We had a chat with Seyi Olaniyan on how he started his journey into the travel, lifestyle and entertainment industry and his reason for delving into the market in a country like Nigeria. Seyi Olaniyan is the founder of Yellowlyfe, a lifestyle and tourism company he founded in 2019. He is also a media and brand communications expert. He described himself as a goal getter, someone that sells enjoyment and happiness for a living.
From being overlooked in favor of more lucrative industries, to becoming a $20 billion industry, Nigeria’s events and lifestyle industry is growing by the year. In 2017, the compound annual gain of the events industry was projected at 10.5%. This has helped the Nigerian hospitality industry take over the rest of Africa as one of the fastest-growing industries.
Changera: How’s it like running an event and lifestyle company in Nigeria?
Seyi Olaniyan: Running an event and lifestyle company in Nigeria is very crazy because it has to do with people and every day is different. You have to manage people’s emotions by making sure they are happy. Most importantly, you have to remember that you’re selling happiness. People come to you to fulfill their aim and objective of having fun or being happy. It is interesting but also difficult because you have to make people come out of their shell and step out of their comfort zone to have fun. Seeing people having fun because of the experience you put together is an amazing feeling. In this industry, feedback is instant and obvious. You can see whether people are enjoying the event or not which helps in making adjustments to future plans.
Changera: Few years ago, an average Nigerian wouldn’t consider travel as a part of their life. Currently, how would you describe the mindset of Nigerians towards travel, as an investment or liability?
Seyi: I don’t believe travel is a liability, I believe that if you want to know beyond your current thoughts and you want to expand your brain capacity, which will enable you to see things from a different perspective and explore different things, travel will give you the avenue and the platform. I believe travel is an investment to people because it helps build your network. It really just depends on how you try to maximize it. There are people who will think travel is a liability and others will see travel as an investment. For me I would rather travel the whole world than have 1 million Naira in my account because I believe traveling the world will give you different perspectives on life and it’s also advisable to use traveling as a means to relax. In conclusion, travel is very important for one’s personal development and mind building.
Changera: What made you decide to start your company Yellowlyfe?
Seyi: I have always liked things to do with lifestyle and Yellowlyfe started as a lifestyle company. From the onset I’ve been business-minded. Even if I were to start selling televisions or provisions I would make a business out of it, that’s just how I have been. In saying that, I started Yellowlyfe casually and it turned out to be a company as is my nature.
Changera: How has the rise of Fintech solutions in Africa impacted your business?
Seyi; Fintech has had a positive impact on the travel and lifestyle industry. Fintech solutions have positively impacted Yellowlyfe but it is still something people are still getting familiar with. People are not used to that technology yet in terms of traveling. There is still a lot of mindset shifting that needs to take place in the minds of Nigerians mainly because traveling is a service but people are used to Fintech solutions being used to purchase goods and not to pay for services like traveling.
Changera: Did the $20 limit on naira cards affect your business and client, if so, how did you rise above it?
Seyi: We currently use an international debit card which has a daily limit of $5000. Considering the $20 limit Nigerian cards have, honestly I advise my clients to travel with cash just to prepare for any case of an emergency. I do agree that traveling with cash is not the safest in terms of security. Instead of traveling with a huge sum of money in cash, you can split it and pay some into an account which has an international ATM card. Some foreign banks do not have naira accounts, traveling with the impression of accessing money in a foregin country might prove difficult for you and if you do not have cash as a backup plan you may be stranded and in trouble.
Changera: What has been your most satisfying moment in business or what has been your most satisfying moment as an entrepreneur?
Seyi: My most satisfying moments are times when my team and I achieve our goals and
company target. It is also when we are successful in terms of customer retention. If we are able to provide an amazing experience for our customers and satisfy them, then we in turn will be satisfied.
Changera: What habits helped make you successful?
Seyi: The most helpful habit I possess has to be my habit of executing plans immediately instead of taking time to plan for ages or thinking endlessly about the ideas I have.
Changera: You run a business centered around fun but you’re also a busy entrepreneur. With the conscious awareness that time is money, how do you optimize your time and still have fun?
Seyi: Yellowlyfe is fun to me. I don’t believe you can manage a lifestyle company without taking the job as fun. Once you begin to see it as all work and no fun, that is a sign that you’re beginning to lose the zeal and passion for it. Once your work becomes something you feel like you have to force yourself to do or enjoy, then it becomes a liability.
Changera: What can we expect from Yellowlyfe in the near future?
Seyi: This year we are trying to give our customers a different type of experience. We do not want it to be focused only on tourism, we are also trying to make an entry into the tech space because tech is the future and our company is geared towards lifestyle and not only tourism.
Changera: Describe a perfect destination that checks all the marks for you.
Seyi: Dubai is the country that takes the cup for me right now but I think there really is no country one can visit and experience everything. You will have to visit multiple destinations to experience diverse and exciting things.
Changera: What is your best tip for a first time traveler?
Seyi: For first time travelers I would advise them to take a leap of faith but plan ahead. Traveling has a reputation that makes people believe it is expensive but I believe it’s all about your mindset. Start somewhere and experience the culture, if you do not start you will never experience it.
Changera: What is your most helpful advice for those who would like to start an event management company?
Seyi: If you want to start an event company like Yelowlyfe, you must be fun driven. This helps you to not feel discouraged if things do not go your way. It will help you push through those tough times. If you are not fun driven it is easy to lose your drive and hope.
Thank you Seyi for granting this interview.
From what he said, having handy cash is important when traveling. However, changing the currency at a bank or even a travel exchange booth at the airport or anywhere in that country could be tedious.
That is why getting a Changera card will make this a lot easier for you. The perks of using Changera when you travel are endless. You can spend directly from your wallet without journeying from one Bureau de Change to another looking for the best rates.You too can travel with ease with Changera. Simply download the app on iOS or Android today