Happy Valentine’s Day. Today’s conversation is with a very lovely fabulous child of God called Gifty Anane. Before we get to it, tell me you’ve grabbed your tickets for our upcoming International Fabulous Women’s Conference from 4th to 7th March, 2022. If you haven’t already, there’s still time to catch the early bird rate which expires on 15th February. We are looking forward to hosting you in-person at Fab Hub Ashanti or online via Zoom.
And now, to Gifty’s story…
Ama Duncan (AD): Gifty, thank you for making time to talk to us today. Please start by telling us about yourself.
Gifty Anane (GA): I’m currently with Jackson Educational Complex as a Student Relationship Officer. I have a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with specialization in Human Resource Management. I’m also the founder of Gifty Solves Educational Consult – an educational consultancy. We counsel individuals, particularly students who want to continue their education to the undergraduate or postgraduate level by guiding them to choose courses. Further, we help them find schools abroad, with their application and visa applications, etc. By God’s grace we are able to help a number of students and we believe God to help more because at the end of the day what we hope to achieve is to have smiles on the faces of people, help them achieve their goal and their academic pursuit.
AD: Fabulous! So what inspired you to start this business?
GA: I used to work with a travel and tour agency. I was actually employed as a Business Development Manager but the nature of the business was that I was playing all roles including Finance Officer, Marketer, Receptionist, etc. At the time, I was paid five hundred Ghana Cedis (500) a month. I was a student paying my own tuition fee, rent, utility and all that but by the grace of God and because of determination I accepted the offer. One Wednesday afternoon at work, my boss called me to his office. He told me business was not going on well and so he was closing down. It was like a bullet had hit me! I was in a rough state at that time and I didn’t have any choice. I accepted, packed my things and left.
A few days later a friend in that same building called and asked why I hadn’t been coming to work. I told him our business had closed down. And he replied ‘what do you mean? Your boss has been coming to work and I have seen some of your other colleagues so what do you mean by the business has been closed?’ Honestly, I was confused because it didn’t make sense to me. I did my own investigations and realized that I was actually fired and not laid off. I felt I had been treated unfairly. I asked a Lawyer friend to take it on because I wasn’t given a pesewa when I was fired. Besides, things were really rough. We met with my former boss and he couldn’t give any tangible reason. Eventually, I decided to let it go. I really cried that day because I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was in my second year at the University. I didn’t know how I was going to pay my fees and all that.
As we were walking out of my boss’s office, my Lawyer friend said, ‘don’t you think this is the plan of God? That he brought you here to learn the processes of becoming an educational consultant? He is pushing you out so that you can start something new on your own. When he said that honestly it hit me but I felt I did not have the skills to manage a business. I was so scared. I can’t do it. He said he didn’t know of any woman in Kumasi running a similar agency so I should give it a shot. I thought and prayed about it. As I was in the process of applying for a new job and didn’t have any yet I drafted a message on my WhatsApp and sent it to a couple of friends. I told them to please push it to their groups, friends, family members and anybody who wanted to study in Italy. I knew the process and could assist them. I received a lot of calls and messages and was like ‘wow this thing is not bad. Let me give it my all’.
Interestingly, in as much as I was receiving calls and messages in six (6) months I didn’t get a single client and I was devastated. This was not going to help me pay my fees. I got discouraged and wanted to give up but my Lawyer friend encouraged me. He said when he started his law firm, it took him so many years to be established so I should keep going. Not long after this conversation I had my first client who actually paid money for me to offer a service for him. Fortunately or unfortunately, he also had financial issues so we had to stop the process. However, several months later, I got a second client through my first client. He wanted to travel to Canada for school. Interestingly I didn’t have an office but this man who was around 50 or 60 agreed to meet me at the mall. He did not question how authentic I was. We just agreed on the amount and everything and he made payment right there. I was like ‘what??’. To cut a long story short as I am speaking to you his son is in Canada now. He is a permanent resident and he has a full time job. And he has also been recommending people to me. This is definitely the doing of God. I believe that at that time God actually made my boss fire me. If he hadn’t done that I wouldn’t have started my own business. And by the grace of God since then we have helped several other students to the UK, Canada, Italy and so many other countries. This is definitely the work of God.
AD: What a powerful story! Wow! So tell me Gifty, how did you survive these months without any revenue?
