Clement Akwe’s guide on how to survive Computer Village, Ikeja


The journey that our guest on Everyday People today, Clement Akwe, took to get from having an interest in medicine to studying biology at the university was undoubtedly a winding one. However, that did not stop him from continuing. Since quitting his job as a banker in 2017, he is now the CEO of PCLabng Enterprises, where he sells laptops and other accessories and makes as much as 1 million ($2,391) per month. He makes this money by selling laptops and other accessories.

If there is something like a thousand percent chance of something happening, then there is absolutely no chance that I will regret it. If business continues to be strong and I am able to sell a number of laptops in a week or two, I may be able to make as much as you do in a month working in the banking industry, or even more. And you'll have to put in a full month of labor before you see any pay.

What a challenge this transition has been, you guys! Wow. Do you know that if I had the choice between working in business or in banking, I would choose business?

In a nutshell, it's the wisest choice I've made up to this point.

When I first started working [in the bank], I was an ET, which stands for executive trainee. Back then, I had a monthly income of 140k ($337). After that, when I was elevated to the position of ET II, it was raised again. I believe that my final pay before I left them was 165 thousand yen, which is equivalent to $397.

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Depending on how well business is going, I make close to one million naira in a single month from my profits, which I can calculate if I want to.

Sometimes ₦500k ($1,205), ₦800k ($1,928), and I'd be like, " Why I enter banking sector sef?"

Getting things started in the Computer Village

computer village relocation 19 of 42 0 1141Busy streets of Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos

However, there have been times when it has been challenging. Leaving the banking industry and starting a new career as an apprentice in Computer Village [Ikeja, Lagos] is like, wow!! It's almost as if you're going from the highest point to the lowest point. When I left the bank in the beginning of 2017, I came into Computer Village with no balance in my account.

Despite the fact that I was familiar with a man, I eventually decided that I did not wish to continue my relationship with him.

Allow me to look for a location, please. After that, I would visit other people's stores, select items from them, and reassure them that I would pay them as soon as the customer provided payment. I invested the money I made from the sales into expanding my business by purchasing additional laptops and opening a shop, among other things. In addition to that, I made sure that I was present on each and every online platform. I was active on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Google My Business, and even Facebook.

During that same time period, I was running ads on Facebook as well as raising brand awareness on Facebook and even Instagram in order to get more people familiar with the brand.

When I left the banking industry, I knew a portion of it, somewhere between sixty and seventy percent, so all I needed to do was brush up on my technology skills and everything else.

However, prior to working in banking, I earned a degree in biology; this is actually an interesting tale.

During my time in secondary school, I began to work side jobs. I was working part-time as a clerk in a chemist (also known as a neighborhood drug store). And then there was the fact that we used to provide people with cuts and other injuries with rudimentary first aid, which sparked my interest in the field. I was like, "Okay, I think I should go into medicine and the like," but you are familiar with the current situation in Nigeria, so you already know the answer to that question.

Since I wasn't able to get into the actual class I needed, I decided to switch to biology instead, and that was that.

Banking was all the rage back then, but these days it doesn't really amount to much of anything at all. While you were growing up, you would look at your so-called uncles and think to yourself, "Okay, I think I need to work in the bank."

In point of fact, it served as a stepping stone for me, and it was of great assistance to me. The majority of my former coworkers continue to do business with me because it provides them with the reassurance that there is someone in Computer Village that they can rely on.

How to avoid being taken advantage of.

array of laptops at the Pclabng shopSome of the laptops at the Pclabng shop

When it comes to delivery, I would prefer to send a dispatch rider that I know here [in Computer Village] rather than go through an app, despite the fact that going through an app is still a safe option. Nearly all of my clients come from the internet (let's round that number up to 95%), and the vast majority of them are located in locations other than Lagos. On platforms like Instagram and Jiji, cons are very common; many of us have fallen victim to one or the other.

There was this one time when I was in charge of dispatch and I was responsible for sending a rider to deliver a phone. In all honesty, I had no idea that it was a scam.

Therefore, I just handed the phone to the rider who handles dispatching,

" Oga, please take this phone to the Island and deliver it there.

When he arrived, I was prepared to collect payment; however, the dispatch rider made the mistake of failing to provide the customer with my account number. Therefore, he sent the money to the wrong account, which was the account of the con artist.

The dispatch rider called me, but when he asked about payment, I told him, "Oga, I haven't seen it yet."

I was required to go down there, meet them, and explain everything; after that, with the assistance of some MOPOL [mobile policemen] who were nearby, I was able to get the phone back.

