When you hear oil workers, what comes to mind? That’s right. Wealth…. Well, Chinedu is a geologist who works for an oil company during the week, and as a bolt driver on weekends. He juggles both while doing all he can to Japa from Nigeria. Here is his story.
What was growing up like for you?
Growing up was fine. I grew up in Benin in a middle-class family with 4 other siblings. So I had enough people I could look up to in everything; education, morals and life generally. I would say life was quite easy because of that.
Nice. So, what do you do now?
I’m a geologist by profession and I also have a side hustle doing ride-hailing business.
So, I work with an indigenous oil and gas company and I basically help them find oil, support them in drilling an oil well and help keep the oil flowing by analyzing whatever data is available to me.
Well, I think it might have been an accidental profession or maybe, it was all God’s plan right from the beginning. I wrote jamb twice and filled in for Medicine and Surgery on both occasions but on the second try, I filled Geology as a second choice. I didn’t get Medicine and surgery but got geology. From there on, everything pretty much started to fall into place. I finished school, did my youth service, went for Masters, came back, did an internship and got my current job.
Wow, that sounds really great! How’s it going now? Do you still regret not getting Medicine and Surgery?
Maybe, just a little, and that is owing to the present situation in Nigeria.
While in school, I found out doctors read a lot. Huge textbooks with all the medical terms and whatnot. And I don’t think I’m a fan of all the reading, although being a doctor now would have been really nice because the japa wave would have taken me by now. So, maybe, just a tiny bit of regret. But I love being a geologist.
I see. So, what’s been the most interesting thing you’ve done as a geologist?
That would be the wellsite geologist role I handled for my company where I was the geologist onsite for two new wells drilled by my company. It really was an interesting experience seeing some of the things you’ve read about happening right before your eyes. And being part of that journey from the very beginning where we identified the wells to be drilled, to actually drilling it and having the oil flow out to the surface. It’s really a wonderful feeling.
Love to see it! Is there any downside to being a geologist?
Hmmm. Sincerely, the only thing I see as the downside is the changing world where a lot of countries are going green. That would generally affect the oil and gas industry. So, you have to create options for yourself just to be prepared for when the change hits.
How are you preparing?
Well, with Japa plans on the way, I’ll probably start off a new career or go back to school to study something else. I’m seriously looking at a project management course and something in the renewable energy space as well.
Goodluck with that! We’re rooting for you.
Thank You very much
At what point did you know you needed a side hustle?
For my side hustle, it came to me during the pandemic. I’ve been working from home since March 2020 and it got really boring. I’m not the “we outsideeee” kind of person and my car was just sitting there doing nothing except for grocery shopping, church or maybe a few hangouts now and then.
Hmm. Go on….
I normally enjoy driving so I thought about using my car to do that on weekends and public holidays. Spoke to a few friends who thought I was crazy to think of using my car and that as an ‘oil worker’, why did I need more money? But I didn’t listen to any of that. I registered my car with Bolt and started the job. Did my first trip on the 11th of February 2021 and I liked it. Fortunately, 3 days later was Valentine’s day and I made a lot of money that day for a newbie in the business. That spurred me on to continue.
That is so good to hear.
Yeah. So, right away, I knew my car was the worst option for the job. I was using an RX350 for this job and fueling it was taking more money than I wanted it to. Filling up my tank costs as much as N12k and every day after work, I spend at least N8k to top up the car again. I knew I had to get a Corolla so I could maximize profit, even though using the bigger car gave me some kind of prestige because most riders knew it wasn’t a normal occurrence and they ‘behaved’ themselves when I went to pick them up. Also, I could enter any estate without the usual harassment of ‘call who you are going to see’. I liked all that, but ultimately, na money I dey find. I drove the car till April 2021 and stopped. I got a family loan, added what I had and got a 2003 corolla. Registered on the platform and resumed work on 26th July, 2021.
The difference in fuel consumption was like night and day; the full tank for the corolla is about N7,500 and depending on how I drove that day, traffic situations, surge and closing time, I could make as much as ₦25k to N50k each day. So, on weekends, I do ₦50k to ₦100k. Bolt takes 20% and fuel at most is ₦6,500. I’m still left with a decent ₦27,000 to ₦67,000 net every weekend. I drive for just 3 weekends in a month so I use one weekend for social life and the likes. So, in a month, I have an extra ₦81,000 to ₦201,000.
