From 3 figures in his first investment on Rise to earning the same number in returns, Samuel takes us on his investing and career journey as a marketer. He also shares some nitty gritties of investing and marketing, particularly for beginners. Read his story.

Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Samuel. I work as a Marketing Insights  Professional with an FMCG  in Nigeria, helping to create consumer insights and market learnings to grow the business, deliver value to our shareholders and in turn, inspire our society. I’ve been doing this for over a  decade and I’ve had the opportunity of working across a number of industries before my current role. I’ve also had the privilege of learning from different people, sharing my knowledge, and becoming a better version of myself. 

That’s impressive. How did you find yourself in marketing?

I think I stumbled on it after my service year when I got a job in Lagos. It was a global market research agency with a presence in Nigeria that talked to consumers about different types of products or services, their experiences, and what they would like to see as improvements. Their clients, often manufacturers or service providers, use that information and insight to improve whatever they are offering, either an already existing product or a new one that is coming to the market. I started off as a client service associate and fell in love with it. After a while, I transitioned from the agency side to the client side where I currently work, helping to drive growth by identifying opportunities and challenges and leveraging insight from consumers, customers and markets.

What has the journey been like? Lessons and challenges.

Two of the greatest lessons I’ve picked up on my career journey: staying true to myself and using every opportunity I find as a launching pad. I remember my first job– the business had worked on a project, which wasn’t going as planned. As a fresher who knew nothing about the work, I was thrown directly into the fire to create solutions. It was a very trying time, but I’m glad that I took that opportunity to acquire more skills and empower myself. 

It is also important to stay true to oneself and ensure to find support around you. One mistake I made at that time was not really using a lot of support from people. I wanted to be a perfectionist; I tried to do everything on my own, working overtime and even weekends, which wasn’t cool. To add to that, I learned not to keep lessons and knowledge to myself. I try to impact the people I work with, appreciate them and use every opportunity that I have to spotlight people that make things happen in my team.

Most importantly, I leave space for divinity because I can’t do everything on my own. As much as I put effort in my work, God fashions my paths and helps me put the puzzles together as I try to navigate them. So my career journey has been full of ups and downs, but it has helped me create a better version of myself. 

What’s your favourite thing about working in marketing? What keeps you going even when your motivation is down?

I find immense satisfaction in marketing because it allows me to play a pivotal role in influencing people’s choices. Being a brand builder is a major motivation, and the pride of contributing to a team that connects with both existing and future consumers keeps me going.

I also love staying true to the essence of my job, using it as a filter to align with certain principles. This not only builds my personal brand but also influences others to be mindful of how they want to be perceived. In essence, I see myself as a ‘salesman’ in the marketing world, where I sell ideas to colleagues, customers, consumers, and stakeholders. This constant engagement in the art of persuasion fuels my drive even when my motivation is low.

You mentioned switching from agency to client side and market research, how has the experience been?

Working in market research gives me an opportunity to really understand and get a holistic knowledge of the markets and sectors  because I’m exposed to a variety of categories. One of the principles in market research is knowing your client’s business, which can be done by immersing yourself within their category and learning more about it so that you are a trusted advisor that can help your clients understand things better. For instance, you need to know how your client makes money, getting closer to how decisions are made and what is true for their competitors to help distil clear opportunities and challenges that will inspire precise recommendations to scale/sustain their business growth. It is like being a torchlight for clients to really understand how to navigate their market realities in finding existing and future growth opportunities.

Hence, I think the beauty of transferring from agency side to client side is that it has taught me to be much more laser focused in the kind of recommendations that I offer to my clients. It has also improved my ability to be a bit more concise in my storytelling because I tell stories everyday. Market research is an industry not spoken so much about, but it’s a thing. It is very fundamental in ensuring that you deliver a product or service that solves a problem or fills a vacuum.

What advice would you give to those looking to follow the same career path as you?

I think some of the fundamentals for being a very good marketer is to make sure that you understand your products, consumers, stakeholders, and everyone around you because they are very strong pillars that determine how you navigate your journey. You want to ensure that you deliver value every time. So if you’re starting out, you must be open to learning. It won’t be all rosy; there will be challenges. But ensure that you take learnings from all those experiences and always look for smarter or better ways of getting things done. Find more creative ways to turn things around. This will set you apart from your peers. Also, leverage your mentors and people who have navigated where you are. Make sure that you are surrounded by those who support you or belong to a group of people who share similar ideas, values, and narratives that can help reshape your ideas. This helps you get sharper at how you project yourself and your work.

Interesting. You mentioned storytelling as a core part of what you do. Walk us through your creating process.

