It is not the things we are most motivated about we spend the most of our energy on. Even when we are following our passion, we still have to do a lot of boring non-motivating tasks. And we are usually most motivated about the things we can spare little energy for.

Often, the ones who have the motivation lack the energy and the ones who have the energy lack the motivation. And even in our individual lives, we struggle to find the energy for the things we are most motivated about and burn a lot of energy on the things we have little motivation for.

Sometimes, it's like we only get motivated about the things we can't afford to do energy-wise. Every employee has an entrepreneurial dream. Most entrepreneurs have a political or NGO dream. Everyone picks a dream they can spare little time and energy on.

I have more motivation for learning that earning. Everyday I spend more energy on learning I give up on earning. And whenever I put my energy into earning, I give up on the things I am most motivated about. And that's my personal illustration of the energy - motivation tradeoff. It's very hard to put all your energy into what you're most motivated about.

Today's post is another good illustration. I have gotten the motivation to write a long post but have not enough energy for it. So here I end today's blog post.
If you read my posts you will know all that is going on in my life but there is a great chance that you'll also not know the complete me. And it's my fault. I share only the perspective I see myself from. I overemphasize some aspects of my life and de-emphasize other aspects, often unintentionally. But I have a valid reason for it. I write daily for a very selfish purpose: to force myself to move on and make decisions I can without shame blog about. Writing helps me think more objectively about my life and make me more dedicated to sticking to good values.

The aim of my blogging is not to make an autobiography. That I end up sharing my life on my blog is a happenstance. I simply gave myself a goal to write daily. I didn't specify what kind of writing, but found out that the more I write the more it is about me.

I seldom take pictures. If you look through my phone, almost all the pictures you will see on it are pictures people borrowed my phone to take, and they are not even pictures of me. And it's even worse than that. I don't have an album. If you come to visit me and want to see an album showing my pictures from when I was little through my teenage years to now, I have nothing to show you. The best I can do is to login to my Facebook account and start searching for the pictures friends were kind enough to tag me in and the occasional pictures I took.

But if you ask me for my writings since I began writing 12 years ago, you can be sure of enough to keep you engaged for more than a day. They are my real photos. They reveal the me I have been most conscious of and they show my real progress through life. 

Whenever I want to know what I was like 10 years ago, I pick up the poems I wrote 10 years ago. Whenever I want a comprehensive report of my life in a particular year, I read through the articles I wrote that year. 

Writing is my own special way of preserving memories. I find it more accurate than photos and more useful too. But just like photos, it's always got a perspective. And since my writings are all selfies, they are greatly skewed. There will always be parts of my life that will consistently not be captured.

Yesterday, in church, I was thinking back and running through my life. I have a lot to be grateful for: the path I am on, the people in my life, the stability I enjoy and the amazing people who endure my daily self-centered ramblings.

image: etherealwellness.wordpress.com
Yes, I am grateful to you for every moment you get my mail. I do not underestimate the kindness hidden in your enduring my mails. It's one of the purest kind of love to let another be his true self. And I am very grateful to you for that.


I have been learning a lot in the past one year. Almost everyday I know way more than what I knew the previous day. And I don't just mean experiential learning but a lot of formal learning too. 


image: dmlcentral.net

Below are the list of the learning I am undergoing:
  1. Online MBA. Last year September I got an admission to University of Nicosia for an online MBA programme. There are 12 modules (courses) and we take about 7 weeks to do each module. It is more intensive than I originally imagined. The reading requirement is a lot and the assignments are tough and stressful. Yet I am pulling through. I have managed to combine it with not just my work but also other numerous learning.
  2. Excel Programming. I have learnt more Excel programming in the last one year than I have all the previous years put together. I have done Excel programming projects that seemed impossible. 
  3. PHP Programming. I am currently undergoing a PHP course and learning to program PHP from scratch. It's interesting but also demanding. It's part of my web development career move. I am now sure than the future lies in my building enterprise solutions that do not have to reside inside Excel or be installed on a computer. Enterprise web applications are the new cool and money grossing software.
  4. Android Programming. I am also currently taking an Android programming course by the amazing Tim Buchalka. I have been dabbling in and out of android programming but now I hear with the new Android Studio it is much easier to make android apps.
  5. C#. I began learning C# more intensely immediately after I quit my job last year. It is a language I want to be proficient in and I hope to build phone apps, office add-ins, companion desktop software for my web apps and even web apps with it.
  6. Small business and consulting management. I have also been learning a lot on how to grow my small business and be a thriving consultant. It has been tough internalizing what I learn and practicing them hasn't been smooth either, but all those knowledge leave me better than I was before I acquired them. The little I succeed in internalizing are worth all the stressful efforts.
  7. Other web app and phone app development courses. I am also enrolled in an iOS app development course using Swift, an Angular JS course, a Python for data analysis course and a game programming course. My ultimate goal is to become a full stack web developer. It requires a knowledge of all aspect of web development such that you can manage to get a great web app done by yourself. But you'll also be required to be a master in one or two languages and aspects of web development.

