessed to have given birth to three books, a book publishing company, two event management companies, and have become a world-renowned motivational speaker and business start-up coach.
Four key steps/questions to ask yourself when thinking of a business idea – your ‘cash machine’.
- What are your skills? Make a list of your skills, the things you are good at, the things you do naturally, the skills you use at work, etc., such as writing, singing, event management, styling, photography….
- Out of those skills, which ones are you really passionate about? Which ones get you excited? Which skills can you use towards fixing a problem that you are passionate about? Rank them in order of passion.
- Once you have identified your skills, and narrowed them down to the ones you are really passionate about, is there a need/gap for the business in the marketplace? Do people really want what you have to offer?
- Lastly, identify your USP (‘Unique Selling Point’). What will cause you to stand out from your competitors?
Is this you: ‘An entrepreneur sees an opportunity which others do not fully recognise, to meet an unsatisfied demand, or to radically improve the performance of an existing business. They have unquenchable self-belief that this opportunity can be made real through hard work, commitment and the adaptability to learn the lessons of the market along the way. (Chris Oakley OBE)’?
If so, then what are you waiting for? Ask yourself those four questions, put a plan of action together, get a business start up coach, and start reaping the following rewards: freedom, flexibility, success.