How’s it going? I’ve been inside a pressure cooker so I haven’t had the time, means or desire to come say what’s up. However, my schedule has cleared up much to my dismay and I’m slowly coming out the other end of a dark tunnel. So my phone was stolen at Ikeja under-bridge (pick-pocketed precisely) for the second time in 5 years. You know when something happens so fast that it leaves you so pained and feeling very stewpeed. Oh well, I have forgiven myself now but I couldn’t forgive myself then. My phone is my life; check the end of my arm and just as the sky is blue you can find it attached there where it truly belongs. If NEPA likes let them take the light, with my trusted mobile device and deputy powerbank, I am insured against ever feeling bored, lonely, or succumbing to the crazy thoughts always swirling in my head. This was a phone that I bought brand new, and I hadn’t used it for up to two months. My sweet Samsung valued at a humble price of N60,000. The plan was to use it for a year or two, then gift it to one of my siblings. I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of all this phone cost me, cos I went as far as reporting it to the police station in hopes that they could track it but I have resolved to forget the whole thing and put it behind me.
Well, I was depressed. What am I going to do without my phone ni tori oloun? Everything that helped me organize my life was on there and I had already given my sister the phone I was using before that (also Samsung). Anyway, I relegated myself to a small Nokia phone I’d also bought brand new for emergencies and got a new phone number. I decided not to retrieve my old line yet and resolved to use the misfortune that befell me to undergo a lifestyle change. I have many bad traits, but one recurring great thing I have going on for me is that I always use every setback as an opportunity for a comeback. I will not rest, I will stew and mope until the debt is paid with a little more $$ in the credit section of my balance sheet. Only then can I be really happy and content that I’d won or learnt a lesson. Inadvertently, I’d say I thrive under adversity.
I also bought a few books which include, 48 Laws of Power (I have bought this book like 3 times in my lifetime), The Art of War, and Eat That Frog! (highly recommended for procrastinators). Since I had no phone to distract me, it was time to update my library, read some books, and see how I could optimize every aspect of my life to make for a more productive me. Though I have a stable job that pays in 6 figures, my biggest source of worry has always been money issues. Imagine my pain, I had just lost my phone and I couldn’t immediately buy another one. Not when I had sent money home to both momsy and siblings. My unfortunate entanglement with Naija police also cost me more than I’m willing to disclose. It seemed the village people came for me hard and succeeded. It was only the beginning of June and I had to manage on a strict budget hoping for the next paycheck. That is no way for a Gee to live.
As usual when I’m seriously stressed and my brain goes into overdrive, my rate of smoking increases exponentially. I’d light up that Arizona and smoke while mulling things over in my head. If I ran out of that then Benson switch came in handy. I had a laptop and a modem, so I went to subscribe on my Spectranet while I figured out what I was going to do because I had to do something. I couldn’t continue living like this. It simply isn’t good enough especially when the big 30 was fast approaching.
Should I go back to Yahoo?
Quick confession: I got my first and only car from the proceeds of Yahoo. And while I have been into many things in the course of my life, Yahoo is the one thing I reluctantly turned to whenever I was in a quick bind and needed to make good money. BUT… I hated doing it with every fibre of my being. I always ended up feeling soiled, dirty, rotten. Which is why whenever I made a lump sum I always bailed out until the next big crisis rolled around and then I would have no choice than to “do what I had to do” before bailing out again. My friends whom I started with labelled me unserious but it was something my conscience always gave me grief for. Last year I had made up my mind that it was goodbye forever to that chapter of my life, and I am ashamed to say that I came close to breaking my promise early this month.
I sat in front of my laptop wondering what my options were: Yahoo came top of the list. Yes I can do it but I always considered it too stressful and the morality of it all made it even worse. Alternatively, I knew I was a good presenter and quite articulate too, but I was also done with the media industry in Nigeria and actively shy away from anything that will throw me into the spotlight or attract unnecessary awareness my way. Plus work commitments might not even allow me source for good paying jobs that would be okay with me working part-time for them. And then it suddenly hit me, nigga you can write na! I mean, I am a damn good writer if I do say so myself. I have made a tidy bit of money over the years writing for magazines, blogs, people, in this obodo Lagos. I had even tried my hands on freelancing in those days before NYSC. I worked once on freelancer dot com and earned 25$ on a project but I unseriously abandoned all that for whatever reason. About three years before that, I stumbled upon this site iwriter dot com and while taking gigs to pass the time, I made about 14$ and abandoned it too. Notice the pattern here? In 2017 while serving I decided to revisit my iwriter account and racked up the earnings there to 45$ before withdrawing the money through a trusted exchanger. However, I abandoned it too because the stress involved in writing so much for so little no be here.
So earlier this month, with no phone and a red bank account, I sat in front of my laptop, my Arizona burning slowly in my hand, thinking about what I could do to optimize my financial standing. Instead of trying to manage my salary, I wanted to increase my capacity to earn more. Life is harder on a budget I tell you. Anyhoo, I ran back to my iwriter account only to see that my account had been deactivated. Okay, no wahala. I figured out how to get into my old freelancer dot com profile but the whole place was a mess and I didn’t like the interface. There were too many bidders for too few projects. In the course of my research I then entered the Upwork thread in the business section and read through it from start to finish. Surprisingly, I came across a comment I made in that same thread in 2017 complaining about how my Upwork account didn’t get approved as it appeared my niche (writing) was saturated. It would seem that I also abandoned that agenda as well without making any headway. Well, this time I was having none of it. I fished out my old, abandoned Upwork and sure enough it was still unapproved. Without wasting time, I got someone to help me open a functional account and paid him the agreed token even though I was tempted not to pay him anything but I just had to rebuke the Nigerian in me. Every man’s hustle must be respected.
Anyway, I got the account and got to work immediately. Sent a bunch of proposals the same day, almost exhausting all my connects. I smoked some more as I waited and eventually fell asleep for a couple of hours. Apparently I was very sleep deprived. As it is when I put myself under a lot of pressure, I would hardly eat or sleep, but I would smoke like it was running out of fashion. My flawed coping mechanism. I woke up to find out that two prospective clients had replied to my proposals. Imagine my joy! Long story short, between June 4 (when I started) and now, I’ve racked up over 700$. Get your calculator, multiply that with the current exchange rate and tell me how much you think I’ll be expecting in my bank account? Unfortunately, my bids for the month are exhausted so I’m not likely to get any more jobs for June but as a newbie on the platform, how amazing is that? I’m glad I didn’t succumb to the pressure of going into Yahoo again, because I was already trying to figure out where I’d hidden all the tools on my laptop. And I don’t think I would have made this much in Yahoo within such a short time. I would have needed to spend some time nursing the client and gaining her trust.
I didn’t need to write all this, but I am sharing this to inspire someone out there. I can’t share all my stories but my life is a testament to this fact: EVERY SETBACK IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR A COMEBACK. Instead of wailing over the fate that has befallen you, take charge and more importantly, fight back! As humans it is normal that we feel bad and sulk, but that is a phase that you need to quickly get out of and besides, who said you can’t moan and sulk and even cry while figuring out the way forward? Time is the most expensive currency and we all need to spend it wisely. Now, I have gotten over the loss of my phone and I’m getting a new Samsung next week. Currently looking at a budget of N100,000 because, why not? My phone got stolen and in the process I gained a solid and very lucrative second source of income. So sometimes, it’s not totally a bad thing when bad things happen to you. There is a lesson therein you are supposed to learn.
Till next time,