Interview With Entrepreneur & Angel Investor Rico Wyder

In today's interview I talk to Rico Wyder about the Mobile Industry, entrepreneurship, and the importance of learning different languages.

Rico heads up the global expansion efforts in the Asia Pacific region for Fiksu, the mobile app marketing experts. Rico's roots run deep in the mobile space as an entrepreneur and angel investor in mobile apps, m-commerce and mobile marketing ventures including Cassiber, Foodpanda, and tenCube (acquired by McAfee). Rico graduated from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and is based in Singapore.   To find out more about him, check him out on Twitter at @ricowyder

Don't forget to subscribe below

Become an Effective Cross-Cultural Communicator & Connector

Interview with Serial Entrepreneur and Businnessman Ben Allison

923381_4737461325602_538675546_n.jpg

Ben Allison: Hi Tayo thanks for choosing me to do this interview – it’s truly an honor.

Tayo Rockson: You are very welcome. I'm happy to do it! You and I obviously go way back but to those that don’t know you, can you tell us about yourself and your journey so far in life? So both your personal and business paths. Also, please discuss some of the obstacles you have had to overcome to get to where you are today.

BA: No problem but first of all, I want to thank you again for giving me the opportunity to share my experiences with you and I want to encourage people out there to subscribe to your blog. I truly believe they will learn and be encouraged by the different blog posts.

TR: Thank you very much Ben! You are far too kind.

BA: You are welcome! Well let’s start with the personal side of my life. I’m currently 24 years old and working on obtaining my MBA with a specialization in project management. I will finish the MBA program in December. I’m also currently studying for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and hoping to attend a law school starting the fall of 2014. Also, this past March I got engaged to love of my life, and we are set to get married in December.

I’ve been very fortunate to work with the companies I do. Currently, I juggle my time between six different companies while going through a rigorous MBA program. I am directly in charge of three small businesses that collectively do over 2 million dollars in sales every year. Each of these three businesses is located in three different states so having a good team surrounding me is crucial to each business’s success.

The other three companies I work with are much larger than the three above and our team is able to do some pretty amazing things together. My favorite company that I work for is called Wildfire Weekend. It is a men’s conference that brings faith, family, and the outdoors together. This conference truly encourages men to become "real men" and lead the family. Our goal in 2014 is to reach numerous cities across America with these conferences. In the past we have brought in keynote speakers such as Tim Tebow, Drew Brees, Willie and Jase Robertson from Duck Dynasty, Bishop TD Jakes, Max Lacado and more. This past year we have had an average attendance of nearly 10,000 men at each arena, which is truly remarkable. My job in all of this is work directly with the Keynote speakers and coordinate any conference need they may have. Needless to say, I have learned a lot from being around these successful men and the memories are things I will never forget.

As far as the biggest obstacle in my life thus far… It actually occurred to me when I was merely 12 years old. To make a long story short, I was involved in a sports accident that caused my vision to leave me. I woke up one morning with 20/20 vision and I woke up the next morning legally blind. For months I could not see, I had to be escorted around the middle school. I had to record all of the class lectures and take tests verbally. It made my life very difficult and the idea of not being able to see ever again became more real to me every minute that it lasted. However, I always had to keep faith in the fact that one day I would be able to see again. After a CAT scan that reported back negative for brain injury, the doctors recommended that I go to Duke for more testing. However, before I went, my dad contacted a highly regarded chiropractor and set up an appointment with him. Sure enough, there is an optical nerve in my neck that was compromised in the sports injury that was making it impossible for my eyes to focus. After a few weeks with the chiropractor my vision started to come back slowly but surely. After a few months I was able to see 20/20 again!

My faith and my family were the only things that got me through that period of not knowing if my sight would ever come back.  One of my favorite quotes in life is, “Walk by faith, not by sight.” I had to apply that quote to my life both literally and figuratively. When I truly could not see, I had to continue to keep faith that God had a big plan for my life and that no matter what I could impact this world. Now that I can see, I still face daily struggles with work and school, but I always remind myself to keep faith in myself and God’s purpose for me.

TR: Woah! That's incredible! I have known you for years now and I didn't even know that. That's definitely walking by faith! I appreciate you sharing that!

