49 Views

Meet 23 Years Old CEO Cokard Creative Agency, Oluwafemi Coker

Twenty-three year old Oluwafemi Coker is the Chief Executive Officer of Cokard Creative Agency. He spoke with COMFORT OSEGHALE on how he transformed his talents into a productive venture

What does Cokard Creative Agency do?

Cokard is a creative agency that does communication design. Communication design comprises graphic designs, web designs and experiential advertising including social media adverts for small businesses. I have always been an art person. I draw and paint. Even in secondary school, I was the only science student who took Visual Arts in my school. I had to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the school in the event that the Visual Arts classes interfered with my studies; they wouldn’t take responsibility because it wasn’t part of my science subjects. I went so far as to take the subject at the level of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination and National Examinations Council. Unfortunately, I didn’t study Creative Arts for my first degree.

My plan was to study the subject at the University of Benin or Ife but I had already waited for a year at home. So, it then happened that I was admitted at the Redeemer’s University to study Tourism at a time when I had not been called up for post JAMB either by UNIBEN or OAU, Ife. I did not want to lose the chance although I knew Tourism was not my career path.

Even at that, I read up all the books I could find on creative arts. I started studying the works of industry giants in creative arts. As an undergraduate, I made money from arts, designing logos, handbills and flyers for departmental and students’ associations. I would use the extra money I made to augment my pocket money. That was how I coined the name of the company because my friends called the cards I designed Coker cards.

When you decided to take creative arts as a career, did you go for any training?

Yes I did. I read a lot from online tutorials, books and then I got mentors who were already established in the field of creative arts. I tried to master the craft and started doing jobs for people free of charge. That helped sharpen my skills and made me better at what I did. When the job I was doing became actually good enough, I started charging for it. The whole time I worked for people without charge lasted two year and a half years; it started from school. I had already got a followership from school through friends who knew I was into creative designs.

My career actually kicked off during my National Youth Service Corps. I started working with big brands. I met people and discovered that what I did was valuable. It was a profitable career.

After my NYSC, although I did a couple of jobs, I was determined to start my own company. I made the decision because I felt a lot of companies were too rigid. Things were often streamlined to a particular way and I couldn’t express myself creatively. I didn’t want that hindrance. Moreover, the kind of job that I did was not the type I could get gratuity for after retirement even though I was working for a company. That was when I decided there was no better time to start off than that moment.

When did you start your company?

That was in 2012, officially. But I had gone commercial before then. I had worked for people briefly. I worked for Jumia, Colonnades Hotel. Most of what I did was on contract or freelance basis. My parents were not really pleased with my decision when I first started off. They didn’t understand why I wanted to be self-employed so I tried to prove them wrong. When they saw how committed I was, they eventually came around. They had wanted me to take up paid employment. My mother runs her own business. I got the idea to be self-employed from her. She owns a school in addition to the business.

Some of my friends too didn’t understand it. They wondered why I made the decision because I was making decent money from paid employment. I was ready to leave the known for the unknown and find things out for myself and it has paid off so far. It is not all rosy but in the end it is worth it. Sometimes, it is good and other times bad. If I am working for someone, I know the job is 9am to 5pm. So, there is no way I would be called to work by 2am. But when you are self-employed, you might actually have a meeting by 2am. There were certain things that didn’t turn out the way I thought they would, things like being low on cash instead of expecting a monthly cheque.

I just felt that there was no job security in any paid employment. One day the employer might decide that he doesn’t need my services anymore or I get into an accident and that is it for me. So, I have to build a structure such that even if I am not there, I can still earn something. That is why I started my company.

Your company is three years old; what has been your experience?

It has been a mixture of good and bad. Everything keeps advancing so you have to keep in touch with what is happening in the industry. You have to keep in touch with the trend and even be ahead of it so you can predict it. One of my biggest challenges is my youthfulness. I even look younger than 23. So, trying to put people together who are older than you and giving them instructions is difficult. However, I have to stand my ground and make sure they understand this is why I want things done a certain way. At a point, I had to appoint someone as an operation manager to oversee the entire workforce. It is difficult striking a balance; I am friendly and try not to make everything all formal but at the same time, I try to assert my authority as a boss.

Is it difficult getting clients to believe in you and use your services?

Everyone at Cokard is a marketer but even if my employees do marketing, at some point, I have to talk to the client and convince them on why they should use our services. I am the last person in the chain of marketing. It isn’t so hard to get clients because I actually look for problems businesses are facing instead of just getting contracts. Then, I tell the organisations how we can help them tackle the challenges. It is about showing them a problem and giving them a solution.

