25 WAYS ON HOW TO SURVIVE IN NIGERIA AS A YOUNG UNEMPLOYED GRADUATE
UPDATED 21/11/13, 22/11/13, 01/07/15 DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND: next update – 15/7/15
Education is seen as a means to a better life. No wonder it is the dream of many families to send their children to school to acquire knowledge that will equip them for a better living. Today, it is not just getting the education that seems to matter the most, but how far one goes that will determine how fat your salary will be and what class of job is offered to you. Unfortunately the number of graduates outnumber the number of available job spaces, and millions of graduates are roaming the streets frustrated in search of employment. Sometimes even those offered employment would prefer to stay at home because the pay is nothing to write home about or they don’t get paid for months or years. To get a job in Nigeria has become like the proverbial saying that ” it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” so much so that to get a job some persons would have to know some one who knows somebody that knows some one in power or authority to give you the connection to get the job. Employment in an oil firm like Saipem has become a big business. There are lots of marketing job agents within and outside the company up to the medical department. You pay to get a job there and you are not guaranteed because you will only work for a short period, then dropped and and you would have to pay again and again if at all you get the job again. Well let’s live that for another day. The fact is that if you meet a majority of Nigerian youths, they won’t hesitate to vent their spleen and tell how much they regret having being Nigerians. Common you don’t have to be. Nigeria is full of beautiful things with surprises. It is not rosy any where in the world else why are they deporting illegal immigrants and making it had for foreigners to move into their country to work?
Bear in mind that we are only living in the last days of this system of things as foretold by the Christ, when things will tough only for a while. So what can you as a young unemployed graduate do to at least give you a measure of happiness and satisfaction? Below are 12 suggestions. If you have any outside this leave a comment so others can benefit. But bear in mind whatsoever you do, contentment is the key to your living a satisfying and happy life.
NOTE: what will work for one person might not work out for the other, so don’t compare you with another. Do not see any job as below your status. Being a graduate gives you an edge over others in the same line.
1. PRIVATE OR HOME LESSONS
Teaching kids in their homes after school can be a good way to earn a manageable income that can keep body and soul together. There are no fixed charges but if you are good in what you do, people will look for you. Your charges should depend on the status of your clients in the society. Some families tend to take advantage of unemployed graduates and under price them or treat them unfairly. Do not let yourself be taking advantage of. Set a standard for yourself. If your services are not appreciated stop the lesson and move on to another where you are respected. However,discretion and wisdom is needed in accepting,pricing and rejecting or stopping a private home lesson(s). It will not be appropriate to accept too many lessons that you can’t handle. Take your time, so that you can pay quality attention to the kids. Any parent who cannot pay a reasonable amount to a graduate for a private lesson doesn’t need you. They should look for non – graduates. Water has level according to Fela and shoe get size, abi!
2. TEACHING IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS
Some private schools secure the services of non – teaching graduates to boost their staff strength especially in the sciences. Make yourself available. Don’t say you can never teach. Yes you can if you are determined. It won’t be easy at first but you could pick up after a while. Teaching will keep your brain fresh and ready for any interview you would be invited to. Besides the small cash will go a long way to sustain you.
3. BUYING AND SELLING
This is one easy thing to start up with small capital. All you need to do is to travel to a region or state where certain things are sold, buy them at a cheaper rate and sell at a reasonable profitable price. For example, people from Port Harcourt travel to Aba and Lagos to buy clothes, shoes, etc and return to sell them at wonderful rates in the oil city. Some travel from the North down South in Abia or Akwa Ibom States to buy palm oil and take them to the North where it is in high demand. The most important thing is for you to identify what people in your environment need and what you think can be sold easily and faster. People buying on credit cannot be ruled out but ensure you sell only to those who are credit worthy.
Phone call business in Nigeria is big business although it might not look that way. The profit made from selling a single recharge card might look small but don’t forget, little drops of water make a mighty ocean. If you doubt it, ask a banker. The little little kobo you make can translate to thousands of Naira. Bear in mind that millions of Nigerians make use of phones and would recharge regularly or make calls from call centers when they suddenly run out of credit or battery. Identify busy spots to set up your call center. You can employ someone to work for you if you don’t want to be their in person or you can set up multiple call centers in busy locations.
