Interviewing the beautiful Toju who runs “CookedbyTee” , a catering company that provides meticulous approach towards service delivery, was an awesome experience for me because I’m a passionate food lover. She shares her journey into entrepreneurship and  brings a distinctive insight into corporate catering and food management.
Get inspired and don’t forget to share to every female founder you know to get them motivated too.
In the beginning, what motivated you to become an entrepreneur?Becoming an entrepreneur wasn’t planned really, Growing up I learnt how to cook watching my dad cook , he was a chef  and cooked for sailors although he traveled a lot but i watched him every time he was home cooking. So after fruitless search for a job I had to look inward and think of what I could do for myself , i put what i had learnt from my dad into good use and then CookedbyTee was founded.

How is running a successful business different than what you thought it would be?Going into business and making it a success is more than what you put on paper, it takes the patience of job to be in business, there are a lot of times all you can do is wait, keep sowing , I term this period of business the teething period….none of the things I planned out in the beginning went as planned, I found myself sowing more than I could imagine but then you reap if you do not give up.

What does a day in the life of Tee consist of?Stressful but its worth it though, my typical day starts with me waking up at 2:30am, say my prayers , grab my apron and do what i love doing best “cook”. I enjoy the quiet time I can get before the gas starts burning and it burns from 4am to 5pm, we deal with all type of customers round the clock , weekends are most hectic with one event or the other.

What entrepreneurial hacks have you developed to stay focused and productive in your day-to-day activities?Oh, my journal…you know recipe ideas can come to you sometimes in strange ways or places, even customers give ideas too which is awesome. So I put them down then I set reminders on my phone to stay in line with my task for the day.

How have your entrepreneurial motivations evolved over time?Trust me it’s not always fun waking up 2:30am sometimes when the alarm rings I start crying but over time I’ve learnt to be strong, learnt to be grateful, they are times I’ve stood working for 12 hours my legs all swollen I complain but then I remind myself  greatness comes with pain so for me self talk does it.

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What has been the most exciting period of your entrepreneurial journey since you launched CookedbyTee?
Finally being able to make people get familiar with the name CookedbyTee is awesome and when we cater for corporate events, weddings etc .Seeing guests enjoy our meal recipes without complain soothes the pain of the tedious preparation process and of course the bank alert .(Lol)

What’s your most memorable experience as an entrepreneur ?

Being trusted enough to run company canteens. My experience with MTN Nigeria was awesome, the feed back everyday was a blessing.

What is your favorite business tool and how has it helped running CookedbyTee?

It will be my measuring scale and cup, this has helped me maintain both taste, portion and standard. It has helped in the industry recognition CookedbyTee has received so far.

How does being an entrepreneur affect your relationships with your family and friends?

I’m nothing without them, their support, prayers and encouragement, I can’t trade it for anything.

Looking back, what’s the one thing you wish you understood about entrepreneurship before you started?

To me entrepreneurship comes from passion, passion alone sustains the drive when others halt. Even if I understood  everything  and didn’t enjoy cooking I would have tired out. Instead I embrace all I learn everyday, the learning never ends and this helped shape the person I’ve become.

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How do you intend to inspire other female founders who look up to you? I will say to them Greater is coming and they should keep doing what they do. The pay day will come soon.

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