Mofolusade Sonaike is the eclectic and visionary founder/creative director of Mumpreneur, a community of “kickass mums” united to “support each other, share learnings and develop a network of peers.”
Mofolusade who holds a Chemical Engineering degree from University of Lagos (UNILAG), is also a personal branding expert, the CEO of Trezorlandia Limited and the co-founder of ‘Branded.ng‘.
In this interview, she opens up on the role personal branding plays in business, her passion for helping mothers grow their personal brand, her online course, amongst other issues.
What role does personal branding play in business?
People do business with people at the end of the day and so the perception people have of the business owner goes a long way in affecting how people interact with the business.
Business owners can no longer afford to hide in the background, especially in this era where people have so much access to information; they must take ownership of their narratives and connect with their target audience.
Why did you decide to focus on personal branding as a niche?
I decided to focus on personal branding because on my entrepreneurship journey, I have seen how being deliberate about my personal brand impacted my life and business. I am someone who is never afraid to share; I have grown a community of people who believe in what I do simply by being true to myself and connecting with my audience and this has opened doors for me.
Working with mothers over the years also made it clear to me that many more people need help with being deliberate about our personal brands and also need help with overcoming the fear of projecting themselves, I decided to take on this challenge, targeting mothers.
Are most businesses owned by women branded?
If we look at it in the sense of a business logo and a business name, I would say yes. However, branding goes way beyond that. It is a whole end to end experience and the business owner is the key driver of this.
What inspired your online course?
I have worked with mothers to launch their businesses online since 2015. The focus was mainly on the exterior work, but we always had to work on the brand owner’s mindset as well. In 2020 however, I developed a training module to train 5,000 women on how to brand their small businesses for an NGO.
By the end of the program, I had so much clarity on branding and how important it is that I decided to refine the module and delve deeper into personal branding targeting mothers.
Mothers because, I encountered so many mothers on the training program who had lost all confidence and found it hard to introduce themselves with pride. They would get up and say “My name is so and so and I’m not doing anything for now!” Meanwhile, being a stay-at-home mum alone is such a big job that I was so elated to learn that Linkedin recently added stay-at-home-mum as a job title on their platform.
How has your work experience shaped you into who you are today?
My first job was with an IT company and I had a boss who was not gender biased. He assigned tasks to me and made me believe I could do them, even if I had to run around and research to find solutions. This experience I would say, set the foundation for my openness to embrace technology and curiosity to keep learning and trying new things.
I moved on to the IT department of a bank right after and my mind continued to expand with the challenges I faced during the banking consolidation era. My next role after my MBA as a business analyst with the richest man in Africa in his cement manufacturing company exposed me to managing a big vision, building teams and processes as well as executing projects.
Every single experience I have had, has contributed immensely to who I am and where I am today. When I exited the corporate stage in 2010 and started a business from scratch, I also learnt a lot of invaluable lessons trying to navigate the business space.
What are the steps to building a strong personal brand?
This will require a master class. But one thing I will say is the first step is to envision your best self and be that person. Then you must identify your audience (your people) and connect with them genuinely.
Essentially a strong personal brand is about identifying your best possible self and projecting it to your audience. It is also very important to note that not everybody is your target audience, your message is for a specific set of people. Know this and know peace.
As a nation how can Nigeria’s national brand become more relevant and valuable?
As a nation, we need a Nigerian Dream, something we can all aspire to as one people. Until we unite and accept that even though we are not where we want to be yet, we will face our demons and collectively work towards a better nation, it will be near impossible to project a valuable national brand.We cannot fix what we don’t love.