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From Unknown Security Guard to Sought-after CEO: Fola of PholarStudios, CREPTS Set To Empower Authors

Having to fend for oneself as a young adult and especially working to get an education can be life changing and stressful. Fola Folagbade is one Nigerian man who was resilient to eke out a life in spite of challenges. He shares how he worked as a security guard, earning very meagre income to hopping trucks but today runs two of Africa's most innovative startup companies from Lagos, Nigeria. He more so has a bumper offer for Authors in 2019, so jump right into reading this interview he had with me. This man spells RESPONSIBILITY, but I would await what you think after reading.

Jenny Chisom: First of all, introductions please?

Fola: My name is Fola Folagbade popularly known as Cherished Pholar, I’m the creative director and founder of Pholar Studios, a digital agency and publishing firm located in Lagos, Nigeria. 

At Pholar Studios, I lead a team of creatives. We create and manage visual designs for our client’s businesses and this includes websites, branding, marketing materials, design strategy, interactive design, print and production amongst others.

Jenny Chisom: How was growing up and what are some of the remarkable things about it you can remember?

Fola: I was born in Akure, Ondo State where I spent most of my childhood but I determined to make something good out of life. 

I did all sort of jobs while in the university from being a security man at banks to following trucks from Lagos to different parts of Nigeria while working with a logistics company. Though a lot of people don’t know this part of my story. I usually shuffle between my job as a security and class. The bank is located at Balogun Market (Trade Fair), so I usually resume for night. After work, I get ready for school and I was blessed to have colleagues that understood and assisted by allowing me to stay on night duty during sessions until we have breaks in school. 

After working there for about two years, we were all sacked! The bank stopped the contract of the security company I was working with and so we resumed on Monday only to meet a new set of security men at the gate. It was a crazy day, we never saw it coming. 

After few months of job hunting, I got another job. I stayed on this job for 5 years! First, it looked like something to be proud of. I had never been proud of my previous work place but for the first time, I was going to be working in a place where I will be using a desktop, dressing well and staying in the AC. 

This was like an achievement to me and its funny that I didn’t even consider the pay and the effect it was going to have on my schooling. The pay was 2,000 Naira higher than what I was earning as a security man so I still felt so good. Working there affected my time for school activities and my CGP but I still struggled to finish school. 

I worked at different capacity. I mastered the use of computer there, it was really a learning ground for me even though now I feel I spent too many years there. At a point, my responsibility was to be traveling with truck drivers, most times, I ended up sleeping with the drivers and the boys in the same truck. The allowance given couldn’t pay for a hotel room plus I needed to save up to do other things. 

I invested a lot in books, whenever I got the opportunity. I created time to attend trainings. I remember using 1/3 of my salary to pay for a one day training, the desire to move to the next level kept pushing me.

Jenny Chisom: How has any of these experiences contributed to who you have become today?

Fola: It has taught me that nothing comes easy and that there is no perfect time to doing things, just do it! 

Before I resigned, I was about getting promoted, this was supposed to happen in few months. I would have waited and concluded that maybe its not the right time but my mind was made up. I was ready to fail and learn. I knew I had more in me than what I was doing there. I needed my space to fly. By taking that drastic action even when it didn’t feel right, I was able to achieve what I couldn’t achieve in my 5 years of working there in terms of awards, recognitions, influence and even money in less than a year.

Jenny Chisom: Do you think born male gave you an advantage during your upbringing?

Fola: Yes, I will say.

Jenny Chisom: Can you explain how?

Fola: As an African man, I understood that I needed to take responsibility for most of the bills in the house or when I take your family out. So, one  of the determining factor that pushed me into resigning at my last job was the thought of raising a family comfortably. I asked myself some critical questions and couldn’t answer it and so I knew I just had to move forward. Maybe if I was a female, I probably would have stayed on the job hoping that one day I will marry a man that will take most of the responsibilities.

Jenny Chisom: What do you currently do to earn a living?

Fola: I run two companies, Pholar Studios and CREPTS multimedia.

Pholar Studios is a digital agency that creates and manages visual design for our clients business which includes websites, branding, marketing creative, design strategy, interactive design, print and production amongst others.

CREPTS Multimedia is a Photography and videography company.

Jenny Chisom: What has the turning point been for you in business/work?

Fola: My turning point was when I started Pholar Studios with no prior business experience aside books and still got successful with it. Starting the business changed everything for me; my network, earning, exposure, learnings and so on.

Jenny Chisom: What would you say is your life purpose and life call?

Fola: I believe I’m still on a journey of fulfilling  purpose but I have a great drive towards creating digital and branding solutions that can help businesses succeed and create the right customer experience. Seeing brands and businesses thrive, lead and stay visible is a big dream that can happen one step at a time.

Jenny Chisom: How important have mentors and role models been in your life?

Fola: I can’t over emphasize this, it has played a lot of role for me. Mentors have opened some doors for me, set me on the right path and cautioned me when going the wrong way. If you’re to achieve great things faster, having a mentor should be a priority.

Jenny Chisom: Do you currently mentor any young boy/teenager or man?

Fola: Yes, I have couple of young folks I mentor.

Jenny Chisom: What do you do when you are not working or sleeping?

Fola: I listen to music and or read.

Jenny Chisom: How would you say, you have inspired other people?

Fola: I’ve inspired people through my work ethics, simple lifestyle, a peace culture, mentoring, and my family values. I love inspiring people to do great things and start from where they are.

Jenny Chisom: What business offer do you have for your readers now?

Fola: For any one that is ready to publish with us at PholarStudios between January and February 2019, we will be giving a free website for the book including free book trailer, free book and interior design.

Jenny Chisom: Any word of encouragement for your readers?

Fola: The perfect time to start is now!
          Stop procrastinating and just do it.

Wow! What do you think about Fola's story?
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