“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!