This Amazing CEO Turned Down a 6-Figure Job For His Startup

The dream of most youths in the world today is to obtain a 6-figure job. Here is what I mean: an average youth wants to go to high school, proceed to college, and graduate to secure a 6-figure monthly pay from a highly reputable organization. This is seemingly becoming a tradition. Not a bad dream, but you can do much more by taking a step further.

Youths seem to have forgotten that these multinational companies — that offer a 6-figure job — also kicked off somewhere. Most want to take the easy route to success. If you’re one of this category, you can check out “Overnight Success: A Simple and Straightforward Path to Success“. But wait, before you go, check out the story of this amazing CEO who was born and bred in Mushin, Lagos State, Nigeria.

Introduction

Ibraheem Mohammed is the CEO of Invigorate Media, a Nigerian based visual communication company of experts who help “Growth Oriented Organizations” better present their business ideas/concepts to the world in thrilling designs and productions.

Related Article: Want to Be an Entrepreneur? Here Are 4 Tips on Getting Started

They provide their clients with an unlimited array of solutions ranging from brand identity creation, high-quality printing, video production, to web design and development. Invigorate Media has worked with big brands like Nestle Nigeria, Milo, Nescafe, Choco Milo, Elephant Cement, e.t.c. This company was founded in Ibraheem’s room.

It took determination and resilience to take a leap such as his. He quit his job to pursue his passion; salary stopped, and three square meals seized. During this unusual time, he was offered a 6-figure job, yet he declined — for the future of his startup.

An Extract from the Interview with the CEO, Invigorate Media

Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, Ibraheem. You said you quit your 9-5 job, why? Since the salary was coming in, why quit?

Thanks for having me, Saheed. I have always wanted to start something, I believed if you have a skill, the best idea is to utilize it maximally. I used these skills for my employers over the years and they paid for my service but that wasn’t all it is to achieve. I was going to venture into other ideas, but fear of the unknown wouldn’t let me.

I was fortunate to have watched a 15-minute video on Silverbird Television (STV), Nigeria one faithful morning. It reignited my entrepreneurial dream. The speaker had none of the skills I possessed as at when he started his entrepreneurial adventure and at the time he gave that speech, he was worth NGN 300 million ($937,500).

Presently, some of my employers are my clients, they also refer other clients. This means that you shouldn’t disrespect your employer(s) or pick a fight just because you’re setting out.

Can you tell me how you acquired these skills we’re talking about, does it mean you didn’t acquire a formal education?

I learned graphic design at a computer institute in Mushin after secondary school (High school). I got my first job as a graphic artist and I was introduced to video editing at the same job. I went further by learning much more from books, the internet, e.t.c.

Then, I got admitted to study Economics at Lagos State University (LASU). However, graphic designing and video editing got me my first huge salary. I’ve never worked as an Economist, I never tried looking for one as I was very comfortable designing and editing videos. Hey, it doesn’t mean I regret being an Economist, in fact, I was one of the best 3 graduating students, the knowledge currently helps my entrepreneurial career.

Quitting your job to start your own company, how was the beginning like?

Saheed, the beginning was tough and rough. I had spent about 10 years in advertising and creative agencies, the thought of stripping myself the benefits of employment — salaries, bonuses, tips, official car, e.t.c. and starting over was traumatizing. I started my company (Invigorate Media) in my one-room apartment at Opebi, Lagos. (I’d left Mushin a few years earlier)

Three square meals were long gone as salaries and bonuses were no more. I couldn’t afford a lot of things anymore — I spent my savings perfecting the documentation of my new adventure (Invigorate Media), company registration, bought a sophisticated laptop, a printer, scanner and all that are necessary for the smooth running of the company.

I usually go down Igbasan street, beside Opebi central mosque where most Hausas doing menial jobs eat, I will buy NGN 30 ($0.09) pap (local custard) with NGN 20 ($0.06) Moi Moi (steamed bean pudding). That was usually my meal for the whole day, for about 6 months, it was a very trying time.