All these are a lot of learning. And I combine them with trying to make money to survive and thrive each month. So I have had to find a way to hack learning.

Hacking learning is all about learning very fast and learning a lot using means that are natural to you. It requires a deep knowledge of yourself and your learning pattern. Then building your learning experience around your most convenient ways of learning.

I am very comfortable with reading ebooks that have close to a thousand pages. I even prefer them to video lessons and audiobooks. So I go for them more. I also can read for long hours a day, so I give myself an almost impossible target. I buy lots of ebooks. I also don't worry when I don't understand something. I simply read on and try to find a book on that problematic point later. I can read a lot and understand what I have read more easily than a lot of people. So I build my learning experience around my learning strengths.

And that is hacking learning.


Yesterday I read the most inspiring life story and today I am going to share it with you. It's the answer someone gave to another's question online. You can read the original Q&A here: Quora

Virali Modi

Question:
I am a thirty year old drop out and I don't know how to live as I already wasted years living a virtual life until now. How can I start my life again? Or is my only option to quit?

Answer: (By Virali Modi)
I'm a 23 year old drop out from the 12th grade. I don't have any degrees or talents that make me extraordinary. I can't draw, I can't sing, I can't paint, and to be honest, I don't have adequate grammar (not something I'm proud of). The only thing that I do have is a positive attitude, confidence, and optimism.

You're only 30 years old and you're ready to give up. I feel sorry for you, I really do. No, not because you don't have money, are unemployed, or because you've wasted all your savings on alcohol – rather, I feel sorry because you think this is the end and you're ready to quit.

When I was 14, I went into a coma. I was on life support, I couldn't breathe and I wasn't responding to any medicine. The doctors wanted to "pull the plug" because there was no chance that I'd survive. My dad – everyone, except my mom knew I wasn't going to survive. She didn't know. She begged the doctors to keep me alive until my birthday (which was in 8 days), they accepted her plea, on one condition. They said that if I didn't respond on my birthday, they would take her signature and pull the plug, she agreed. On my birthday, I opened my eyes. The doctors kept me on life support until I fully came out of my coma on the 5th of October. If it wasn't for my mom, I wouldn't be writing this answer right now. I wouldn't be alive. 

After my hospitalization, we realized that we were bankrupt, we sold all of our assets to support my medical treatment until the government funded insurance covered the remaining costs. We had to empty the apartment we were staying in, and my dad eventually found a job. We started living in a congested one bedroom "apartment". Was life easy for us? No. Definitely not. I was 15 at that time, and I could barely move. I didn't have my privacy, and it was really awkward.

We had everything, enough money to live a lavish lifestyle, a business, cars, a house, and expensive clothes, electronics, and Chinaware. We sold all of it. We went from rich to poor. We had to start fresh. We had used up all of our savings as well. It was difficult to adjust to such a contrasting lifestyle. But there wasn't much I could do about it.

Back to my point, I'm 23 and a 12th grade dropout, I don't know what I'm going to do in the future. I have high hopes that I'll enter the modeling/acting industry, but I realize that it's a 25% chance that I'll actually end up being successful, but 25% is still a lot! I do have my confidence which helps me master any job that I'm given.

My advice would be to strengthen your confidence. Have the knack to learn different things. Start doing things which will broaden your mind and help you understand your strengths and weaknesses. Stop wasting your money on alcohol. Start looking for a job, even if it isn't paying that much. Make a goal (anything), and set out to achieve it. 

