#HustleStory: From Earning £2,800/month in the UK to Earning Over £6,500 in Less Than 2 Years.

#HustleStory: From Earning £2,800/month in the UK to Earning Over  £6,500 in Less Than 2 Years.

In this episode of #HustleStory, Amanda talks about how she progressed from earning £2,800/month on her first job as a student to earning over  £6,500 in less than 2 years. She also talks about how the End Sars movement in Nigeria ignited the spark for her to finally leave Nigeria in January 2021.  After moving to the UK, she has over £27,000 in investments. She shares her story of how she’s invested in giving back to those who matter to her. 

Hustle Story series is a dedicated effort to capture and share the financial journeys of immigrants in the UK and Europe. By highlighting the diverse paths immigrants take to achieve financial stability, OhentPay aims to empower and support prospective immigrants.

How did you financially prepare before moving to the UK?

Amanda: I didn’t prepare financially before moving to the UK. I had a job back in Nigeria as an HR Analyst and that paid me 350,000 Naira/month, so I saved on a need-to basis from there or frequently. But my savings couldn’t have brought me to the UK. I loved living in Nigeria because my family & friends were with me, so I didn’t see myself moving anywhere at all. But right before the End Sars period, 2 of my closest friends moved to the UK, and they nudged me to do the same but I didn’t want to because I love my parents and I’d get homesick. 

However, the October 2020 saga happened and I started sending late applications immediately after. I was an active participant in the protests, so I felt defeated and any hope I had for Nigeria disappeared. I got accepted into a university in London, and my fees, proof of funds, and flight ticket were immediately sorted by my parents. By January 2021, I was in London. 

So I didn’t prepare per se, but my savings from my job in Nigeria came through for me a few times. My parents also put me on a £1,000 monthly budget, because they are very big on ensuring that nothing distracts me in school. I was also living with my cousin for the whole academic year, so I paid no rent. That’s how I moved and settled in the UK and I’m forever grateful to my parents because I have heard the worst japa stories from other people. 

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Can you share your experiences with your first job and the salary they offered you?

Amanda: When I moved to the UK, I was still working at the Nigerian job I had as an HR Analyst and I was getting paid. But I quit about 8 months later because I had to get an internship before my graduation in 2022. I needed experience within the UK environment, that’s why I quit. I finished my first degree in the UK, and I had the experience but I wanted more on my CV. 

I attended a lot of career fairs and reached out to almost 100 hiring companies until I got a volunteer and unpaid role with a small but mighty company here in London. I didn’t care whether it was paid or not, I was just glad about the experience because I knew it was paramount. My parents still sent me my allowance, but they stopped when I got promoted at my job and I started earning more than they were sending me. So the job started paying me £2,800 after I’d worked with them for 6 months. So thanks to my parents, I didn’t have to work nightshift or care jobs to support myself here and my first job in the UK was as a Talent Manager which paid me £2,800. 

What are you currently doing to earn a living and support yourself?

Amanda: At the moment, I still work in the same company and I have grown exponentially. I earn £4,500/month and I am also a makeup artist, which is something I learned in Nigeria but didn’t harness the skill. I do makeup on the side because it allows me to meet so many people and if I wasn’t doing it, I would be in my house all day. In a month, I can earn between £4,500 - £7,000 depending on how many clients I have.

What do you allocate to bills (rent)? How has this changed over the years?

Amanda: I share a 3-bedroom apartment with my close friends who moved here from Nigeria and that takes £750 from me every month. The gigs I get from doing makeup for people always covers it, so I hardly spend my salary. 

In my first year here, I stayed with my cousin and I didn’t pay rent because she didn’t allow me. But I pulled in heavily on foodstuff. I always ensured to keep the house fully stocked and that cost around £300 from my end. I had to move out because my job was a distance from the house. Now I’m living with my friends, I spend around £900 on everything in the apartment- rent and foodstuff. 

How do you go about savings and investment, how much are you able to save, etc?

Amanda: I save almost all of my salary. For investments, I don’t have any currently in the UK but in Nigeria, I have investments with companies in stocks. I have about £27k in investments from my money, then thanks to my parents I have in terms of lands, properties, companies, and more. I save 70% of my salary, which I remove from when I have investments to make but that hardly comes up nowadays. In a month, I manage £450 after rent and foodstuff have been bought.  

Something I also do is spend on my parents and friends, I love doing it. My friends and I spend a lot on each other and it’s sort of our love language. Even when we were in Nigeria, we did it all the time so I’m used to it. For my parents, they don’t need my money but I always buy them things based on what they love. They always ask me not to bother but it’s the least I can do given the soft life they have provided for me.

If you could go back, what would you do differently in terms of money?

Amanda: Maybe I should have started working earlier in the UK but it’s not as bad as. But maybe when I was in Nigeria I should have saved more and spent more on certifications. 

But in all honesty, nothing would have been so different. I live a very lowkey life and I love to keep it that way. I splurge when I can with my friends and I live an amazing life very lowkey.  Here in the UK, if people have the slightest idea that you have some money, their goal will be to use you till you run dry. 

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Now that you’re in a different country from Nigeria, how do you feel about black tax?

Amanda: I see people talk about black tax a lot and it sounds very exhausting. A lot of people would have better financial stories if they abolished black tax. But I understand the concept of it and how some people here are supporting their families back home. I don’t know if Nigeria is getting worse or what, but people are barely surviving. 

Thankfully, black tax doesn’t affect me. My parents will still send me money if I ever ask and my siblings are distributed in different countries. Two of them are in Canada and the other is in the Netherlands, while I’m in the UK, so nobody needs anything. Instead, we send when we just feel like it.  But black tax from what I have heard is a drainer and it can be a lot!

Do you have any advice or insights for prospective immigrants in terms of financial preparation and job-seeking?

Amanda: Yes! Please if you can, pay for your school fees in Nigeria at least 75% before moving. In my first months here, I had to pitch in to save a classmate who was on the verge of being sent back to Nigeria. We came together as a class to pitch in because it would’ve been somehow if the person got sent back. 

Also, apply to jobs in relation to what you’re studying way before you graduate. Companies in the UK prefer people with UK corporate experience before they hire. Put your CV everywhere and attend career fairs as much as you can because your employer might just be there. 

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