In today’s politically correct world, where faith and business don’t seem to mix. Omilola Oshikoya, is championing a new movement on financial literacy, accountability, and the power of boldness to Do It Afraid’ inspired by her faith in God.
Africa’s Premier Wealth Coach, Entrepreneur, Author, and Founder, Omilola Oshikoya International. Omilola Oshikoya is on a mission to empower more young people to create generational wealth while living the Richer Life. Using her expertise as a former investment banker and now certified life coach, Omilola Oshikoya’s work continues speak for itself.
In this interview with Whoot Africa’s Founder, Olushola Pacheco. Omilola shares more about her journey, faith, upcoming Do It Afraid conference and her vision to empower more young men and women to harness the various opportunities only the creatively empowered can recognize in this economic downturn.
Outside of the press write-ups and journals about your work, can you share a little with us about Omilola Oshikoya, the individual, the finance coach and the brain behind the Do It Afraid movement?
First and foremost, I like to describe myself as the father’s daughter; I like to always say this first because this is the essence of who I am, my vision, my inspiration and everything that I do. I am a wife to an amazing husband and a mother to three amazing children, it is important for me to always remember both my husband and children because sometimes in the pursuit of our vision we often forget what is really important, family. I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of the things I do without the support of my family.
For me, true success is generational. My faith helps me to understand that God is a generational God and this is why I like to emphasise on the need and importance of family. You can help the world, but if you fail on the home front then your work really bears no fruit. There’s an analogy that sticks with me about generational wealth and prosperity – An olive tree can live for about two thousand years, and towards the end of its lifespan it becomes hollow in the middle, but when you look closely at the bottom you begin to see olive shoots growing mostly around the olive tree, which signifies its new strength, protection and the next phase of the thousands of years to come for that previously strong Olive Tree and eventually taking over the strength of the tree.
I am Africa’s premier wealth coach, and my goal is to inspire this generation and the next generation of achievers to be bullish, and to dare to ‘Do it Afraid’. I think a lot of people are focused on living the rich life, which was how I lived as a younger person but somewhere along the line God began to show me what true wealth was really about. My work as a wealth coach is centered around the creation of sustainable wealth, and I am also a UK certified life coach.
The Do It Afraid movement is about empowering more entrepreneurs and businesspeople through the brand. A lot of people have been programmed to work in certain careers with the pursuit of money as their main goals; don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with working for the remuneration, but our vision is to empower people enough to discover their passion, be creative and not be afraid to go the distance in the pursuit of their dreams while doing it afraid through the uncertainties that life throws at us.
What inspired the finance movement journey?
God and faith. I had gotten to a point in my life where I yearned for more, I wanted to know why I was created and what purpose I was serving with my various gifts? I decided to seek God, and I knew it wasn’t going to be business as usual – somewhere along the line, Omilola Oshikoya International was birth.
My grandfather was a successful man; in fact, he was a business giant who excelled during his time – his business made him the only person producing cement sacks in Nigeria. Unfortunately, his businesses crumbled after his demise, and so was almost everything he had spent his life building. This puzzled me greatly for a long time. How could he be that rich and yet we had to struggle at certain points in our lives? So I grew up with the urge to not just be successful, but to also be generationally wealthy and this meant understanding how to create such wealth with the right keys and financial information. I also have a background in investment banking which further inspires me to empower people and change lives with the right financial information.
A lot of people are very skeptical about listening to life coaches, besides a lot of young people are going through tough times especially in this economic climate. What would you say to the average young person who is asking how he/she is expected to save for a rainy day when it seems to be raining every day?
Yes, the word life coach is thrown around a lot. Not everyone who calls themselves a life coach is a coach. I studied accounting and finance, I worked in investment banking, I have equipped myself over the years and also qualified as a UK certified life coach. In terms of savings, if you cannot save when you have little, you will never be able to save when you have millions.
