On 23 August 2022 I sat down with Olanike to find out more about her Fempreneur Journey, her entrepreneurial Story, and what exactly she did to become one of the most recognized travel personalities in her industry. This is that story…
The Origins of Pamsfly
Olanike followed the news of Covid 19 closely from the beginning when China had the only known cases. She still remembers the horror of hearing how it was spreading, as country by country Covid 19 became a pandemic. When the World Health Organisation encouraged a global lockdown, Olanike didn’t know what she would do – she had just entered into a long-term lease for her Travel Agent Business – Pamsfly. Global lockdown didn’t just mean diminished revenue, it meant no revenue. Luckily she had saved up cashflow reserves, but she know this wouldn’t last forever and there was no indication when lockdown restrictions would be lifted.
“It was a very devastating period. However, I have always been a person that makes lemonade from lemons, so I started thinking about how I could possibly maximize the lockdown period. That is how I got to know about Fempreneur.”
Olanike joined the travel industry in June 2004, and in 2007, after the birth of her first child, she started thinking of opening up her own business. . In May 2008 her company was officially registered and she rolled out the proverbial welcome mat at Pamsfly – her own travel agency.
“I wanted to take care of my child, home, and husband. Work wouldn’t allow me to do that the way I wanted to do it. So I decided to create that opportunity for myself by starting up my own business.”
“In the first year, I only sold three tickets, but the following year the number of tickets I sold increased and in 2009 I acquired our first office space so that clients could see me, meet me, and make their travel requests in person. The business progressed, and I was able to have a better work-life balance, but I wasn’t reaching my dream goals.”
Introduction to Fempreneur
“When I heard about the Fempreneur course I was so excited because I knew it was an international course. That meant I would meet people from other countries around the world which was exactly the kind of networking I needed to do! Secondly, when I looked at the course outline I saw so many things I needed to learn…..
- how to shift my business,
- gaining business visibility.
- how to increase my client base
- the importance of interpersonal relationship skills
- how to take care of my health as a business owner”
“It was not just a course to teach me how to improve my business. It talked about my finances, my wellbeing, and my state of mind.”
Olanike especially appreciated that this course seemed to be so much more than just another course aimed at entrepreneurs.
She says that it made so much sense that in order to be the best business owner you can be you’d need to look after your health and wellbeing, cultivate a support network and a certain state of mind – and that is exactly what this course promised to do – on TOP of teaching all the business skills.
“The Fempreneur course taught me:
- How to improve my business
- How to take care of my health
- How to take care of my relationships
- How to increase my visibility in a crowded marketplace
- How I am worthy of all the beautiful things that life has to offer and
- How I can set lofty goals and realise them.”
“I got to know so many people from around the world and built relationships with the most amazing coaches and other Fempreneurs – and we have kept in touch. After sharing such a special journey, I don’t believe we will ever lose contact with each other for very long. I follow all my fellow Fempreneurs on social media. I know what their dreams are and I get so happy when I can see them crushing their goals. We’re all still doing what we did when we met, but we’re doing it much better now. It’s fantastic.”
Olanike learned skills on the Fempreneur Course that she still uses today.
“I learned how to use Canva to quickly make some beautiful designs. I still use that skill today.
I learned how to meditate and stay in a state of calmness.
I learned how to visualize the future I want and then make it happen. I still do that today.
I learned how to eat healthily, and how important it is to my well-being. I still do that today.
I learned that my network is my net worth, that I should value people, and that they are my passport into the future. It made me value and treat every individual I meet very well. They can open great doors for me. They can refer me to other people. They can take me to places I’ve never been before and wouldn’t be able to access on my own. Practically, they are really working for me now. I see opportunities much better now.”
By the time we were finishing the course, Olanike had come up with a whole new division to her business – Travel’s Diva
Because Olanike’s business wasn’t generating revenue at the time when she needed this course the most she opted to crowdfund her fees, and she became one of the first Fempreneurs to successfully crowdfund the entire cost. In fact, her success in her own campaign impressed us so much that we invited her to do a special bonus session with our other Fempreneurs. Olanike taught the other students everything she had learned about the crowdfunding space and encouraged the fellow Fempreneurs who were also crowdfunding for their fees to take action, believe in themselves and go for it.
Olanike will be joining us again as we search for our next cohort of fabulous Fempreneurs, providing mentorship and guidance on the crowdfunding process and inspiring our crowdfunders to be as successful as she was in raising her Fempreneur funds.
“This was my first time crowdfunding. There were challenges, but I overcame all of them – making sure that I achieve what I was hellbent to do.” It was Olanike’s unbreakable spirit in the face of adversity that ultimately resulted in her being one of the best crowdfunders we have ever seen.
She says she was nervous when lecturing her classmates on the crowdfunding topic, at the same time she was so proud of herself for pulling it off successfully. She inspired a lot of people.
“As I speak about it the memories are all coming back.” You can hear the smile in her voice at this moment in time.
“WOW, the feeling is unexplainable. It’s a great one. When you see the effort you put into creating something materialise and then people want to listen to all you were able to achieve and do, it brings a great amount of joy. It showed me again that hard work pays, and pursuing excellence pays. I was able to inspire people, to teach them how to not look down or feel they cannot do it, how to maximise their time, and how to look beyond differences and get the best out of people. Networking, treating people well, making people feel good around you, so that when the time comes for them to help they will not hesitate. This inspired me to help people even more. I stopped just expecting. I realised that if people have given to me, I should learn to give back. I should not just be a person that takes and takes and takes. So coming on board to teach these wonderful women made me feel so happy and I know they will be better for it.”
