Teso Uwaibi is a Nigerian-British blogger, writer and author of, “Her Rantings: a 21st century woman’s voyage of enlightenment”. She is also one of the contributing writers for the highly acclaimed book, “This is us: Black, British Women and Girls ”- a literary anthology of over 100 stories.
She has a BA (Hons) in Politics and an MSc in International Business and Politics from a Russell Group University.
Born in Nigeria, Teso moved to London with her family at the early age of 7. At the age of 21, she travelled back to Lagos on holiday, and has been back and forth between England and Nigeria ever since. Travelling and exploring different cultures are her favourite things to do and she draws inspiration for her writing from these and everyday life.
Teso has a unique and uncensored writing style that shines through in her first book about self-discovery and enlightenment. She coined the saying ‘Because knowledge of self is Nirvana’ and is a firm believer in attaining knowledge of self in order to unearth and ascend to our higher selves. After successfully self-publishing “Her Rantings”, she now runs her own publishing and consulting company, TU Publishing and Consulting. Which allows authors to keep 100% of their royalties whilst demystifying the publishing process and help bring their book visions to life.
Where did the idea for TU Publishing and Consulting come from?
I had actually just finished the Deepak Chopra Abundance Challenge and I was thinking of ways that I could utilise my current skills to create a business that would not only bring me profit, but also add value to its service users. The challenge helped me go within and see clearly. I figured, I’d singlehandedly self-published my book having no prior knowledge. In the past two years, I’ve written, blogged, spoken, published, and gained sponsorships. I basically learnt a lot along the way, so I thought, why not utilise that same knowledge and help others publish their books successfully too? And that is how the idea was born. I started thinking of the challenges I faced whilst publishing and how I could offer a service that eliminates them. It was very important for me to not take any royalties either. I had a horrible experience with royalties and printing on demand with Amazon. Even though I was self-published, I was still relinquishing a lot of my royalties- it annoyed me to no end. I felt like the profits from my hard work were ending up in someone else’s pockets, and I truly believe that it didn’t need to be that way. So when I created TU Publishing, I did it with the independent writer in mind. I didn’t want to take royalties—why should I? It is 100% their creative work. A one-time fee is more than enough to cover services and still be profitable. I also streamlined the publishing process to have the final draft print ready in just 60 days.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up in the morning, make my bed (I work from home, so this ensures that I will not be sneaking back into bed), go for a run or do an indoor workout, shower, get dressed, check emails and start my workday. I think it’s important for me to make sure I have exercised and made my bed each day—it sets the tone of my day, and I usually feel more productive. TU Publishing and Consulting is a new business and I’m learning to accept that on some days there really won’t be too much to do but network and try to build my contacts and connections on digital platforms, and I am fine with that. It was hard to accept initially because we tend to feel like we should be doing a million things a day to be productive. I believe the most productive thing we can do is take time to really nourish our mind, body, and soul. There is no lack when you do that. You will always be productive. I start my week on Sunday, by making a list of at least 7 things I want to get done in the week. And then, I make my way through the list during the week until they are all ticked off. One thing a day is fine, we sometimes put too much pressure on ourselves to fly and do so much in one day when it really isn’t always possible or the most effective. Steady, consistent moves are better than burning yourself out.
How do you bring ideas to life?
If I have an idea, I like to say okay, what’s stopping me from doing this right now? I make a list and then work through it until I’ve found a solution for each point. Once you have this on paper, you’re able to see clearly, and you often find that you’ve overestimated the difficulty of bringing the ideas to life, or you are able to see ways of bringing it to life. I am very solution-based, I believe there’s always a way, always an alternative. I was on the phone with my best friend, and I said to her, “I’ve decided to start my own publishing company and I won’t charge royalties.” She said. “Great.” I said, “So what’s stopping me from actually starting and taking clients now?” We made a list and saw that there wasn’t too much stopping me, and it was achievable. So I worked through the list and within two months TU Publishing and Consulting was up and ready for business.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Individuality. I believe more people are embracing out of the box creative ideas and aren’t scared to really step out and try different things. That is amazing for me to see. Our uniqueness is our secret weapon. There is only one you, no one else will ever be you, that is your superpower.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I have learnt to network horizontally. A lot of people tend to look to network “up”, when really if you just look around you, you have a vast array of resources surrounding you- tap in. The people around you are the next movers and shakers; they are the next decision makers. They are building like you are, they understand the struggle, therefore they are almost always willing to work with you in any way they can
What advice would you give your younger self?
