6 Business Lessons of Success from My Mama

I’ve been contemplating the cool things I’ve been privilege to accomplish. #GIEEC2017 KL was a huge success alhamdulilah. Part of making your dreams come true is being able to bet on yourself. Other part is working towards your dreams with total faith that things will always work out.

My mother is a tough, traditional African woman who built a business with no technology, no social media and with much difficulty. She has no idea what I do(most parents of entrepreneurs don’t). She is part of a post-civil war generation whereby life was accepted to be something difficult. There was no

dream chasing”


doing what you love”.

All that is rubbish. For them, there was working hours without rest, building wealth by putting away a few hundred dollars underneath your bed for 20 years and having supreme patience for years.

I don’t always agree with the older generation but the sheer practicality on how they make money and view business makes sense to me. It is lost on this generation entirely.



Business is a simple transactional process. Success is not measured by “users” or how much money you raise or your social impact. What do you make? What do you spend? What do you project? Can you sustain yourself?



Focus on saving / having emergency fund is critical. This isn’t the same as having a salary as back-up. It means that how you manage your money is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than what you make. You can make millions and still be broke.



Patience is the art of being in business. They know the surest way to building durable wealth is through time…even if that means 20 years.


My mom’s ruthless pragmatism in business has rubbed off on me and for the first time in 15 years, she told me how she became successful. They are simple lessons I wanted to share.


Lesson 1

Take no revenge on anyone no matter what wrong they do to you. (Be patient and sustain relationships).


Lesson 2

Give as much charity as possible with your money and time. It doesn’t decrease your wealth.( You make money by giving up your most valuable assets)


Lesson 3

Always do your dhikr(daily or nightly remembrance of God). Keep your hand in the world but your heart in the afterlife. (Dont chase the world and the world will chase you.)


I love and appreciate old school business people who came from a hard life. The work I do is not nearly as hard.

In these times, the people with the loudest voices get the most visibility but it’s always the quietest people who know the most. I intend to keep documenting these lessons insha allah.



Hodan Ibrahim

Entrepreneur. COO at Elmangos. Giee Convention Nexus of economic development & entrepreneurship.