Hello and welcome to our series of interviews with successful entrepreneurs. Today, we have with us Hauwa Maigari Mamman, a real estate entrepreneur based in Nigeria. Hauwa is the founder of Rock BnB, a luxurious hospitality service that provides customers with a comfortable and homely experience. She’s also an accomplished photographer and an interior design enthusiast. We’re excited to have her here today to share her story with us. Welcome, Hauwa
Who are you and how would you describe yourself to people?
Hauwa: My name is Hauwa Maigari Mamman, and I am currently in the real estate industry. I initially started out pursuing photography as a passion before it eventually turned into a commercial venture. However, as life unfolded, I found my way into real estate, where my interests in interior design, housing, and hospitality all converge. To me, all these fields are interconnected, allowing me to express my artistry in various ways. I believe that personal growth comes from pursuing what makes you happy, and I am constantly chasing my passions to become the best version of myself.
What inspired you to start making money aside from your photography venture?
Hauwa: Knowing that not so many people can provide a particular service. So if I’m good at something, I’ll push towards it and see how much I can profit financially from it. Lots of people have ideas that they can’t bring to life. I love to help execute their plans . What inspires me would be life, nature and so many beautiful things around.I could look at something and say to myself, what can I create from this. I’ll walk into a room and create a completely different design in my head.
You seem like a hardworking person. How do you relax when you’re not working?
Hauwa: As I grow and evolve, I have learned that working smart is more important than working hard. I delegate tasks to my team members, allowing me to focus on other important aspects of the business. Additionally, I enjoy traveling, going to the beach, reading, and hanging out with friends to unwind.
Do you run any businesses with your friends, or are they strictly for relaxation and leisure?
Hauwa: While I don’t have any businesses with my friends at the moment, I have friends who are entrepreneurs in various fields. We inspire and motivate each other to be the best versions of ourselves in our respective industries.
What is Rock BnB, and what do you want people to know about it?
Hauwa: Ok so the name Rock BnB was actually inspired by my dad because amongst his many skills, he’s also a gem stone enthusiast. so I felt like that would be a nice name for it. Rock BnB represents a solid team and like rocks, survive almost anything. So that is also motivation for us to stay solid and keep moving regardless of where we find ourselves at – So it is a hospitality service. The point is to build a network, to allow people to experience our fantastic customer service, comfort, luxury, home away from home. Give people that “Feel good/High vibrations experience”. You’re not just staying in a rented place.. but somewhere comfortable. if you’d look carefully at our apartments you’d see that we have lots of artwork, coffee tables, have good conversations. We also have a workspace incase you want to get some work done a sitting area, nice lounges comfortable bedrooms clean bathrooms. Basically Peace of mind and home away from home.
What is the demand for your type of service in Nigeria at the moment?
Hauwa: While not everyone has the same preferences, there is a high demand for our type of service in Nigeria. Business moguls and individuals attending events, weddings, meetings, and visiting family require clean, comfortable, and secure short-term accommodation. The market is not yet saturated, and our beautiful spaces are highly desirable.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
Hauwa: Rock BnB will be enormous in five years because of our solid team, passion, and dedication to providing the best service. We want to establish our brand as one of the top five-star getaways in Nigeria.
How do you balance work and personal time?
Hauwa: As a startup, I currently have very little personal time, but I try to create a balance by prioritizing my tasks and delegating them to my team members. I also make time for myself by traveling and spending time with friends and family. As the business grows, I hope to have more time to focus on my personal life while still running a successful enterprise.
If you could go back in time knowing that you would do what you want to do are there anything you would have done differently?
Hauwa: I wouldn’t change anything about my life because everything I’m doing now is something I never thought I would be doing a year or two ago. I always knew I was meant to do something significant, and I thank my parents for their support and motivation. I carefully select who I let into my circle and don’t allow negative energy or bad advice in. I work hard and play hard, but always maintain balance and stay focused on what works best for me. If something doesn’t feel right, I don’t do it, and if I make a mistake, I learn from it and strive to be better. I’m grateful to God for everything in my life.