Your strengths are found in your everyday life and abilities, so don’t feel overwhelmed. Just hone them. Your ability to negotiate with your siblings and get the best deal with the sweets? That’s a good skill, you need that in business. The degrees don’t teach you that. Also do not be scared of rejection, it is not a reflection of your worth. For every 20 nos, you get a yes, and those yes’s hold so much more weight.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Manifestation is a result of your efforts. A lot of people speak about creating and manifesting. I believe that manifestation is really just having an idea and then putting your foot forward towards that idea. For example, the idea of TUPC manifested because I made the first step to actively create it. Those steps support the manifestation. I didn’t just let the idea sit in my head, creating obstacles as to why it would be too hard to set up. The universe is always waiting for you to put that first foot forward so it can support you and equip you with all that you need to flourish.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Do not under-estimate the power of using platforms like LinkedIn to build connections. You get to connect and network with some amazing individuals that you normally would not have access to quite so easily. I’m on LinkedIn daily, connecting and expanding my network, speaking to other people within my field, and bringing awareness to myself and my business.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I enlisted the help of a digital marketing executive to create a digital marketing strategy for the business. This helped me adopt a technique that was more tailored and effective to the business than haphazardly posting on various social platforms. So far, it has helped TUPC gain more awareness and visibility, which generated more enquiries and leads.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I know this sounds cliché, but I do not see anything as a failure. If I have to say something, I will say a defeatist mindset is the only failure you can truly have in business. A defeatist mindset is not having confidence in your abilities and constantly seeing obstacles instead of opportunities. To overcome it, it’s important to adopt a winning mindset, which is what I did. When I say a winning mindset, I mean solution-based. I adopted that in all areas of my life- I can honestly say I do not see anything as a failure, everything provides growth and insight and a way to improve. I believe you must first start in order to get better and grow. And what some call failures, I do not, as I don’t see them as failures. I see them as growth. All the huge successful businesses we see now, started off as a small idea in someone’s mind. They had to go through years of service, trials, errors, learning, and growth to get to where they are today. They didn’t give up at the first hurdle; instead, they manoeuvred around it. The same will happen for you, just be consistent and DO NOT GIVE UP. As I like to say, Africa was not built in a day.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One thing I have realised is that our lives are in itself a “business idea” if you will. Our stories, what we have been through, what we have overcome, and our learnings are all profitable. Our job is to overcome these issues and then spread the word to others in various forms, be it books, courses, webinars, speaking, etc. YOUR story is always going to inspire others, and that is where your treasure lies. Use your story to help others.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I spent $100 on PR for the company. It is important to utilise avenues and platforms to increase awareness of your brand. You don’t need to spend a fortune, especially if you are an SME.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Notion is a great all-in-one workspace. It allows the team and me to organise, collaborate, and communicate effectively virtually. This is especially useful for a company like mine that is virtually based.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Her Rantings: a 21st century woman’s voyage of enlightenment. Lol, yes, it is my book, but it is raw, provocative, inspiring, and uplifting. It details my thoughts, musings, and ideas on all things life from, race, to love and friendship. You are bound to take something away from it.
What is your favorite quote?
“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” ~Audre Lorde (American writer and poet)
• A solution-based mindset is imperative. Always look for a solution, obstacles can always be worked around.
• There is no such thing as failure, every experience grows us, take the lesson and improve.
• Network Horizontally.
• Make sure you look after your mind body and soul. That is the most productive thing you can do.