It is a mindset thing to be financially disciplined; this is one of the reasons why you wonder how people who won the lottery end up in penury despite their winnings, or athletes who amassed a fortune during their sporting days ending up worse off than when they started. So, until we start to understand the logic and the need for financial literacy it will be the same circle of poverty moving from one generation to the other. My advice to that young person would be, start small, being disciplined in the small ways, and you realize being able to handle your big financial break becomes easier. We need to move away from the microwave mentality that is plaguing the millennial generation – the microwave mentality that sees us wanting things now and quickly. In financial literacy, delayed gratification is key; putting little away diligently, investing in little ways without becoming weary and understanding that the future is dependent on the now, the decisions we make, and the little bricks and building blocks we are constantly putting into the bigger builds of what we want. The question is, would you rather play now and pay later or pay now and play later? What are the sacrifices you are willing to make right now? What frivolities are you spending money on? You need to think long term; this is a good time to take advantage of the economic crisis to invest, some of the biggest billionaires in the US were made during the depression.
When you look at the Do IT AFRAID movement, there has been quite a lot of positive testimonials of people who have stepped out and made their dreams happen. Are there any plans to help small businesses access loans, putting together the right business documents and the right mentoring platforms to help their businesses grow? The way forward?
Do IT Afraid is like a start-up initiative, it gets you to just start. But in our long term plan, we have a roll out of things that we will be offering people who are part of the movement. Unfortunately, I cannot disclose them as many of them are still in the works, but we already have business coaching, mentoring, and we plan to add access to financing in due course and a couple of more things we are working on. I got the chance to learn a lot as an independent monitor for the YOUWIN program by the last administration, as well as being a part of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Foundation Program, lessons of which I am implementing with ‘Do It Afraid and a lot of ideas that have worked for us so far, especially with our Agriculture business seminars.
You have a network of women as part of the Do It Afraid movement; when you look at the unfortunate outcome of the gender equality bill being turned down in March (2016) which is a major blow to women in Nigeria. When you look at women trying to change the status quo and trying to achieve a lot, what advice would you give to women especially the young impressionable ones?
I am not a feminist and I say this with a lot of confidence. The feminist movement is so active right now. There’s a place for a woman and there’s a place for the man and I am not in any way trying to take anyone’s place. With that being said, I come from a home where there was no discrimination between my brother and I, we were given equal opportunities, I also come from a long line of strong women who are achievers in their own rights. I worked predominantly with men during my days of investment banking and no one ever made me feel bad about being a woman. I was given the same opportunities as the men even in the boardroom, I would speak and the men listen and that is why I emphasize on the need for women to be sound in every way and everything they find themselves doing; when you are good at what you do, they can only ignore and push you aside for a little while, excellence shines through. Bring value to the table and watch yourself get your good share of the table.
To the young woman – social media has created a moth lifestyle where people are attracted to the artificial and vain things and people; just because it glitters doesn’t diminish your value and substance. In the end, you cannot compare grass that springs up fast to the palm tree that has taken years of diligent and consistent growth. Your content will tell with time on how valuable it is, everything has a time and season, the Dangote’s of this world took 30 years to get to the relevance and recognition their work now enjoys. Be patient with hard work, you have to pay your dues.
Moving on to government and policies, as a financial expert, and looking at the Nigerian government what are those things you think they need to work on in order for Nigerians to be able to enjoy financial prosperity and small businesses thriving?
I think it is simple, create an enabling environment. Government is not meant to create wealth for its people, all they need to do is to create the right structures and policies that allow for businesses to grow. It is important for people to know that the government doesn’t owe you financial prosperity. The aim is to have your government accountable for changing the rules that allow for people to thrive.
Pepsi Co’s CEO, Indra K Noogi sent the business world buzzing in 2014, when she was quoted as saying, “we pretend to have it all, women can’t have it all” – what are your thoughts on the work-life balance from your own experience over the years?
I think women can have it all, but at different seasons. Looking at my own life, there’s so much I can do right now, but I remember the accountability factor of my journey, I’m a mother with children who are still dependent on me and I cannot afford to fail at the molding stages of their lives. I work my schedule around my children and husband and not the other way around, I don’t want to succeed at everything else out there and realize I have failed in my first and primary duty. I need for women to not feel guilty about not being able to not do certain things just yet, understanding this is key to a healthy and successful journey in both business and career. Please, please and please, never be afraid to ask for help, and never feel guilty about having a support system. We are here to be better people, to learn and support each other.
50 years from now? What would you want to be remembered for when the name Omilola Oshikoya is mentioned around the world?
I would want people to say that she is God’s beauty radiating on the earth, she’s fulfilling her purpose and living the richer life. She has true wealth and she’s changing lives and building her nation and a physical representation of the proverbs 31 woman.