You start out thinking you have it all figured out and realise that you don’t. You realise to execute on your plan, you need people, some you have access to and some you just have to figure out a way to access. Sometimes you succeed and sometimes you don’t. In the past year, I have a greater appreciation for having a strong network or at least a network. In my humble opinion, across the globe, knowing the right people will get you to where you want to go faster than you can on your own. Nigeria is no exception, quite frankly it is ‘fundamentally important’ in Nigeria….haha.
So how has my network brought me this far. I have so many stories but this is just one: I started out in the agric space through a contact of my mum, my mum knew someone who could get me on an agric related project. Introductions were made, interview conducted, credentials checked and boom I’m on the project. It was pro bono for a few months, but I wasn’t complaining. So I’m officially in the agric sector, the project provides me with easy access to practical knowledge and farmers, this would take me years to acquire. I have access to rice, aquaculture and poultry but what I’m super interested in is vegetables. I’m randomly talking to a colleague, who mentions that he knows an ex extension agent that knows a few vegetable farmers in Lagos. My colleague introduces me to her and she then introduces me to a vegetable farmer who introduces me to another farmer who is teaching me the practical side of vegetable farming.
The moral of the story is that I networked my way into an unpaid farming job….haha. Well actually it’s more like I get to learn how to be a vegetable farmer for FREE!! Below is the farm I started training/working at last week. I resume work between 8.30/9 and I’m usually done by 12.30/1.
The lady in yellow is who my colleague introduced me to, she introduced me to the gentleman in blue, who introduced me to my coach, the young man in the red and white shirt. Oh by the way, my coach speaks very little english, so I’m learning a bit of hausa… phew….
How I’m building my network? Well I’m friendly 🙂 , I ask a lot of questions. Attend a lot of events, I try to be kind to people, even the annoying ones, who knows they might be useful, one was to me 🙂 . Also I make sure I hang around places and people who are doing what I aspire to do. I’m persistent. Don’t be too proud to
beg ask for help. Never compromise yourself or values in the process though.
Just so you are prepared, some people will try to avoid you
unintentionally, but listen if you think they are key to getting you to where you need to go, don’t give up…stay on their trail…ain’t no shame in your game 🙂 . Remember when you get to the top that you were once at the bottom, SO PAY IT FORWARD! See yall at the top.
Oh by the way, be prepared for the fact that a lot of contacts and opportunities won’t work out/go according to plan, probably the majority (that’ true for me, might be different for you). But remember you only need a few key ones to click.
Thanks for stopping by 🙂