Look, everyone has bad times in their lives, you're experiencing one right now, you'll get through it. Just don't lose perspective of your goals, aspirations, and dreams. You can't give up whenever life throws you a curve ball. Learn to fight and dodge it.

Remember what Dory said, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." Go with the flow.

the end


Isn't she inspiring? I especially love her recommendation on having a positive attitude, confidence, and optimism.
A recession is a slowdown in economic activities and general spending cuts. And that is what we have in Nigeria now. Government is slashing expenses and putting capital expenses on hold. Some states owe their workers. A lot of companies have slowed down recruitment and some are even retrenching workers. CBN is putting in place a contractionary monetary policy in it's bid to keep Naira from tumbling more. Businesses that are into import and trading are finding it hard to access foreign exchange. The GDP growth has greatly slowed down already for the first quarter of this year.

image: bizwatchnigeria.ng

Recessions provide also the biggest opportunities for those with cash to spare. It's a well known fact that most of the world's most successful businesses started in a recession. And the most rewarding investments are made during recessions. If you are into stocks, it is much easier to pick a winner now. If you are into real estate, you will find more bargain deals now. The only investment I wouldn't advise you to go into is bonds.

More importantly, if you run a business this is the best time to put a lot of mental resources in and operate optimally. The good news is that businesses that survive a recession always thrive in the end. Think about all the businesses that survived the late 1980s and early 1990s tough economic periods, they are the ones thriving now. A lot of the banks now thriving started during that period. Also accounting and legal firms too.

Yes, we are in a recession. Yes, it is a bad economic thing. Yes, whoever loses his job now has a very slim chance of getting another. Yes, even the government is shrinking expense and its workforce. Yes, a lot of multinationals have put on hold their massive yearly recruitment exercise. Yes, those having it bad should expect worse and those having it good should tread cautiously. Still this is the best of times for the opportunist!
The opportunity to make your one year salary in one week. Getting paid different amounts for the same effort. Having no one you can't ignore. Knowing your career growth is fully in your hands. And the thrill of building a company from scratch. Entrepreneurship is fun.


image: flipkart.com

Then there is the scary part. Cashflow problems. You not only don't how much you will make next month but even when the clients will pay. And companies are most notorious for this. When it is a service they are buying from you, you get paid later than originally promised. And you almost always end up underestimating what it would take to get a job done. That is my biggest problem now.

I am already accustomed to the cash flow problems. Having constant monthly business expenses while my biggest invoices are unpaid. But the part I am still struggling with is managing my workload. A little "help me" from a friend ends up taking half of my whole day. And just two "help me with this" is often enough to take my whole day. So I end up delaying on the projects I am charging for. 

It's usually not so obvious in the beginning. A friend might want a quick help with a chart. I examine the request and I am sure it should not take more than 10 minutes to do. I say yes, send it. What they send is different from what they said. The request now takes 45 minutes. I do it and send back. Then I get a call and have to explain what I did for the next 15 minutes. 1 hour gone. Then as is my usual overzealous self, I promise to send a screenshot laden how-to guide via email. Which I often don't end up finding time to make. In the end, summing the 1 hour to do the job and the several minutes pre and post the job, I have spent 2 hours on a non-paying request. Then it takes me between 2 to 6 hours to get back fully into what I planned to do that day. And there are days I get over two "help me" requests.

So that is one part. The other is I have to mix low paying jobs with high paying jobs. Oftentimes the high paying jobs will give me ten times the amount the low paying one will give me for the same efforts. The issue is that the high paying ones take time to mature. They are often big projects that I am a part of and can't really determine when the pay will come. Or big company jobs that I don't know when they will sign it off. So I am always not knowing the right mix of low paying to high paying jobs to take up. The result has consistently been that I take up too many jobs and end up working from early in the morning to late at night. And it is not about getting more hands. It is about taking up the right projects.

Too many of my projects are "help me with this" that take more resources than intended. Those are the ones I want to get rid off. 

But in all, entrepreneurship has been both fun and scary for me. I have sat with the heads of companies I failed to secure a job interview with in my better job hunting days and now a registered vendor to some of them.

