To be an entrepreneur is as easy as anything but I also know that whatever appear easy will definitely be tasking. Playing soccer for example appear easy but it is demanding and tasking .
I am Cajetan and below is my little story 😀😀
I discovered early in life that I wasn’t the routine type. I hardly follow program for a long period of time. So getting a job that will require me to report to office at a certain time and close at a certain time wasn’t an option
If I should accept one, then it will be with great difficulty and work satisfaction will be far fetched
Because of this, I began to search for market gaps, problems that needed to be solved, and acquiring skills.
During my university days, I observed that the gabbage men that evacuate waste from where I resided, will always separate what they considered valuable waste.
I approached them to enquire why and they said “this is big money for us”
I pocketed the info and continued observing.
During the service year, it was clear that I needed to think fast and act fast, else I may settle for that I never wanted
I searched again for a recycling company in Ilorin after I have done series of research online
I found one who accepted that I volunteer for as long as I wanted. This was the beginning of my journey to waste management
One remarkable thing at this company was that, the MD never wanted me to get dirty, he will always say “corper please don’t do that one, it will make you dirty”
But I wanted to handle all the machines, get dirty and learn. I came to learn and I must get dirty, I must be like factory worker to learn.
Another remarkable thing was that, I took this opportunity to learn as if my whole life depended on it. I never came late for once. But I over stepped boundaries which is be available the day the machines were serviced. My Boss asked me not to. But I considered that very important , so I came
At the end of the service year, the company offered me automatic employment but I politely said I needed to go back to attend to my imaginary wife and children.
Now I have the knowledge and I have the skills but I don’t have the finance . thinking mode was activated to solve the puzzle
Not long an opportunity came and money came.
I forgot to mention also that I volunteered with a female corp member most of the time. She is a co founder to the company
As at the time we registered the company in 2014, I borrowed money to do so. Hadn’t an address, so we used my brothers address in Aba. Though we wanted to begin our recycling in Aba because Aba has the reputation of being dirty as at then.
When we got 40% of the capital cost, we began searching for a warehouse to lease at Aba, we couldn’t find any, then we moved to Umuahia were we found one and began. Beginning is facing reality and creating a system. Now I discovered that it wasn’t as easy as I thought. When you work for someone, you work on already made system and things appear easy but when you try to begin a new, you will cry and laugh sometimes.
We started by collecting all recyclables, we went to schools to educate them on waste management, we knocked on doors and gates asking for waste. We were waste friendly and the we here is just two persons, Myself and the co founder. We worked for 8 months before we could employ 1 person
We had a mini van for transporting the recyclables and I was the driver. She was the conductor Many times task force seized us and seized the vehicle.
But we will hit the road again and again. The fight with task force discouraged me to point zero.
We ran to Abia state environmental protection agency but no solution was on sight the infrastructure guys came from board of internal revenue and gave us outrageous bill.
Many things happened that killed our spirit but we didn’t let the spirit to die
We acquired 2 plastic recycling machines and celebrated the day the machines arrived from Lagos.
As at this time, we don’t have a market to sell our recycled plastic. But we were convinced we will find one when ready.
I was the sole machine operator for months and when we had recycled plastic and ready, we began looking for buyers
When we found buyers, we discovered that what was obtainable in Ilorin is different from Onitsha market
We learnt again what the buyers wanted and what they needed
We sought for more hands to join the work force and a system was created
Our business is identification of recyclables , collection of these recyclables and recycling of plastics
The most common recyclables we have are ferrous and non ferrous metals, corrugated paper and white papers, glass, wood, plastics, all these are non biodegradable waste.
There are 6 major classes of plastics but we deal with number 5 polypropylene (pp), number 2 high density polyethylene (HDPE), 6 polystyrene. We don’t recycle plastic film. And the safest plastic is PP
Plastics are also classified according to mode of production and we have predominantly the blow and injection plastics
Moving forward, I decided to acquire skills in the manufacturing of plastics
This was further education. I went back online to gain the basics before searching for a company
I found one at Nnewi who accepted my volunteer wahalla. And I have the knowledge now
Interesting is that this company at Nnewi buy all our recycled plastics
The value of a recycled material depends on the cost of production and availability of the virgin material.
I have learnt a lot in the industry and still learning
The challenges so far include, power supply, government agencies, and availability of raw materials.
As an entrepreneur, I have diversified into agriculture. But our focus today is recycling and manufacturing
The big lesson I have learnt in my journey is that money can’t be a hindrance to actualising your dreams and passion
First of all, get ready, do your part, acquire all the knowledge , all the skills, just be ready so that you can pitch your idea to anyone at any time, 1 minute can do the magic. When ready, money will come.
Another is, never forget that your motivation and driving force is in you and you alone. Find things within you that can help u keep going when down
Mine is working. I think why working out, I search for solutions while exercising. When down I sweat it out
Yours could be music, reading, whatever it is find it and know that you are the one carrying the idea and can best motivate yourself.
Also I have tried to work on ideas that failed , I have lost money and time but I have learnt more than I have lost .
When incorporating the company, we needed at least 3 directors and we have 2. I approached friends to explain my idea, none accepted, I had to use my brother to fill the gap. We work with the allotted share % and we are on salary. The conflict was averted from the beginning Because the 2 of us as directors, work also, though now as part time staff, we still get salary.
As an entrepreneur we are always searching for problems that need to be solved, or to support solutions that are not adequate, or fill in a market gap, and should have in mind the need for scale and magnitude in our venture.
If your business has both, you are good and if it has only one you keep trying to support it with the 2 legs
Scale in this case has to do with number and magnitude price per unit. For example the Automobile industry has magnitude. A car can be 5million but not everyone will buy one. So they are always looking for a way to create the scale and they begin to make affordable cars . on the other hand, other business may have a product that go for 10 naira per unit and billions of people buy it daily.
My last word is, first of all find what you want in life because you are the only only that can tell yourself the truth. When you find, no matter how big the dream may be, take steps towards it, begin to learn, be hungry to learn things that will help you achieve that. Learn, acquire skills, focus and commit. If you don’t do these you won’t make mistakes, when you make mistakes, learn and move on. I learnt much about life as a fitness coach. Some ladies will come and complain that the need to let some belly fat off, please what can I do. You tell them you need to reduce consumption of certain type of food, seat less, and do some targeted exercise. They will accept and begin. After 3 days, they will give up and be taking selfies at the gym. The have lost track of why they came and this happens to us daily when we lose focus.
Whatever you do, remember to ease off, take some time off, cool off, relax and evaluate progress. On my part, my off day is Mondays 😀😀😀. And I can work on Sundays when it is necessary.