“Behind every unusual entrepreneur lies an unusual beginning!”
If you have ever cared to know where I get the inspiration to write all the unusual articles published on this site; if you have ever thought to yourself, how did I become as I am? If you have ever been curious about my business name “MADphilips”; if you’ve ever asked what kind of an entrepreneur I am? If you have ever wondered about the source of my passion or pondered about what keeps me going?
If you’ve ever wanted to know the driving force behind my unwavering focus; if it has ever crossed your mind to know why I’m so bent on helping people, businesses and lives escape the trap of survival by empowering them to become SIGNIFICANT – different [unusually unique] and making a difference [unusually useful]; Then I have got good news for you! Don’t ask, think or second guess anymore because this article is specially written for you!
For the very first time ever, I am going to let you in on the inside story of my unusual journey into entrepreneurship. I have never shared this story publicly before, now you are going to have the rare privilege of hearing all about it straight from the horse’s mouth. I owe the inspiration for this revelation to quirky [unusual] entrepreneur Jess Webb of jessilicious.com who interviewed me recently.
During the interview she asked a rather unusual question; “What was the defining moment that started you on the business you’re in now?” Answering the question inspired me to share this unusual story with you guys. Read the whole interview here. [I strongly recommend her blog for every serious minded entrepreneur].
How does this UNUSUAL Story Benefit you?
I decided to share this unusual story at a time like this because it’s a New Year and I thought to myself, “what gift do I give to my awesome readers in appreciation for their unusual support these last 6months of naijapreneur!’s existence?” Then I remembered the words of a wise man that went like this; “the best gift a man could ever give to another is his personal philosophy of life!” So my dear readers, silver and gold I have not, but that which I have and have used thus far, I wholeheartedly offer.
So in case you are saying to yourself; “Slow down Tito, what the heck has your personal philosophy of life got to do with me?” OR “How does the story of your unusual journey into entrepreneurship develop my business IQ?” To both questions, I offer one resounding answer; to unveil once and for all the hidden secret behind every business success story out there. What is this hidden secret?
“The content of your personal life experience is your greatest competitive edge in business!”
Take it or leave it. Your most competitive advantage in business as an entrepreneur is your personal life experience as an individual. I have often said this, and will keep repeating it; “business is not different from life, business is an extension of life. They are both sides of the same coin”. You cannot separate your life from your business just as you cannot separate business from your life.
This is where the whole concept of following your passion as an entrepreneur originated from. The only way you are going to succeed and attain the enviable status of significance in your entrepreneurial endeavours is to bring the whole content of your personal life experience to full bear in your business.
Why is this so? Because there is something unique about you and your life experience that no other competition can replicate no matter how hard they try. They simply cannot replicate your life experience. Wow! Isn’t that just awesome?
Knowing this has been my greatest discovery in business and in life. It is totally liberating to know that you have an edge over all the others in your niche just because you have a personal life experience that is uniquely yours. Your only task therefore is to find a way to add some usefulness to your uniqueness.
That is, use your unique personal life experience to do some good [useful] in the world through your business. Pull from the content of your life experience to set yourself apart in business!
Here are some classical examples; Richard Branson founder of Virgin Group who due to dyslexic left school at the age of 15 with “pretty well no qualifications“! He has ever since been leveraging on that personal experience of his life to build a global empire. Today the Virgin Group is made up of around 200 companies spanning 30 countries. Not bad for a guy who left school with “pretty well no qualifications”!
Then there’s the comeback kid; Steve Jobs of Apple who during his famous commencement speech at Standford University shared 3 lessons which had been pivotal to his success by drawing upon his personal life experience. And finally, my personal favourite; Warren Buffet who sold coke at night from door-to-door at a tender age of 6. From then on, he has leveraged that early personal experience in life to become the largest shareholder of coca-cola.
All of these points to the same thing; your personal life experience counts in your entrepreneurial journey. There’s something about your past that can add up to become your greatest differentiating idea in business. Your task is to dig deep into your past to find it.
So, the whole essence of this unusual revelation of the origin of MADphilips is to help you learn from my own story how to use your personal life experience as your greatest competitive advantage by showing you how I have been able to do that myself.
The Origin of MADphilips
My unusual journey into the world of entrepreneurship began in 2005 when in my quest for survival I almost sabotaged my purpose in life. I was heading down a destructive path very fast. What was this path? I was once an online scam artist! In my country, Nigeria, this is popularly known as “Yahoo! – Yahoo!”.
How does this work? Through the internet, relationships are initiated and built between a man and a woman over a certain period of time with the intention of being together as lovers in the nearest future. One person out of both parties, usually the one being scammed [the maga] is completely honest, innocent and ignorant of the nefarious intentions of the other person [the scammer].
