Tosi Ufodike: How 1 Mom Runs 3 Successful Businesses
Words: Jessica Samuels
With three companies under her belt, this serial entrepreneur has learned a lot—and wants to share the lessons she's learned along the way.
If Tosi Ufodike has a lot to celebrate this year, that’s because she’s got a lot on her plate. The mother of two is the founder of three—yes, three—different businesses: My Good Nanny, a caregiving service that matches service providers with families; Hair Yum, a line of vegan hair care products; and Dare 2 Aspire, an annual conference for mompreneurs. June 12 will mark the Dare 2 Aspire’s 5th annual Leaders in Entrepreneurship Conference, My Good Nanny is almost at its 10-year anniversary, and Hair Yum is set to unveil a skin, hair, and nail vitamin this summer.
One business would be impressive, but three is down right inspirational—especially considering that Ufodike has no formal training, or a big budget to market her companies. “I did not open up a textbook and follow a blueprint,” she explains. “I am following my God-given purpose and no one can compete with that!”
Ufodike tells mater mea how she manages to keep up with three businesses, and gives us insight on the lessons she’s learned along the way.
You have three businesses. Can you tell us how you started each one?
I created My Good Nanny after the birth of my first daughter. I had a very demanding job as an auditor for General Electric. I did not want to put my daughter in daycare because I was breastfeeding and really wanted my daughter to be comfortable in her own surroundings. I was a new mom and battled with the guilt of leaving her and going back to work. It was a very emotional time in my life. I was hearing stories about kids getting sick once they went to daycare and the thought of having different strangers look after my child was very unsettling to me.
To be honest, having a nanny was not even an initial option—everyone I knew put their child in daycare. The theory was having a nanny was just for movie stars and celebrities and not for the everyday working mom like myself. Being a mom is the toughest job in the world; it can be a very lonely and isolating time when you live in a society that does not really value the work that moms do. My Good Nanny helps alleviate the burden.
I created Hair Yum by trial and error. I wanted to create [hair products] for my children that [were] harmless. I also wanted something that had an amazing fresh smell. After my youngest child had a horrible reaction to a hair care product we used, my husband, who is a pharmacist, suggested we try something new and Hair Yum was born! The children loved it.
How do your three companies fit together?
My Good Nanny, Hair Yum, and Dare 2 Aspire were all created to help women, whether it is with their child care, hair care, or self-empowerment [needs]. The overall goal is to help women gain and/or develop the tools [they need] to be successful.
Many of the moms that contact us for nannies want out of corporate America; they want more time to be with their kids, but have [a] way to pay bills. The women and moms that attend Dare 2 Aspire gain valuable business information on how to monetize their business or expand their brand. Many of the moms also have children who need good hair-care solutions; we provide Hair Yum, which is the fastest growing vegan hair care line. It is like a triangle that all comes together and at the center is a mom. We provide tools to help: caregiving with My Good Nanny, lifestyle and health with Hair Yum, and business innovation with Dare 2 Aspire.
Were you always entrepreneurial or was the idea of starting your own business foreign to you?
I’ve always worked. Since I was 16, I have always had one hustle or another! I come from an entrepreneurial background, so owning a business is in my blood. My parents owned a shop in Chapel Hill. My dad also owned a very successful business in Nigeria. He always stressed the importance of owning a business. I am very grateful for the support my husband, children, and siblings have given me; they encourage me and always tell me to go for it!
The overall goal is to help women gain the tools [they need] to be successful.
How do you balance running three businesses and your home life?
I work all the time! Really, I am always working or thinking about work. I have two amazing assistants who help me with social media and other tasks. I rely greatly on my husband; he is incredibly smart and analytical, [and] he provides great guidance for me. My kids are really involved and have business titles. Our entire family knows the vision, we talk about business all the time. Everyone has a role. My mom is super about helping me with the kids and they love spending time with their grandmother. My siblings are great. I really am blessed in that everyone is rooting for my success.
What tips would you give to someone who would like to start their own business?
Pray about it. Save money, and really find and know your purpose in life. Don’t just chase the money. Chase the purpose. A few traits each mompreneur should have are humility, discipline, and a good attitude. These are all huge! Attitude will determine your altitude in most things, especially business.
You have to know what your gifts are and use them wisely. I would tell them to follow and listen to your inner voice and don’t be scared of following your dreams. I believe in the law of attraction: Positive thoughts bring about positive actions.
What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Keep up with demand and make sure you keep up with the customer. I’m [also] learning when to say yes and when to say no to people and different businesses. You can’t let everyone review your product. You can’t sell your product just anywhere. You have to know what people and places can best represent the product.
Where do you see your businesses going in the future?
Growth and expansion internationally. I want to expand my brands into Europe and Africa. My businesses are based on what’s happening, so in the next year [or] two, our products, services and myself will be changing, adapting and reinventing ourselves to be better.