Therefore, what transpired was a transaction involving a third party, and he sent payment to the incorrect individual. The customer was having a conversation with the con artist, who was also having a conversation with me.

Because he provided me with the real customer's phone number and address, I initially believed that the con artist was the buyer. I was completely unaware that the con artist had already disclosed the customer's account number to him. I believe that he sent around 170,000 dollars; this occurred in 2019, prior to the [COVID-19] lockdown.

Because of this, it is always best to send a dispatch rider who is familiar to you and who has previous experience. They are aware of it once it has become a third-party arrangement. They will just leave the location if they get there and the customer is not sending the money to them.

A former client who now acts as an advisor, and his family

Clement Akwe sitting behind a desk at his shopClement Akwe. Quite a busy man, replying messages, receiving phone calls

There is one particular client that I frequently bring up because we have become so close that he is almost like a brother to us. I still recall the day that he came to buy the very first laptop that he had purchased from me. It was a used HP Pavilion Power laptop in excellent condition, grade A.

I sold it to him at cost because he was still wearing his Corper uniform and he was pleading that he needed a laptop. I sold it to him cost to cost, which means I sold it to him at the cost price. And ever since we've been friends. When he started working for a new company, he made sure to introduce me to his new coworkers.

Even though he is no longer with the company, they continue to make purchases from me. Even though he is currently outside of the country, he continues to make purchases from me, and I continue to ship them to him wherever he may be. In a nutshell, he has told all of his friends about me, and that's the best part.

Even though it was another client, I decided to make use of the BNPL (buy now, pay later) option. It was a foreboding morning when he called and said he wanted to buy a laptop, but he only had 80 percent of the funds necessary.

After that, he inquired, "Do you make use of Klump?"

And I said, " No."

I decided to register because I wanted to sell a laptop to a specific person, and after I told him about it, he made the purchase. The problem is that not everyone has the complete financial means to purchase what they want. Therefore, it is similar to assisting the client.

I just tell them, “ Okay, why not do buy now and pay later?”

And with that, I’ve made a lot of sales even though I just started in May [2022].

I’m open to every platform as long as it helps me boost my sales.

My favorite part, however, is when the money starts coming in. When I first started out, however, I made sure that I wasn't motivated by the money; rather, I was motivated by the desire to please each and every customer. That was the thing that helped me the most. There have been instances in which I have sold items at the same price at which I had purchased them, for example, if I had paid 50 euros for an item, I would then sell it for the same price.

Anything that could potentially lead to confusion or trouble. I simply respond with, "Okay, could you please bring it back?"

There was this one time, back when I was first starting out, that I sold a customer a laptop that was defective in some way. We tried fixing it but he was like, “ I want my money back.”

I said, “ Okay, if you want your money back, hold on, let me sell the laptop.”

Despite the fact that I had already explained everything to him, he still brought some soldiers down and told them, "This guy sold a bad laptop to me." I gave him his money back, sha.

After some time had passed and I had provided the other person with payment, I was finally able to relax. After a week of using it, I finally conceded and said, "Okay, let me check this laptop and see what the problem is."

Because it was only the RAM, I decided to replace it before selling the laptop. Since then, the individual who purchased it has been calling me regularly, and I've even received referrals thanks to him.

Sailing through the turbulent waters of Nigeria

array of laptops at the Pclabng shop

Let's be honest with each other: the warranty system in this country does not function properly. When you sell something to a customer, in most cases it will be brand new; however, if something goes wrong with it, the customer may return it to you. Despite the fact that the vast majority of customers won't tell you the whole truth.

Even if you take it to a service center, such as the ones that HP or ASUS have, they will still charge you money to fix it, regardless of where you take it. They will tell you that in order to get the parts, they need to go outside of Nigeria and find a supplier. And you will receive an invoice for that.

If you were to tell the customer this, they would respond by stating that the item is now brand new and that there is a warranty. Therefore, you are the one who must bear the cross.

There are some repairs that repair centers will complete at no cost if they observe that the customer already possesses the necessary component.

But the majority of the time, we don't buy directly from HP; instead, we buy from third-party vendors, and once the third-party vendor collects his money, we collect ours [Once the third-party vendor gets his money, he will no longer do business with you].

Now, the federal government in [Nigeria] has said that we can't spend more than $20 per debit card in a single month; this is really frustrating for me because I need to run ads on Instagram and Google. But praise be to God for bartering! Their prices are extremely high, but what other options do I have? I have to run advertisements.