An Interview With Yomi Adegboye Discussing His Entrepreneurial Journey

This Multiple award-winning content creator and digital media publisher, Yomi Adegboye, is Nigeria’s pioneer tech blogger and most respected gadget reviewer.

Yomi Adegboye is widely acclaimed as one of the country’s most influential persons in the mobile and web technology ecosystem.

Yomi Adegboye
Yomi Adegboye

Yomi Adegboye is the founder of MobilityArena.com (foremost and largest tech blog in Africa), Managing Editor of Celebrating Progress Africa, president of the Business Advisory Board of Enactus UNILAG, and a Nescafe GetStartedAfrica Influencer.

Related Article: Mark Zuckerberg in Nigeria: 6 Great Lessons

I read a bit about him when I needed a guide in deciding what phone to buy. He is a successful entrepreneur, who is able to work from any part of the world he happens to be per time. It never ceases to amaze me how he could have owned over 150 mobile devices. Yomi Adegboye is widely regarded as “Mr. Mo”, though he re-launched as “Moverick” a while ago.

His achievements motivated me to request an interview. Below is an extract from the interview:

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How many businesses have you founded?

Two of them, both have been digital/online businesses.

What are their names?

One was a web hosting business, DomainStandard.net. The other is MobilityArena.com.

What insinuated Mr. Mo?

After I started Mobility Arena many years ago, I would attend an event or a meeting and people would call me Mister Mobility, so that stuck. The ladies sort of preferred the sexier version, “Mr. Mo”, so that stuck too.

You started using Moverick recently, what brought about it?

I wanted to diversify from the Mobility brand. I had skills and abilities that went beyond mobile, so I needed a brand name that didn’t tie me exclusively to mobile. At the same time, it had to be something that didn’t depart completely from mobile. I am a fairly nonconformist person (same thing as being a maverick), so I took the “Mo” in mobile and “Verick” in maverick, and presto – Moverick.

What does a day in the life of Yomi Adegboye consist of?

I wake up early, usually, around 4 am (though these days, if the alarm doesn’t wake me up by 5.30, sleep has me tight in its grip) and pick up my smartphone. If there are any urgent matters that require it, I get on my laptop too. I dash out of the house early to avoid traffic. Most of my work is done on my smartphone and laptop. Office work depends on my schedule – a meeting, a training class, an event, or I am just at my desk banging away at the keyboard. I usually get in bed between 11 and 12.

In the beginning, what motivated you to become an entrepreneur?

I won’t insult you with a crazy story about wanting to save the world. I am an adventurer. I wanted to play with things, create stuff and tweak them. I wanted to stay in control of my time, my movement and do things on my own terms. Those are things that I cherish.

What challenges did you face during the start-up stage?

Inadequate cash, poor infrastructure and lack of skilled hands to scale the business.

I also needed to learn business skills. I am naturally not a businessman. I would probably do much better as a Mother Theresa naturally. So, I had to learn rigorously, as hard as that has been.

Tell me about your first entrepreneurial experience as a kid.

I used to write and draw comic books back as a teenager. In secondary school then, I got the school authority to give me permission to print and sell my comics in the school. They were proud of my work. The comic book was named “The Adventures of AquaLord”. I raised funds from my friends and classmates in school then. The comic book was loved and it sold quite a bit, but my entrepreneurial skills were trash. The rest is history.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Being a hands-on father to my children, nothing else compares. The fact that I built DomainStandard.net into a top Nigerian web host doesn’t. The fact that I built MobilityArena.com into Africa’s foremost and largest tech blog doesn’t. The bond between me and the children tops them all.

What’s your most memorable experience as an entrepreneur?

In 2004, when I started DomainStandard.net as an online platform, remote working, and internet transactions were foreign to most Nigerians. People told me no-one would pay to set up hosting and websites without seeing me physically.

Within a year, we had scores of customers from across Nigeria, and only two of them had ever set eyes on me. In a few years, we were in the top 5 web hosting list in Nigeria. Proving people wrong is always exciting.

What’s the single most important reason for your success?

To be honest, I do not think that there is one single most important reason for my success. I think that it is a question of many little things added up. My passion, spouse, family, friends, determination to advance in learning etc. Without any of those factors, I wouldn’t be here today.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

I love that I get to play with mobile gadgets. I have owned over 150 of them till date. I love that I get to write. When I get in the writing zone, it is a beautiful place.

What do you regard as greatest challenge ever faced during your entrepreneurship journey?

I raised some funds for a business project and the project went bust. I hate owing, and here I was with a pile of debt on my neck and no immediate funds to pay off. Huge challenge!

What’s your least favorite part about being an entrepreneur?

Accounts! Figures! I dislike having to crunch those numbers, fill out forms and all of that. Somebody needs to invent a new way to do business without accounts and figures. LOL.

What’s the biggest thing you struggle with as an entrepreneur?

I am a digital entrepreneur. That means that I operate in a space that is constantly changing and evolving. So, I need to keep up. New developments sometimes show up so fast that sometimes, keeping up is hard. Sometimes, I have just gotten to terms with one concept and then another wave is washing in.

How have your entrepreneurial motivations changed since you first started?

My motivations have not changed much. Perhaps the one extra thing that has been added is the need to create jobs and a future for young Nigerians. The unemployment rate worries me and it’s a strong motivator today.

Is there anything you enjoy more than being an entrepreneur?

Yes; I enjoy being an adventurer. I love to travel. I love to drive long distances away from the city. I love parks, hills, mountains, lakes, and everything nature.

If you had to choose one thing, what do you think you’re the best in the world at?

I think I am the world’s best mobile reviewer.

How does being an entrepreneur affect your relationships with your friends and family?

By default, I am a homely person. It is the easiest thing in the world – to dash my busy life for a friend or family member in need. However, I am learning to strike a balance. I can only do so much. I am not “Superman”. But I keep in the loop with family and friends as much as I can.

If you could never work again, would you and why?

What sort of life would that be? I am a workaholic. I have to work, even if I have all the money in the world in my bank account.

If you could be anything other than an entrepreneur, what would it be and why?

I cannot think of anything else I’d rather be than an entrepreneur.

Looking back, what’s one thing you would do differently?

I would probably get some experience in employment before jumping into entrepreneurship.

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

Looking back, what’s one thing you wish you understood about entrepreneurship before you ever got started?

Business! Business!! Business!!!

Okay Yomi Adegboye, If you could offer a first-time entrepreneur only one piece of advice, what would it be?

It is often a lonely, hard road, so brace up if you want to walk it. Make sure this is really what you want to do. You will figure the rest out.

Conclusion

Entrepreneurship is lovely. No argument. However, you need to learn some basics to aid your start-up and keep you going. No one said it’d be easy, but it’d be worth the stress. Also, you don’t need to be great to start but you do need to start to be great.

Start now! Don’t forget to share Yomi Adegboye’s experience to motivate someone else out there!

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