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Edwin Elikem AMENYEAWU | Ghana | Stop Complaining!

My entrepreneurial journey actually started when I was in JHS School. I printed the graduating class memorial t-shirts which had everyone’s name and corresponding nicknames at the back and sold it. When I got to high school, St. Augustine’s College in Cape Coast I sold customized t-shirts to students as I partnered with Andy Track Clothing in Accra for the supplies. Organized mind-blowing parties and created a niche for myself, when it came to entertainment. When I got to University, I founded a model agency after several musicians consulted with me for video vixens for their music videos, with the assumption I knew so many ladies so I turned it into a business. After a year in the business, I got a job as a production assistant at Big OJ films even though I had little knowledge and experience in the media and film production space. I had to learn and reinvent myself since my goal is to be an entertainment executive. The lesson here is, I had to do things or learn new things out of my comfort zone. I gathered experience along the way with different jobs including being an event executive at Charterhouse Ghana and eventually became a general manager at Sleek Media Group after 5 years. All along the way, I had a greater vision of owning my entertainment company with a record label component through my vast experience I had acquired in preceding years. Moving forward, I started Priceless Life Entertainment ltd. In a few months, I signed rising rapper Tulenkey to my label and shot my 1st feature film dubbed ‘Tinted Chance’ the same year, with the production of several others including a short film and a radio drama series all to my credit. My company is the only entertainment company with an engineering component thus in recent times we were awarded a contract to design what is popularly acclaimed as ‘the only Nightclub on a river in the whole of Africa’ located in Sogakope, Ghana. This was a monumental project in the history of my company simply because it challenged us as Africans to be capable of doing anything without foreign assistance, we took pride in it because it was in line with our companies’ vision and goals to make Africa independent and greater.

What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business?

How did the idea for your business come about?

Eventually, I had to open a second business called Priceless Urgencies which was meant to provide services in emergency situations especially for people in urgent need of cash - like grassroot MoneyMart in North America. This business was something I started when I was in my final year at the University of Ghana. Initially it started with students as the market niche and eventually became opened to the general public through recommendations and referrals anytime anyone needed money urgently. I was inspired to do this because I meant to help people out in devastating and stressful situations which required instant monetary attention. Nonetheless it wasn’t as if I had a lot of money, but was just a way to turn my bad habit of not being able to save into a business. You too can turn a bad experience or habit into a business

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?

When we think about age, younger adults' attitudes toward older people have received considerable attention.

My initial hurdle was - age stereotype (ageism). I was undermined because of my age and my capabilities. Few trusted individuals in my circle, especially my extended family were against me starting my own business. I felt that disbelief - of going broke. They suggested I should work my way up into the government sector, and secure myself a regular salary job (with retirement with pension benefits). This situation made it difficult to turn to people for capital and support because they didn’t believe in me - as a young or thriving entrepreneur. Moving forward, I was able to raise my first capital via the buy and sell commission approach.

What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?

Roadmap to becoming a successful entrepreneur (The Discovery) - Benny Jayden

12 secrets of sales the Global 600 companies don’t want you to know - Daniel Sarpong, MBA

Pyjamas Millionaires - Amb. Kwame A.A Opoku

Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?

How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?

Have you strangely noticed that in many cases, it is the “strangers” or the ones you haven’t met in person who often seem to support or patronize you.

In my case, that negative belief motivated me not to disappoint myself and let what they presumed materialize. My hard work and determination were driven as a result of proving them wrong. I’d encourage everyone to believe in themselves and know that the dream is free but the hustle is sold separately. It is always good to dream big but don’t forget to align your minds towards your dreams and goals.

What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?

Investing in the people I work with. It is often said that people work for people and not companies. My employees were of much concern to me so I made them feel a part of the business. I supported some to pursue further education, others had family and personal issues I had to help them deal with. I could only do these by getting closer to them and knowing them better for them to open up to me. We relate as a family with a common vision and a reassurance to a dream we will all wake up to. I was really honest and open to them so they knew how their presence in the company was really much of importance.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?

I wish I took business legal documentations, agreements, contracts, accounting and due diligence seriously when I started. Due to the cumbersome nature and processes involved in business registration, I kept procrastinating till I got a contract I couldn’t execute because my business wasn’t duly registered. I took agreements for granted with no air tight contracts and dealt with people in good faith. I never kept accurate books because there was no proper planning on expenditure and every money was coming from my pocket instantaneously.

What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally? Start locally and dream globally. No one owes you help, support or a sale. You need to earn it, by working hard. Stop complaining, but rather listen to the plights of people and find a solution to develop a business out of that frustration or that energy. Don’t hesitate to flaunt your achievements or progress. That gives prospects and clients or stakeholders the confidence in your portfolio or craft. Always remember rejection is the candy of sales or entrepreneurship, pick it up, lick the candy and move on. Make sure you sell value to people instead of products and remember to network with work, not aspirations and above all believe in God.

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