BA:  Thanks bro! I don't really talk about it much, but it definitely helped shaped me into the person I am today! I just hope the people who read this are encouraged from it!

 

TR: O I am sure they will be! So as you said earlier you have worked and work in several places, how did you go about determining the best places for you to work?

BA: For me, this question is easy to answer. I found work that I love or that I believed would benefit me down the road. One of my core values is that I need to learn something new everyday. Working with six different companies has really given me a lot of experience in many different fields. I always recommend finding a job that pays the bills, that you can learn from, and that you enjoy.

TR: Awesome, staying on the topic of work, why do you think a lot of people aren't happy where they work today?

BA: I think the idea of “self worth” or “purpose” has a lot to do with people’s satisfaction in the work place. There have been a couple of jobs that I have taken on in my past that I truly hated. I wasn’t able to learn much, it was a repetitive job, and I truly felt that a 13-year-old child could replace me if it wasn’t against the law. Those jobs didn’t make me feel good. I was always trying to find ways to get out of my day-to-day job in order to do something more purposeful with my time.  I would encourage anyone who can relate to my feelings to start their own small venture, or start looking for a job that they believe they would be happier doing.

TR: Can you discuss the importance of people building skills especially in today’s world?

BA: When I think of the word skills I think of separation. Skills are what will separate you from everyone else in the workplace.  You just can’t be skilled in one area to be very successful either. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, was heavily skilled in computer programming. However, that is not his only skill. Mark has had to gain skills in leadership, finance, personal relationships, investor funding, etc… If Mark was truly only skilled in programming then he would only be an employee of Facebook today and not the CEO. Therefore, I believe it’s very important to build your different skill sets. Naturally, there will be some skills that come easier to you, however, work on building those skills that don’t come easy and it will truly help separate you from everyone else.

TR: What is one piece of advice you can give to young entrepreneurs today?

BA: I know you asked for only one piece of advice but I have to give two. If you are going to start your own business and your goal is to build a company that will impact the world; you as the founder need to truly LOVE what your company does and you need to have good CHARACTER. If you aren’t passionate about what you do, your success will never be truly gratifying. It’s likely you will get burnt out and your vision for the company may dwindle. You have to love what you do so much that you wake up every morning excited to get to work and build your dream company. So my first piece of advice is build a company that you are passionate for, and that you truly love. My second piece of advice today is to be a man or woman of good character. I don’t do business with people I can’t trust. Period. If I can’t trust my employee I’m forced to fire that person. Therefore, as a person who is running a business, you need to strive to have a business reputation that is good and people are able to trust you. Money comes and goes – and we all love it when it comes – however, character is something that you can control and is something that everyone will remember you by.

                                                         **************** 

I hope you enjoyed this interview. Be sure to follow him on Twitter at @benjaminallison

Don't forget to subscribe below

Become an Effective Cross-Cultural Communicator & Connector

From Blogger to Entrepreneur-Tips From Bamidele Onibalusi

You guys are in for a treat today. I recently met a remarkable young entrepreneur by the name of Bamidele Onibalusi or Oni as he is affectionately called who has been able to use his talent for writing and turn that into his main source of income. Below is a transcript of our interview. Enjoy!

Tayo Rockson: So basically, I came across your profile when I was looking for young entrepreneurs who were interested in doing something positive and I wanted to share what you are doing with my audience. I hope you don't mind.

Bamidele Onibalusi: Ok cool no problem at all.

TR: Can you tell us a little bit more about your background because like you I'm a young Nigerian and I like connecting with like minded individuals?

BO: Ok. I'm from Ibadan in Nigeria, I live around Apata. Are you familiar with Ibadan?

TR: I went to high school in Ibadan! Lifeforte International High School and one of my grandmas lives there.

BO: Great. I've lived my entire life in Ibadan. I'm currently 19 - will be 20 this December - and I've been blogging since 16; it was also around then that I discovered the internet.

TR:  Gotcha! So what led you to want to become a blogger and can you describe how you got started?

