by Promise Excel
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”
Edgar Allan Poe
This is my story of self-discovery, hustle, grind, and an undying hope. A journey of discovering my purpose and chasing my dreams in spite of all odds.
Since when I was little, I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. I don’t think there was a particular reason for that, I just loved being a doctor. As a young student who was pretty good in virtually all the subjects, nobody doubted my ability to become a doctor.
I applied for admission into the university twice but it didn’t work out because I couldn’t meet up with the cutoff mark for my dream course – medicine and surgery.
I couldn’t afford to sit for JAMB the third time. So, I decided to look for an alternative. Call it a life outside JAMB exam.
I started asking questions.
The more questions I asked, the less answer I got. I was upset with the norm. Everybody was doing the same old thing.
“Go to school, get good grades, graduate and get a high paying job (in one Telecom or oil company)”
Talk about the “G-system”, everybody was hypnotized into believing the same old news.
I secretly became a rebel to the corroding educational system.
In my pursuit of the meaning and purpose in life, I started reading far and wide.
A poor boy like me, I couldn’t afford hardcover books. So, I turned to the world’s largest library – Google.
I read like a mad man. I downloaded every ebook my 2GB memory card could take. I was always with my little phone, browsing the internet like a fowl looking for food in the mud.
I wanted to do something spectacular with my life.
I discovered that I could do what I loved to do and get paid for it. Isn’t that cool? And obviously, only entrepreneurship could offer such a lifestyle. Not some boring job.
Naturally, I’ve always loved writing and storytelling. So blogging became the right option for me to start with on my entrepreneurial journey.
All this while, I’ve been lying to myself. I wanted to be a doctor – apparently, that’s what all the cool guys were doing.
I knew I loved writing (talk of English studies and Literature in English, I was the best in secondary school) and I could write quite well – I just couldn’t bear myself to tell someone that I wanted to be a writer.
My passion for entrepreneurship and storytelling led me to start a blog.
And now, more than ever, I want to be a Storyteller – the greatest storyteller that has ever lived in Africa.
And I have never been surer about what I want to be/do in life than now: storytelling.
After months of voracious search, I stumbled on blogging. I read a lot about it and what I discovered sounded interesting to me.
Now, it was time for me to look for a domain name. That alone took me months.
Heck! I’m a terrible perfectionist.
One day, I was skimming through the dictionary in search of a domain name when this beautiful word jumped into my face – “Maverick”. I quickly checked the meaning. Oh wow…I couldn’t agree more to it. That’s what I wanted my blog to be – the blog with unconventional thoughts.
I just attached my name to it and ”Maverick Excel” was born.
I checked the availability on a domain registrar, it was available. Buying it became a challenge because I didn’t have a MasterCard. I went to the bank the next day to order for it.
Finally, Maverick Excel was bought in 2014.
At the time it was purchased, I didn’t have a laptop.
What will I blog with?
I had no idea!
I just went ahead to create a facebook page, a twitter handle and a Gmail address for a blog that existed only in my imagination.
It was around Dec 2014 that I bought my first ever (fairly used) laptop from a friend. This was from the money I realized from selling my Blackberry Bold 5 and the pocket money from my uncle.
So I used all the money I had in this world to buy a fairly used problematic laptop. Afterwards, I spent almost half the money I used to buy the laptop to repair it.
At that time I was still working as a laundry boy. Needless to say, my salary was a joke. I was working from 7am to 11pm. I knew that if I continued working there, I would never host my blog or have the time to blog.
I resigned and went to search for another job. It wasn’t long when I got a new job. In fact, I got a teaching job a day after I resigned.
When I got my first salary, I immediately went to purchase a hosting package. At the point of checking out, I was unable to complete the purchase.
Thereafter, I went to another web hosting company to purchase a hosting package. They refused to activate my account. Their reason, being that I was from a high-risk country. To activate my account I needed to send a scanned copy of a government issued ID card. Unfortunately, I had none.
I never gave up.
I was ready to do anything to launch my blog.
After being disappointed by these companies abroad, I decided to come back home.
After so much drama, I finally launched my blog. The first time I tried installing WordPress, I spent almost twenty hours doing that.
Talk of tenacity, I was unstoppable.
I made lots of investments into my blog before ever making a kobo from it.
Google was my closest friend. I read every blog posts and ebooks about blogging.
I visited every successful blog I knew of and studied their blogs like a textbook. I visited at least 10 blogs every day.
I would read every second and minute of the day. At times, I read on the streets, in the toilet, in the kitchen and even while eating.
Most times, I read all through the night.
I made a thousand and one mistakes. I spent lots of money to start a blog. I spent over 20 hours trying to install a blog.
At a point, I went to work as a laundry boy just to get money to support my blog. I hated the job. My mum was mad at me. My friends laughed at me. They called me laundry boy.
Not only that, my salary was a ridiculous #7,000. I worked from 7am-10pm. Sometimes, I closed by 11pm. It was a terrible experience. I endured it all because I was looking at the bigger picture.
After complaining about how little my salary was, my boss increased it to #8,000. I worked there a couple of months until I got tired of receiving peanuts.
I resigned and thereafter, I got another job as a class teacher the same day I resigned from my laundry job. My present salary was #10,000. I cared less because it was better than what I was receiving in the previous job.
After two months, my salary was increased to #11,000. I resigned. I was called back to work again. This time my salary was #13,000 forever.
It was not quite long, I got another job as a home teacher for #12,000. Now, my salary was #25,000. I got another job as a home teacher or #5,000.
Now, my total salary for a month was #30,000.
Guess what happened to all that money?
I invested all into my blog.
Somebody who was earning that much in a month was supposed to be living large, buying fancy cloths, shoes and designer perfumes.
But, I was always broke.
My shoes were in “things fall apart” and my cloths were crying for replacement. I was earning 30k in a month but my life didn’t look like it.
Keeping three jobs was the most stressful thing I’ve done in my life. I was emaciating. My friends would say, “guy you don lean o”. I smiled in shame. If only they knew what I was passing through.
I went through hell. No, I mean, I lived in hell just to make sure that my dream of having a successful blog came through.
Looking back at the past now, I’m glad I took all the risk. Though it wasn’t easy but it was worth all the stress and sleepless night.
I now earn a full-time income from my blog and I’ve achieved a lot just because I started.
How badly do you want to succeed in life?
Bad enough to stay awake all night and read?
Bad enough to wear rags and straw?
I can’t guess how bad you want it.
But what are you willing to give up, sacrifice, forgo and endure to make your dream come true?
If you expect success to be automatic and effortless, welcome to disappointment.
If you are only willing to invest a little, you will get back a little.
This entry was submitted as part of the Nigerian Voices competition organized by YNaija.com.
We publish, un-edited, Nigerians telling the stories of their everyday lives. Read all the narratives daily on the Nigerian Voices vertical. You can also contribute your own story titled ‘Nigerian Voices’ to [email protected].
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