GA: God bless my mom. She had this small trading business she’s been doing and she supported me. Sometimes I even felt bad asking ‘Ma, me sika asa. Mek) school (Mummy, my money is finished. I’m going to school)’. Sometimes, all I had was transportation and couldn’t even afford sachet water when I was thirsty. Things were that bad. Sometimes I had to plead with the Accountant before being allowed to write exams because I owed school fees. It was terrible but by the grace of God, I got to where I am today. It was definitely the work of God.
Interestingly because of my work experience over the years when I finished my first degree in August, Jackson Educational Complex had a vacancy. A friend asked me why I didn’t apply and I said it was because I didn’t have a certificate. She encouraged me to apply anyway and I did. Professor and Mrs. Jackson and about five (5) people were on the panel. Oh my goodness! I was trembling! Out of about 400 applicants, I was part of the less than twenty (20) people employed and I had not received my certificate yet. My life has been by the grace of God. Because I mean, who am I? People with Master’s degrees applied and I thought I wouldn’t be accepted.
AD: To God be the glory. How has the experience been for you; managing your business and being in full time employment?
GA: Honestly speaking it’s challenging combining business with full time work and God has been good. We are pushing gradually and I have an amazing team that I work with. My Lawyer friend who encouraged me to start the business is a partner right now. We also have a digital marketer and a Secretary on our team. Just yesterday I prayed, ‘God, I feel so exhausted. If you don’t give me strength, I will mess up’. God has been keeping us through. COVID-19 hit us big time but here we are by God’s grace, we have started operations again. To the glory of God things are quite better than before. It comes with its own ups and downs.
AD: Indeed. What is your biggest lesson from this experience?
GA: First and foremost, I will say that I cannot do anything without God. He has sustained me all these years, through the difficult, bad and ugly times. My advice to others is that no matter what you are going through, go back to the Creator. You have this confidence when you pray and study the word of the Lord and you know God is behind you. It’s like you are not afraid of anything no matter how bad the situation is. Just go to Him, leave your issues, problems and circumstances with Him and let Him deal with it.
AD: Absolutely. Now please complete the following with sentences with a short phrase or sentence. If I could advise my younger self, I would say…
GA: Be confident in yourself and go for whatever you want to achieve in this world. One of the things I didn’t have when growing up was confidence. At a point I realized I had this low self-esteem. After I had a relationship with God I started praying and studying the word and I started getting this confidence and assurance. So be confident in yourself and go for whatever it is you want in this world.
AD: I am fabulous because…
GA: The things I went through did not prevent me from pursuing my dream
AD: One book that has greatly helped me in business is…
GA: Crushing: God Turns Pressure Into Power by Bishop T D Jakes It’s not actually about business but I have applied the principles in my business and it’s been helping me. He shared his personal experiences, his darkest moments in life and how he overcame them. When you hit the ground, what are you supposed to do at that moment? Are you going to rise up? How are you going to get up?
AD: Thank you, I will look for the book. Now, please tell us what’s happening in your business and how we can find you.
GA: We have services for students who want to study in the UK, USA, Australia and any European or Asian country. If you want to study abroad, just get in touch with us and we will assist you. One of the things that we have realized is that there are a lot of people in the system who are taking people’s money. Every now and then I get calls that someone has been duped by other agencies. We are not fraudsters; we are Godly people. Based on your budget we help you select a destination and a course that will really help you. Thank you.
What a beautiful story! These are the kinds of reminders we need as children of God as we pursue our calling, assignment, vision, mission or whatever it is that we are pursuing. I hope that we have been blessed and please share your feedback in the comment. Reach out to Gifty if you need her services and share this post so others can be encouraged too. Also, find out about Gifty’s Study in Canada Virtual Fair (Admissions, visa applications and scholarships) here https://forms.gle/9N1L2vNzbmiPNgL47
Stay fabulous always!
Ama xxPS: Learn more about the International Fabulous Women’s Conference here https://paystack.shop/international-fabulous-womens-conference
About Gifty Anane
Gifty Anane, is an educational consultant and the founder of GiftySolves Educational Consult, a consult that advises individuals on programme, school and country selection in the pursuit of their academic goals. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with specialization in Human Resource Management and is a student relationship officer at Jackson Educational Complex.
Gifty has over three years experience in training, development and delivery, motivation and team building/leadership, general project management, product marketing and management, negotiation, and mediation. She is also a dynamic speaker and presenter, skilled in employing clarity and innovation to deliver effective presentations to diverse audiences at all organizational levels.