Omilola Oshikoya: Making financial literacy easy
Everything about Omilola speaks of depth, awareness, deep-rooted knowledge and a certainty grounded in faith. There is nothing wishy-washy or contrived about her as she shares her experience as Africa’s Premier Wealth Coach. She chats with Francesca Uriri on what made her start her business, why more women are taking charge of their financial futures, and why it’s absolutely okay to “do it afraid.” Enjoy!
In your own words, give a brief introduction to who Omilola Oshikoya is?
Omilola Oshikoya is Africa’s premier wealth coach with over 12 years’ experience in finance/investment banking. A columnist for the second most widely read newspaper in Nigeria and the creator of PocketFinance, a blog focused on providing information on personal finance & business for entrepreneurs. Omilola is the founder of Omilola Oshikoya International, a life and finance coaching company. She is also a co-host for a talk show which airs in 44 African Countries including the United Kingdom and is responsible for media and publications at Guiding Light Assembly. Omilola is an ordained youth minister and is happily married to John Olugbenga Oshikoya and they are blessed with three amazing children.
How did it start for you? Have you always wanted to do finance and investment?
Growing up we had financial challenges and I knew I didn’t want to go through the same challenges as an adult. There was an aunt of mine who was ‘rich’. She drove a nice sports car, had a nice flat in an expensive neighbourhood and she worked in a bank. I wanted to be ‘rich’ like her so I decided I was going to work in a bank. When I got to senior secondary school and we had to choose classes, I chose the commercial class and then in A-levels I did Business, Economics and Accounting and when I got to University I studied Accounting and Finance. A year after university, I moved back to Nigeria and got a job as an auditor in Deloitte. After about three years. I was bored and realised I didn’t want to spend my life as an auditor, auditing other people’s money. I wanted to do something challenging and interesting and then I resigned and got a job as an investment banker.
So that I understand exactly what you do; if I need direction on what to do with my money, what I should invest it in, and the likes, should I be coming to you, and how would you help me?
I teach 5 things primarily, what true wealth is (life coaching); How to create Wealth (business/entrepreneurship), How to manage wealth (personal finance), How to grow wealth (investments) and how to use wealth. My goal is to inspire this generation to live the “RICHER” life and to help eradicate poverty by teaching youths how to make money (business/entrepreneurship), how to manage it (personal finance), how to grow it (investment) and the purpose of wealth.
What would you say are the requirements for young women who want to have careers like yours?
First of all, you have to be called. You have to have vision and be passionate about what you do. In terms of competence I have a background in accounting, finance and investment banking. I am also a UK certified life coach. I also have circa 12 years work experience in some of the best companies in Nigeria. I am a stickler for personal development.
You resigned from your lucrative job as an investment banker to set up your own business; why?
Even though I had my dream job and worked in my dream company I was unhappy and unfulfilled. I was tired of chasing money. Also that year, my friends brother, a young man who was full of life, passed away suddenly, that same year a few’ people I knew died in the Dana crash. I was ready to live a life of purpose and also to have time for my first priority and first job which is being a wife to my amazing husband, Gbenga Oshikoya and a mother to my beautiful children. I no longer wanted to live the ‘rich’ life, I wanted to live the ‘Richer’ life. Even though I wanted to resign, I was afraid. My job was my security. It was an idol for me. Also I didn’t have a plan b. As an investment banker, I had side hustles due to the fact that I’m ambitious and sometimes my side hustles earned me more money than my job however these were just side hustles. I prayed and God asked me to leave but then how do you leave all you know without a plan. God then took me to Genesis chapter 12 when He told Abraham to leave the land that he knew to the land that He would show him. My bible was a Joyce Meyer Bible at the time and on the next page she had a narrative where God asked her to leave her job without a plan. I stood on the word and believed the Joyce Meyer narrative was confirmation and I decided to “Do It Afraid” and leave my job. I didn’t leave to start my own business. I just wanted to leave to fulfil purpose, to do what I was created and put on earth to do.
Let’s talk about your “Do it Afraid” conference – you held the debut edition last year; what’s the idea behind it?
“Do It Afraid” aims to inspire business minded individuals who out of fear, lack the will and conviction to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. “Do It Afraid” aims to push the young and unemployed population from being job seekers to being job providers, with the ultimate goal being to reduce unemployment which was estimated at 80% as at 2014. The first conference was held on the 6th of December, 2015 at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island with circa 200 people in attendance. In addition to the annual “Do It Afraid” conference, the concept will now include quarterly sector focused workshops across different sectors. These workshops are designed to increase technical capacity and provide support for both potential and current entrepreneurs in these sectors. The first “Do It Afraid” workshop is scheduled to take place on the 6th of March, 2016. It is called the “Do It Afraid” Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Workshop. The theme is: Agriculture, The Next Frontier.