There is this common joke about a man who charged a company $10,000 to fix a technical issue they had. So after the deal was sealed and he came to fix the issue, one of the company managers walked him to where the faulty system (not a computer system, but those complicated interconnected production line system) was and watched him as he worked. The man examined the system and after about five minutes, he pushed one button in and told the manager that the problem is fixed. The manager was furious. He ran the system and true to what the man said, the issue is gone. But he was unhappy that the man charged them $10,000 for a five minutes, push one button job and told the man it should have been a $100 job. The man told him he is right, that pushing that button is $100 but knowing which button to push is $9,900.

As a lot of my training participants say: What you don't know you don't know.

image: tableslawgroup.com

When you mix a lot of field experience with excellent domain knowledge, your work becomes more like art. You make it look so easy people will wonder how you make a living do it. People still advise me to mix other stuffs with what I currently do. They just don't understand how one can live and hope to flourish on being just an Excel consultant. Unfortunately, it is now impossible to add anything to what I am doing. I am just too occupied that I can work 24x7 and not run out of job requests. I am now trying to let go of every social activities and non-core work activities I do. Or else I will keep disappointing people and not getting any major work done.

I am now convinced that one shouldn't change career dramatically too often. Grow in your chosen career field, also grow with the field, be abreast of the latest in the field, and mix it all with a lot of field work. Use every knowledge you acquire and put yourself out there. Don't be afraid to make mistakes as you convert your head knowledge to practical skills. That is what will set you apart as an expert; you would have made all the common mistakes and even the less common ones. You will always be right because you have been wrong many times before. 

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. You might not be seen as an expert when you make too many mistakes but you will never become an expert if you don't risk making mistakes. And with more practical efforts and mistakes, you get closer to being an expert than trying to acquire all the knowledge and having an error free analysis before trying out anything.

Be always willing to test drive your knowledge and never stop increasing your stock of knowledge in your chosen field.

It is very easy to look at other people's lives from afar, to look at successful businesses from afar and feel like they have gotten everything right. 


image: vinnylanni.wordpress.com

One of the biggest benefits I have gotten from being a Microsoft MVP is the exclusive email group Microsoft made for us. Reading through the discussions in the mail and occasionally participating has made me see the realities big successful businesses, world renowned consultants and the people I look up to face. And one striking lesson I found is that no one has it perfect.

Everything will not be perfect and, more importantly, you don't need everything to be perfect. 

If you put yourself out there, you will get some things right and you will stumble at some things. There is never going to be a time you will get everything right no matter how hard you try. So it is best to acknowledge that reality and not give yourself unreasonable goals. Especially goals that you tie other goals to.

Don't try to have a perfect business plan before you start a business. The moment you start a business your business plan becomes imperfect, so it is seeking a fool's paradise to want a perfect business plan first. 

Don't indefinitely postpone the adventures and interesting things you want to do till when you are rich enough to afford them all. For every super rich guy living the life of his dream, there are over a thousand not so rich guys living their dreams. Most of the people who have traveled the world and visited all the interesting places in the world are just regular not-so rich guys who went after their goals with little regard to the resources they have.

You don't need to be perfect, you only need to be bold and daring.

I hope you have signed up for my upcoming Power BI demonstration webinar where you can get all your questions answered and see a live demonstration. Register for the Webinar.

Today, I'll show you a demonstration of how to use Power BI. First you'll need to sign up, download and install the Power BI designer. Just head over to www.powerbi.com


You'll get an email with the download link of the Power BI designer. Download and install it. Then launch it.





Once it's done loading, click on Get Data. I am going to demonstrate using it with Google Analytics to monitor your blog or website performance.



You'll get a list of data sources you can connect to. If you scroll down you'll see Google Analytics and even Facebook. But for this demonstration, it's Google Analytics we'll use.




Then you'll have to supply your Google Analytics account login details to authorize Power BI to connect to your Google Analytics account. I have already done that and forgot to take a snapshot; now that I want to take a snapshot I am unable to redo it. But if your login and authorization is successful you will see a list of all the websites you track on Google Analytics.


I have my Google Analytics account connected to five websites, but for this demonstration I pick my blog -- olafusimichael.com


I add the metrics I want to track: Pageviews, Sessions, Country, Bounce rate, Date, Keywords, Source and a few other metrics. Then I load them into Power BI.


I click on Report in the lower left corner to begin creating my visual analysis. I drag the metrics I want to visualize into the report page and set the type of visualization (chart, map, table or slicer). Below is what I created.



I then save the design.