I have had companies that were skeptical about giving me jobs. I understand it is because I am young but I try to convince them to give me even the smallest of projects like designing a power point slide. That way, it is probably nothing to them but it would go a long way in convincing them to retain my services.

How were you able to generate startup capital?

I did that from family and friends. It has been challenging meeting the everyday running costs but I try to be creative at it. Sometimes, I have to understand that it is not about the designs per say but the strategies I take that enable me to make money. I have to think smarter and learn to think ahead.

Do you think the government is doing enough to help youths to become self-employed?

I don’t think they are doing enough for youths who want to be self-employed in the sense that there is not enough access to loans and grants. There are lots of talented Nigerians out there but almost all of them want to take paid employment because they feel they would get a certain income. I don’t think there is job security in a place where you can be laid off the next day. Besides whatever you learn stays with you for life.

However I must commend the You-Win initiative because it is the only functional one trying to help youths. Even at that we need more of that. I have friends who know people that won grants from You-Win.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?

Pursue your ambition and don’t let anyone make you feel less than who you are. You don’t have to depend on anyone before you achieve your dreams. With your mobile phone, you can build an empire. You are the only person holding yourself back. So, learn and study more about your chosen career.

It is better to work for yourself even though it is not easy. You are investing in yourself and no one can take that away. You have to also be prepared because it is much tougher than paid employment. When you work for someone, you expect an income but when you are self-employed, you can’t just turn down any job because you have bills to pay. Besides, people are very hard to manage; yet, you can’t afford to watch and let your company fall. You have to be up and doing every time and motivate people even when you don’t feel motivated. You need a lot of hard work and dedication to succeed.

 

Source:punchng.com

 

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Posts

7 Things Entrepreneurs Can Do To Stay Motivated
Business
9 views
Business
9 views

7 Things Entrepreneurs Can Do To Stay Motivated

MT - October 19, 2017

Making the decision to become an entrepreneur is a fearless step from being an employee of a business to the leader of your own business. One of…

Reason Why The Statue Of Fela Kuti In Lagos Is Headless
Art, History and Culture
12 views
Art, History and Culture
12 views

Reason Why The Statue Of Fela Kuti In Lagos Is Headless

MT - October 19, 2017

Afrobeat legend, Fela Kuti continues to be a legend even 20 years after his demise. The 2017 edition of the festival was a special edition as it…

CNN Said Nigeria Has High Rate Of HIV Infection And Only Few Get Tested
Food and Health
11 views
Food and Health
11 views

CNN Said Nigeria Has High Rate Of HIV Infection And Only Few Get Tested

MT - October 19, 2017

S'exual health tests in Nigeria can be a harrowing ordeal. In addition to the anxiety of discovering their results, visitors to public clinics must face the stigma…

Woman Shares Story of Miraculous Delivery of Twins After Fibroid Diagnosis
Food and Health
33 views
Food and Health
33 views

Woman Shares Story of Miraculous Delivery of Twins After Fibroid Diagnosis

PH - October 19, 2017

A woman has shared on her Instagram, the story of a wonderful miracle, one of faith. She shared how the sonographer told her that she’s carrying fibroid…

See New Photos Of Billionaire Kidnapper, Evans As He Appears In Lagos Court for His Trial
Shocking
42 views
Shocking
42 views

See New Photos Of Billionaire Kidnapper, Evans As He Appears In Lagos Court for His Trial

MT - October 19, 2017

We earlier reported this morning that billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly called Evans, arrived at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja, Lagos, in hand-cuffs as the continuation of…

Operation Crocodile Smile II: How 20-Year-Old Man Was Allegedly Killed By Soldiers In Lekki
Shocking
37 views
Shocking
37 views

Operation Crocodile Smile II: How 20-Year-Old Man Was Allegedly Killed By Soldiers In Lekki

MT - October 19, 2017

A young apprentice, Sadiq Ismaila has reportedly been killed by soldiers on operation crocodile smile II in Lagos state. Nigerian Army personnel attached to Exercise Crocodile Smile…

Actress Bidemi Kosoko Refuses To Speak On The Allegation Of Adultery Leveled Against Her. Here’s why..
Entertainment
37 views
Entertainment
37 views

Actress Bidemi Kosoko Refuses To Speak On The Allegation Of Adultery Leveled Against Her. Here’s why..

