Unlike others who gave up along the line when the going got tough, or threw their hands up in the air without knowing what to say or what action to take when their critics got louder, 29-year-old John Obiri Yeboah decided to defy all odds to become what he is today.
From a humble beginning at Ayirebi in Akim Oda, John has fought his way up the success ladder to become one of the most influential people in his community.
From a family of eight, John told The Weekend Finder that their childhood days were not so pleasant; he said their mother stayed in the hospital for years after both parents were involved in a terrible accident in 2000.
“My mother used to reserve the gifts she received whilst on her hospital bed for me to take to school while my siblings and I also helped my father in the farm to put food on the table for the family,” he said.
The former student of Akim Swedru Secondary School and Besease LA said, “Whilst at school, I had to hustle my way through from selling used clothes at Kantamanto with my aunty, Aunty Sophia Baah, who gave me some money for school when school reopened.”
After his secondary school, he, together with some of his brothers, came to Accra in search of greener pastures. He continued with the used clothes business even as he tried his hands on some rap music since he wanted to become a musician given that he was the assistant entertainment prefect back in secondary school.
“Those were the days when the hip-life fever had caught up with the youth of Ghana. I could rap every single line in the songs of artistes like Obrafuor, Tinny, T-Blaze, among others.”
But he told The Weekend Finder that his dream did not become a reality since his mother told him after he got a producer to help him that she was only going to support him and his music career if only he would be singing gospel music.
John, who currently runs one of the country’s leading freight forwarding companies, ‘Joy 4 Fame,’ said he had to forget his musical talent to get back to school to further his education. He said he had to re-sit for some of his papers to better his grades to gain admissions into a tertiary institution.
After two years of hustling and trying his hands on some demos, John got admission into the Cape Coast Polytechnic to read Accounting. During his education, he had opportunities to be on attachments with some shipping agencies and that was where he discovered his love and passion for what he does for a living now.
John, after successfully completing Cape Coast Polytechnic, landed a job with a shipping company where he started establishing his own business. He said was discouraged by people when he decided to start his own freight company.
“People said to me, ‘Small boy instead of you to establish a normal company to run, you want to establish a shipping company; Are you well at all?’” John narrated.
He said he decided to pray and wait on God whilst he prepared himself for the work because he had so much hope in God that his dreams was going to become a reality.
He narrated how he attended the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders at Tema for a year; Customs Excise and Preventive Service and took other foreign courses related to the job to acquire knowledge and sharpen his skills for his new endeavour.
After being rejected on several occasions in his pursuits to acquire his license to operate as a freight forwarder in the country, he finally got a license to operate in August 2011 after praying and holding on to God amidst massive donations to his community.
He said just a year after receiving the licence to operate as a registered and legitimate freight forwarder, his business moved from grass to grace.
The company, which deals in logistics, clearing and forwarding, import and export, transport service, consolidation and door-to-door services, is hoping to open two more branches in Takoradi and at Airport in addition to its current office at Tema Community 1.
Joy4 Fame is currently a member of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) and the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association (FIATA).
When asked how he came by the name ‘Joy 4 Fame,’ he explained that he had always wanted to be famous, work hard and enjoy the fruit of his labour, and so “the Joy stands for my initials and since I wanted to be famous I added the ‘4 Fame’ to it, meaning John Obiri Yeboah for Fame.”
John, who told The Weekend Finder that he enjoys what he does more than anything in the world, said he believes hard work, determination, passion and prayer were the only way to success.
The company, which has currently employed over 20 people and created other indirect jobs for people, works with some of the big companies in the country.
“My advice to my fellow youth is that be determined and do not be discouraged by the things people will say when you want to take a step to change your situation. I believe there is no shortcut to success and so it is always important to have and develop passion for whatever you decide to do,” he advised.
John said he drew his inspiration and knowledge from his elderly friends who had helped him over the years.
For the past three years, John has constantly improved and impacted the lives of the youth in Ayirebi. He helped with the building of a computer lab and provided computers for various schools within the community.
Asked how he unwinds from his challenging job, John answered, “I love to travel outside the country to relax; I watch lots of football and love listening to music.” John also has a music production house.
Known as the Joy 4 Fame Music production, the house in 2009 did its first production with an international musician called Michael Adangba and some hiplife artistes on a single hit.
Born to Mr George K. Obiri and Madam Margaret Baah, both teachers at Ayirebi, John believes that alcoholism and smoking are the two major things that can prevent one from reaching his or her goal.
John, together with his other siblings, Calix Kwasi Asare, George Obiri koli, VidaObiri, Paul Obiri and Millicent Obiri Owusua, last Sunday celebrated and honoured their father on his 70th birthday for his tireless effort to push them to where there are.
Source: Weekend Finder
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