It is not every time you find tutors that admonish you on wealth creation. But you will find an encyclopedia of wealth in Susan Itemuagbor, whose many years of exploits as a business colossus with Forever Living Products have expanded her horizons. Funke Olaode spent an afternoon with Itemuagbor at her Lekki home and learnt from the stable of this Edo State-born magnate whose business acumen has continued to lift others
Sitting delectably on a plush sofa in her tastefully furnished Lagos home, Mrs. Susan Itemuagbor radiates happiness and contentment. By all standards, she has seen it all. Loving husband, flourishing business and children who have responded to training. To cap it all, she is a deeply spiritual woman who is rooted in God. That Mrs. Itemuagbor is hospitable and accommodating will be an understatement. Her doors are always opened to all and sundry irrespective of your backgrounds and status.
Dressed in a forest green top with to match pants, she once again opened her doors to her business allies who she regularly engages on moving their business forward. By the way, they all belong to the family of Forever Living Products where Itemuagbor within 11 years has risen to Sapphire Manager. This is no small feat in this 45 years old conglomerate. It is due to her many years of dedication and commitment.
Mrs. Itemuagbor is a jack of all trades and master of all. She is a wife, mother, successful entrepreneur, mentor and a pastor. She combines all effortlessly that you begin to wonder how she does it. “Well, it is all about planning your way out, and I still thank God for the kind of business I do, that gives me the time. Because one of the reasons why I started my business was to have that time freedom to actually go round. When I started my children were in four different schools in different locations. So it was not easy for me to just be a mum, a wife and then still have to cope with my children, having to cope with their school work and school activities. So that is one of the reasons I started my business.”
For Mrs. Itemuagbor, her success story didn’t begin today, it was orchestrated years back through dedication and commitment. She was a trained Estate Surveyor Management who found herself in the banking industry. After many years at Savana Bank, she called it quit to run her own business. She opened her one-stop-shop for children at Sanusi Fafunwa on Victoria Island, Lagos. It was a business that involved travelling and bringing stuffs for her high profile clientele. “It was a very rewarding venture but it didn’t give me the freedom until somebody introduced me to the business of Forever Living Products.”
Here, she found her freedom . “Yes, you can say that again. I wanted to have that time freedom to actually be a mum, be a wife, and be me, which is very important. Being able to do what I do, I love to travel. People say as a woman, you can’t have it all but with Forever, you can actually have it all, because you are working for yourself, which means that you have the time and most of the time we work from home and then you have that time to actually follow up with your children. So I have enjoyed that because In have time for myself, my business and my children.”
There is popular cliché that ‘you rise by lifting others’. Mrs. Itemuagbor fits in perfectly. Having immersed herself into marketing Forever Living Products and found it rewarding, she spread the gospel. “ There is something about helping people, because the way Forever is designed is like, if you help more people to get what they want you get what you want. I am not doing anything extraordinary because the bible says God will bless you and you will be a blessing. So actually, to make a lot of money from Forever, you have to help other people to get what they want, and in return you too will get what you want.”
“So, with Forever you can actually make a significant amount of money. We run the business like a team and one thing about me it is seeing my team members win, seeing people make money. I always tell anybody who cares to help that, if you have that passion to help others, if you have passion to see people win. In Forever we use industrial marketing patterns to drive our business. So this is the only genuine industry where you can actually win and see others win.”
Talking passionately about the business that has given her fortune, she added. “I have worked in so many places, I have been opportune to work with people and to work in good establishments. When you work in a corporate world, there are a lot of challenges such as scheming, back stabbing as people can do anything to get up there. But here is a business that is not about ‘me’ this is how I win, this is how I make money, and this is A – Z, which is not common in the world that we live in. So I think that is why a lot of people don’t take this industry seriously because I am telling you, this is what I am doing to make money. This is what I am doing that is making my life better, this is what I am doing that gives me the time freedom to do what I do. But in this industry where I belong, is an industry where you tell everybody else because if you don’t, you won’t be a winner yourself.”
Any valuable lesson learn over a decade? “Forever is an organization that enriches your pocket, and at the same time add value to your life. And beyond making money, “Forever brings out a lot in you. It is not really about the money, yes the money is important, and it is the person you become while doing this business that is very important. My background is in real estate but in my doing Forever, I found out that I have a lot of potential inside me. What people don’t know is that we do a lot of personal development. Once you process it in your mind and your brain accept it, it will ginger the ‘I can do spirit in you.’
“And when I came into Forever, I thought forever is about selling product, bringing in people in, it is more of personal development. I did a course in Institute of Integrated Administration in New York and got certified as head coach.”
Highlighting the benefits of being a member of Forever, Mrs. Itemuagbor said it is rewarding. “We have two trips every year, all expenses paid for you and your partner. I think what Forever is just saying is that, if you work so hard, take time off, two weeks, three weeks out of your year and lets spoil you a little. I just got back from Bali in Indonesia and next year we are going on a cruise. And all expense paid trip. The hotel you stay is going to be a 5-star hotel because they value you, they know your worth. They know, yes you have worked, so you have to kind of live that life.
Speaking on how to succeed in marketing Forever Living products, she said everything is about yourself. “There is something I said earlier that we don’t sell products, we sell you. You sell yourself. For anything and everything you want to sell, there is no way you don’t have a circle. Take forever as an estate surveyor, if I am selling my property, it is not everybody that can afford property. But the fact is that what is the reason, why are you selling it? It plays a very big role in what we do, the why behind what you are doing. A lot of people don’t get their why in place. God has a way of having to put things together for you so that you will be able to achieve what you want. For me, God brought Forever my way because that was one thing I was always crying about, that how am I going to do this? How am I going to be able to stay with these children? How am I going to leave my job? Because I was working with somebody here, I wouldn’t have been able to do that. Again, the descriptions of the products make it attractive; these are products that can make you look good and feel good. One of our slogans is ‘look good and feel good.’
How do you convince potential buyers? She said it is simple. “It is by making them see the value, because the value matters. You can’t just go to somebody and say buy Aloe Vera gel. One thing you have to do is that, why is that person going to buy the Aloe Vera Gel? Because there is something out there that could be cheaper than the Aloe Vera Gel, so why is he going to buy yours? So first and foremost, find out why that person wants the gel. What is the person going through? Maybe the person says he has indigestion, and you introduce Forever and tell him that it works for you. So the thing is that if people get to know the value of what they buy, they will buy it. I think the example I normally use when people talk about price is that, you actually see a lot of people selling Mercedes Benz and they don’t buy it. You see people who work in banks, and you send them out to go and bring 20 million, 30 million. These are people earning 100,000. So for the fact that you allow people to see the value of what you sell, you will break even.”
Mrs. Itemuagbor is currently a Sapphire Manager having helped many people to realise their potentials.
No doubt, her faith in Christ has helped in her business exploits. ‘I believe I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. I believe that there is nothing I cannot do. All I need is just to go on my knees, say my prayers and tell God to direct me. So that has been my staying, power, because I feel that God has ordered my step into this business and I thank God for blessing the works of my hands.”