940843_10200554604201457_1583580305_nMy name is Akachi Nwoke and I am a makeup artist. Last year, I applied to the AWP Network photography contest and I am glad I did. Although I came in third place, the competition helped me realize that I was not yet ready to start my business.  You may read more about my story here.

I was a university graduate and had been jobless for several years. This circumstance left me helpless but somehow I found the strength to start my business, it was a total transformation. I went from being jobless and feeling helpless, to starting a business and becoming a source of inspiration and financial support to my family.

Yes, I started a business but with the mentoring, coaching, and support from the AWP Network, I realized that I needed more professional training and experience in my field.  The mentoring, coaching, and support provided by the AWP Network also helped me to realize that I needed to surround and align myself with those who are more successful in my field and there’s no other place to start than to work at the House of Tara.

I currently work as a sales assistant at the House of Tara and the company operates like a bank. There, I am learning about the various aspects of running a business. I have learned about bookkeeping, sales strategies, marketing, operations, HR (how to hire, who to hire), and I have also been able to hone in on my customer service skills. More importantly, I am learning about branding and the necessary skills required to become an entrepreneur. For example, I have learned that bookkeeping is an important aspect of running a business. Taking account of your finances and implementing an effective sales strategy is something that should never be joked with. I have learned a little bit about auditing and internal control, as well as the importance of the personnel who oversees operations. There was so much that I did not know about the process of running and operating a successful business.

How has the AWP Network helped me? The coaching, mentoring, and support helped me to understand that  (1) running a business requires certain skills, (2) that it is important to acquire these skills if I plan to operate a successful and sustainable business and lastly, (3) running a business is fun but it is also no easy task.

After the photo contest, I relocated to Enugu and I intend to push the House of Tara brand like it’s my own. As a sales assistant, I plan to make the kind of profit that I would like my future employees to make for my own company and after all is said and done, when it is time to leave, it will be fondly said of me, “Akachi Nwoke was here.”

As you can see, I am learning so much at my current place of employment and I believe that there is so much more to learn. As a makeup artist at the House of Tara International, Enugu branch, I intend to learn all the skills needed to relaunch my business.  I hope that the AWP Network will continue to support my efforts.

The cash prize I won has helped me immensely. I used the funds to purchase more makeup supplies and beauty products.  In addition to working as a makeup artist, I also sell House of Tara cosmetics and included the L.A. Colors cosmetics line to my supplies. After the contest, I felt that more was expected of me, so I continue to remain focused and will work hard towards my goals.

My advice to young Africans is to start a business, keep trying, and keep going.

I cannot thank you enough for following through and keeping in touch. Also, thank you for the wakeup call, mentoring, coaching and support.

Akachi Nwoke  

Sales Assistant, House of Tara International

Owner, Visages Parfait Beauty Place

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