The whole objective of the scam artist [scammer] is to siphon money as much as possible from the one being scammed all the while leveraging on the emotions of love, romance and sex. The real identity of the scammer is usually hidden because a phony name, gender, nationality, location, story and even pictures are being used all through the period of interaction. The scammer can assume any gender, male or female, depending on the availability of pictures in any particular period.
I was employed as a cybercafé computer attendant in May 2005. I worked primarily overnight when scammers came to chat with their ‘maga’ via Instant Messenger [IM] in the cybercafé due to the time difference. While it was day in Africa, it was night in other parts of the world and vice versa. So night was the ideal time to connect online with their supposedly significant other [maga].
This was how I got introduced into the game. The rules of the game were simple; play the game but never get attached to the maga. Meaning, do everything you can to get the money, never fall in love with the maga!
Precisely on July 2nd, 2005 I met a 40 year old woman via Yahoo chat room, her name is Victoria S. Jaime. She is an American who lived in Sacramento, California with three kids; Saulomon [male, 13 years old then], Petrapilar [Petra for short, female, 7 years old then] and Enereo [a special needs child; he was 4 years old then]. At that time she was working with Silicon Graphics International [SGI].
I was under the phony name “Timmy Thomas”, a phony age of 31 years, a phony location South Africa and used a phony Yahoo ID “teeblackstone” while in reality I was only just turning 21 years on the 25th of that same month of July we met. We became friends, very close friends from the moment we got talking and it didn’t take us long to bond eventually as lovers. Just for the record, what I felt for her was absolutely real. If you asked me, I would say, everything about us was just so darn unusual.
From the very beginning; I broke all the rules of the game. I wasn’t just being attached; I was head over my heels. In fact, she even had a special name for me; “Mi Amor” meaning ‘My Love’ and I had a special name for her “Mon Cher” meaning, ‘My Dear’.
For my birthday present, she sent me a Nokia 6620 camera phone, a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer titled, “The power of intention” [she also had a copy] and a stone with the word “inspiration” inscribed on it. Guess what? Except the phone which ultimately got stolen that same year in December, I still have the book and the stone! How about that for unusual?
To cut the long story short, our love for each other grew so strong that she sent me $1500 in August for a computer engineering course I previously had in mind to enroll for but couldn’t due to lack of funds. She called it an investment. We planned to see each other physically in September during my so called visit from South Africa to see my mother who was living in Nigeria.
This was when I couldn’t take it anymore. Meeting physically was against the rules of the game. There wasn’t supposed to be any physical meeting between the two parties involved, because one party was real [the maga] while the other wasn’t [the scammer]. Normally, following the rules of the game, this was supposed to be my exit point. But I did the unusual.
I Quit the Game!
I came clean and told her the whole truth. On one of our phone conversations, she made a statement as she was always fond of saying, “Tim, you always sound so older and talk so wiser than your age. You sound like you are 60!” Right there and then, I seized the opportunity and told her my real age, name, and everything else there was to confess about.
For about 3 hours, we were both on the phone crying and asking ourselves why? She was so brokenhearted. I had to tell her the whole truth because I couldn’t stand not meeting her in person. Deep down inside me, I desperately wanted to meet her in person, even till now, I still do!
Everything changed from that night. The next time we had a chat online, she told me how she had refused to go out since the past 3 days and had been in door crying herself out. She didn’t know how she was going to tell her kids that their so called daddy to be was just a phony!
She didn’t know how to tell her family and friends, some of whom I had chatted with online that I was all a lie. She didn’t know how to get herself to accept me and take me as her man and lover if I was just only 21. I begged and promised her that the age difference wouldn’t matter, but she wouldn’t listen.
The worst part was when she even threatened leaving Sacramento California where she had lived all the 40 years of her life to Chicago, just because she couldn’t stand the shame of those around her when they asked her where the love of her life was. It was really a very traumatic time for the both of us; life became boredom!
Her Greatest Impact on My Life!
In case you are wondering why was I so keen on meeting her? Here’s the truth; this woman Victoria S. Jaime literally changed my life! She is responsible for my rebirth, because she pointed out to me my role here on earth [my purpose]. In her own very words, she said to me;
“Tim, in all of my years, experience and education on earth, I have never had anyone not even my teachers at the Dale Carnegie’s institute, speak to me like you do. Their words never had as much impact on me as yours. Tim, your words is your wealth. That is all you need to be everything you dream in life!”
Those words, gave my life a new meaning. They made me realize that I didn’t have to continue with being a scam artist anymore since I had something SIGNIFICANT to offer the world. Why go ahead with a false identity when my real identity still spoke out loud from beneath a false identity? There was no need being someone else when I could do the world a greater good being myself. I made a promise to myself to give this new life she had pointed out to me a chance.
With the money she sent me, I refused to go for the computer engineering course she had given me the money for. Rather, I asked her permission to go for a 3 weeks leadership development program I had recently seen being advertized in my church. She agreed and so I began the program in September.
