From a meagre 16,000 to Mega millions: How Ademola of Thrillhaus became a business ‘rock star’

Today, we bring you an exclusive interview of a young Nigerian entrepreneur currently leading a successful IT firm and on the verge of leading a revolution in the alternative energy sector. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you, Ademola Ajayi, C.E.O OF THRILLHOUSE LTD

What inspired you to launch into the business world?

I actually never planned going to the business world, it wasn’t like I grew up wanting to be an entrepreneur or the owner of a business. Starting a business was just a way of using my extra time and paying extra bills, so there was no inspiration per se when I launched, but down the road I began to realise that this is what God has called me to do. Thrillhouse is not a business to me, it is a purpose I must fulfil on earth.
What was your capital start up?

16,000 thousand naira.
How did you cope as a top entrepreneur on campus yet finished as one of the best students in your class?

Basically, it was all about sacrifice. I had to sacrifice some of the things that consumes time generally. I had to give up on sleep and movies. During my school days I only got about 5 hours of sleep and never had time for movies. Several times, I travel and miss classes, but then I go back to my mates for the explanations and the notes taken in my absence; but much more than all the planning and time management, I put God at the centre of all my affairs and also the leading of the Holy Spirit. 

How do you manage your team and inspire them to deliver optimally?

People say managing people is difficult; but I always say “When you are able to manage yourself, your attitude; you can easily manage other people”. It is also very important to respect people, every person has their strength and one thing I have learnt to do is to borrow people’s talent and also their strength for maximum productivity. I learnt how to communicate with my staffs collectively and individually based on each one’s personality. I also reason with my team members and respect their opinions. I give them the opportunity to lead in their various departments. Making people’s opinions and suggestions count matters a lot when working with a team.

Have you won any awards or recognition for your entrepreneurship efforts?

I have won some, about eleven or twelve and several others I did not honour because I felt it wasn’t for me. One thing I do tell myself is that it is not yet time for awards because I know what I see in my mind concerning Thrillhouse and we are not there yet, so I think awards should come only after the work.

What makes Thrillhouse different from her competitors?

Two or three years ago, I would have been bothered by competition but now I see things in a different light. Your brand says everything about you; whether you are an innovator or you just copy others. Our brand at Thrillhaus says the difference. We are original, we start new things and we do our things differently. We live every day to be better than yesterday. We embrace healthy competition. 
Are you in a relationship? And what should an entrepreneur look out for in a partner?

Yes I am in a relationship. What I think everyone should look for in a partner is someone that challenges you to do more, someone that makes you feel you are good but you can be better, someone that understands and buys into your vision so He/She doesn’t preach to you what is not yours. He/she has to be understanding and most importantly, someone you love.
What are your 5 favourite books of all time?

I am not really a book person, I embrace other forms of learning. I learn from people, I embrace videos because they are timed unlike books and I also attend trainings, seminars and the likes.
Who is your mentor or role model and why is mentoring important?

I have mentors in different areas of my life. I can’t particularly say I have just one mentor. I look at the different fields I am interested in and I look for people who are good in that area to mentor me but overall I believe my best mentor is Jesus. I think mentoring is important if you don’t want to fail and fail again.
Where do you see ThrillHouse in 5 years?

Personally, I think that is the most difficult question to answer. I really cannot say precisely but I know that in terms of alternative energy and IT in this country we would be one of the best. I can’t guarantee this number of building but I can say that in 5 years, we would be very significant, much more significant than we are today.
What would you have done better if given the chance?

I would have been more prudent with the resources I had when starting up my business. I would have acted faster with my ideas; I would have taken my ideas more seriously.
What are your last words for upcoming entrepreneurs out there?

Whatever you lay your hands to do, do it with all your heart. When you are in a venture, stay with it, don’t be distracted. Every entrepreneur should be hundred percent loyal to their dreams, when I say loyal, I mean respect your dreams, improve on yourself everywhere necessary and be the best at what you do.

Published by Ogunbowale Olugbenga

Ogunbowale Olugbenga is a multiple award winning social entrepreneur & digital skills expert. An alumnus of the Leadership in Business Institute of Kellogg School of Management (USA), He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria). Inspired by the plight of millions of unemployed youths, Olugbenga founded, a digital agency passionately growing businesses & accelerating the application of digital skills for economic prosperity across Africa. To help institutions prevent scandals & promote performance, Gbenga founded Polivoice.Work, an anonymous employee feedback tool that captures & analyses feedback anonymously in real time to detect, predict & improve work place conditions. A Mandela Washington Fellow, Tony Elumelu Fellow, Royal Common wealth society fellow, YALI star of business & YALI network influencer, Olugbenga is the founder of Africa’s biggest orphanage outreach, The Orphan Empowerment Society, with a 5,000 strong volunteer force and a presence in 19 African countries empowering thousands of orphans with free vocational skills, medical care, & food. He is also the co-founder of the communication & leadership organization, Pacesetters Leadership Club.

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