How to succeed in Lagos as an ‘Olajumoke’


Judging from the last few weeks, Olajumoke could pass as the most popular name in Nigeria and one of the most searched name on Google. In fact, ‘Olajunoke’ was permanently on Google trends for weeks – A completely unknown Lagos bread seller whose story changed the moment she ran into one of Nigeria’s finest Photographer, TY Bello and International singer, Tinie Tempah. Her supposedly inspiring story has appeared in almost all newspapers, on CNN, Huffington Post, and virtually everywhere online. The mother of two who left her husband and a child to come hustle in Lagos has been enrolled as a model in just a matter of days with no prior experience. Her face has appeared on the cover of magazines. She is now a student at Poise Finishing School, an intern with two beauty salons, and a motivational speaker, even though she isn’t fluent in English. Beat that.

Brands are already riding on this, as two Nigerian companies: StanbicIBTC and PayPorte have already made her their brand ambassador. Stanbic IBTC went a step further to award her two daughter’s scholarships up to university level.


Olajumoke appears to be on a roll as she has also made a cursory visit to National Identity Management Commission to get an identity card.


It was also reported that a construction company has given her a luxury apartment in Lagos.

“From hawking bread in Agege, she is now within weeks, the darling of corporate Nigeria, the poster girl for corporate social responsibility, a landlady, and a role model. She had probably never seen the inside of an aircraft, but a few days ago, she was on a flight to Abuja to give a speech!” – Reuben Abati


There has been mixed reactions surrounding her story; some are super excited about her ‘grace to grace’ story while some others think Olajumoke’s Story is symptomatic of all that is wrong with Nigerian psyche’ and are of the opinion that the ‘rags to riches girl’ is being exploited for her sudden fame.

Well, now that she has found what seems to be an overnight fame that she is in no way prepared for, the key question now must be: How can she sustain this fame and make a real meaning out of her life? How can anyone with a similar story leverage the golden opportunity to sustain impending success?

The instant this fad is over, what next?

Olajumoke or anyone else with a comparable story must quickly consider the following:

 Embrace the new reality. – Learning to accept this new reality is vital to their happiness and general success. Because only when we change, do we grow, and begin to see a world we never knew was possible. So she must embrace it, and realize that change happens for a reason. It won’t always be easy or obvious at first, but in the end it will be worth it.

Learn English language. For her, learning English language is a whole new skill altogether and the process of acquainting with a new language is a mind-opening experience. It’s critical for her to hone her communication skills.

Take up a new course. Thankfully, in Olajumoke’s case she has been enrolled in an internship program but obviously that is not enough. Courses are a great way to gain new knowledge and skills. It doesn’t have to be a long-term course – seminars or workshops serve their purpose too. I’ve been to a few workshops and they have helped me tremendously in gaining new insights which I had not considered before.

Get a mentor or coach. There’s no faster way to improve than to have someone work with you on your goals. Engaging a coach to help with defining & achieving goals will definitely help her achieve significantly more results than if she had worked alone.

Read great books. – Of course this comes after learning and mastering the language. The Web is incredible. With its fame for hosting informative, easy-to-skim textual snippets and collaborative written works, people are spending more and more time reading online. Nevertheless, the Web cannot replace the authoritative transmissions from certain classic books that have delivered (or will deliver) profound ideas around the globe for generations. Reading books that are packed with wisdom are capable of igniting a whole new understanding of the world and approach to life.

Learn from people who inspire you. Think about people you admire. People who inspire you. These people reflect certain qualities you want to have for yourself too. What are the qualities in them you want to have for yourself? How can you acquire these qualities?

Start a business venture. This is very important, especially in Nigeria. Is there anything you have an interest in? Why not turn it into a venture and make money while learning at the same time? Basic business management skills and business acumen are very important here of course, so the right training is key to succeeding. A friend did suggest that starting a business for Olajumoke instead (a bakery maybe), taking her through a training process and monitoring her progress might actually have been a better option.

Ask for feedback. As much as we try to improve, we will always have blind spots. Asking for feedback gives us an additional perspective. Some people to approach will be friends, family, colleagues, TY Bello, or even acquaintances, since they may have no preset bias and can give their feedback objectively.

We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve. — Bill Gates

Learn public speaking. Interestingly, public speaking is the #1 fear in the world, with #2 being death. After I started public speaking, I’ve learned a lot about how to communicate better, present myself and engage people. Public speaking is so important that it could be the deciding factor in many things such as your career development, your business growth and even in the relationships you have with friends and family – It’s a skill worth learning.

Keep learning and nurturing your personal growth. – Achieving higher consciousness comes from your commitment to personal growth. How much you grow and who you become is up to you. But remember, the acquisition of knowledge doesn’t mean you’re growing; growing happens when what you know changes how you live. Imagine how much progress Olajumoke would have made in the next twelve months if she deliberately commits to personal growth.

Finally, Make the decision to commit to personal growth and embrace a life-long journey of growth and change.




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4 thoughts on “How to succeed in Lagos as an ‘Olajumoke’

  1. Someone once said that ‘when you connect well, you will collect well’. For Jumoke, who knows if she had mumbled a heartfelt prayer to God that faithful morning and dashed off to the bakery for her daily routine. Heaven decided to connect her well and the rest is a tale of glory.
    For someone out there about giving up or calling it quit, asking so many questions without commensurate answer, I believe we can learn from Jumokes story that even in your darkest times, through that dark tunnel, don’t give up, don’t faint, don’t stop pushing. God is waiting at the end of the tunnel to swiftly carry you when you finally make. He is the light we see at the end of every tunnel.
    Stay put. It can only get better.

  2. Wish her all the best
    I registered for that NIN since 2014 still not ready.We can only try as human beings, only God can take you there(your goals).Well said in your write up.More grease to your elbow

  3. Deep in her eyes, you can see the urge and commitment to succeed. Life has molded her to focus on her goals and either work to achieve them to enjoy the result or stay lazy and suffer. She has chosen the former and I believe even in this her new life, she will stay committed to that same principle of life.

    I would love to see a completely different Olajumoke in the next 12 month, her story has just begun…For someone like Olajumoke starting from zero, I believe I can change tremendously for good.

    Thank you.

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