Why do people want to be their own bosses


This is almost 100% true. If you want to be happy, there are other ways to be happy. This thing steals your soul and crushes you and makes you feel like a piece of crap. It is ugly, it is unnecessary.

@Jason_Igwe_Njoku said one of his kids called him “mummy” because he spent so much time away. I understood because my son called me Mr Mummy for a bit. Same reason.


At some point, we’re going to need to have an honest conversation about side hustles but today is not the day.


Why do people [in Nigeria] prefer to work for themselves

The Basic Reasons

  • they’ve been told it’s a better deal by pastors & motivational speakers
  • they’ve been told it’s the only way to wealth/escaping poverty
  • they’ve had bad experiences working for others
  • they’ve observed people working for others with bad experiences

The Structural Reasons

  • there are not enough companies in the Nigerian economy large enough to absorb them and promote them to a senior enough level for their skills.
    there are many reasons for this: one of them is that Nigeria is designed to kill businesses; another is that founders often don’t invest enough in their businesses but take most of the wealth away. This isn’t a tech problem only.

The reasons no one likes to talk about

  • they have an over-estimation of their skills/worth
  • their employers have an under-estimation of their skills/worth
  • their current job only serves as a means of survival not wealth creation
  • there is actually less security in their currently available employment vs working for themselves
  • they don’t consider their current job to be prestigious enough (which might explain the side-hustle which gives them social capital as an “entrepreneur”)

A few things I’ve noticed

  • People don’t regularly leave companies like Shell. Maybe it’s because there’s a lot of social capital working there. And the money. Let’s not forget the money.
  • Small businesses have some of the highest rates of attrition. If you’re in a small business that is service-driven (or requires low capital to start), you can almost 100% be sure that some of your team members will leave to try and compete with you once there’s any sign of success
  • Everyone complains about their small business oga; no one complains about their bank oga. Or they complain and stay anyway. Maybe it’s the money. Or the social capital.
  • There’s something structurally wrong when a software developer can’t name 10-20 software companies they’ll be working for right out of school. Or an engineer. The number of companies large enough to provide a career path within them in Nigeria is too small.


Then @Jason_Igwe_Njoku jumped on this too.
Boy, this post, and my comment really escalated. I don’t know if I provoke anything but I have really explained realities as I see them first and second hand experience. If there is anything, I believe it’s a problem acknowledged, and can be fixed.


We can close church after this.


I’d join a Founder’s Anonymous…


Don’t try this at home, founders!
Leave the understanding of legal documents to legal practitioners.
Many oversabi founders have sold themselves into slavery because they thought they were smart enough to decode & understand legal documents without the help of a legal counsel.


Founders still need to read and understand term sheets because at the end of the day its their business. Legal counsel are there to help but I pity anyone that leaves the legal documents solely to the lawyers.


I talked about this earlier on,I keep seeing narrow mindedness with our entrepreneurs,developers etc You shouldn’t be in your comfort zone,focus on something and have an idea about every other thing you can.
You should be able to read a legal doc,not like you do the approval:your attorney should but you should have a say.


Are you more qualified than a doctor to make health decisions? After all, it’s your health, isn’t it? :slight_smile:


Lol! Ok follow your own advice.


But doesn’t the Doc. Need your view to give you a prescription and he/she still needs to revert to you to confirm if his/her prescription was effective.


Of course. After all, the doctor will neither take medicines nor live your life for you.
What I was attacking was the trap that snares many people:

That it’s your business does not mean you are in the best position to take all decisions. Isn’t that one of the reasons we hire employees?

Continuing with my doctor analogy, the doctor can give the best prescription ever given, but you still decide if you’ll take the drugs/advice.

That there are doctors does not mean you should not give a damn about your health.
But, you (who is not a doctor) can never be so health-conscious as to render doctors useless.

If you feel you’re smart enough to be your own doctor lawyer, more :muscle: to you.


I do agree with you @ukay but do you also agree there have been times where doctors literally misdiagonise a patient,and sometimes takes the courage of the patient to realize he/she has been misdiagonised?