During the course of the program, I bought as many personal and business development books as possible. Paid for and attended as many personal and business development seminars, workshops or conferences as possible. I have never stopped, nor looked back ever since.
That’s how I became who I am today – MADphilips. To always remember and commit to my just found purpose in life, I added the acronym ‘MAD’ which stands for Making A Difference to my surname ‘Philips’ and registered it as my company name. The name stands as a reminder to me every time of how I escaped the trap of survival and how I must help as many people, businesses and lives do the same.
Today, MADphilips is fast becoming a Nigerian brand with a global appeal that is helping people, businesses and lives become dissatisfied with SURVIVAL and showing them how to make the crucial life changing transition from survival to significance. I started this blog “naijapreneur!” to teach businesses and entrepreneurs how to be SIGNIFICANT because I have also seen how businesses that focus on survival [making a living] end up as mediocres.
Having witnessed personally what focusing on survival [making a living] can do to destroy one’s destiny in life, I am currently working on another blog iLIVE4CHANGE that will teach people how to say no to the trap of survival and make the transition to live a life of significance.
And finally, to help more lives become SIGNIFICANT, I intend to build a humanitarian organization called Helpers Of Destiny [HOD] to give hope to many less privileged kids of underdeveloped nations. She knows about this, we even planned on building it together.
The End and another Beginning…
Today,6 years later, I am still online, but no longer as a scammer [teeblackstone], but as a blogger [MADphilips]. I’m no longer using my gift with words for deception but for inspiration.
Today when I speak at events, I still get the same feedback as I got from Victoria, “Your words are powerful, how come you know these and talk so deep at such a young age?” My answer is usually the same – PURPOSE.
We are all but instruments in the hands of the almighty. If as a scammer, my gift with words was recognized in spite of all the deception, then I leave you with the greatest truth on earth –
“your purpose can never be HIDDEN, no matter how far astray you might have gone!“
I and Victoria are no longer talking, the last time we spoke was in 2008 and she was still very cross with me. Her final words to me was this,
“goodbye Tim, Tito or whatever it is you call yourself. I don’t need your words anymore because they are all lies. And when you do write a book, don’t bother sending me a copy again because I don’t want to hear from you anymore!”
I still wish and pray that someday, we would meet and reconcile physically. If you are reading this, and have been inspired by this unusual story, I have a little favour to ask from you. What’s your own unusual story? Do you mind sharing it? Don’t you think it’s high time you stopped hiding it? Remember, it’s your greatest competitive edge in business as an entrepreneur!
Great job on sharing your story here! I’m glad you decided to do it. 🙂 And thank you so much for the mention, as well! 🙂
I particularly liked the part about how your purpose was shining through even when you were off track. That the real you was still visible and peeking out past the deception.
So good of you to have been a part of this post. In fact, it’s more like you made it come true. Thanks so so very much. I’m grateful to have connected with you!
Quite a story you have here! I’m glad to be in your buddies list 😀
Thanks for the feedback buddy, glad we connected too. Somehow, there will be more smart things we would work on together. 🙂
Inspiring stuff dude. You’ve a long way and I wish you all the best for your future. Thank you for making this post a part of Life Lessons Series.
Thanks a million Abubakar for making it out here and offering me the rare privilege to share this unusual story with other bloggers through the life lesson series you and Farnoosh have brilliantly put together. I’m eternally grateful.
TJ – that was a significantly inspirational and well written life story. I love hearing the transition; the maturation from one sector of life to the next.
I agree that it’s our life experiences that contributes to our successes in business. Unfortunately, many don’t make the transition and capitalize off of the life experience that they endured; they chose to be a victim of pity and self-doubt. BUT NOT YOU. You’ve not only rebounded from a direction of doom, you’ve self-commissioned yourself to help others recognize their significance.
I too have a life story…much different than yours, but one that has shaped me into the hustler that I am. I’ve experienced what so many others have in the inner-city U.S. ghettos…but where many don’t overcome – I overcame. Knowing this fuels me to deliver my best – because I KNOW that I’ve been blessed, significantly – and I obviously have a purpose to fulfill, that’s much larger than myself.
Sadly, the first thing that I thought of when I thought of Nigeria were the words “online scam”…we all get the emails from the “king” in Nigeria who has 20 hundred gazillion pounds of gold that he needs to get transfered into US currency, then transfered into my account. HOWEVER – after meeting you; getting to know you; befriending you, the image of Nigeria completely changed to a place of education, intelligence, thriving business, and so on. Not only do you represent yourself very well, but you have been a great ambassador to your country…representing it in a light that shines with humanity and significance and an unusually useful way!
Thanks for the transparency into Tito the entrepreneur. It’s something that we all want to know – what’s the driving force. Something that I will follow your lead in.
My Nigerian brother, peace!
