Doctor, CEO, Creator: Bella's Guide to Conquering Three Career Frontiers

Guest Interview

Dec 14, 2023


Ruth Okoli

Ruth Okoli

Head of Growth, Marketing

Q - Hello Dr Bella, please introduce yourself?

Hi, my name is Bella Oluoha. I am a practicing Medical Doctor, CEO of Bella Books and a Content Creator. I am currently based in Abia state, Nigeria.

Q - Have you always loved Medicine or this is a typical African story of your parents choosing a career path for you because it has good prospects?

I have always loved medicine,I don’t think there is any other career path I would have chosen.

I don’t regret ever studying medicine, It was a career path I chose for myself, I was not forced.

​Q - Can you tell us the story behind Bella Books? How did it start or what inspired it?

Bella books started as a joke. I have been an enterprising person as a child.

My mom signed me up to learn different skills like bead making, makeup and I made money from all these things.

I have always loved to read. A lot of my friends used to borrow my books in university without returning it. Their excuse was that they didn’t know where to buy the books from. I was looking for something to make money from that didn’t involve a production process. I wanted to sell something. 

I reached out to my dad and asked him to lend me 10 thousand naira, I got the books and took them to the hostel and my friends that were always borrowing my books and that night, I sold them all. It was about 21 books. It was not something that I was looking to do long term because I wanted to be a makeup artist but I’m grateful I got clarity on the way and chose this path.

Q - How do your parents feel about you "selling books" online after spending 6 years in University studying Medicine?

My parents are very supportive because my dad was the one that lent me the money, and my mom pushed us into having businesses because that is what she did when she was in school. 

She also had this notion that you should have a business on the side as a student, because your allowance might not be enough.

Q - You operate in 2 major areas that an average adult would consider to be very challenging - Medical Doctor and CEO of a business in Nigeria. And you decided to take up another career path "Content Creation". Why did you decide to actively document your journey? What inspired this?

When I was in medical school, being a business owner in school was not so common. I was actually looking for someone who was doing medicine and also doing business. So I found my mentor Dr. Chiamaka. 

She was in 500 level in medical school, was a makeup artist and she made wigs. She used to document her lifestyle on Facebook.

I was in 200 level and I went to check her out on facebook and reached out to her. She was so receptive and gave me the courage and confidence to start my business and merge it with content creation. I felt like if she could do it while she was in medical school, I could do it too.

When we share our stories as women and individuals we don’t know that we are inspiring other people that they can do it too.

Q -  What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs or someone in the medical field that has other interests and is looking to follow their passions, just as you did with Bella Books?

It's possible.

People think that when you are doing medicine, it's too demanding and you won’t have time for other things. It's a lie. 

Set your mind on what you want to do, invest in yourself and personal development, pay for courses, I even paid for a course that was more than my school fees.

When you start, you would never know how far what you have can take you, just believe.

I paid for a lot of courses to develop my selling skills, my social skills, negotiation skills, and content creation skills. I read a lot of books, I invest in relationships with people, I put a lot of effort into building myself into who I want to be.

If you don’t invest in yourself, you won’t be able to grow and get the kind of results you want to achieve.

If you are doing medicine, or you are in school or work a 9-5, learn how to strike a balance.

Know when to focus on academics or take a backseat, Learn to delegate tasks and don’t do it all by yourself, learn how to prioritize, focus on the things that bring in the money. Don’t do unhealthy competition.

Have a collaborative mindset, don’t envy people, you can’t get what you are envious of. Be happy for them and do your best. Soon you will live the life you have dreamed of.

When I see my fellow women that are doing well, I am inspired. And I know that if they could do it, I can do it too.

Q -The way you manage your “3 lives” - a CEO, a Doctor, and a Content Creator - is very commendable. How are you able to balance and manage all three? What is an ideal day in Dr Bella's life like?

A typical day begins with me waking up around 7am to say my prayers and prepare for work.

I’m currently rotating through general surgery, and we give out medications morning, afternoon and night to our patients. 

If we have clinic, consultant ward round or surgeries, we do that and most times I have to stay at work till 6 or 7pm

I communicate with my team while at work. It's an online business, so I communicate with my team (a content creator, a sales rep, delivery staff, admin and an email strategist) then I post on instagram and other marketing channels and we have meetings to discuss what we need to do so everyone is on track.

Even if I am unavailable throughout the day, the team can rectify any problem. 

When I get home, I just refresh and relax.  Sometimes, during the weekend or when I'm not on call, I get to go to the store in person and create content myself and check on the business.

Q - Can you share a memorable story or experience related to your journey as a CEO, Content Creator or Medical Doctor that has had a lasting impact on you?

My first major experience was when I got an international wholesaler to buy our books and resell and she bought books worth about seven figures. That was one of the things that changed my brain chemistry and since then we’ve gotten so many wholesalers. 

The second one would be when I got my first store and then moved to a bigger one. We had a student center in school and I rented a store with just a shelf. I didn’t even have up to a hundred books in total. The business was growing and I had a lot of  books in my room. We outgrew the store at one point, then we moved to my current store which is a two bedroom apartment. 

The third was when I was afraid when I launched my journal line and made about 300 copies. In a week we didn’t sell up to 15 and I was so afraid it was going to be a flop. But three weeks later, we sold out the 300 copies and in a year we have sold over 3000 copies.

Wow!!!  Thank you so much for sitting with us Dr Bella. We wish you all the best in your career and business. How can people connect with you?

Thank you so much for having me. I enjoyed chatting with you guys.

1nstagram: @bellaoluoha and @bellabookss

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