This is an interesting area that many unemployed graduates can find solace and cash. There are different forms of farming you can get involved in. Rearing birds is one of the cheapest, easiest and fastest. It takes three months for broilers to be ready for sale. And demand is high. Visit bird suppliers for professional advice. It would also be a good idea to get an empty land where the owners are not set to develop. You either lease the land or offer to be the caretaker which is a better option. My mum and brother have been doing this and raising reasonable income aside the fact that the family enjoys seasonal crops from time to time. All you need to do is plant crops such as okro, maize, melon, yam, etc, as the seasons come. If you cannot do the farming yourself pay others to assist.
6. TRANSPORTATION BUSINESS
Do not feel ashamed of being a taxi or Keke driver. I wouldn’t advice you on Okada except that you have concluded arrangement for your funeral. Go to a driving school or get a friend who owns a car to take you on driving lessons and thereafter secure a drivers license and off you go. Get someone to hire his cab to you and you can make returns on a daily basis. Make savings through a bank or welfare association. This will help you to raise capital to purchase your own fairly used car or tricycle ( Keke) for the biz. Some people get cabs or Keke on hire purchase basis. I know of people who make returns of four thousand naira daily and yet go home with much more than that.
A blog is a discussion or information site on the internet. For example NaijaSpleen is a blog and there are numerous blogs on specific subjects ranging from politics, education, fashion to news and magazines, Naijaspleen is a magazine blog. For you to be good blogger you must read other peoples blogs and make up your mind on what you want to blog on. Through Google search, you can find out all you need to know about blogging especially, how to get started. So how do you make money from blogging? I have not started making cash because i am new to blogging. I am blogging to satisfy my urge for writing but i do know money can be made from adverts and covering events just as the newspapers and magazines do. If you are interested , start by reading from so many blogs and decide what you want to blog on. Concentrate on the quality of your post and this will attract viewership. Want to get started?
8. WORKING AS AN AGENT
If you are a graduate with a patient spirit, you can be an agent in different sectors of need. You can be a land/house agent, advert agent for radio and television stations, newspapers and magazine firms, etc. Agents are paid commissions on jobs they attract. I was an advert agent for Love Fm Port Harcourt. It wasn’t easy but it paid off after much effort.
9. SAND SUPPLY
This is an area you don’t need capital to start. Find someone who is building a house or that has a block molding industry to get you to supply sand for them. If you are honest, you’ll get patronage and lots of cash too.
See through yourself, if you have talents in the entertainment business such as acting, singing, comedy,dancing or organizing shows. Make yourself available to numerous auditions and talent hunt shows. If you are discovered, boom you go. Monthly children parties are also a good source of income for unemployed graduates. Many radio, Television stations and Cinemas play host to kids on a monthly basis. What you might not know is that these parties are usually organized by an independent person with partnership from the stations or cinemas.A friend of mine does exactly that and he is not fairing badly.
11. CROCHETING AND BEAD MAKING
Women are passionate about their grooming and dressing. To make their grooming complete, they add up beads or knitted materials. They adorn themselves with beautiful accessories that go with their clothes, shoes and bags. So you can learn how to make this things at home, supply them to beauty shops, etc, and make your cool cash.
12. SELLING DOGS
Dog business is not an easy one, i must confess but it does bring money . . . real good money. If you can afford the stress that goes with rearing high breed dogs like Rottweilers, German Shepherds(Alsatian), Caucasians, etc , go ahead. Some security companies can hire trained dogs from you too.
13. INTERIOR DÉCOR – Many persons both young and middle aged, graduates and school leavers have taken into interior decoration as a means of survival. I know quite a lot of persons into it and are able to survive for some time with it. Attach yourself to a friend or family member who is into to the business to learn. If you have money you can pay to learn. You do not need a long time to learn the art of interior décor. Check online to be updated with latest designs and patterns. You could also come out with your own innovations that will make you stand out. Your work should be outstandingly differentiated from that of a non graduate. Be innovative and come out with something new and different from every job you have. You can start today by offering to do the interior decoration for a friend, family member or someone close. You need not charge much or you could do it even for free. Get help from someone more experienced. Walk up to business centres, petrol stations, etc during festive seasons and offer to decorate their premises at an affordable rate.
14. EVENT MANAGEMENT – There are so many big event management companies handling services for big corporations like MTN, etc. You do not have the resources and equipment to compete with such. Form a small group of unemployed graduates like you. Give a name to your small event management company. Go to smaller companies and offer to take their products and services to the streets and market places to market. Assemble a group of dancers and musical instruments to entertain the people. I bet you, you will do well because these smaller companies don’t have the money to pay the big event management companies. Look out for areas and events you can manage and make offers and proposals. Who knows, your little company might turn out to be a mighty one tomorrow. If the companies you have done jobs for grow, they will also want to grow with you.