BO I lost my dad when I was 7 and I believe I suffered to some extent while growing up; my mum had 6 of us and it was a little challenging to take care of us all. In other words, I like to believe I've seen the hard side of life... people suffering... and as a result made up my mind that I'll be rich and successful when I grow up, without having to rely on or work for others.

When I was 16, someone came to my church and talked about the potential of an online business and how one can quickly become rich by having an online business. The person was going to give a seminar on forex marketing but due to several factors I couldn't attend; however, since then, I've realized the power of the internet and decided to do something. I started researching ways to make money online, and failing at it, until I discovered blogging.

My initial intention was to make money but blogging quickly became my passion, even to the extent that I blogged for 8 months without making anything, but it eventually became profitable; landing me on Forbes's website, a feature in an Italian magazine, the Guardian, The Nations and Tribune here in Nigeria.

TR: That's really amazing and Impressive! What a true testament to the human character when one is determined!  I am so sorry to hear about your dad, that can't have been easy. 

BO: Thanks!


TR: You are vey welcome! This is a tough transition but how did you turn your blogging into a profitable business?

BO: Yeah, it wasn't planned; it was by accident. Since I wrote a lot of guest posts my blog started to become popular and I started getting requests to write for people even though I didn't advertise myself. That was how I decided to start offering my services as a freelance writer.

TR: Awesome! What advice can you offer anyone looking to start out blogging and ultimately becoming an entrepreneur?

BO: Belief in one's self and the tenacity; background and everything else does not matter if you set your heart to it.

TR: I couldn't agree with you more. So for someone looking to start out blogging what is first thing that one MUST do?

BO: The first thing is to know who your blog will serve; your ideal audience, as this will influence other decisions such as the name of your blog, your domain name etc.

TR: Good stuff. What else would you tell someone who wants to seriously get into blogging?

BO: It's all about the mindset. There are a series of steps one would have to take - like deciding on a topic, choosing a domain name, installing your blog, coming up with a content schedule, marketing your blog etc. - but the ultimate reality is that blogging won't initially be very rosy. One has to prepare for that, be ready to give it his/her all, before one actually gets started blogging.

TR: I can definitely attest to that. One thing I have found out is that discipline is a must. You have to decide how regularly you want to post blogs and then remain committed to that no matter what. What do you think?

BO: Exactly, discipline is important not only when starting, but to get results and to be able to sustain the business long term; it could be based on blogging but, ultimately, it's a business if one is doing it right.

TR: Definitely! We've talked about how you monetize your blog by offering your services. Are there any other things you are thinking of doing to monetize your blog?

BO: Yes, I'm working on my first premium ebook right now; it teaches people how to start a blog and then build a successful freelance writing business off it. I've finished writing it and plan to spend the next week or so revising it, before sending it to my editor to put the finishing touches on it. It'll be launching next month and will also be the first product I've launched since I've been blogging for the past 3 years; I believe this will result in a shift from being a mostly service-based business to being a mostly product-based business.

TR: That's great I really think you have a lot to offer so sharing your knowledge will definitely benefit a lot of people. I know I will be buying your ebook when it comes out.

BO: Thanks bro! :)

TR: Anytime! What about traffic? We haven't talked about that, how can one get traffic to their blog?

BO: Sure, while there are several ways, my favorite way is guest blogging; I use it in 3 ways 1) to directly get traffic 2) to improve my search engine rankings 3) to build my list

Eventually, everything revolves around building my list since I can always direct people who are my subscribers to my blog and my product whenever there's a need for it.

So, my main strategy is to guest blog for traffic and backlinks while I then funnel this traffic into building email subscribers for my list; I can then get in touch with my subscribers whenever I want and generate even more traffic.

TR: Wow that's really creative I like it! How can my audience find you or get in touch with you?

BO: I can be found mainly via my blog at http://www.writersincharge.com - I'll also encourage your audience to subscribe to my newsletter using any of the forms on the main page so I can get in touch with more information and actionable tips in the future. In return, they'll also get a free ebook.

TR: Ok Great! I will definitely do that also!

BO: Awesome. Thanks a lot :)

You can also follow him on Twitter. Here's his handle @youngprepro.


Become an Effective Cross-Cultural Communicator & Connector