Welcome to the “being better than you think you are” episode of the phenomenal career podcast. I’m excited to introduce you to our guest – the one and only Ayo Odunsanya. Can you introduce yourself to our listeners?
My name is Ayo Odusanya and I am a solicitor. I currently specialize in anti-money laundering and compliance. But I also have a side hustle where I run Lead Collective, which is a platform where I help small startups, entrepreneurs and influencers with things like contracts, business plans and intellectual property. I like to say I help people protect their passion and their profit because what’s the point in doing all this hard work to then lose all your money because it’s not well protected?
Did you always know that you wanted to be a solicitor and that you wanted to practice law?
Not at all. When I was younger, I wanted to be an air hostess because every time we used to travel Virgin Atlantic – the uniform, it was amazing. The colours were sharp! I then went through a period when I wanted to be a paediatrician,
I went through a period when I wanted to be a director, I wanted to be an actress, a singer. I was always into reading and books because my granddad used to bribe my sister and I and say we’d get 10 pounds for every book we finished over the summer period. So you know, as a young kid, 10 pounds – I could do a lot with that. So reading has never been an issue for me but I didn’t want to do law.
I’m African so unless you read medicine, or you read law, or you’re an accountant or an engineer, do you have a career? You know? Are you really a professional? That’s the kind of era I grew up in, and before I went to uni, I actually got into a film school to study directing, and filming. And that’s what I really wanted to do.
I really had a thing for movies. But my mom went through the roof and said over her dead body that was going to happen, as I needed a “concrete career” so to speak. So I ended up applying for some law uni’s, through clearance, and that’s where it all started. It was intense but I found a pocket of the legal system that I enjoyed. I discovered anti-money laundering and compliance in the finance industry and in the property industry, which is what I’m in now. I kind of found my place in the legal sector but it didn’t happen overnight.
What would you say to your former self now?
My parents’ approach was very much of that generation. It’s just one of those things. I do think we live in an era now where the creative industry is now more supported than ever. Back then, they couldn’t see the value of being a part of the creative industry. But now, I’d like to think our generation has learnt from that. So if my daughter said to me “I want to become an actress,” – that’s fine.
Become the best actress you can be and I will always give the advice my dad gave to me and that is whether you’re a doctor or a lawyer, whatever industry you’re in, find the business side. At any point, someone can be fired from their job. But if you understand the business, you will always have something. I’ve learnt the business side of my industry, so I’ll always find a way to function.
Let’s talk about boundaries. Has this been something that’s come easy to you in your career, especially working full time and doing two roles?
It’s something I had to learn over time. In life, I’m a people pleaser. I always want to make sure everybody is happy. I think being a people pleaser means having to figure out the best way to make it work in your favour.
Don’t change who you are, create boundaries. When it gets to where my energy is completely run down – for the benefit of other people, then that’s a problem. So in terms of learning boundaries, I think it’s important. What I like about my workplace now is that I’m pretty much left to do my own thing, meaning there is trust there – in/from management. There’s a trust that I know what I’m doing, I’m qualified to do what I do.
So that helps in setting boundaries at work. What also helps in setting boundaries is that if you send me a long-winded email at 4:30pm, you will not receive a response until the next day, because I’m just like, Why?
I’m not going to respond to that because you have to learn to put that boundary in place by saying “you’re not going to email me at 4.30pm and get a response in seconds.” Just because you need to clock out at five o’clock and get this actioned asap, doesn’t mean I need to stay online. No, that’s not my problem.
What has your career taught you up to this point?
In this present moment, I think my career is teaching me that you’ve got to be better than you think you are. Generally. People talk about things like imposter syndrome, and, yeah, a part of me is 50\50 when it comes to imposter syndrome because sometimes, I do think it’s not imposter syndrome, you are just an imposter because you haven’t done the work.
So you know, depending on the circumstances, I float either way. You have to be realistic with yourself. So I think that’s a great learning for everyone, asking yourself am I genuinely as good as I think I am. Asking yourself; am I expendable? What do I bring to my workplace?
It’s not about being negative, but more focusing on personal evaluation. What do I have to do to get better at my role? Where do I actually fit in? And if I do want to progress, where can I progress to?
Where can people connect with you and everything that you’re doing/ seek your services?
I am currently mainly just on Instagram. I am on LinkedIn but I rarely use it. That’s where you will find me putting out tips and links to the different things that I do. I do offer 15 minute free legal insights, but everything can be found on my Instagram.