`15. MAKING CAKES AND OTHER SNACKS – Baking cakes, meat pies, chin chin and other snacks has been a good source of income to many. As an unemployed graduate, you might not have the money to afford catering schools. All you need do is find someone who bakes in your area and negotiate to pay less to learn how to do those things. While in training go through self lessons online and take it seriously. Study sugar crafting and try and come up with your own designs. Start buying baking equipments little by little as you can afford them. Baking isn’t expensive. You don’t need an oven to start. Get a cooking stove, put sand on a pot, and heat the sand on the stove. When the sand gets hot, place your baking pan with the cake or meat pie to be baked on it, then cover. I know of a friend who baked for many years with this method. She baked cake for big weddings and if you were told it was baked on stove, you would say it was a lie. I would advise you to buy a small gas for your baking as soon as you can afford it. A 7kg cylinder won’t be bad for a start. Using gas is cheaper and faster than kerosene.
Apart from making cakes for occasions, you can make cup cakes and other small shaped cakes, chin chin, egg roll, bons, kpoff kpoff , toasted bread, groundnuts and pan cakes and supply them to supermarkets and stores around and beyond your area. Start by taking samples to the shop and supermarket owners. If they like the taste (ensure they are tasty), they will ask for supplies.
This is not for ladies only oh! These days, guys even do better on these areas considered to be traditional areas for women. Don’t forget, men do better when they take up female jobs. Ask the hairdressers!
16. BARBING/HAIRDRESSING SALOON, NAILS/ EYE LASH FIXING AND MAKEUP ARTIST – Taking up barbing can be a temporary source of income to an unemployed graduate. If you cannot use your home, you can attach yourself to a saloon for a while. The money you get can help in taking care of smaller needs including transportation and money to buy data to browse with. If you can afford a shop, please do and you could even be an employer of labour. Even when you get a job, you can still maintain your barbers shop.
If you are good at hairdressing, nails and eye lash fixing, do not hesitate to turn it into a money making business. I know of many girls while in school, paid their fees and fed themselves with money they raised from hairdressing in the hostels while their mates were busy prostituting in the name of poverty. One girl even told me that the least she makes with her sister in a semester was N40 000. If you are a man, do not mind the names you would be called for doing these as a source of income. Setting up the business is not expensive. You can use the front of your house or a friends shop to carry out your business.
Being a makeup artist can also be rewarding. If you got a talent or have learnt from someone, use it as a means of survival. Offer to make up friends, family members and neighbours on their weddings or other memorable occasions at an affordable price. If you hear of any pageant or fashion show apply to be a makeup artist. You can as well look for a contestant and promise to be his/her makeup artist for little. With time you would have marketed you very well and you can then raise your charges.
17. SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTANT – The skills you have acquired over the years in navigating the internet can be converted to money. If you are a blogger or you know how to open Facebook pages, twitter accounts, e-mail accounts, etc, you can apply to be a social media consultant to certain individuals and personalities. If people approach you to open a page for them, charge them. It can’t be free. Except it’s someone you know you can run to when you are in need and the person freely gives to you. For some you could simply request for them to provide you with reasonably amount of data and credit with which you can use to make calls. You could apply for jobs as a social media aide to some politicians and organizations. If you are a blogger and someone wants you to help open his own blog, give him your charge. Just use what you have to get what you want.
18. SUPPLY OF SACHET WATER AND DRINKS – Sachet water popularly called pure water makes brisk business during the dry season nationwide. Buy in large quantity at a very cheap rate and supply to business centres at a good price. If you cannot afford to hire a car, use trucks if you have the energy to push. There’s nothing to feel ashamed of. Remember people are not ready to help others with their money, so do what you have to do to survive.
If you guys have a big freezer at home with a constant power supply, plead with your parents to store large quantities of sachet water during the period of the dry season. This is a money spinning business as people who sell on road sides and in traffic will rush to your house to buy. Cold water is usually in high demands in dry seasons.
You can also supply drinks in same way.
19. TAKING UP ELECTRICAL JOBS – if you studied Electrical Engineering, you could take up the wiring of newly built homes on contract. Even if you do not have enough experience, get the services of an experienced electrician to assist you or do the job while you supervise and ensure the job is done to specification. Same can go for graduates of Architecture and Civil Engineering.