Again, I go to www.powerbi.com but to sign in. I need to upload my design so I can have access to it on my PC, smartphone, tablets and any internet connected device.




I log in with the email and password I created when I signed up. And I am taken to the online dashboard where I will upload the report I created with the Power BI designer by clicking Get Data at the lower left corner.







Once I am done uploading. I will see the report I created.




And I can put some of the metrics in a summary dashboard by pinning them.


This is what my Dashboard looks like after pinning the metrics I am most interested in.


Finally, you can set the frequency of updates/refresh the dashboard should make to the underlying dataset (Google Analytics in this case).




Now you have a dashboard that is updated automatically daily and can be accessed from any PC, smartphone or tablet. It can also be shared.




Go ahead and install Power BI on your smartphone (I think only iPhone and Windows phone for now). Sign in with your account and you see your dashboard.





If you tap on a metric, you can set an alert point. Maybe you want to be alerted when a particular metric reaches a specific value. In this example, I might want to be alerted on any day my pageviews exceed 10,000.



And that's a quick demonstration of how to use Microsoft Power BI. Don't forget to sign up for my webinar coming up this Thursday, Sign Up for The Webinar

The decision on a customer's part to choose your service or product over a competitor's is the ultimate feedback. That is why it is said that it is the consumers who decide which businesses survive and which businesses fail. By their naira power. When they ignore a business' service/product they are simply killing it and when they go for another's service/product they are making that company thrive. And there are many other feedback. 

image: teledini.com

I think one of the blessing of starting my business on a shoestring is that I had to take in a lot of feedback from the people who most matter: the purchasing customer. I started without an office and surprisingly only the people who never purchased or needed my service advised me to get an office. Those who paid for my service or needed my service never asked about my office. 

Today, I now have an office but it was because of a feedback from, again, the people who most matter. After my radio program on 99.3 Nigeria Info in February I got some clients and they wanted to meet me at my office. Also since we began the monthly Excel training a couple of clients wanted to meet me at my office. And I found out too that some business partnership meetings are best done at my office as the other partners want to see for themselves the resources I have and how big the company is. So I partnered with a great friend for a great office space. One that impresses everyone who comes around and gives me a negotiating advantage in most partnership deals.

Then for our monthly Excel training, we don't give a printed reference material or training book. It started more as a cost saving measure in the beginning. Making a book required lots of time and costs a lot if I wanted it done right and not some binded photocopied material. I wanted to stand out: I didn't want to do what I won't be proud of quality-wise. So I thought hard about what to do. In the end, I created video training material and made it the course material. I have conducted numerous training sessions now and with lots of participants giving their feedback. Only one person has requested for a hardcopy training material, and on the other hand, I have lost count of those who praised the video training material method. A lot of our participants pick it as one of the best part of the training, having a well organized video + practice file they can easily access for a refresher session on their own.

Now I have written the Excel training book. My publisher says it will cost close to a million naira for the quantities I want to make. But I'm not in a rush because I am going to sell it and not use it as a training material. I have aptly titled it: Microsoft Excel for The Busy Professional. I already shared a complementary copy with a US organization I did work for last year and this year and the feedback was great. I also shared with another foreign company and they plan to include it in their internal learning platform. Those are green (go-ahead) feedback. I am also working on having it published on Amazon.

Almost everything I am doing is driven by feedback from my paying clients. It is the feedback that most matters. Others do too. But when you are starting on a shoestring like me, you have to make the most of your resources and satisfy the people who will support you with their cash and not just their words. Customers who will buy your services/products. They don't tell you what is great or what would be nice; they tell you what they will gladly pay you for. And in business that is what matters, except you run an NGO.

Feedback is the soul of business. And when you don't have a lot of resources, go for feedback from your buying customers.


This is definitely going to surprise you. The way I get the most done is by being under pressure. I am always almost missing deadlines and occasionally I miss them. But I end up doing some incredible amount of work when the deadline is crushing me. It is my number one productivity hack.

image: forbes.com

The only way I have been able to write a blog post per day is because I have a deadline of 8:00am. I must get the blog post done and posted by 8:00am or my blog subscribers won't get my blog post for that day. And you know what? I can't count the number of days I got it done at exactly 8:00am. In fact, my brain wouldn't work, blog post-wise, till it is 7:10am. Then the blog post ideas that didn't come all throughout the night would start flooding in and my race against time would begin. And it often get worse on some days that I become sure that I would miss the 8:00am deadline. Days when I would struggle to get out of bed at 7:10am and get settled on my laptop at 7:15am only to find out that my internet is not working. I instantly become fully awake and start thinking crazy fast. In the midst of fixing the internet issue I would even get two or more blog post ideas. And by 7:30am I get the internet to finally work and start typing as fast as I can. It makes me feel like a Formula 1 driver. I always meet the 8:00am deadline, and then feel exhausted and sleepy again.

