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Start-Up Series: How Nigerian banker Udoka Uju resigned to start up a painting business.

Udoka Uju The Lady painter.

Udoka Uju, The Lady Painter.

Udoka Uju; The Lady Painter.

Udoka Uju in 2015 resigned from her banking job to form her own painting business, The Lady Painter. The Lady Painter has its head office in Lagos, Nigeria. Using creative and innovative style, they offer interior and exterior painting for residential and commercial spaces. With her team of professional Painters that have years of experience they provide unequalled painting services, from 3D Visuals to implementation of the paint design with emphasis on detail and quality.
On the C. Hub Magazine Start-up series, I caught up with The Lady painter. Stay with me.

How long have you been running this business?

I have been running The Lady Painter business since October 2015. I started doing it part-time while I still had my 9 to 5 job.


Why did you choose to start this particular business. What was your motivation?

I can’t say exactly that I choose this line of business, it actually choose me. Up until late 2015, I had never thought of being a Painter. I had only always been fascinated with beautiful homes and spaces. I used to wonder what it took create beautiful spaces and I used to imagined myself creating spaces like that. So one day I just started calling myself The Lady Painter and since then all I think of is how to create amazing spaces for people to live and work. What actually motivated me to go further with this business idea was the desire to find my own path in life and use it to inspire the lives around me.

What have you learnt so far?

I have learnt quite a lot. But two important things I have learnt in a short while of doing my business is that having the right team is important in growing your business and never to make a decision based solely on financial gain. Making money is a huge motivator in our lives, but you should never travel down a road just because there is a promise of financial gain. You need to have a real passion for your business and work hard.


What has been the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make with starting your business?

The hardest decision I have had to make was to leave a well-paying job to start a business that I didn’t have much knowledge about. I made that decision scared to my wits, with so much uncertainty around me. In the end I am glad I did it.

Where do you see you and the business in 5 years from now?

In the next 5 years I see The Lady Painter to be a household name and franchised in at least 10 states in Nigeria, business operation will be strong in these states. I also plan to have empowered at least 5,000 unemployed youths in Nigeria by organizing empowerment programs to train interested youths.

What is the most discouraging experience you’ve had with the business and how have you coped with it?

When I started off my business I did not realize the importance of having a signed agreement with every client. I found myself spending even my profit on jobs I had concluded. To stop that from happening further, I had to draw up a service request form, with my terms and conditions of service stated clearly which saved me from being liable for defects on walls that I have no control over. So now every client has to sign it before we proceed on any job.


What has been your biggest asset?

My biggest asset is how I empower my team. In a short time, they are able to deliver professionally on jobs without me being there. I do not hesitate to transfer the knowledge I had on creative designs and managing clients to them.


Any factors about Nigeria your country of residence that could have a major effect on the outcome of your business type?

In Nigeria, we have the mentality that living and working in a beautiful environment is luxury. My design concept is one that is not new in Nigeria, but it is something that we are still gradually accepting. At some point I was tempted to offer the usual paint service other Painters were offering, but I realized that if I did that I wouldn’t stand out and I probably would not be in the business for long. Thankfully, we are gradually appreciating this idea.

What would you tell young people struggling to find job or starting their own business?

I would give them the same advice I gave myself which motivated me to be who I am right now, I curled it from a bible verse and gave it a twist. It says, whatever makes you happy, whatever gives you satisfaction, if it will make you a better person, if it will make your neighbour (in this case your customer) happy and if it will earn you a decent income then by all means go out there and do it!

The Lady Painter as a banker.

Connect with The Lady Painter on www.theladypainterng.com

And the major social media platforms:

Twitter – @LadyPainterNG

Facebook – @TheLadyPainter

Instagram – @theladypainterng

LinkedIn – The Lady Painter

Faustina Anyanwu
Faustina Anyanwu
Faustina Anyanwu is a features writer focusing on people's stories, entrepreneurship, start-ups, social media marketing, and profiling. Follow her on Twitter - @fauntee Official Website: www.faunteebon.com Mantra: Real Women Think Legacy.

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