My current role is basically to help plan consumers’ journeys and deliver in terms of communications, messaging or execution. The beauty of that is also in how the story is delivered because sometimes you can tell bad stories in a very enjoyable way, full of hope, optimism and offering a solution or change. So knowing the right approaches to take when telling a story and finding the good even when the whole situation looks gloomy is important. It allows me to create a balanced story. In storytelling, it is first and foremost, how simple and clear enough it is for people to understand exactly what the message is, while leveraging visuals as much as possible. Videography and infographics are a powerful way of telling narratives; they break down complex conversations in much simpler ways and help give a mental cue that allows people to remember, because at the end of the day, you want people to remember the story you tell.

This is brilliant. Let’s talk about investing. How did your investing journey begin?

My journey started when some friends in my church introduced me to someone’s personal business. Although the return was too good to be true, and because I was still very early in my journey, I invested some money in the business. It’s been over six years, and my money is still stuck there. I took that as a test run, and learned a lesson from it. I read up more and understood that in the journey of investment, it’s all about understanding your risk appetite and examining whatever investment you want to do. After that, I decided to define my objective and created a budget, improve my saving habits, and define my investment goals such as expectations and exit plans. And because I understand my risk appetite, I’m still moderately growing my capital. I’d rather invest in a more stable asset while diversifying a proportion of my assets in high risk assets like stock. I know that even with the ups and down, it’s a long term play, so I’m not bothered. And because I’ve been able to understand my risk appetite as a moderate risk taker, it has really helped me to stay focused. I don’t get moved when everyone is talking about how much they’ve put into one form of investment or another. 

Tell us about your journey on Rise.

I started using Rise in 2020 during the COVID year. Prior to that, I had it on my phone for about six months, monitoring how it works. Then I started with three figures in fixed income assets because my risk tolerance had gone to almost zero due to my earlier experiences. After a year, I got more conviction that I could trust the platform. And it’s been a journey since then; I’m now at a point where my monthly returns are the same numbers I started with. For example, imagine you put X amount of dollars every month on Rise, and it is now the same amount you get back every month in returns. 

Wow! This is impressive. What are some of your favourite things about using Rise?

Over the years, Rise has proven that they really want their customers’ finances to grow. They put the consumers first even before their profitability and have continued to deliver in terms of experience and offer. The platform allows you to protect your income, earnings, and assets in a much more stable currency and also gives you access to foreign investments with trusted investment managers, who take that stress of investing off you. For me, it is the most enjoyable part of investing, having people that I can trust to manage my assets. I also really love the telegram group. It’s a good space with like-minded people, offering and getting value. Your customer service is also great. Anytime I have questions or issues, and I reach out to the CS team, they’re quick to respond and resolve it. The turnaround time and transparency is impressive, so it’s been an amazing experience. I recall an incident where there was a technical glitch impacting access to my daily returns. I was surprised when I got an Excel sheet with a detailed breakdown of my daily earnings. This showed transparency and  helped me build more confidence and trust in the platform. 

What investing advice would you give to a beginner investor?

One fundamental thing I look out for in my investment journey is making sure it is a good one, and that I’m not putting money meant for other things. I also try to diversify rather than focus on just one asset class. For instance, on Rise, I have the real estate plan, which makes up a very significant portion of my portfolio. I also have fixed income and stock. This shared balance helps provide a bit more stability in my exposure to risk. Although investing is all about taking risk, the question is how calculative is the risk I’m taking. So the secret is ensuring that you have a saving culture, create a budget, build an emergency fund (ideally 3 – 6 months worth of your current expenses), understand your risk appetite and diversify your investment.

How likely would you recommend Rise to people?

Trust me, I’m very high on the scale. 10 out of 10 with no sentiments attached. It is a function of my experience. I always love recommending Rise to people around me— my wife, family members, friends and colleagues. I have introduced so many people to Rise. Even on my own personal platform, I have pushed Rise a couple of times as a credible platform that people can use to save and invest because I’m also a testimony to that.

Sometimes, I look at my original investment on Rise in terms of the naira value and compare it to what it is now, and it’s a significant jump in value. When I started, the dollar was about 420 naira. Now, it is over 1,500 naira. And the good thing is that the value of my assets is still growing, even in dollars, let alone naira. Your team built a solid product. I wish Rise was here before 2019/2020, maybe some of us would have made it earlier than now. But like they say, it’s never too late. So if you’re not a Rise user today, now is a good time to be. Forget the exchange rates and start now. All you need to know is your assets are dollar-denominated, so you can always be sure that they are protected and will improve in value. If you’re not using Rise, you’re wrong. We’re in a very trying time— our currency is not very stable and our earnings are diminishing, so being able to use Rise has been one of the major ways to protect the value of my assets.