Do you ever feel any pressure to succeed?
Hauwa: Take things slow and enjoy where you are now. Don’t let pressure consume you, focus on yourself and ignore other people’s opinions. Trust in yourself and keep pushing forward towards your goals. Remember, you’ve got this!
How do you think the average entrepreneur should stick to their idea and not care about what others are doing? What do you think an average entrepreneur should do?
Hauwa: I believe that the most important thing is for entrepreneurs to realize that people only show what they want others to see. It’s easy for someone to appear successful on social media while they may be suffering on the inside. Therefore, it’s crucial to not let social media stress them out. Entrepreneurs should focus on following people they can learn from and not allow themselves to be pressured by other people’s achievements or possessions. Instead, they should concentrate on what matters to them and their own journey. For me, my competition is the person I see in the mirror, and that’s myself, not anyone else.
You mentioned that Rock BnB is a startup. How old is it?
Hauwa: Rock BnB is still in its infancy as it hasn’t even been a year yet. However, the idea had been brewing for two years before we executed it. Seeing our progress and being able to furnish and put it out there gives me confidence that it can go even further than what we have achieved so far.
What aspect of your business did the reality not match up to your expectations, either in a positive or negative way?
Hauwa: Alhamdulillah, we have not encountered any significant disappointments thus far. While challenges are inevitable, we have managed to stay positive and not let other people’s opinions or projections cloud our judgment. We have encountered naysayers who have discouraged us from renting out our property, but we didn’t let their opinions dampen our morale. We knew there would be challenges, and we have plans in place to tackle them. Instead of being discouraged, we remain focused on our values and beliefs, always remembering why we started this business. We understand that building a strong foundation takes time and effort, and we are committed to seeing our business grow and succeed.
Do you have any preferences in interior design? If so, what are they?
Hauwa: Honestly, I used to be like you, preferring minimal designs while my mom loved maximalism. But as an artist, traveling the world and getting inspiration from different places, I’ve come to appreciate the beauty in mixing different pieces together to create a story. I like to see plants, mixing textures, and even flashy doors with silver or gold hardware. I believe there’s so much to do with a lot of things, and it can still look beautiful without feeling overwhelming. I don’t like royal furniture with a lot of gold everywhere. I believe that once you know how to put everything in the right place, you’ll get a massive piece.
How has Nigeria affected you so far in general?
Hauwa: Unfortunately, I’ve visited more artistic places outside Nigeria than within. It’s sad because Nigeria has a lot of potential. I’ve seen beautiful places and architecture, especially in the north like Zaria and Jigawa. I’m looking forward to visiting Jigawa soon, and I hope to explore more of Nigeria’s potential.
How difficult is it to run a business in Nigeria?
Hauwa: Running a business in Nigeria is costly, especially considering expenses like staff, plumbing, and electrical work. But with determination and hard work, we’ve been able to achieve success. It’s not the easiest thing to do, especially with electricity issues, but I’m optimistic that things will get better in the future.
Can you tell me about a time when you faced a major challenge in your work and how you overcame it?
Hauwa: One of our major challenges was renovating an apartment while ensuring we met our deadline for guest bookings. We faced unforeseen issues that caused delays, and we had to work around the clock to complete the renovations on time. We communicated with our guests and offered an alternative accommodation at no extra cost, and we were able to complete the renovation on time. This experience taught us the importance of being prepared for unforeseen circumstances, having contingency plans, and the value of good communication and customer service.
That’s great to hear, Hauwa. What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start their own business?
Hauwa: My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to have a solid business plan and to be passionate about what they do. It’s also important to surround themselves with a supportive team, network with other entrepreneurs, and constantly learn and evolve. Lastly, they should never be afraid to take calculated risks and be persistent in their pursuits.