I’m John Samuel, the CEO and Founder of JoSa Consulting. I am also an ex- Nigerian professional footballer, which is a big reason why my life has turned the way it has. All my life aside my academics has been around football. I started out playing on the streets of Lagos, Nigeria. I then played in primary, secondary and university games before I advanced to playing local leagues to Premier divisions. Football brought me to Finland and after 8 seasons playing in Europe and Asia, I decided to retire at a professional level to begin life after football.
Football taught me discipline, handwork, perseverance, patience and resilience. Football is a 100% contact game, you get knocked down and you get up and keep moving. Similar to being an entrepreneur, some might say.
The hardships I encountered with my company were centered around cultural misconception and prejudice.
After retiring, I did various jobs here and there before I studied to become a property manager. I worked as a property manager for a few years but felt uncomfortable. I was not happy, despite making a good amount of money. It was at that point that I went down on a personal self-discovery journey to discover myself and what I am good at. I realised that I was good at ideating new things, creating from scratch and planning the future. All these attributes correlated with entrepreneurship.
I founded JoSa Consulting 2020 with the vision of connecting Nordic and Baltic businesses to the ever-growing African market. Our company strives to change the negative perceptions and narratives of doing business in Africa by helping the Nordic and Baltic countries understand the cultural overview of the African market. The African continent is incredibly rich in natural resources. Currently, only 10% of Africa’s land is being cultivated, yet it holds around 60% of the world’s cultivable land. As such, Africa has become a magnet for foreign direct investment, and why we at JoSa Consulting also believe this is a huge opportunity for Nordic companies to take part in.
The hardships I encountered with my company were centered around cultural misconception and prejudice. It is still somewhat apparent in this part of the world when a foreigner runs a business. It was difficult having or selling services to Finnish clients because it felt like you were often judged by your names or how you look rather than the quality of service you could offer. Speaking the same language plays a big part in building a bond. I now balance between Finnish and English with my clients.
If you are not ready to fail or accept failure, then you are not ready to succeed.
I disagree with the idea that entrepreneurship is complete freedom. For me, entrepreneurship means working 24 hours round the clock. The freedom part comes with how you prioritize your time and how well you use your time. For me, it’s freedom when I can wake up at the time I want or control what I put on my calendar on any given day. I dictate the pace of my own work and how I feel things should be done. I also enjoy the freedom to study and learn new skills while running my own business.
I also feel strongly that entrepreneurship means failure. If you are not ready to fail or accept failure, then you are not ready to succeed. It is almost certain that your first attempt to run a business will fail. What happens next depends on you – so be persistent and never give up.
For example, the pandemic was a very good test for many entrepreneurs across the world. It tested (and continues to test) how versatile, proactive and reactive you can be as an entrepreneur. For me, the pandemic reminded me why having a strong mind is key; the hurdle of thinking about how to run my businesses with lockdowns and restrictions was challenging.
Learn more about Josa Consulting at josaconsulting.com.