“The Fempreneur and Explore ProTech community has given me an enabling environment. This community gave me a landing space, so when I do well, I make a point of giving back to my community.”
In October 2020 Olanike commemorated the International Day of the Girl Child. Now every year on this day, Olanike makes a point of visiting a girl’s school.
“I asked some of the girls at the school to make a video, to talk about their theme for the year. I also distributed sanitary pads.
I arranged with the school principal to have a talk with them. I told them how valuable they are and how their future can be great. I explained that there are no limits or boundaries, except for the ones they set in their minds.”
Olanike’s Success and the Future of Fempreneur
During the Fempreneur course, Olanike was named one of the Top 100 tourism practitioners in Nigeria.
“It was so awesome. It was what I had been striving for and it happened before I even finished the course. Because Fempreneur was such a practical course, I was able to promote some of the things I was doing. My natural instinct was to keep photos on my phone and keep quiet about what I was up to, but because of the course, my eyes were opened to the opportunities in sharing my story. I was able to leverage my story and it really paid off.”
Olanike remembers going live with us on YouTube and Facebook on our Coffee Shop Conversations Show. She calls the experience “exhilarating” and especially remembers the Fempreneur coaches being right there to support her and her fellow fempreneurs along the way.
“It was great when I was given the opportunity to share my story and tell people how it is possible, despite the challenges they may be facing.”
“Being asked questions and being able to share my story in an effort to empower and inspire others to see opportunities was an exhilarating experience that I would’ve never had if it wasn’t for the Fempreneur journey.”
Olanike’s best advice to future Fempreneurs that will be joining us on our next Fempreneur journey warms the heart.
“As you are coming on board – know that you are going to learn so many things. It is a course that is worth doing. It will give you visibility. It will help you know how to tell your story. All the things you are going to learn will open your eyes. You will get trained on how to see opportunities everywhere. Even a seemingly bad situation will have opportunities. Fempreneur will train you not to focus on the bad side, but on the opportunity side.”
“You will learn to build relationships intentionally. You will learn that your network is your net worth. You will learn that you are not just any woman in the neighbourhood. You are the woman with great value that is intentional, that is impactful. You will learn to become an inspiration to others. You will have your mind opened. You’ll be trained to run your business differently. You will learn how to keep books. You will learn how to create beautiful graphics.”
“You will learn quite a number of things. You will learn how to live healthily, how to eat healthily, how to exercise, how to meditate, and how to think through a problem. There are so many things to learn so as you plan to do it – please open your mind and commit fully to this life-changing journey and you will enjoy every bit of it.”
One of her favourite memories from the original journey was the brand over-makeover week.
“I remember us learning how to prepare to look good on Zoom. We were encouraged to bring eyeshadow, makeup, lighting supplies and backdrop ideas. I remember Peter having his face painted as he acted as a dummy for the makeup tutorial. It was moments like these that I will never forget.”
At this point in time, you can hear the laughter breaking through in her voice as she shares the memory.
She says that even though Peter having his face painted was “hilarious” they learned so much from this session.
“We learned that you have to give things your best shot. You give your best shot when you’re going live. You give your best shot in business. You give your best shot when you’re learning. You’re not just anyone. You’re a woman with great value.”
“I am so happy that I became an entrepreneur and I will choose entrepreneurship over and over and over again because it has given me an edge. I became an entrepreneur when I gave birth to my son so I could take care of him and still make money. Entrepreneurship gave me freedom. It gave me flexibility. It gave me a chance to nurture my son and take care of him the way I wanted to. I can work from anywhere and I determine my own hours. It gave me the most precious commodity of all – time. I have time to take care of my business. I have time to take care of myself. I have time to nurture my children. I don’t report to anybody. I can plan out my day as it suits my needs.”
When we asked Olanike about her future dreams and goals she doesn’t hold back anything.
“I wouldn’t mind having an airline that is mine in the future. I would like to empower women. I would like to have events that bring women from all walks of life together, and really inspire and teach them. I would like to tell them that they don’t have to cut corners, become prostitutes or do other unworldly things to make money. They don’t have to play small either. They need to realise that they can have whatever they want – if they work smart enough and hard enough and are clear on what they want and what they are going to do to get it.”
“I want to teach them that they can earn well, take care of their children, have time for themselves and actualise their dreams. They can have it all. I would like to grow my empowerment movement for girls. I have already started it and I am not going to stop. This movement for girls has come to stay. I want to educate them on their worth. I need to make sure that they understand they are not just for the kitchen or to give birth, they have so much value they can add to this world. They just need to realise it. They need to know that their gender is not a limitation. They can become pilots, they can become authors, they can write books, they can become presidents. They can look beyond their gender and lead a fulfilling life.”
Olanike’s Offer to You
Olanike invites anybody that wants to go into entrepreneurship or who wants to develop their current business to have a coffee with her.
She can give you an idea of the map of the road you are embarking on, point out potholes on the way and help you realise how important it is to empower the mind. She is happy to share the mistakes she made, how she overcame them and what she did in order to get to where she is today. She especially invites future Fempreneurs to talk to her.
“I will always be available to the women embarking on the Fempreneur journey. If you are stuck come to me, if you are starting come to me, if you are expanding come to me, if you are wanting to help your community, if you want to crowdfund for your Fempreneur fees, come to me. My door is open.”