Yesterday, I had a training. Our monthly Excel training started yesterday and will end today. And as usual my alarm rang at 4:40am. I took an extra 2 hours 30 mins to get out of bed. My brain didn't switch on till the 8:00am deadline looked impossible to meet. Then after managing to meet it, I felt like sleeping again. Yet I had a training class to facilitate by 9:00am. It was a struggle to put myself back into the rush mode. I managed to leave home by 8:20am. Just when I drove out I remembered that I had forgotten one of the main training materials. I had to rush back. And unfortunately all my training participants got to the hall way before 9:00am. One of the participants is a Chinese lady from IBM and she wasn't at all happy. The other participant is from Nestle and wasn't a bit bothered. I drove like I was practicing for Formula 1. And kept sending update SMS to the participants: "I'm 5 mins away", ... 

In the end they were all extremely satisfied with the training that we all became instant friends and gisted about our personal lives. Today, I am writing this blog post at 6:00am because I had promised them that I will get to the training hall before them.

I can't remember anything I have completed way before the deadline in the past two years. And satisfaction rate even when I miss the deadline is 100%. It always compensates for my procrastination. Somehow, I can't get my brain to work well without the threat of a deadline being missed. And the amount of work I get done in just hours and minutes to deadline are incredibly enormous.

So now I have resigned to my fate of chasing time and getting chased by a deadline, and I even consider it as my number one productivity hack. 

First, this is not to say other ways are bad. In fact, this post is to share what I consider is the best of all the good ways to save money.


image: contactlensescouk.wordpress.com

The best way to save money is to make money. Depending on your stage and status, responsibility-wise especially, you will definitely need to have money saved for uses like your children's education, mortgage or home rent, family emergencies, living expense and maybe your own continuous education. There is no justification for not having such savings. But once you've done that or as you are doing that, you need to also grow your wealth. And the best way to grow your wealth is not by saving.

No billionaire saved his way to wealth. And except you earn over N2 million per month, you can't conveniently save to become a millionaire. Then on top of that you face big risks. Ask those in Zimbabwe what happened to their savings when their currency started losing value and they needed billions of Zimbabwean dollars to buy common bread. That might be a little extreme but currently in Nigeria, what you could buy (except for laptops and phones) for N1 million 10 years ago will probably cost you over N5 million this year. A parcel of land that costs N2 million in 1999 will now likely cost N25 million today. N5 million worth of imported goods for sale in your shop 10 years ago will now cost over N20 million for same goods today. 

Every year, as our currency loses value and price of goods increase, you are losing the value on the money you put in the bank. That is why you can't build wealth by saving in the bank. You are only meant to save towards specific goals: emergency funds, family living allowance, education fund, annuity, pension, mortgage and car purchase. Saving isn't designed to make you rich and it won't.

To make wealth you need to make money. You need to grow your money making skills. Increase your earning potential, start a business, invest in businesses and create something of value that you can sell (could be a book, or training video or art work). Those are the ways people make money. And your only way if you don't earn mega bucks per month or play lottery.

Think of all the rags to riches stories you've heard or seen. How many of them achieved it by saving the little they had in their rage stage rather than putting themselves out there for increased opportunities to make money? Think of all the super rich people you know. How many of them have their assets as a huge pile of money sitting in a bank account? Even Dangote's billions is the part of his ownership of the Dangote Group. Not some money in a fixed deposit account. And it's same with Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Amancio Ortega. Their source of wealth is the businesses they own. Not the bank accounts they have.

