I started my business with a small change left in my account after paying my school fees:- Akinola Favour, the Proprietor of Afisam Exquisite World.

Among the students in the campus, there are those who have shown resilience and have developed an unbeatable trajectory in entrepreneurship. These kinds of students do not only want to be financially independent, they go out there, work for it and pay their bills with an ease of affordability. One of them is Favour whom we are fortunate enough to reach out to share her story and experience in choosing the path of entrepreneurship and what the journey has been so far.

Please, can you tell us little about yourself and what you do?

Good evening, I am Favour Akinola, 400 level Law Student of the University of Ibadan, Oyo State. I am a member of a few clubs and organizations in the faculty. I am a versatile young lady. I am a christian. In the family of seven, I am the second child and the first daughter. I am the face behind Afisam Exquisite World where we make Chin Chin, peanut and flour. I love networking a lot. However, this is a new paradigm in my life.  It was as of recently that I developed this intense relationship with people and God. And oh, I love myself also. All thanks to people and God for my business.

What has the journey been so far running Afisam?

Awesoooooome! Fantabulous! Though, every business comes with their cons.

That is interesting. It seems you enjoy what you do?

I am in love with what I do and when you’re in love with something, there’s no way you won’t enjoy every bit of it.

I will come back to the cons involved in running the business as you mentioned, but before I do, can you tell us how you took interest in making chin chin and getting to brand your business. 

Wow, I love this question (laugh). This is because people often ask me that question. Sincerely, selling chin chin or making chin chin wasn’t part of my dream. It was when I was in 200 level, after paying my school fees and in my account, left in it, was a small change. I asked myself what should I use this money for? I don’t want to spend it and disturb my Daddy in the future. 

I was intentional about doing business, a business that people will continue to buy from me on a daily basis, but I didn’t know the type of business to venture into. I had in my secondary school undertook the subject, human nutrition where we were taught how to make different kinds of snacks. Later, I went to the market to buy ingredients and equipment for cakes. When I got back, the enthusiasm I had for the business was no more. In fact, the equipment remained untouched today. 

I had to take a break to contemplate on my next move. Communicating with people is one of my best traits. This helped me to ask one of my friends on what type of business she would love me to do. The  answer she gave to me wasn’t satisfying. 

However, one night, I questioned myself “Favour, why don’t you make chin chin?”. That was how the answer came. But before I took that bold step, there was self-doubt. I am a shy person, but people don’t always believe that I am one. For people like me, it will take us more than normal courage exhibited by people who are not shy to do this kind of business. No doubt, I would feel very shy people calling me Afi Chim Chim (laugh). 

After taking that decision, I changed my mind from a person desiring making cake to a person who seriously wants to make chin chin. The first Chin Chin I made, I took the picture, and kept it. It is still on my phone. I had no sticker, but I still uploaded it on my social media. I made one jar of chin chin which I sold at the rate of N500. I also made 15 pieces of chin chin sold at the rate of N50. Subsequently, orders kept coming. One of those orders which came was more than the quantity of the chin chin I made. This motivated me a lot to continue the business. I am happy that people keep loving my products and wouldn’t stop patronizing me.

About the branding, I had no knowledge of business at all. It was people that I asked about how I could brand my business that proffered solutions. It was God who helped me with those people.

Going Back to what you said earlier, you said that the business has its own cons, what are the cons? What challenges do you often face during day to day running of the business?

My main challenge has to do with our country’s economy. The economy is not encouraging young people to venture into business at all. The continuous increase in price of goods cum the materials I use to make my products.  For instance, I went to the market on Tuesday last week. In the same week, I went to the market, but bought the same goods I bought on Tuesday on an increased price variance. This caused me to often remove money from my own personal budget to support my business in order to keep the business afloat. 

This isn’t encouraging to young entrepreneurs. If we sell our products to match the existing economic reality, our customers will run away from us thinking we are the people inflating the price. I receive complaints often from those who want to patronize me about the price of my products. One of those complaints came from Instagram where a customer who ordered chin chin complained about the price even though the quantity of my product averages higher than what is being sold in the market for the same price. She wouldn’t be expecting me to sell at the lowest rate.

The economy has to change. The government should help us and do something to enable us to contribute towards the growth of the society and impact people’s lives in our own little way.

Aside from this challenge, is the market profitable and would you encourage more young people to get into the business?

Is the market profitable? Yes, it is! If you’re not lazy and you’re ready to embrace business risks, trust me, there are thousands of people willing to patronize and encourage you in the business. I mean people who are ready to help in one way or the other. These sets of people are the ones that keep Afisam Exquisite World going.

Finally, What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs like yourself and are there any other things you will want us to know? 

I have four pieces of advice to give. Firstly, For all entrepreneurs including myself, we should never forget God. If I should look back and recollect the caliber of people I met just by selling my products, I am not sure my academic qualifications would have ever done that for me and it was all because of God. God should always be our priority in everything. I always ask God for direction and he is usually there to help. There was a day I prayed for directions while designing my product. Believe me, the revelation that came and subsequent reaction to the product was mind-blowing. 

Secondly, you should never serve money. We need money, but we should never serve it. The Bible says that money is the root of all evil. There are some days that I will give my product free by the direction of the holy spirit even though it is hard to do. Build to serve people and money will come naturally. There is an adage that says slow and steady wins the race. If we keep working hard, the money will come.

Thirdly, Surround yourself with the right people. There was discouragement from some of my friends. When I started, some of them teasingly called me shi shí. However, having other friends that encouraged me made the difference.  In fact, if I have one friend discouraging me, there are five other people encouraging me. Surround yourself with the right people and you’re good to go. 

Fourthly, Stay happy. You can achieve this by having a cordial relationship with God and the holy spirit.

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