20. TUTOR AT NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, NOUN, STUDY CENTRES – NOUN study centres lack facilitators and tutors nationwide. This gap can be filled by unemployed graduates. If you have a Masters degree you can apply officially. Whether you have or not and you are a graduate, HND, Bachelor degree or ND holder, you can form a group and pull resources together to start a good business of taking the students on tutorials outside the NOUN campus. You can rent spaces in close by buildings and shopping malls or even build lecture halls with woods and zinc but it should be decent enough so as not to downgrade the students attending. You can get a list of the courses and course materials from the students or purchase them from the business centres around. Furthering your education by taking up courses at the Open university will be more to your advantage.
21. PHOTOGRAPHY – This area is one of the most profitable for an unemployed graduate. During my school days, we had photographers on campus, some where students and they were able to take care of their bills. I had a friend who saw himself through his ND and HND with money he got from taking pictures of friends, neighbours and school mates. With time he took jobs of covering weddings mostly of persons who knew him. Many persons who took to photography as an income earner did not have specialized training. To them photography was fun and they eventually saw that their passion could be translated into an income earner.
In the past, it took many days to get pictures taken but with improved technology and the availability and affordability of instant picture printing machines that make use of batteries, photography business has been made more attractive and lucrative. On every occasions; weddings, parties, seminars and conferences, Inter House Sports competitions, sports festivals, etc, there are photographers taking and producing instant photographs. These are usually uninvited photographers. These guys and babes just gate crash any event venue and just leave with cool cash. Recently an invited photographer was complaining how he was unable to meet the demand of invited guests to an event as he was the only photographer on ground. He said he made unsuccessful calls to some others he knew but they were all engaged somewhere else. He had to put a call to his brother to come with a second camera to assist. Even at that it wasn’t enough. As you can see, there’s still more room for you. So what are you still doing there?
22. MAKING OF GREETING CARDS – Although greeting cards are no longer in vogue, you could in your own way and area rekindle the spirit of giving and receiving greeting cards by coming up with out of the box handmade designs and inspiring write ups that will attract the attention and patronage of family, friends, neighbours and passers-by.
23. HOME/OFFICE CLEANINGAND FUMIGATION – I’m sure some of your minds would have wondered into sweeping and scrubbing the floors of houses of some big men! Not in anyway. That doesn’t mean that if you see a big man that wants you to come and clean his house of a good amount of money on a weekly or monthly basis you should reject it because you are a graduate. My brother/sister accept oh! But when you go there, be professional about it. If they want to treat you with disdain or one of their maidservants, quit without delay. Don’t give a second thought to your decision.
Many guys take as business the cleaning of newly built homes and office buildings. Due to stains from certain jobs done on new buildings such as paint and mortar stains on tiled floors, louvers, slide doors and windows. These stains are not ones that can be easily washed off with detergents but require the use of chemicals and only skilled persons can. Look for someone who does and accompany him/them for some cleanings even if they don’t pay you.
Peoples’ surroundings and homes is as easy as ABC and you go home with your cool cash. With your first job on it, you can by the spraying can. You can as well learn how to fumigate farms if you are in a rural area.
24. GENERAL CONTRACTOR – Pick up any job you come across whether you know it or not. Never say you cannot do it. Take up the job, then look for a professional on it and get him/her to do the job to specification and take your percentage. Go out and hustle for all kinds of job except the ones that constitute a crime. We are talking about survival here. Take every opportunity that comes your way. Do not wait for the jobs relating to what you studied in school or what you have training for.
25. PREPARING AND SELLING ZOBO DRINK
I recently discovered that preparing and selling zobo drink is one of the fastest wys to put food on your table. It is easy to prepare. The zobo leaves are cheap. With a zobo leaves of N200, you can actually make a zobo drink of N1000. All you need to do is make yours different. I just experimented on that it was worth the stress.
If you don’t have a fridge to chill it, you can ask a friend to help you or you buy ice bocks. Selling the drink is not a problem. Package it neatly and take them to mechanic workshops and work sites where people are building houses. You can add gala or other snacks to it.
if you need to learn how to prepare zobo drink for free just send me an email and i will send you my recipe and instructions.
CONCLUSION: BE INNOVATIVE AND PROACTIVE
What ever you do or want to do, you have to think outside the box. Think different from the pack. Bring out innovations that make you stand out from the crowd. Most importantly be proactive!!!