This is a case of examining reality and making an informed choice. There will always be exceptions in life. There might be that guy you know who works in Nigerian Customs and is a millionaire. There will be someone else who looked like he saved to wealth. But consider your chances. If you want to become a pilot, will you do a self-study approach just because you read the stories of people who taught themselves how to fly a plane and that even the inventors of the airplane were self-taught? You clearly know that your chances will be slim compared to if you go to a proper formal education system to learn airplane flying. And it's same with making wealth. Even the dumbest wealthy man made it via investing in businesses while the super smart are working extremely hard for every Naira they get. So if making money ranks high on your life plan, then you need to take the approach that is working for almost all the rich and wealthy. Don't save money, make money.

I started my business part-time and after about two years, I took it full-time. I have some experience to back my claim. I have also met with many other entrepreneurs who fall under one of the following categories:
  1. Category F: These entrepreneurs had never run their business part-time before. The went into it from day one, full-time.
  2. Category PF: These are entrepreneurs like me, who started part-time and then took the business full-time.
  3. Category P: These are people with a regular job but have a side business. They someday hope to grow the business to a stage it will make them more money than their jobs make them.
I have met a lot of people under these three different categories. And I can tell you the common things I hear the people in each category say and worry about.



Those in Category P (who currently run their business in part-time mode) complain about getting the right staff for their business. They often fall into the hand of fraudulent workers. They also end up spending more to set up and run the business that those who do the business full-time.

The truth is that the start of any business is very difficult and to be able to succeed you will need someone who is hardworking, trustworthy and creative to see it through that starting phase. And every time you leave that part to someone else while you build another person's business, you are asking too much from an employee. Imagine how'll you react when your boss gives you tasks that were not in your job description and that makes it look like he is exploiting you. Well, that's the same way the person you hire will react when he is made to play the role of an entrepreneur in a business he doesn't own.

Why would we work harder, longer and more creatively than his friends who earn more than him in other more structured organizations? It's not like you've promised him a share of the company or the future profits that will come in when everything pays off. Maybe you've even been hinting him that he is hired because he is cheap and unemployed and you need someone to help the business start. And not because he is competent. You are already making him feel like the moment the everything works out fine, you will get more experienced hands to help and he will play a more background role. Then you complain that he is not helping your business grow. Why should he when it's same as getting himself fired?

Maybe I have taken my illustration to the extreme but those are the realities I have seen many people in category P share with me. They also are not able to take advantage of deals and the on-the-spot unusually profitable decisions people who manage their own businesses usually come across.

I am making more money today than I was when in my last job combined with running this part-time because I now come across more exceptional opportunities and unplanned deals by doing this full-time. I got a great deal on office space, benefited from a lot of referrals as people are more comfortable referring a full-time business man than a part-time one and I get lots of free publicity. I will even be on ChannelsTV next week (the broadcast will be aired in July though). Think how hard it would be if I was in a regular job and got to be on TV. Would I be able to promote my part-time biz as much as if I was into it full-time?

Sincerely, I think the only benefit to running your business part-time is if you just want a secondary income stream and not something to replace your salary or you need some time to plan your taking it full-time. In the long run taking your business full-time is always more rewarding than running it side by side a full-time job. More than the combined benefit of a salary (even if you get to the CEO level) and the gains of the part-time run business.






We’ve got Home menu, Insert menu, Page Layout menu, Formulas menu, Data menu, Review menu and View menu. Next, each of these menus will be discussed in practical terms.

The other menus — Developer menu, Load Test Menu and Power Query menu — are not displayed by default. I enabled them for my own use.

Home Menu
The home menu is Excel’s most used menu. It has very straightforward sub-menus.




Clipboard: Allows you to copy, cut and paste in Excel
Font: Allows you to set font size, color, background color (fill) & turn on bold or italics or underline.
Alignment: Allows you to set the position of whatever you’ve typed (or copied) into Excel. It also allows you to set how it’s written: horizontal, vertical or slanting.
Number: Allows you to set how a number is shown in Excel: regular number, currency, scientific, percentage, fraction… 
Styles: Allows you to set the format of an Excel cell based on the data it holds (conditional formatting). It also allows you to convert a selection of cells to table, and to set quick formats for a cell.
Cells: Allows you to insert new cells, delete cells and change cell format.
Editing: It houses the very useful Sort and filter tools. And also Find & Select, Find & Replace. There’s also AutoSum which helps you sum all numbers in a selection.


Insert Menu
The Insert menu houses some of Excel’s best tools.




