For this week’s MoneyRise User Story, we spoke to GbemmyG, a Key Account Manager and fitness trainer who started using Risevest in 2020 and has made over a million naira on just exchange rate.

Hi Gbemi, can you tell us about yourself?

I’m a Lagos babe living in Port Harcourt. I moved to Port Harcourt in 2019 because I got promoted at work. I work for a multinational company as a Key Account Manager in the South-South,  South-East of Nigeria. I believe I have a very likeable personality that attracts people to want to hear me speak, so I use that as an edge in my career path. I’m also big on self-care, self-love, and taking care of my family.

How did your career in sales begin?

I started my career in sales 5 years ago, 2017. Before then, I was with the Lagos State Government for 3 years as a Field Auditor. Throughout my career, I have never been one to be in an office, tied to a desk and working on a computer all day. My job description has always been to go out, meet and interact with people. In 2017, I moved to sales with the company I work for at the moment. 

During the interview, one thing that stood out for me that I still hold onto is that I have a very likeable personality. When I interact with people, they want to hear what I have to say. Then in 2017, I started working as a Retail Channel Development Manager in Lagos. I worked with about 4 distributors, covering Ikeja, Ikorodu, Ketu, Maryland, Lagos Island, Mowe, and Ibafo during those 2 years and that really helped me. I also managed about 50 sales reps in those two years before this role came up in my company. I’m the first-ever Key Account Manager in this territory for my organisation. It was initially just one person across the whole country, then there was a split. I interviewed for the role just two years after I started in sales, and I got it. So I moved here in 2019.

Yayyyyyyy, Congratulations!

Thank you! It’s been an exciting journey. I like to think that I’m a self-starter as I’m not afraid of any challenge. When something comes up, I’m not one to get scared and back out. I may have anxiety and doubts about my ability to do it, but it won’t stop me from trying. That way, I can say I tried. And I’m thankful that we’re now successfully the fastest-growing territory from my organisation in modern trade. I’m building the fastest-growing territory, and it’s been exciting so far.

What was growing up like?

I’m the only child of my parents. My father was a civil servant, but he’s retired now. My mom was a petty trader who had a small store just in front of our rented house when I was growing up. However, it got bigger just before we left there. My mom’s highest education was Secretarial Studies which I think was very popular back then. We were a close-knit family and I wouldn’t say I grew up poor, because it was just me. Our small financial status was enough for us. We were living in a face-me-I-face-you compound, where you have just one room and share the bathroom with other people. I grew up in that house until I was about 10 before we moved to a proper flat on the outskirts of Lagos. My mother is also very hardworking, so I saw her as an inspiration. When I was about 6, I used to stay at the store for her, selling to customers and collecting money. She’d trust me with her money to go to the market and take care of her store. Again, it was a close-knit family and there was nothing I wanted that I didn’t get. For what we had, I was a happy and content child and that made growing up very interesting for me.

Do you think your childhood influenced your career journey?

Yes, I do. Seeing my mom sell at different instances of my life inspired me. I saw my mom build her business from the ground up, at least, 3 times. When my mom moved to Lagos with my dad, she had to set up her own store. And she grew that business on the street. She had the biggest store on our street then and it was a very long street. I believed that for her to build from something small, to have a big store like that, especially for someone who didn’t have any experience in business, was very impressive. When we moved, she had to close down that store. Then we moved to an outskirt of Lagos, and she had to learn a new and different trade entirely in building construction; sand and stone supply. And that one too boomed for her. Seeing my mom build like that from the ground up taught me the resilience that I needed. I thought that if she could do it, I could, too. She also exposed me to the part of her business that involved money, how to be content and how to deal with money. When I was about 7, she would leave her big bag of money with me and was not afraid because she trusted me. She gave me that level of trust and I was exposed to that kind of money. Although I was 7, I knew the value of money and it helped me understand contentment and my business acumen. And because I started interacting with people at that young age, it helps me now in my career in sales. I know how to interact with people with different temperaments, how to serve them based on their different needs and how to solve their problems.

As a woman, are there any challenges that you currently face in your career?

In Nigeria, sales is pretty much male dominated, especially in  the fast consumer goods industry because it can be physically tasking. There is also a lot of interstate travel and the constant transfer. I got transferred from Lagos to Port Harcourt, and that can be challenging for some women, especially if you’re married. My own personal challenge is competing against men. They are my colleagues at the end of the day, but there’s still a bias about things I can and cannot do. Even though they don’t expect it of me, I always have it at the back of my mind that I have a point to prove and because of that, I have not dropped a sales target since 2018. 