MT - October 19, 2017

Nollywood actress Bidemi Kosoko, daughter of veteran actor, Jide Kosoko, has refused to speak on the allegation of adultery leveled against her. According to the woman identified…

Photo Of Five Star Chairman, E-Money Without His Face Cap For The First Time
Entertainment
46 views
Entertainment
46 views

Photo Of Five Star Chairman, E-Money Without His Face Cap For The First Time

MT - October 19, 2017

Five star chairman and Business mogul, Emeka Okonkwo aka E-money shared a photo of himself without face cap on for the first time in 5 years. The…

Checkout Beautiful Photos Of Twin Sisters Who Got Married On The Same Day In Nigeria
Inspiring
42 views
Inspiring
42 views

Checkout Beautiful Photos Of Twin Sisters Who Got Married On The Same Day In Nigeria

MT - October 19, 2017

It was a moment of joy on Saturday as crowd gathered to witness the traditional wedding ceremony between two beautiful twins in Nigeria on the same day. …

How Gani Adams Emerged Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland – Alaafin of Oyo
Art, History and Culture
49 views
Art, History and Culture
49 views

How Gani Adams Emerged Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland – Alaafin of Oyo

PH - October 19, 2017

The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, has stated that he chose the National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress, Gani Adams, as the new Are Ona…

3 Pimples Wrong Facts That Are Not True
Food and Health
52 views
Food and Health
52 views

3 Pimples Wrong Facts That Are Not True

MT - October 19, 2017

Pimples are just nasty. It’s a fact that we all have to live with at one point or the other in our life though some more than…

Gov. Fayose Explains Why Aare Ona Kakanfo Cap Fits Gani Adams
Art, History and Culture
44 views
Art, History and Culture
44 views

Gov. Fayose Explains Why Aare Ona Kakanfo Cap Fits Gani Adams

PH - October 19, 2017

The Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, says the title of the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, being conferred on the Leader of the Oodua Peoples Congress…

Meet Sijibomi Ogundele, Nigeria’s Youngest Billionaire At 33
Best of Nigeria
50 views
Best of Nigeria
50 views

Meet Sijibomi Ogundele, Nigeria’s Youngest Billionaire At 33

MT - October 19, 2017

Sijibomi Ogundele is the man to watch out for as far as the revolution of Nigeria’s prime real estate is concerned. Perhaps the nation’s youngest billionaire, Sijibomi…

Why I‘m Sure PDP Will Defeat APC In 2019 – Senator Adeleke
Politics
39 views
Politics
39 views

Why I‘m Sure PDP Will Defeat APC In 2019 – Senator Adeleke

PH - October 19, 2017

Senator Isiaka Adeleke has declared that the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, will return to power in 2019. He said he is convinced that the opposition party will…

APC Reveals How Its Presidential Candidate Will Emerge
Politics
35 views
Politics
35 views

APC Reveals How Its Presidential Candidate Will Emerge

PH - October 19, 2017

The ruling All Progressives Congress has said it will abide by its constitution to resolve the controversy over whether or not President Muhammadu Buhari will be given…

Photos Of President Buhari, Wife, Son And Daughter As They Arrive In Turkey For D-8 Summit
Politics
50 views
Politics
50 views

Photos Of President Buhari, Wife, Son And Daughter As They Arrive In Turkey For D-8 Summit

MT - October 19, 2017

President Muhammadu Buhari and his pretty wife, Aisha Buhari, have arrived Turkey after they touched down on Wednesday night at the Esenboyaa International Airport, Ankara, Turkey. https://twitter.com/NGRPresident/status/920705187328806912…

Expelled Redeemer’s University Actor, Debo Adedayo Spills More On His Expulsion – ‘VC was angry because we didn’t give him an award’
Shocking
80 views
Shocking
80 views

Expelled Redeemer’s University Actor, Debo Adedayo Spills More On His Expulsion – ‘VC was angry because we didn’t give him an award’

MT - October 18, 2017

A student of the Redeemer’s University, Debo Adedayo, talks about his post on Facebook that led to his expulsion by the varsity authorities with TOLUWANI ENIOLA. Tell…

Beautiful Photo Of Billionaire Oil Mogul, Mohammed Indimi And His Family
Richest
95 views
Richest
95 views

Beautiful Photo Of Billionaire Oil Mogul, Mohammed Indimi And His Family

MT - October 18, 2017

  The photo was taken during his 70th birthday getaway in Spain. Recall that the oil mogul is in-law to Nigeria's president whom one of his daughters,…

Loading...