Tables: Allows you to insert PivotTable, PivotChart and Table. Inserting a table in Excel allows for quick formatting, and better formulas (via named ranges). PivotTable and PivotChart will be discussed later.
Illustrations: Allows you to insert images and shapes.
Charts: Allows you to insert charts, which will be specially discussed later.
Tours: Houses Map which takes you straight to Power Map. Power Map is part of Microsoft’s new Power BI. It enables you make geo-maps and create amazing data visualization tours.
Reports: Lets you access Power View, another Power BI tool. Power View allows to create a data model, loading up many different databases and creating analysis that cuts across all the databases, allowing you to see insights that are beyond a single database.
Sparklines: Allows you to insert charts that fit into one Excel cell. Makes some reports beautiful and easy to read.
Filter: Allows you to filter out field values you are not interested in.
Links: Allows you point a cell content to a website or an email address.
Text: Allows you to insert texts and objects (pretty much anything, including a PDF document)
Symbols: Allows you to type out equations and special symbols.


Page Layout Menu
The Page Layout menu does just that: setting up your Excel document’s page look and for printing.




Themes: It’s not often used; it sets the look of the Excel window itself. 
Page Setup: It allows you to set how the page comes out when printed. Most used are the Orientation (to set as Portrait or Landscape) and Print Area (to select on the cells you want to print).
Scale to Fit: It allows you to set how much is printed per page. Most frequent use is to force Excel to print on one page, or fit all the fields (columns) on one page width.
Sheet Options: You wouldn’t want to change the default. It allows you set whether Excel gridlines be printed or not, and headings too. Default is no/off (unticked).
Arrange: It lets you rearrange overlapping objects (shapes, images, textboxes…). Or align them.


Formulas Menu
The Formula menu gives you access to Excel’s built-in formulas.





Function Library: It has the formulas grouped by category. Once you have an idea of what you want done, it helps you locate the formula to use. It’s good to look through it once in a while to have an idea of the out-of-the-box analysis Excel can do.
Defined Names: Lets you name a cell or selection of cells. Can be very useful when analyzing a big database or building a model.
Formula Auditing: Allows you to check for errors in your formulas, trace formula cells and see how your final result is being calculated.
Calculation: Allows you to set when the formulas in your Excel sheet are calculated: automatic (whenever a cell value changes) or manual (at first entry and when you force them to be recalculated).

Data Menu
The Data menu allows you to work with external data and do basic data formatting.




Get External Data: It allows you to import or link to an external data file (non-Excel file). You’ll use it whenever you have a data in text file and need it worked on in Excel.
Connections: Allows you to make changes to the connections/links to an external data file. Or force a refresh of the connections to capture changes made in the external data file since last connection.
Sort & Filter: Allows you to sort data and do some filtering too. Filter allows you to specify values to display.
Data Tools: Allows you do very basic data analysis. Especially removing duplicate entries, and splitting one field into several (text-to-column). Example is splitting full name into First name and Last name.
Outline: Allows you to group (and hide) several rows. Useful for large data reports with few categories; helps to group categories.
Analysis: This is only visible after you enable Data Analysis add-in or Solver add-in. It allows you access a large collection of statistical analysis tools and problem modeling.

Review Menu
The Review menu is for spell checks, commenting and setting access restrictions.




Proofing: Allows you to carry out spell checks and word meaning checks.
Language: Allows you to translate the Excel file content from one language to another.
Comments: Allows you to include comments in an Excel sheet, view all comments at once or delete comments.
Changes: Allows you to set access restrictions and track changes to the Excel file. Also allows you to share the file.

View Menu
The View menu allows you to change the window layout of the Excel document. It doesn’t change anything in the actual document, just the way it’s displayed.




Workbook views: Allows you to set how the workbook (Excel file) is displayed.
Show: Controls what non-printing details are shown: Gridlines, Headings, Formula bar and Ruler. The one you’ll be interested most in is Gridlines. If you want your Excel sheet to look more like a Word file, untick the Gridlines. That’s what’s done to every Excel sheet you see that has no Gridlines.
Zoom: Does what it says: sets zoom.
Window: Allows you to freeze headers so when you scroll they will never be out of view. And also allows you to split the Excel sheet display, so you can compare two different parts of the sheet.
Macros: Allows you to see the macros programmed in the Excel file (if there’s any macro in it).