In 2009, I was invited to speak at a church in Surulere, Lagos. I had just N10 in my pocket, so I trekked from Ajegunle to the venue of the event. I was thinking I would be given an honorarium, but all my host thought I deserved was a bottled water and handshake. I trekked back home under our hot-as-desert-soil-sun.
In 2010, one of the speakers Abstinence Icon invited for her first Impact Summit asked that we handle his travel logistics. My fellowship had promised to give me the fellowship bus, but on the morning of the event, the pastor and driver refused to pick their calls. Looking for a taxi was our only option. My brother, John Anene, got a taxi man that charged N10,000. Getting that N10,000 was a miracle. So after the event, when the driver insisted that we add an extra N2,000 to the agreed price because we spent more hours than we told him we would, we pleaded but he refused. There was no where I could get N2,000 – none of my team members could produce it. All our money put together was not even up to N800. So, after waiting for 30 minutes with no solution in sight, the speaker asked the taxi man to drive off. I don’t think I’ve ever been that humiliated all my life.
Nonetheless, I learnt a lesson that day: A dream without finance may become a nightmare. So I told myself the truth: I needed a job.
I dusted my computer engineering tools and resumed my engineering job, I took my volunteering job at Employment Clinic seriously. I vowed not to experience that humiliation again.
In 2011, I was invited to speak at Covenant University and was introduced as Apostle of Sexology. As I was about to leave, a guy approached me and introduced himself as Bishop of Sexuality. I smiled, shook his hand and in my humourous way, attempted to prostrate for him. He praised and told me how he has been following my work on Facebook. He also told me he has a passion similar to mine and a few things he had done.
After talking for a while, he asked: “How do you make money?”
“I don’t make money,” I began, “I live on people’s generosity.” He was obviously not satisfied with my answer, so I shared with him a few lessons I’ve learnt on the job and things that have helped me.
I saw him share tips a few times on Facebook after that. About 7 months later, his name popped up on my timeline and I initiated a chat:
“Bishop, it’s been a while ooooo!”
“Apostle, I have left this speaking thing. It is not working for me. I got a job in a bank.”
I was happy for him. He did the right thing by looking for a job that would at least, put food on his table.
Dear young speaker and life coach, forget all those exciting speeches you hear in seminars. Majority of us were lied to by those we looked up to. They told us we could do it without showing us how. They made us feel they built their empires by honouring 365 speaking engagements in a year, whereas they have consulting jobs, coaching jobs, trainings and some other investments not related to speaking at all.
In Warri, while discussing with my brother, Godstime Eluma, he was happily telling me how he wanted to meet with this this and that whenever he comes to Lagos. He told me how that person made millions of naira and how the other made thousands of dollars and how popular they are.
“Hey bro! Stop that,” I said to him. Social media is not real life. I know these people you are mentioning and you have been fed with lies. They turn you on, but like a man with low sperm count, they can’t get you pregnant. I shared with him how one of the names he mentioned stood on the podium of one of the biggest churches in Lagos, brought a photographer to snap him as if he was speaking to an audience and flooded social media with the picture and captioned it with “Had a great time speaking at ‘this that this’.”
I also told him about another who on her flyer writes N30,000, N50,000 for training yet pings people behind to pay just N2,000 if they can’t afford the amount on her flyer. Yet, this is not known to my brother. He believed all the lies and was willing to drop all his life savings to be under their tutelage.
Sure, there are genuine ones, but the lying ones have taken over social media. The truth is that they don’t make the money they lie about.
My mentor would always say to me, “Matthew, speaking is not all that I do. I consult, coach and have investment in other places.”
“Hope you are making money? Don’t travel all over and be poor,” he would conclude with.
I know many of his other businesses, he didn’t hide them from me. But many of the motivational speakers and coaches we run after lie to us as though speaking for 30 minutes is all that brought the millions.
Friends, there’s more to the millions than speaking.
To be continued…
© Matthew ‘Femi-Adedoyin
Matthew ‘Femi-Adedoyin is the Principal Partner at Abstinence Icon and Visionary of Maximum Impact Network.