What were the key lessons you learned from putting together that sort of event?
I learnt that when God gives you a vision, He makes provision. Shortly before God gave me the vision for the conference, He had asked me to empty my account and give someone in need all that I had. Essentially I was asked to sow a seed into someone’s life. I was obedient. When the vision came a few days after, I wondered how I was supposed to fund a conference of that magnitude after emptying my account. God turned my water into wine. He turned my two fish and 5 loaves into an overflow. I would explain this using the analogy of a seed. When a seed is sown into the ground, it usually uses up food that is stored within it. This storage is called the endosperm. Then it begins to grow and it begins to attract, water, sunlight and the atmosphere. When God gives you a vision, He sends you all the resources that you need to birth the vision and turn it into a reality.
In Africa, matters of investing and finance are usually seen as men-related; how would you advice women to take more control of their money and investing matters?
Times have changed. In Africa, particularly in the previous generation, it was common for the man to be the sole provider in the family and often times the wife or woman was excluded from financial matters. In this generation, women are financially independent and in some cases earn more money than their spouses. Most families rely on dual incomes. Women have to be on top of their finances and they need to make investments. Even in the Bible, the Proverbs 31 woman made investments.
Debt seems to be a recurring issue with a lot of people; what are 3 major ways that people can stay out of debt?
A. Live within your means. It is important to live within your means. If you can’t pay cash for an item than then don’t buy it. Instead of buying an item on credit, save towards purchasing the item. It is better to earn interest than pay interest. A useful tool is to budget. Create a budget and live on a budget. Also do not try to keep up with the Joneses. “Cut your coat according to your material” – Omilola.
B. Get rid of all your credit cards. Credit cards have the highest interest rates. One way to avoid credit cards is to set-up an emergency fund that way you have money to cover unexpected expenses and you won’t have to borrow.
C. You should also know the difference between bad debt and good debt. Do not take on debt to purchase a liability such as car. You can take on debt to further your education or to finance your dream or business.
As Africa’s premier wealth coach and as woman, what would you say are the factors that make women seemingly disinterested in matters of finance and investment?
I believe culture plays a very big role. Our mothers grew up in families where the men made all the financial decisions. However, things have changed like I mentioned earlier. Women are more interested in their finances. In the rural areas, it is a lack of education and lack of financial inclusion.
What is your take on role models and mentoring? Is useful, and is it something you would recommend?
I have different mentors for different aspects of my life. My husband is my principle mentor as he is very principled and he is a man of integrity. My cousin Fade Aluko and my Pastor Wale Adefarasin are my spiritual mentors, my friend Wunmi Williams is my dream mentor (she dreams big), my mum Foluso Aboderin and my prayer partner Tola Akitoye are my work mentors as they have very good work ethics, Professor Jumoke Oduwole is my parenting mentor ( I really like her parenting style), my brother Mayode Aboderin is my prayer mentor as He can pray for Nigeria lol, and Lanre Olusola is my coach mentor. I also have mentors that I do not have personal relationships with. I read their books, follow their social media platforms and learn from their resources. After all is said and done, it is important not to IDOLISE a mentor.
How do you juggle your time between being a wife, a mother and an entrepreneur?
This is one thing that I am still learning to do. For me prioritising is very important. My first job is a wife to my husband and a mother to my children. My career comes after. I work my schedule around my kids and not the other way round. I go to the office when they are at school and leave the office to pick them up and go home with them. It is really hard not to cross lines especially since I am passionate about what I do and love my job, so I find myself working even when I’m with my kids. One of my goals for 2016, is to give my kids quality time by turning off my phone when I am with them. I also intend to try to spend quality time with my husband every day after work, once the kids are in bed. Once I have achieved this then I can continue working.
How central is your faith to what you do?
My faith is everything. I try to seek Gods advice in everything. He is the chairman of my business. I try not do anything without the leading of the Holy Spirit. It can be difficult to wait on Him but as much as I can, I try and when I fall I ask for forgiveness. I try to involve Him in everything including my brand colour, logo, even the choice of the venues for my events etc. There is no Omilola without God. In fact it is His work and I’m only the servant carrying out the work of the Master.
Words of advice for upcoming female entrepreneurs?
Do not despise the days of humble beginnings. There is no overnight success. Rome wasn’t built in a day. There is a process that everyone has to go through. There is a time to learn and sow and there is a time for harvest. Work hard, Dream big and Trust God. “The sky is just the beginning”.
Follow Omilola on Twitter: @Omilola and on Instagram: @Omilolaoshikoya
The Leading Ladies Africa Series is a weekly interview series that focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa; an initiative that seeks to effectively mentor and inspire women, with particular emphasis on the African continent.
Do you know any woman of African descent doing phenomenal things? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we just might feature her.
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