Aisha Augie-Kuta: Motivated by hunger for learning
Aisha Augie-Kuta is an award winning professional photographer and media consultant, Founder of the Center For Art & Creative Talent (CACTNIGERIA.ORG) and the CEO of Meermaad Network Ltd. She is currently the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Kebbi State on New Media. Aisha is an Associate Fellow of the Nigeria Leadership Initiative and was recently inaugurated as a High-Level Women Advocate on girl-child education in Kebbi state in partnership with UNICEF Nigeria. She is also the Vice-President of Women in Film and Television (WiFTN), the Nigerian chapter of the US based network.
IBG: Why do you do what you do?
AAK: Experiencing how a photograph can inform the viewer and catalyze change for either good or bad intrigues me. Once a story is told with good images, it is hard for the person looking at it to remain neutral. It triggers a thought process that engages based on ones selective perceptions, experiences or none at all consciously or sub consciously. I have always had a thing for telling stories. Being able to learn new things, explore the world and still make a difference as I go about my day to day makes me do what I do.
IBG: What motivates you?
AAK: I’m motivated by my hunger for learning. Not necessarily in a classroom kind of way. My sister calls me a walking encyclopedia. I tend to absorb random information and I always feel like if I do not learn something new at the end of the day; it wouldn’t be a good day. Life feeds me with enough motivation to keep me going. I guess because of my photography, I view the world in little boxes so there is always more to learn from looking around me.
IBG: How do you define success?
AAK: Success is being able to comfortably have work-life balance at whatever stage in life. Not having to sacrifice one for the other at all times is my definition of success.
IBG: What keeps you grounded?
AAK: Constantly reminding myself that I am human and I’m only here for a limited amount of time. I also have awesome family and friends that don’t hesitate to tell me like it is.
IBG: What has been your biggest entrepreneurial challenge and how have you surmounted it?
AAK: Switching from a regular 8-5 job to running my own business, I realized being an entrepreneur was a 24 hour job. I created a brand around me and not the company without even knowing it. It required every little time I had to ensure that the business picked up and I felt like I couldn’t let anyone who needed my services down. I didn’t trust that the members of my team would be capable of supporting me 100% at the time. That was a huge mistake. This totally drained me mentally and physically. I had to build up my time management skills and also learn to teach, monitor and delegate. I still struggle with that from time to time but I’ve learnt to shut down and allow the business take its course without my physical presence at all times.
IBG: What has been your biggest success?
AAK: Like I had defined success earlier, it would be being able to balance work and still be there for my children, friends and family. Sporadically I lose that balance but making the conscious effort to restore it and actually achieving it without missing out on my business or my relationships with family has been my biggest success so far. It also feels successful to find that the people I have mentored in the past are doing excellently well on their own.
IBG: What advice would you give to entrepreneurs?
AAK: Research, research, research before implementation. Take the time to plan. Think properly about what you want to do, then jump into the deep end and enjoy the experiences between your hustle and success. Being an entrepreneur is hard work but never allow anyone tell you what you cannot do and even if they do, it should be from a point of experience. Learn from their experiences and try to find solutions for their mistakes. We are all unique in our own way and what has worked for someone else may not work for you. If you find yourself on a path that hasn’t been walked on, believe in yourself and just keep pushing. Don’t forget to carry others along when you do become successful.