Hi Michael, welcome to Gettopreneur’s Entrepreneurial Series Exclusive interviews.
A space to celebrate and highlight entrepreneurial achievements as we boldly include ALL entrepreneurs in the technology conversation.
We believe that Entrepreneurship is for everyone and we make it our duty to remove as many obstacles as we can on your entrepreneurial journey.
Every entrepreneur is unique and no journey is the same, no one will tell a sorry as you… No one will communicate ideas as you would… hence the importance of putting your own fingerprint on your business and showcasing the uniqueness of your business through a strong brand identity.
In this episode we will be chatting with Michael Emeka and discovering how he uses his art to capture and visualise culture, to suit anyone’s purpose.
Welcome Michael, Can you briefly introduce yourself?
Michael Emeka: Hi all, my name is Michael Chukwuemeka Oguguo, I’m known as Michael Emeka.
I am a cultural portrait artist that specialises in fine art. I was born in Anambra State, Nigeria but based in Dublin Ireland.
From a tender age my parents discovered that I had an affinity for the artistic side of things.
I was always scribbling, capturing the world I saw on pieces of paper, notebooks, seeking to encase the beauty around me and make it timeless.
Entrepreneurs are very good at looking around them and seeking to understand how and where they can make a positive impact on people’s lives. Michael, you mentioned that you saw yourself
“seeking to encase the beauty around you and make it timeless…”
“I am able to showcase people in a cultural way that they never imagined would be possible.“
Can you let us know how your entrepreneurial journey started?
Michael Emeka: As a family man with kids, living in western world, myself and my wife worked full time.
The challenges with childcare were extremely difficult for the family.
With that in mind I decided to focus on my art full time by working from home, which enabled me to look after my kids while my wife worked full time.
There are many reasons that make one become or consider becoming an entrepreneur.
Being it to follow your dreams… losing your job… looking for an extra source of income… spotting an opportunity or in this case due to the cost of childcare in Ireland…
No matter what the reason it is important to have the right mindset and do it for the right reasons.
In your case Michael it was to rekindle that artistic drive while providing for your family.
With our recent experiences with the pandemic COVID-19, we have truly learned the importance of work life balance and the benefits of working from home.
This is a great example of Remote working that has become a reality and in many cases the new normal.
Now that you have created a successful business which is tied with your vocation, what do you enjoy the most about what you do?
Michael Emeka: What I enjoy most about my work is seeing the joy and happiness it brings to my clients.
I am able to showcase people in a cultural way that they never imagined would be possible.
We are big advocates of value add and the WOW factor… which is what you enjoy doing and explains your success.
“I have learned that you never give up in your dreams you keep pushing, one when one door closes another must surely open.”
Happy customers means business growth! Having said that, nothing beats exceeding customers expectations and getting their feedback.
Talking of feedback Michael, What would you consider to be your 3 major strengths and areas you would like to improve?
Michael Emeka: My 3 major strengths are 1st my communication skill for example, understanding my clients story behind the picture and being able to bring it to life.
Second would be Patience, because it takes me 150 hours to complete a piece.
Third would be being able to use two different mediums in one piece eg, using graphite for the skin tone and polychromo colours for the accessories.
The areas I would like to improve are on how to market myself and my craft in order to reach the prominent art elites.
Communication is key, and being able to sit back and listen to what you clients are saying… but really listen… that is halfway to success.
Many entrepreneurs are so in love with their offering that they fail to listen to their customers’ needs and miss the opportunity to produce that WOW factor we spoke about earlier.
Branding is key and that’s why we give lots of importance to our Brand Identity workshops.
We look into what makes a brand distinct, memorable and scalable in an easy and fun way to apply.
Once you have your branding sorted, it makes it much easier to build a brand strategy and reach out to customers with a clear and concise messaging.
Now that we are on the topic of branding and reaching desired target audiences, lets push the record back a little bit.
Can you tell us what are the challenges you have experienced in your entrepreneurial journey and what have you learned?
Michael Emeka: I have experienced many challenges however, I will share the one that helped me iterate and showcase my craft.
Living in Ireland on its own was a challenge andon top of it the community did not patronise my work, perhaps because initially they didn’t relate with my work.
Therefore I find it hard to break into art galleries in Ireland.
I have learned that you never give up in your dreams you keep pushing, one when one door closes another must surely open.
This is what I see happening in multicultural Ireland where lots of cultures are mixing to create a strong and unique country.
Indeed Michael, organisations are slowly recognising the importance of a diverse workforce as this is the true mirror of the society we live in.
How can you scale if you remain in a bobble… Here is some food for thought for all current and future entrepreneurs.
Talking about food for thought and what entrepreneurs should aim for… Michael, do you have a daily work routine? And If so, can you share it with us?
Michael Emeka: I have to say that I am very lucky with my daily routine. I enjoy working in my studio late at night when the kids are in bed because I am able to focus more and concentrate on what I am doing and this is the best time to interact with 80% of my clients who are based in America.
It looks like you have found a nice balance Michael, it’s always hard to work in a different time zone from the one you live in haven said that, this is the reality for most entrepreneurs and catering for that will help you scale your business.
“People are those who had the most impact on my life“
We have dropped a subtle advice there, Michael. Can you tell us what was the best advice you ever received and what advice will you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Michael Emeka: The best advice I received was to focus on my unique style of art and don’t try to be like others and never give up and I would give the same advice to anyone willing to receive one.
Persistence and uniqueness that’s what I take from that advice and is a very good one.
All great entrepreneurs have a sense of purpose, and that sense of purpose is unique to each entrepreneur.
Therefore trying to be like someone or replicate a business model should be tied to your purpose and used as a benchmark to reach YOUR goals.
As we are on the topic of uniqueness and benchmarking, Can you tell us what book or event that had the most impact in your life?
Michael Emeka: I wouldn’t say it was a book or an event.
People are those who had the most impact on my life.
These people are Kevin Okafor and Whitney Austin. They are passionate in their art and very successful, hence they inspire me.
People are definitely those who make the greatest impacts on or live and we are happy that you call it out.
This could be your parents, mentors, advisors, friends, colleagues etc… and we are sure that this interview will surely impact many entrepreneurs out there.
And with that we have reached the end of our interview… this last question is our trademark good by question Michael, are you ready?!
Michael Emeka: Yes! Go one!
Ok here it goes. What is your favorite business/personal (tool software etc…) and why?
Michael Emeka: My favourite platform is Facebook. This allows me to join other artistic groups which help to expose my work more, Instagram and my website. www.artbymichaeloguguo.com.
Thanks Michael, you have been such a great sport. And we look forward to having you here again soon!
As we strive to create a platform where all voices participate in the technological debate in order to build tech that will speak and represent all parts of the society.
We hope this conversation has inspired you to pursue your dreams, connect with people and resources that will help you grow, don’t take no as an answer but as an opportunity and most importantly TAKE ACTION!
Folks, this concludes our ENTREPRENEURIAL EXCLUSIVE SERIES interview with Michael Emeka.