Wow, that’s super smart. I’m truly inspired.
Along the lines, I met a guy in Nairaland who was doing crazy numbers with Bolt and he wasn’t sleeping on the road or doing anything illegal. I reached out to him and he added me to a telegram group where he told us some of the strategies he uses to achieve such numbers. And with all of this, I paid back the loan for the car by December last year, still having some extra for December dorime.
Do you mind sharing the strategies with us?
So, the most important strategies are:
1. Minimizing the number of short trips we accept. From experience, those trips waste time to complete and the riders are usually rude. Sometimes, I do accept these short trips but only in a case where I’m chasing a bonus given by bolt and need to increase my total number of trips. This usually happens when I’m ready to close for the day and haven’t completed the number of trips.
2. Of course, since we shouldn’t just be accepting short trips, then long trips are the best bet. I stay on the island, so ideally,, I want trips that take me to the mainland. If I’m lucky, and such trips come with a surge, I can make as much as ₦8,000 – ₦16,000k on one trip that probably just lasted 1-2hrs. Without a surge, the trip could fall between 6-9k (remember, my full tank is ₦7,500 and this is my first trip of the day). You burn less fuel and make more money
3. Knowing where to go for these long trips. For example, you have two ‘set destination’ trip features per day on the app where you set ‘where you are going and only trips to that location come to you. So, if I’m in Sangotedo, and set a trip to Ikeja, only trips going that way will come in. Sometimes, it takes a bit of time and some driving around, but it works most times. When I get to Ikeja, I do the same for trips back to the island. That guarantees you at least 10-15k or thereabouts for two trips.
I think these are the main tips. Every other thing is a variation of these and of course, there’s the hand of God in all of this. Sometimes, I just pray for what I want and in a few seconds or minutes, I get it.
That explains why riders are always telling me they can’t go to my location. What are the lessons you’ve learned from having a side hustle?
LOL, the first lesson is that PEOPLE GET MONEY FOR THIS LAGOS OOOOO!!!!! Some outrageous fares come up at the end of the trips and people just pay without batting an eyelid.
2. Being a service provider, you need to have a lot of patience because dealing with different kinds of humans isn’t easy.
3. Trust your instincts and weigh the risks before making decisions
4. While hustling to make all that money, don’t forget to enjoy part of that money too.
I know Zlatan wasn’t lying when he said Money dey Lagos. What are the downsides of ride-hailing?
It takes a lot of time. You’re basically on the road the whole day and sometimes, you could end up not eating or eating junk. So, you have to deliberately take time off and also close early so you get enough rest. To add to the list are rude riders, LASTMA and the likes but I guess that is part of the job.
Let’s talk about your relationship with money; how do you handle money?
Well, I like to think I’m very conservative with my money; although, like most people, I’ve made stupid ‘investments’ in the past, you know, MMM and the likes and I got burnt. Guess that’s part of what made me even more conservative. However, my general feeling about money is that it’s a tool to get things done. So I handle it as such.
Sorry to hear that. What lessons did you learn from losing money to those schemes?
A very painful one. Part of what I tell people now with funny business models that I can’t understand such as ‘bring this amount and collect this amount after 30days or whatever is, if the business is so profitable, let them take a loan from the banks and do the business. Since they are sure of very high returns, they will have enough money to pay back the bank as well as get profit. But they will not because banks won’t give them loans and will deal with them if they don’t payback. Although these days, most people know these funny companies are scam companies but believe they will take out their money before it crashes.
So how do you save and invest?
Well, I’m in a bit of everything. From PiggyVest to Risevest to Bamboo to Nigerian stock exchange to property as much as I can tolerate. I see it all as part of diversifying
How did you hear about Rise?
From my colleague at the office. He is really a huge influence on my financial journey and I’m grateful to him for that.
How has your experience with Rise been so far?
Well, it’s been great. And is also one of the driving forces behind increasing my income. I joined Rise in May 2020 and I particularly like the telegram community. It basically gives for free what other people pay to have access to.
What advice do you have for Nigerians who might be wanting to create multiple streams of income?
1. It’s easier to keep going if it’s something you love.
2. Don’t ever think something is beneath ‘your level’ because of your perceived social status. The goal is to make money and at the end of the day, your goals are personal and don’t involve any other person
3. Just find a way to start, even if you don’t have it all figured out. As you progress, things will become clearer.