I am filled with gratitude and awe by how far I’ve come. Because I was mostly raised by my stepdad, Paul Manneseh Gu’ar. He implanted in me an entrepreneurial spirit, as early as when I was between 7 and 9 years old. I was responsible for making and selling ice blocks, while he was away for about two weeks, on the sea, because his job as an immigration officer required him to be.
However, the only ambition I nursed as a child was to be a five-star general in the Nigerian Army. I was on my path to achieving this ambition between 2002 and 2004, as a student of the Nigerian Military School, Zaria, Kaduna, under the name of Michael Gu’ar.
But, in 2004, my biological father requested my custody, and I had to change both my name and high school, to Oluwafisayo Oladapo Olajide and The Vale College, Ibadan, Oyo State.
This constant adaptation to different places and peoples shaped the early parts of my life.
Fisayo Olajide – My Journey So Far
The Homeless Volunteer
My career began as an adventure, to discover my limits and rediscover my strengths. I left home, without saying goodbye to anyone in 2011, six months after I completed my BSc Computer Science Degree, from Ghana. This landed me in Dunamis International Gospel Centre (DIGC), in Abuja, which runs a TV station, where I volunteered for six months, and my outfit during that period was a white t-shirt, a pair of jeans, and a pair of boots.
During my six months as a volunteer, I was approached by a member of the church, with the request to tutor her on the use of Photoshop, as she thought that for me to work in a TV station, I must know how to use Photoshop. Little did she know that the only skill I was using as a TV administrator was my IT troubleshooting skills.
But, I decided to oblige her request because I needed to learn how to create graphics design myself – her request simply increased my motivation. While she made it clear that all she could offer in return for my tutoring service was a home-cooked meal because she was unemployed. To achieve my part of the bargain, I researched for photoshop tutorials, learned and practiced them by night, and taught them by day.
After six months, of my dedicated volunteering, I had learned not only photoshop but also Premier Pro, a video editing software, which allowed me to be offered a paid employment. And, during the first three months of my paid employment, I dedicated a certain amount to purchase books, which were mostly Robert Kiyosaki’s books, while still being homeless.
After three months of digesting Robert Kiyosaki’s book, I dared to put into practice what I was digesting. This led me to found Le Relief Enterprise a digital marketing and corporate branding firm, where the sole service at the onset was website design and development.
Volunteer Turned Entrepreneur
However, I had no experience nor the know-how of how to build websites. So, I approached my friend Edward Enejo, who was adept at building websites, to be a cofounder, of LRE, where he will be the CEO and I will be the marketing director. Little did Edward know that his agreeing to be a cofounder with me, will remain my lifelong inspiration to support entrepreneurs – the fact that someone other than myself believed in my dream meant a lot.
We both were able to attract two other team members to LRE. I was responsible for interfacing with clients, and Edward was responsible for building the websites while holding his full-time job. This meant that I had to take in the clients’ complaints and wait till Edward had the time to make the changes on the website. This efficiency lag forced me to learn the basics of how to build and update websites.
Through LRE, I had the privilege to work with Benford International School, Abuja on its corporate branding, also I was an Information Technology consultant for Cedarwood, a law firm, and designed and developed the online presence for engineering companies and several renowned individuals in Nigeria.
By the end of 2014, Edward and I were the only team members of LRE, a former team member left us to found his own digital marketing company, six months after joining LRE, and the other had a full-time job that provided a steady income than LRE could provide.
This unavailability of constant cash flow sparked my desire to learn finance, which first led me to learn Forex trading, from Alpari, and later became a student member of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, Nigeria. It was during my first exams I was advised that an MBA in finance will equip me with the required skills of providing solutions for business growth.
And, In 2015, DIGC and I parted ways. Edward, my co-founder, bid me farewell because he found a job that required all of his attention.
Entrepreneur turned Solopreneur, Sales Officer and More
During 2015, I became an insurance sales officer, with Mutual Benefits Insurance, where my income was solely based on commission. In that period I continued to nurse and water LRE, by building the website for IPIAD and produced videos for entrepreneurs and organizations.
First MBA Attempt
At the end of 2015, I decided to return home, to Ibadan, to seek support for my MBA goal. Though I was busy, the income from my activities could only support my necessities.
In 2016, I was back home at Ibadan, for a chance to get the funding for my MBA goal. The condition was that I will complete the mandatory Youth Service, which is a compulsory one-year service for all Nigerian university graduates.
I have always been reluctant about the Nigerian Youth Service program because the program is designed to equip, young Nigerian graduates with para-military training. I already got my military training when I was between 12 and 14 years old, hence my reluctance. But I complied with the condition, though it took me two attempts to complete the program.
But, after my youth service program, my dad was short of funds to support my MBA goal. So at the end of 2016, a friend introduced me to the only licensed sub-Saharan distributor of Tyre Protector.
