Today, I have such an interesting guest on ‘The Ultrapreneur’ interview series. Tomie Balogun is one amazing talent, and ruthless executor. Tomie shares her prospective on financial independence, and what she is doing to attain it, and help others do the same, all while acing it at a 9-5.
I still wonder if people like Tomie haven’t found a way to sneak in more than 24 hours into their day!
Let’s get right into it! I present to you Tomie Balogun! **drum roll please**!
Never mind that the photo is blurred, Tomie has promised to give me another one. Lol.
Please introduce yourself and tell us what you do. Everything that you do.
My name is Tomie Balogun. Wife and mother of two amazing children. Ages 6 and 3 years old. I do so many things!
I like to say that I have many facets to me, and everything I do is an expression of something about myself.
In my 9-5, I create consumer products for utility companies. Outside of my 9-5, I started a private equity company with four friends, where we contribute our personal funds on a monthly basis to help small businesses gain the much needed access to funds. I also provide actionable advice to young professionals on how to earn additional income through content on my website (www.tomiebalogun.com) , and I have a car on the Uber platform.
Hmm….Uber again! I think there’s something with this uber business. You guys have to key me in, it’s great business, isn’t it?
Well, yes it is. The returns are quite interesting.
How long have you been doing this?
The fund will be 3 years this year. It started as an ‘investment club’ of sorts, but now we have incorporated it and it’s a Limited Liability company. I started the website July 2015 to chronicle my journey to financial independence and help young professionals like myself who can’t really make decisions without thinking about what’s in their wallet.
So, what gave you the push to start doing all this? Because, for most people, when they have a job where they earn a fair amount, the most that they do might be to try and get a better job. Especially as a wife and mother. So, how did you get here?
Really, the investment club was something conceived by I and 4 friends I met on the LBS MBA program, as a mechanism to build wealth. But as a fall out of that, I realised that there were a lot of small business owners who had no idea how to build a proper business in a way that is profitable and scalable, so I started the website (blog), and in the last 8 months that I have been writing, I have evolved so much! I started out writing about business and technology, since I was in the technology field. But now, my ideal reader is someone who has a long term goal to become financially independent.
I focus on two key ways to achieve this; starting an investment club or starting a side gig. Right now, I’m working on teaching others how to start their investment club and build a network of investment clubs.
So, what I hear you say is that you wanted to gain financial independence, and now you help other people do the same?
Yes. I think the quest for financial independence is what drives a lot of people to do the things they do. You just want to be able to make decisions for yourself without thinking about what’s in your wallet. Financial independence gives you the freedom to be who you want to be and do things without fear.
I’ll ask again, how are you able to do all this? Because, a lot of people may want to do this, but the sheer fear of not being able to combine it all without one suffering keeps them back. Again, you are a wife, a mother, an employee and all that. How do you make all this happen?
To a large extent, one of the things that has helped me is a great support system. My husband understands, and supports what I’m doing. Also, there is no need trying to be a super woman. For example, you have to be clear what your strengths are, and be willing to pay attention to the things that matter, and be willing to delegate the things that are not so critical in the grand scheme of things.
Can you please give an example of these critical versus not so critical things?
One of the most important things, for me, is spending quality time with my family. My children – I definitely want to be part of their growth and development, and get an opportunity to influence them in many ways that matter. Same for my husband, I want to be there to support him as much as I can. Everything else is not so critical. So I get a help to ease the other household things.
What has also worked well is that I have a process for everything in my home. My help knows what to do on every single day of the week, we know what we’re eating for each meal (especially for the children), and we keep a book to write groceries when they run out, and that becomes my shopping list.
I haven’t always had it together, I used to be all busy and get worked up over little things like finished supplies, somewhere not clean and all that. Then I had to put the process in place.
I have also instituted this system for my blogging and other things. I realize that emotion is not a great guide to determine what we do. Because, you just may never feel like doing what you need to do. So, what I do now is work with a system or a process that ensures that no matter how I feel, I have a post out every Saturday.
I have a book where I write down interesting topics that I might want to blog about, and usually by Wednesday, I have a first draft, and then I review on Thursday, review again on Friday, and it’s ready for Saturday
Having a process around things always really helps, because it takes out the emotional bit of it, and helps ensure you get things done. So, if you are dedicated to the process, it helps.
During the week, everything works like clockwork, in terms of food and other household chores. I get to pick up my children every day, I use my break time to do that.
Sorting all this out gives you peace of mind. Having the right support system is very important. I make sure I choose a househelp or nanny that can help.
You have to stay accountable to yourself no matter what happens.
Thanks for saying all that Tomie. I’ve learned so much already.
My next question really is did you have any fears in the beginning?
Absolutely! It’s always scary to start something new.
Especially because I am a very introverted person, so with the blog I was really scared. Didn’t really want to put myself out there. In fact for a long time I never had a picture on that website. With the investment club, it was easier because I went in with friends who I know are dedicated for the long term. And again, it was our own money.
So you had trusted partners.
Oh yes! that really helped with stepping out.
Did you ever feel pressured to choose between the 9-5 and your side interests?
Well, it helps when you do things that are complimentary. Sometimes, I’m thinking through a strategy at work, and then I say oh, I can write about this. This could help someone. And that becomes a blogpost.
The key is to make sure there is no conflict, and definitely that your 9 – 5 doesn’t suffer because you’re doing something else.
For me again, this is also a way of understanding and preparing for where I need to go. Financial independence for me is something that can generate income independent of my time.
I think this generation has turned the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs up side down. Many of us want self actualisation first. In one way or the other, we want to make an impact on people around us. People express this in different ways. For me it’s my website and all these other side things. And the good part is it gives me a better perspective on my 9 – 5.
What are the three key things you’ve learnt on this journey?
- You will never know what you’re capable of until you really step out. There’s this saying that when you think you’ve gotten to the end of yourself, you’re really just at about 40% of your capacity. When I think about it, that’s really powerful.
- The 2nd one is related to the first: Clarity comes from engagement.
It could be stepping out and taking action; or simply just talking to someone. But you have to engage somehow.
Can’t think of a third one. *laughs*
Hmmm, you’re right. You can’t fully test an idea by simply thinking about it in your head all by yourself. You really must get outside of yourself.
What’s your driving force? All that you’re doing is not really an easy feat? What keeps you going?
I’m a big picture person. I try to focus on the big picture. I want to get to that point where I can look back and say I made it because I stayed dedicated to it.
Also, I really want to experience financial independence. I think it’s very freeing and liberating to be able to make decisions for me and my family without thinking of what’s in my wallet.
So, one last thing, How would you feel if you got fired from your paid job today?
The truth is if I got fired today, my first reaction will be shock. I will be shocked! It will be scary! Because, I try to put in my best day in day out.
But I’m sure once I get a chance to get used to it, I would see it as permission to go ahead and make all this happen sooner than later.
Absolutely! Thank you so much for speaking with us, Tomie! This has been so enlightening!
You are very welcome!
There, you have it. My favourite part of this interview is the point about emotions not being a great guide to when to get things done. If you need to do something, just do it. Don’t wait till you feel like, because you just may never do!
What’s your favourite part? Tell me in the comments below
You can connect with Tomie here:
Website – www.tomiebalogun.com
Instagram – @tomiebalogun