What’s It Like When Your Side Hustle Pays More Than Your 9-5?


February 3, 2020

Every week, Zikoko seeks to understand how people move the Naira in and out of their lives. Some stories will be struggle-ish, others will be bougie. All the time, it’ll be revealing.

In this Nairalife story, the subject is 24, and not doing badly at this adulting thing. She works in Financial Advisory and has pretty big plans for her future.

My first question is, what’s the first thing you ever did for money?

I was in 300l and I was obsessed about making money. Not that I was lacking, my parents gave me a monthly allowance of ₦20k – ₦10k each, they’re separated. 

I was reading a lot of articles online and watched videos on Youtube, from how to make candles, make money from surveys, blogging.

Eventually, I decided on poultry. Do you know what’s funny? 

What?

I was literally scared of chickens 🐓 but money must be made. I went to a woman that sells chicks and bought 25 one-week-old chicks. I had a male friend accompany me to buy them – he did all the carrying.

This type of commitment is the energy I stan

I already got a big cage for them, so I never had to touch them. By the way, I was staying off-campus somewhere in the Southwest, and my hostel had a big compound. I talked to my landlord about it and he allowed me to use the compound.

My tasks were clear: wake up at 5 am, rake the droppings, change water and food twice a day. It was going pretty well, a lot of people were interested and even encouraged me. 

Some students vets volunteered to help me if I had any issues. I felt great! 

I was building an empire. A billionaire in making 🤣

One afternoon, I came back from class and all my chickens were out of the cage. 

What?! 

Yep. There was no one at home and I had to get them back into the cage. They were about six weeks old by then. It was hell for me, but anyway, that was how I got over my fear of chickens. 

Hahaha. 

The next morning, two of the chickens died and my vet friends said they were infected by other local chickens when they were out of the cage. They prescribed medications. Still, three more died, except this time it was because of expired feed.

Ouch. What were your margins like eventually?

I sold 18 during Christmas, gave one to my landlord and shared one for all my fans. I can’t remember the details but I sold each for ₦3500. I think the margins were between 18-20%. But I didn’t do another cycle because it was stressful and my landlord didn’t allow me. 

What else did you do after that?

I sold eggs, but the most important was learning how to trade forex. Again, I did all my research, read books, watched YouTube videos. That was one of my best decisions ever. I knew the risks involved so when I started trading, I didn’t put so much money. I started at $5, which I grew to $15. By the time I was in my final year, I’d started teaching people how to trade. 

Let’s pretend I don’t know anything about Forex, tell me how it worked for you.

I’ll give you one instance. If you think that the US dollar would rise in value against British Pounds, you can sell British Pounds and buy US dollars. So it’s trading against the rise and fall in the value of currencies. 

What’s your best margin ever while trading forex?

300%. My best shot ever is the gold index, XAU-USD. 

So, when did you finish school?

2015. NYSC in 2016. That period I had to wait, I just sharpened my skills. Did NYSC, then got a job at a Financial Advisory firm right after. 

I started as a graduate trainee, they paid ₦80k. Six months after, I got confirmation as a full staff, and they started paying ₦130k. A year later, ₦170k. Six months after that raise, I got tired. 

Why?

The environment was getting at me. I wasn’t happy with how I was doing the job. I also had a couple of exams to write. I told my boss I wanted to resign, but he asked me to go on unpaid leave. I left and I was doing pretty well. I loved the freedom, and in fact, my trading was doing so well that I survived on the money comfortably in that period. 

Also, I was reading for exams.

Interesting that he’d let you go on unpaid leave. 

Yeah, anyway during the leave, I got an offer from one of The Big Four.

And…?

I took that offer. I took it not because of the money – I was making more than my salary already from trading. I wanted that on my CV because I have big plans for my investment and trading business. 

So here I am, 2 months into the job. The pay is ₦268k. Financial advisory too. 

Tell me what you mean by “making more than your salary”. What are the numbers looking like?

You can only trade on weekdays, but on an average day of active trading, I make up to ₦20k. On really good days, I make ₦50k.

How much did you make on an average month?

Right now, just my salary. I can’t trade using my office laptop – there are a lot of protocols and I can’t use my laptop at work either. 

So I’m going to try and hack this month – I just bought a tablet. Maybe I can trade at work. 

You said something about how The Big Four is important to your plans.  

Yes. I want to own a hedge fund so I can help institutions and wealthy individuals invest and manage their money. That’s the goal. 

But the investment industry in Nigeria is still in its early stage. I need international experience. The Big Fours are global financial companies. I see it as a stepping stone to go outside the country to get international experience. You know I’ll be dealing with people’s money. They need to trust me. So I need all the credibility I can get. 

Fair enough. What do your monthly expenses look like?

I’ve always used a 50-50 rule my mum taught me. I save 50% every month, it’s non-negotiable. 

I send money to some extended family members currently in Uni. My parents are comfortable. They don’t ask me, but I buy gifts every now and then.

What I really really track is my savings, everything else, I spend as I deem fit. 

Although, this month an investment opportunity popped up and I invested ₦200k already from my salary. I think I’ll refund myself from my mutual funds account. 

I’m going red already – I have about ₦40k left for the month.

My head is spinning. How many financial instruments are you simultaneously using to grow money?

Hahaha. I do Agric investments and mutual funds too. For the Agric investments, there are online platforms that allow you to buy farms for a certain return. 

Let’s map out all the places your investments are at.

₦700k in Agric ₦200k in mutual funds I recently wrote an exam of about ₦400k from my savings 

I recently paid for a major health bill of about ₦200k, I did a major shopping because of a new job of about 150k. And I bought a new laptop worth ₦210k. I wrote the CFA exam – it costs $1100. I even bought a special kind of calculator only allowed for the exam – it cost ₦25,000.

So, it’s safe these are all your investments in the past few months, including personal capital and wellbeing.

Yes, it is.

I’m curious about your health bill.

It wasn’t for me, my close aunt gave birth to triplets. She wasn’t financially good. we lost one of them though. 

How much do you imagine you’d be earning in 5 years?

I’ve never really thought about it, I don’t even worry about it. I just believe that when you do a good job, the money will come naturally. 

What’s something you want right now but can’t afford?

Maybe my dream house. On 4 plots of land. I don’t want anywhere remote. Huhuhu.

What’s something you honestly wish you could be better at?

Routine. Make me drink a cup of juice every day, and it will quickly bore me. I wish I could get comfortable in routine. 

What’s something you bought recently that significantly improved the quality of some aspect of your life?

I recently started investing in my work outfits, because of my new job. I used to be nonchalant about my dresses. I think it has improved my colleagues’ and bosses’ perception of me. I used to buy a gown for an average of ₦3k. Now I spend about ₦8k. 

Let’s rate your financial happiness, on a scale of 1-10.

I’d say 6. I’m quite comfortable, but I know there’s a long way to go. About forex, if I say I’ll make more than ₦100k this month, that won’t be realistic. Right now, there’s a lot of office work to be done.


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Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.