by Yoma Victor
Social media sphere has for the past week been filled with stories of our one and only celebrity-gossip-blogger, Linda Ikeji’s troubles. So much has been said and there are no sides left yet untaken in the matter, but one thing that is definite, that no one can swear hands down, betting their lives on is that Linda Ikeji is done and gone. She will be back. But how? By the way, i do not reckon with domain thieves. Being a critic is different from being a thief. Evil can never produce good for the evil doer! So let’s be clear I won’t dwell on that part of the story.
In fifteen years of varying entrepreneurial pursuits, one basic law i have learnt is that, in the journey of success, failure is a necessary bus stop. Success is a story of many failures, failures that didn’t stop you from moving forward. Success is the ability to move from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. Hence for those who are rejoicing in the battles Linda is fighting, i would advise you to stop wasting your energy, rather let us take the discussion to the next level. Linda built a behemoth of a media platform from scratch. By her own admission, it didn’t make any monies for four years and in time LIB became a brand, the number one in its industry/niche. You don’t come by this sort of success by chance or luck, there is an internal substance and drive that makes it possible. Now that i am done with all that praising-singing, what is there to learn?
Business is not about emotions, it is about structures, about the numbers, about the inflow and outflow, about what is done to ensure it is feeding and excreting properly (forgive my French or is it Creole? in a business discourse). Businesses are organisms, they grow and thrive, or depreciate and die; depending on how they are handled. When a child commits a crime, he or she is reprimanded and put under supervision and guidance because children have the benefit of the doubt that they are not deliberately contravening laid down rules – they are considered immature; but when an adult commits an offence, the full brunt of the law is brought to bear to ensure that the structure of justice, equity and probity in society is maintained. This is where i think Linda Ikeji runs foul in business terms. LIB is not a child, not an unknown, not a start-up, not a run-of-the-mill concern. It is number one in its field, in a nation of over 100 million people. LIB in my honest opinion did not watch its back hence it contravened adult laws.
Having a blog like LIB with prospects and strong growth and market leadership potential as far back as four years ago, and not moving the structure of your business from self-employed status to business owner structure is a crime that unfortunately, cyber-squatters couldn’t leave unexploited.
I’ve been privileged to share in business trainings and development sessions on the difference between a self-employed person and a business owner. In summary, while a self-employed person gives himself a job, the business owner owns a system. The business of the self-employed person survives essentially because of the physical presence of the person and there is a lot of emotions at play in the business. You can hire family members, friends and cronies and when need arises, fingers are dipped into the income of the small business to solve personal problems, so there is improper-booking keeping, actually, no book-keeping. Legal issues are hardly dealt with in a self-employed system, as the owner seeks to always appeal to emotions to get sorted in legal situations like taxes, fees, etc. For the business owner, they ensure that the business has a life of its own, they understand that it is an entity, an organism – it needs to be fed to grow. Hence the structures that will ensure that it becomes independent are built. The books are properly kept, legal loopholes are plugged, relevant competencies with the required know-how are hired to provide legal, financial and technical structures for the business. The business of the business owner survives irrespective of the physical presence of the founder of the business, this is key to attracting investment, growth, and passive income.
The transition between being self-employed, and being a business owner is pretty much about leveraging the laws of the land, financial and business intelligence, and business skills. Business skills and determination which Linda obviously possesses is not enough. Having a blog like LIB with prospects and strong growth and market leadership potential as far back as four years ago, and not moving the structure of your business from self-employed status to business owner structure is a crime that unfortunately, cyber-squatters couldn’t leave unexploited. Generating almost half a million dollars per year needs protecting. Creating the most recognized new media platform in a country of 170 million people requires protecting. Being a media platform other media platforms get their headline news from is a big enough reason to create the right structure to protect it. There is making money, there is multiplying money, and there is managing money. Protecting your money is a huge part of managing your money. Your loopholes in business, when you get successful, will be used against you. Out there, there is the competition, the watch dogs and the haters. JP Morgan ended up owning General Electric (GE), which is about the world’s biggest corporation, yet Morgan didn’t invent electricity, Thomas Edison did, but Morgan exploited a loophole in the legal document and appropriated the company to himself and his ancestors forever. Thomas Edison got the fame, JP Morgan got the inheritance. Ignorance or procrastination is not an excuse.
I am certain that Linda is here to stay. She can easily register another blog, even with a different name and drive traffic there simply because she was wise enough to make her blog about herself. Linda, this storm came to help you see that your best days ahead are massive, but you cannot get to that future dressed in this “www.lindaikeji.blogspot.com” thingy, you need to re-brand your outlook, you need to hire a legal officer and business adviser, garnished with mentors to advise and help structure your business and advise you on issues of copyright and plagiarism, you need to run as a proper media organization. You are big enough to have correspondents attending various events to increase your brand value and to also access original content for the LIB company, big enough to attract writers and correspondents. Let me state here that I have no respect for people who are not as successful, neither have built any business, telling others how they should run their business. I am not here telling you how to run, I am only suggesting. I do not claim to know the pressure and sleepless nights that went into building your business and honestly, I admire you better than most of the very intelligent, rambling folk on twitter who have produced no value themselves.
Trust me, a lot of people are learning from your present issues, that is something you can be proud of. The problem, is not the problem. How you see the problem is the problem. You are at this failure junction, so that you can build long-lasting business structures. Do not let the crisis go to waste. Don’t be deceived by fans who will want to make you egoistic, seemingly infallible and untouchable. I look forward to seeing you in the future, mentoring young people on how to transit from running a self-employed business to owning a business system. Moving from a small business to a big business. All the best as you navigate these treacherous waters.
God bless you!
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.