Yes, due to human imperfections, errors are bound to happen.
And the patient is supposed to be knowledgeable enough about health fundamentals to call out obvious misfirings.
But, you’ll agree that patients would make far more bad judgement calls than doctors in health-related matters. :slight_smile:
Many medical complications being dealt with today are as a result of self-medication.

PS: Thanks for starting this discussion, @mauri. :thumbsup:


You know what you are talking about, Chief!


I agree with you.


@akindolu drew parallels from the traditional workplace in his post which fell a bit slopside with the present real situation for local startups…let me put it this way the worse startup workplace is reasonably better than the worse traditional workplace.

Before startups and it’s culture as we know it emerged in '10, there were and still are businesses that are built on the bone heaps of employees, strawed with their bleeding flesh and patched with their strung out sinews from time to time. Ask any professional who has worked with a Newspapaer Company, any. Just close your eyes and draw a witness. It’s horrid.

Remember these are our uncle, aunties, or now aged parents. So when they/we hear this layoffs only after months of engagement, it sounds too familiar. The impromptu nature signals a brutal way of dealing with employees, as a result getting a gig with startups may be labelled a bad start.

According to Jason, ‘Folks may get screwed over in SF all the time’, but here employees are used for blood ritual, and I half mean it figuratively. I do not for a minute consider we have any of those things in common, not out loud.

However here’s the silverlining; our Startup culture is borrowed. We took their graffiti office walls, their my-work-lounge-is-better-than-where-i-live level decor, and also their respect for contract.

Startup companies have been reasonably fair so far in their treatment of employees mostly because they are tied to a standard. I believe so.

But if you’re thinking job security with working with a startup then you’re on your own, and sadly but surely job security has been built into our psyche for evaluating opportunities. Long term hopes are quite easily the most conditional of items as per your engagement with a startup. It’s built into your employment draft, tied into your contract.

I think in essence my point is folks don’t have it that bad in startups until you start considering the lack of job security inherent in them.


There is only one “Jollof Republic”


Oga @asemota your love for Jollof is cross platform.


Let me get back to addressing the original post.

Sheriff Shittu on Facebook asked a question this evening - "How many lines of code will a person write before they blow? "

It was genuinely hilarious!

A founder pitched in that “it happens once the code becomes a great product”, and I said no… the product is not the company, it is the people. Great people make great companies and great products are simply a consequence. Google was the 24th search engine, what has made it a great company was its practice of hiring great people.

People look at a market and see numbers then think it is their market. No, it is the people who are paying you in that multitude that are your market. Same way, it is the people who ensure that your company continues to create value for the market and make money are the company. Every other person not helping to generate that value is superfluous. Sometimes, the market changes, strategy changes. Superfluous people are fired from time to time if they don’t leave themselves.

I wrote an article inspired by @seyitaylor over 4 years ago on the topic of people and organizations. How the future has started happening and it is drastically different - http://bigchief.co/the-future-of-the-enterprise-global-innovatio

The truth is that misalignment happens. People form teams for the wrong reasons, people hire people for the wrong reasons and others also join companies for the wrong reasons. I was probably the first person to ever reject a major telco job in Nigeria as Billing Manager, because I was not motivated by the glamour, the money or other superfluous nonsense. I “naively” wanted to “change the future of technology in Africa”. Others who joined were eventually fired when the company was acquired. I have not fired myself yet, even though I threaten to do it quite frequently.
People would think that maybe I had plotted the graph and knew. I didn’t. I was just foolish enough to believe in myself and my team of 3 people at that time. 3 people became 65 as at the last count.

There is no “us” vs “them” in this. People should learn to forget the “perception” and be truthful to themselves. That is actually the hardest thing to do. People are seldom truthful and want to be what others think is the “ideal” rather than do an honest SWOT analysis to know where they should be. I felt I was never the type who could work in a large organization, but now we work for and with large organizations. It is ironic.