Thank You JK!
Your comments brought tears to my eyes. It is truly a long road, it had to be this way for a reason one of which you have so clearly pointed out – to rewrite the story about Nigeria from a country exporting scam to a country that exports greatness [significance]. This is why every where I go, in my profile, I make it known that I am a Nigerian and I’m MAD -Making A Difference!
Thank you so much JK, for giving our friendship a chance to thrive. You could as well have written me off judging by the negative image my country projects.
What an amazing story you have. I’m so glad you shared it with us. For me it says what I believe to be the truth – we are all bursting with goodness and talents just waiting to be expressed! When we find our special gift that we can share others we become unstoppable! So nice meeting you via Abubakar Jamil.
You are welcome to naijapreneur! Thank you so very much for being so patient to go through this story and sharing your views about it. I’m glad Abubakar and Farnoosh made it possible for us to connect. It’s such a pleasure meeting you too.
Truly, greatness does lie in everyone of us. Life sometimes may try to suffocate the greatness in all of us, but thank God for God, who makes it possible for us to shine through it all.
What an inspirational post! We all get affected by someone that can change our life and help us find our purpose. You have come a long way my friend. 🙂
That’s quite true Dia, someone, somewhere, comes along our path in life and leaves such an indelible positive mark behind. Thank you so much for your feedback and support. I am grateful.
Man that story is crazy… I couldn’t imagine falling for someone whom I’m scamming. Unusual indeed. But really well written article.
Thank you for your comment. It’s nice to have you around here. Really, in life we often meet the unexpected in the most unusual circumstances. it can be very ironical indeed.
Welcome to naijapreneur!
Wow, this was an incredibly moving story. I read the whole thing and didn’t want to stop reading! Haha I was prepared to read one of your amazing entrepreneurship posts and was pleasantly surprised with your story of how you got here! Amazing!
You’ve inspired me to share my own, although mine is extremely boring haha. I might save it for a blog post one day, maybe when my blog reaches it’s first birthday.
Thanks for sharing this Tito, it’s amazing what we go through in life. Sometimes everything seems so negative, but it just makes us better people!
Thank You Elise for your nice words always. Trust, your journey into entrepreneurship cannot be that boring as you think, our life experiences are learning opportunities for many out there no matter how boring we might think of it. There is something about your past that can help someone make a life or business changing decision. So, I am looking forward to reading it already! 🙂
Tito, you have quite a moving story. For me, it sounds almost like a movie. Heck, it is a movie and you are a hero! Transforming own self into a leader from a scammer is no easy feat!
Trust yourself, you will surely meet her. Just believe and you will.
My story? Nothing dramatic. But I had a moment that made me thought and brought back the old me. I blogged it here: http://bloggingwithsuccess.net/tell-your-story
Thanks Ishan for the encouragement. I do appreciate it. I believe in what you said too, someday I will meet her and we’ll hopefully reconcile. I am heading off now to go read your story 🙂
Wow, what a story! You might have an unpleasant start but look at you know. It just proves that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Thank you for sharing your life story. You’ve a brave and brilliant guy. Keep up the good work!
Thank You Anne for the comment. And welcome to naijapreneur!
I stumblled into your blog by chance. I thank God for it. I have come across a good Christian. Your mission is no different from that of Saul turned Paul.You are an unusual Christian. You are a MAD Christian. I am eager to learn from you and be one like you a MAD Christian.
Pushpakumar P V
It’s nice to have you here in our little community. Good to know you are a person of faith too, it’s a critical factor necessary for thriving in the hostile world of business.
its good you came clean. i actually laughed a bit at part of the story. but its good you’re now using your skill for help others.
I couldn’t help but come clean, it was the only right thing to do then. This was someone who meant well for me and I was on the other side hurting her with my false idendity. The relationship mattered more than all the money. Thanks for the comment. Looking back now, I imagine what my life would have been had I not quit!
What an inspiring story. And I agree with you 100% that “your purpose can never be HIDDEN, no matter how far astray you might have gone!“ It hasn’t been easy streets identifying my purpose, any tips on that? You are indeed an inspiration.
Download the entrepreneurship made simple ebook and you will learn how to discover your purpose. Just enter your name and email address in the subscription box on the site by your right and you will get the ebook.
TJ as fondly called by Kelle
You are really MAD -Making A Difference!
Seriously!!! Tito is an ASSET and a blessing to humanity.
I thank God for meeting him.
I pray GOD help you the more to help others.
Really appreciate the comment. Thanks for stopping by and dropping your thoughts!
Tito, that is a moving piece. You sure the gift of inspiring others and making your thoughts to flow like an unstoppable water. Thank God that you discovered yourself that early. Your story will sure be a lesson to others. Now that you are where are, kindly get back to her, reconcile with her, just be a friend, and if possible refund her money.
Marvelous work you are doing.