In times past, the programming code that was wired into our brains in terms of career path was to go to school, pick a career, work for a company or two, retire at 60 or 65, receive your pension, and enjoy the remainder of your years.
Today, this programming code is being re-written at a time when pursuing one’s passion has become the dawn of the day and entrepreneurship reigning with brute force.
But turning one’s passion into a viable and successful business is no easy feat. While some remain in their cubicle daydreaming of escaping the corporate bars others take the plunge to pursue that passion and turn it into a successful business.
Nana Yaa, CEO of MEDOBA is one of such individuals who turned their passion into a viable and successful business venture.
Nana Yaa’s background
Nana Yaa is a Chartered Banker whose professional journey spans 12 years in the male dominated Global Markets space. She has always had passion for fashion. In 2019, the confidence to close the banking chapter translated into the formal birthing of ‘Medoba’.
She is currently the CEO of Medoba Enterprise, a fashion label that partners with local organizations to support corporate social responsibility projects in addition to producing of school uniforms.
Nana Yaa is a 2019 alumnus of the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs. She has participated in other Entrepreneurial and Leadership training such as the Ghana Women Entrepreneurship Summit and the Young Female Business Support Initiative.
Nana Yaa holds a Bsc in Business Administration from the University of Ghana, an MSc in Applied Finance from the University of Ulster (UK). She also holds an ACI Dealing certification from the Financial Markets Association.
She is married and mother to two boys.
Her Passion and Business
Nana Yaa Boateng, creator of Medoba brand calls herself a fourth-generation fashion designer. She always had a passion for fashion. Her mother, grandmother and great grandmother were fashion designers themselves. Always surrounded by needles, fabrics, twines, sewing machines among other fashion tools, Nana Yaa’s flaming passion kept on billowing.
At a tender age, she would sew clothes for her dolls and other miniature figurines. She, however, found her way into the banking industry as a career path and worked for seven years in Ghana’s banking sector. During her time working at the bank, her flaming passion remained unquenched.
In an interview with Ghana Talks Business, Nana Yaa explained how she would enter the banking premises in her fashionable clothing to the admiration and acknowledgement of her co-workers. Some would even ask her to sew similar or same fashion style outfits for them. This would begin her passion turned business.
Based on Nana Yaa’s successful transfer from passion to business, here are some helpful tips to turn your passion into a business.
Keep your day job
If you have a day job, hold on to it while embarking on your passion on the side. You may be placing yourself in a vulnerable position if you should quit your job to pursue your passion. Take the time to study the market, gain experience and knowledge and see if your passion is gaining grounds.
In our (Ghana Talks Business) interview with Nana Yaa, she noted how she began her fashion business while working at the bank. Though it was cumbersome, she continued to pursue her fashion business on the side and after a while quit her job as her passion had now begun to witness growth and profitability.
“I started the business side-by-side, it was challenging because I had to combine working and doing this (fashion) business. It got to a time, the business began to grow and I needed to pay more attention to it because that was my new baby,” Nana Yaa said.
Determine your niche
More often than not, your passion may belong to a broader market that needs to be skewed or refocused to target underserved or unmet needs as well as differentiate you from the many competitors in the industry you have a passion for. Defining your niche market helps you win over new audiences or consumers.
Nana Yaa defined her niche in the fashion industry which has contributed to the successful transitioning of passion to business. Being a mother of two, Nana Yaa noticed how her body went through several changes and how other pregnant women went through similar body changes even after pregnancy. This sparked her to develop a fashion brand to suit the body types of women during and after pregnancy.
“That’s what inspired my fashion brand for women. So, it is for the pregnant woman and the woman beyond pregnancy. She likes to know where she fits and she knows the type of clothing to fit in,” Nana Yaa said.
Nana Yaa also carved for herself, a niche in making children’s clothing because she realized that “children love colours and our African fabric has so many beautiful colours.”
There’s nothing wrong with seeking support when the need arises. There are several Government institutions and non-governmental organizations that offer various support programmes and initiatives for start-ups. Whether it is in the area of business plan development, manufacturing assistance, financial lending assistance, procurement and contracting aid, market research assistance there are a number of institutions in the country you can obtain assistance.
“I realized Ghana got to a point when they started this drive of helping young people through the NBSSI and other initiatives and I realized that Knowledge is indeed power. Seeking knowledge in marketing, finance and other related subject matter in pursuing a business venture can be of great benefit in turning your passion into a business.
Acquire Knowledge for Growing your Business
Having an understanding of marketing will help you develop the right marketing strategies in promoting your business to attain potential customers. Also, knowledge in finance will help you manage your startup finances to not mismanage revenues and sales.
“A proper fusion of book, and knowledge of the finance world which is the growth aspect of your business coming into fusion with your technical expertise in fashion, will not just create a fashion designer but someone who can really grow well. They make wealth, they grow wealth, they give back to society and it becomes a cycle,” Nana Yaa said in her interview with Ghana Talks Business.