Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The challenges of being self-employed in Nigeria

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Adetunji Matthew
Adetunji Matthew
I’m Adetunji Matthew, an Economist, Social Media Manager, software Developer/Marketer Sales Consultant, and Ecompreneur. I’m popularly known as “Matt” As an artist and designer, I aim to create something brilliant daily. Eager to learn more, I use my free time to get better at w hat interests me, whether it's researching, teaching, or even something entirely new.
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Due to the severe and crippling unemployment rate in Nigeria, self-employment has already become widespread, and it seems like it is here to stay at this point. 

Working for oneself rather than always working for an employer is known as self-employment. A self-employed individual follows their passions and makes money from the goods or services they provide. 

In Nigeria, self-employment often takes the form of becoming a freelancer or starting your own business. Being your boss has several advantages. You have the freedom to work and travel, and you may launch your firm with minimal money, particularly if your primary interests are online. However, self-employment is not only sunshine and rainbows, there are a lot of obstacles facing self-employment in Nigeria. 

In this article, I will outline the challenges self-employed people face in Nigeria and how to overcome them. 

1. Loneliness

In Nigeria, taking a chance on self-employment may cause you social isolation and loneliness from your friends. This isn’t entirely their fault since there wouldn’t be as many after-work social events or get-togethers with coworkers if you were self-employed. Making new acquaintances would also be challenging since you will be working alone all the time.

After a time, loneliness is inevitable, but that’s normal. Instead, it should motivate you to put even more effort into your new endeavour since you will be glad that you persisted in this later on.

If you want to avoid loneliness while being self-employed, you must set aside time for socializing. Reach out to friends and family and invite them to hang out. If possible, try not to live on your own, share your apartment with a close friend or live close by. 

Also Read: 10 Best languages to learn for your career growth

2. Poor financial Security

Losing your monthly salary is one of the major obstacles to launching a small business in Nigeria. 

To address this issue, make sure you have sufficient money before making the change or leaving your current position.

Starting a side business and managing it alongside your day job for a while before leaving the latter is another possibility. In this manner, before you even begin, you will be saving money for those first months of working for yourself and gaining the necessary clients and expertise. 

3. Multitasking 

Being a jack of all trades will do more harm than good to you. You might think that taking on a wide variety of customers will increase your chances of making money but it will not. Focusing your attention on a small group of customers and catering to their needs will help you build a loyal customer base that will keep coming for more.

For instance, if you’re into the clothes business, you shouldn’t try to sell the kind of clothing so you will have more customers but try to niche down. If you feel more in your element selling underwear or female wear then focus on that. 

Multitasking also comes in the form of doing too much on your own. From the beginning of your self-employed career, you will undoubtedly need to wear several hats as a new business owner.

You would have a ton of tasks to do, all of which needed to be done correctly. You have to learn new skills to keep up with your new responsibilities. This can lead to burnout quickly if you don’t learn to take it easy on yourself. 

Also: 10 skills that will be most in demand in the future

4. Time management issues

Lack of time management is fatal for self-employment in Nigeria. Since time is money when working for yourself, how you use it will determine whether you succeed or fail. 

Mastering time management will keep you in control of your activities and greatly increase your productivity and earning potential. Inefficient time management leads to rapid overload, clientele loss, and financial losses. 

Two easy time management tips are to schedule your day and establish your work hours. These will help you maintain concentration while working and stop you from working too much. Tell your family and friends while you’re at the workplace so they won’t disturb you, and don’t answer social media while working. It is important to stick to your work schedule to cultivate the habit of self-discipline. 

5. Difficulty separating personal life from professional life

There is a great pleasure that comes with leaving work in the workplace and coming home to relax. You lose that when you become self-employed. 

Self-employed individuals often blur the lines between work and pleasure. They tend to either be too relaxed or overwork themselves. This is especially true for those who work from the comfort of their homes. It’s easy to get distracted from your work when you’re working at home.

There may be a chore that needs your attention or a friend that wants to hang out. Likewise, others may overwork themselves to make more money. 

To avoid this, it is best to have a designated office outside of your home, so you can focus all your attention on work when you’re there. Or you could put aside a space in your home that is specifically for work. Whenever you’re there, no more play, and when you leave there, no more work. Let family and friends know when you’re free to chat and when you’re not.  

Also Read: 10 Companies that hire students in Nigeria

6. Undermining your abilities 

Many of us are hidden gems but we don’t know it yet. You could be so talented and amazing but if you do not know that or are not able to portray your worth to others, then you end up selling yourself short.

Undermining the value of your talents and ideas is a huge hurdle to self-employment in Nigeria. Believe in the value you provide and in yourself. Don’t give out discounts that aren’t justified. It’s an unwinnable race to the bottom.

The key to battling this problem is knowing the value of your talents and skills. Do not undermine your abilities, however, you should avoid exaggerating them either. If you feel like you fall short, then maybe you should invest in some professional development. 

7. Giving up too early 

The first months of owning a business venture are always the most challenging. Having a steady stream of customers will not be given to you on a platter as soon as you start, you must work quite hard for it.

Sometimes, it might seem that your hard work isn’t paying off in the sense that you’re not getting as many clients as you’d like and not making as much money as you want. 

Identifying your target market or your consumers is really difficult, and you won’t be in business for very long if you can’t identify enough of them. You still need to comprehend the workings of the market and persevere.

If potential customers are unaware of you, they won’t approach you, thus your business’s foundation must be built on marketing and sales. Whether it’s via in-person networking, social media marketing, or any other method, get the word out about your goods and services and don’t stop until people start to notice and come in.

Also Read: 10 Reasons you are poor


In the end, working for yourself in Nigeria has its benefits, such as the prestige of being your boss, but it also has drawbacks. Being conscious of them will strengthen your mind and enable you to rapidly adjust to your business objectives. And the more successful you are as an independent contractor, the faster you learn to adapt and become tough.

Although there isn’t a single solution to these problems, you can lessen their effects on your company. It doesn’t take a soothsayer to understand that self-employed individuals assume more risks than traditional Nigerian workers. Every arrangement has advantages and disadvantages of its own, so if you decide to pursue self-employment in Nigeria, you should be informed of the main obstacles in your way so that you may overcome them more skillfully.


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