I got a job offer of NGN 200,000 ($625) per month after tax in between the struggle, it was a great test to my entrepreneurial journey. I almost took it but something deep down in me whispered; “Ibraheem, you cannot deviate, don’t be distracted”, and that was all I needed. My subconscious was determined to continue the struggle because I believed and still believe in my creative skills and entrepreneurial journey, I had a strong notion that it will take me farther than I could imagine.

What a trying time! So, how far have you gone? Where is your business located now? Did you start online or that was just an expansion?

I haven’t gotten to the destination — probably no one will admit they have — but I have achieved a lot in 5 years. I’ve worked with the biggest brands in the country — Nestle, OAAN (deal brought in by my former MD), Dominos Pizza, Coldstone Creamery, and Dangote — to mention a few. Invigorate Media is currently located at Omole Estate (Phase 1).

6-figure job
Right: CEO, Invigorate Media

I didn’t start online, I was living at Opebi (an office dominated location), I drafted a letter of introduction and attached a disc (CD) containing my portfolio. I visited almost all the offices on Opebi road one after the other, it was hell. I applied a rule of 4 that I learned from my former MD — for every 20 letters, expect 4 feedbacks.

I distributed over 150 letters but only one responded. 🙂 I later embraced online marketing through Social Media, that was a great deal.

So, what have you learned so far?

It was a great start, a proper learning process to becoming an entrepreneur — the zeal, and will to be successful. I learned to be extremely patient and friendly with people, it’s also advisable to be professional.

Most companies saw the zeal and will in my young company, but I guess most of them were afraid to give a try. I also offered free services along the line; I designed a lot of free stuff.

Customers like freebies! What do you wish to have done differently?

Nothing really… Perhaps, I should have started earlier but sincerely, I was ready.

You could associate this with the level of experience and exposure I have gathered from my previous employment. I learned through the rope — how to approach, relate, and retain clients. I came in contact with different sets and caliber of people — black, white, Indians, male and female.

During the struggle, I discovered it’s easier to convince foreigners in Nigeria to buy into your ideas, they don’t care about what you wear or the kind of car you drive, as long as you can get the job well done, they will patronize you. Unlike our people in this part of the world, I lost a 20 million naira ($62,500) deal in 2011 because I don’t have a car. My contact told me the boss negate them giving me the job, his reason was; “If I had done such before, I wouldn’t come for the pitch in a taxi“.

Related Article: Meet An Ambitious 19-year-old Female CEO Who Started at 16

Every aspiring entrepreneur should probably take up an employment, perform at the highest level, and learn how to run a business firsthand before venturing into one.

Wow! What an insightful advice. Lastly, if you’re to give an aspiring entrepreneur an advice, what would it be?

Be the best or one of the best in whatever you do, don’t stop learning, and embrace new developments and technology. Even if you are a cleaner, people are watching, you could be called to start cleaning the white house. 🙂 Thank you!

Final Thoughts on Turning Down a 6-Figure Job

I know you’re probably thinking; “turn down a 6-figure job?  Am I nuts?”. Well, a 6-figure job won’t make you rich, it is not a benchmark for financial success. It may buy you a nice house with a great view and lovely garden, nice car(s), fend for your vacations, and children’s high school/college fees.

But the consistent increase in the rate of inflation, stagnant salary growth, and fending for the family would deter you from becoming rich through a 6-figure job. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll live comfortably. But what happens after retirement or when you get sacked? Don’t forget; stop thinking, start doing!

PS: If you find this post useful, kindly use the share button(s) to help someone else out there. Cheers!

4 COMMENTS

  1. Hmmm. Thumbs up bro.

    The fear of the unknown is still what is keeping people under the shells of lack of progress.

    All the best.

  2. Great. I love this. Thanks for sharing this valuable content, Saheed. I’ve never wanted to be an employee. I still tell my friends, I’m beyond employment. Salaries won’t take me to where I want to be. Although, you have to start from somewhere. Thanks again. This makes sense.

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