I could not help myself but offer for LRE to market the product in Nigeria and the entire Sub-Sahara Africa. Knowing better that such an audacious attempt will require the help of others, I persuaded my friend who introduced me to the licensee, to learn how to install the tyre-protector and join me in Abuja after his learning.
So, I returned to Abuja, to make the necessary plans and partnerships required to make marketing tyre-protector a success. While working on a project, with a former colleague, at IPIAD, to build her hospitality consulting startup. This gave me the opportunity to learn the intricacies of the hospitality industry.
When my friend was done with learning to install the tyre-protector. I was lucky to find a funding partner who provided the funds required for the marketing efforts.
I deployed all my design, copy-writing, communications, and marketing skills on tyre-protector. Testing out different target customers, from established national transport companies, individuals, to several government agencies, which include the Nigerian Immigration Service and Nigerian Navy.
By 2017, I was sure that to achieve my vision for tyre-protector, I will require more funding, to educate the market of its benefits, and install the required infrastructure in the city, so that tyre-protector’s future customers will have a service experience, like that experienced in Apple stores.
MBA Funding For Marketing Funding Request
So I returned home, with the hope to receive funding for my marketing venture, because I thought if I cannot get the funding support for my MBA goal, at least I should get the funding support for my business goals.
But, like every entitled thought, my request landed on deaf ears. By now, the hope of my team to make Tyre-protector a success story had waned. So I was forced to remain in Ibadan while positioning LRE as a premier digital marketing firm for SMEs.
This involved me improving the online presence of LRE, which paid off, when a former colleague and friend contacted me, to develop and implement the digital strategy for Film For Teens Africa (FFTA), a film academy focused on training teenagers on film production, during the summer holidays, with the opportunity to learn with Nollywood actors.
As expected, I held nothing back, I designed and implemented a fitting content strategy for FTTA, that ran all through the summer break in 2017.
Director of Marketing & Technology
And, by November 2017, I applied as a Digital Marketer and Video Editor to Wellsradio -then Nexus. However, I was offered to be the Director of Marketing and Technology, which I gladly accepted.
Wellsradio went live on the 1st January 2018, where I sacrificed my Christmas Holiday, to ensure that on the 1st of January 2018, Wellsradio could broadcast live, while designing its go-to-market strategy.
Like how every great movie has to come to an end, in November 2018, I had to bid Wellsradio farewell, to embark on my MBA journey.
The MBA Journey Begins
I was privileged to celebrate my 29th birthday, February 16th, 2019, in Germany at the BioFach tradeshow. Before the End of March, I was a volunteer marketing consultant for DAYAD, a Climate Change focused NGO. I was privileged to volunteer at the TNW 2019 conference, in Amsterdam.
As, every international student in Amsterdam, needs a job for financial support, I found a weekend job with FEBO, a snack bar restaurant during the weekends. While supporting two entrepreneurs on their entrepreneurial journey between July 2019 – February 2020.
1. I was the Chief Financial Officer for Hakuna Group, a startup with the mission to disrupt Africa’s technology landscape with phones designed and developed in Africa, for Africans.
2. I was the Social Media Manager for Omek, a startup with the vision to be the talent and opportunity hub for African Diaspora in the Netherlands, between December 2019 to February 2020.
The MBA Internship
On January 6th, I began my six months internship with BiD Network, a financial advisory firm headquartered in Amsterdam, but with offices, in Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya.
With BiD Network, I engaged with the impact investment sector, and I attempted to write my MBA final thesis on ‘How BiD Network can create a competitive advantage in the Financial Advisory sector in East Africa.’ However, I couldn’t get to the end of that attempt due to the pandemic.
MBA Box Ticked
On November 27th, 2020, exactly two years after I got to the Netherlands, I successfully defended my MBA thesis.
Though Fisayo applied as a Digital Marketer, I hired him as the Director of Marketing and Technology, because of his enthusiasm and knowledge of marketing and the digital space. He provided and implemented innovative ideas from his interview to his exit. Fisayo's knack to deliver according to international standards and go the extra mile on his assigned tasks and responsibilities makes me confident to assure you that you will be satisfied working with him.
Fisayo, has been helping our not-for-profit in the past year and a half as a marketing expert. I really appreciate his vast knowledge and enthusiasm on the topic and sharing with me and other team members. He brilliantly introduced the Disciplined Entrepreneur process to our marketing process, and that was enormously insightful. I have no doubt that Fisayo would be a great asset!
Fisayo was recommended as a web developer and designer when I needed a website for IPIAD, my real estate company. I was inspired by his ability and willingness to work closely with the logo designer, and content creator to ensure alignment in IPIAD’s online presence. His pursuit to achieve efficiency and effectiveness, and that any project he is involved with meets international standards, keeps me eager to have him involved in my other projects.
Why Work With Me?
Because doctors never prescribe anything without doing their homework first.
Business development is the same. To start with, I don’t know anything about your business idea. So I always start by asking you questions.
Many times, I have been told that my initial questions actually provides many insights.