At what point did you decide to start your fitness journey?

It was in 2018. I ended a long term relationship in 2017. In 2018, I was 25 and I didn’t like how I looked. I wasn’t so confident about my body and my blood pressure was high. I was at this job then, and because I had extra money, I decided to join a gym. I’ve been consistent ever since. So it’s just an act of self development, physical development and also for my health. I started working out in February 2018 and it’s been an exciting journey. 

Let’s talk about money. What is your relationship with money?

I used to be quite afraid of being broke. I’ve been broke most of my life, anyway. I remember one time I was so broke in UNILAG that I had to send a blackberry broadcast to my contacts telling them I was broke. Yeah, I was that broke. But I’ve now learnt that money is a tool. You use money to make more money. I’m also of the school of thought that if I’ve saved what I need to save, I will spend the rest. I also don’t spend money anyhow. I like to spend money on food, but I don’t spend a lot on wigs, and I’m also not big on clothes. However, I like nice gym outfits and free clothings. If I saw a baggy, I’d go for it instead of spending a needless amount on a dress. This is because I feel that trends will come and go. I don’t believe in spending so much money on a dress. I could on shoes and bags, but not on a dress.

I still have the fear of being broke because I oversave sometimes. However, I’m beginning to learn how to be freer with money, buy things I like and eat where I like. I think over the past two years at least, I’ve become freer with money as I always believe that it will always come back. I work hard, so I will get paid. I also save and invest a considerable amount of money every month, hence, I have no reason to be afraid.

That’s really nice. So how did you hear about Rise?

My friend who used to work at Rise in its early days told me about the app even though it didn’t make any sense to me. But I had to support her as a friend. At first, I put N50,000 in the account, and after a while, I started seeing returns that were great. When she left, I added more money, because I had some money in a Nigerian bank. At that time, a dollar was about N350 and was on its way to hitting N400. My money was depreciating which didn’t make any sense to me, so I had to move everything to my Risevest account. Right now, a dollar is 590. I made a lot just by that, and that does not even include my stock gains. During the lockdown period and after Donald Trump left office, stocks went crazy. I love the company and believe in what it is building to the point that I became an influencer for it.

What has been your experience so far using Risevest?

At first, it can be a little intimidating, especially if you don’t know anything about stocks. But for me, because I trade crypto, I had an experience investing in volatile markets. It’s also good because Rise gives you access to different asset types. You have the low, medium and high risk investments. So when I started, I started with low risk which had about 10% returns and just left the money there. Then looking at stocks, I thought it was a great investment option, so I moved my money from fixed income (low risk) to stocks (high risk). I think I moved about 60% to stocks. Then it kept making more sense. Another thing I did was to send all the money I didn’t think I needed for the next 24 months. So my experience has been a good one.

What is your favourite thing about investing with Rise?

I’d say it’s the safety it offers against the devaluation of the naira because my money is in dollars. I also know I’m not losing anything, even if the stock market is going down. My portfolio grew about 40% just through the exchange rate of dollars to naira and this doesn’t even include the gains I took from stocks and across my portfolio over time. At some point, I had about $500 gains just from my stock plan. I have gained so much money on the Rise app that at some point, I had over a million naira gain on just the exchange rate.

Since you started investing, what has been the hardest decision you have had to make?

It has to be choosing what to invest in. I invest in crypto and because you have different types of coins coming up every now and then, it can be really crazy. So for me, the hardest thing is making sure I’m not greedy. I choose a very solid investment and I just stick to it. I also try to be patient to hold it long term. For most people who invest, they are always looking for instant gratification. However, it is mostly about the long term for me. So learning to be patient with my investment, not being greedy and holding long term are the hardest things for me about investing.

What advice would you give starters about investing?

I’d say they should start with money they can lose. Once you get comfortable, you can then go deeper, investing more money. It’s also important to choose an investment platform that you are sure they know what they are doing. Also, choose an investment option whose ROI is not crazy. For example, if they are promising you a 40% ROI, run away as it is unrealistic. You have to be intentional about choosing a realistic investment. Be patient with your investment and not jump from pillar to post. Look at where you want to invest and do your research. You can start small, and when you see that your money is safe and yielding, then you can put in more money. So simply, do your research, start small and be patient, as long as you are sure it’s a trusted investment platform. Most importantly, don’t be greedy.

Thank you for your time, GbemmyG, it was really nice talking to you.