Start and scale — practical tips from growing Ewoma Organics

When Covid 19 struck, I was in Abuja. If I had paid a bit more attention to the news, I won’t have entered that plane back. My business took a massive hit, zero deals coming in and AIT people kept telling us to stock up on food and toilet paper.

My wife’s business on the other hand excelled.

The experts have advised that it is unsafe for 2 entrepreneurs to tangle. I’ve made a habit of not following expert’s advise.

Nobody was spending on building websites. Frankly, CNN told us we are all going to die. Twitter and Facebook when not spreading fear/propaganda, made everyone feel like they didn’t have a plan if they didn’t spend the remaining lockdown period learning a valuable skill — so businesses like my wife’s own flourished. It just so happened that during one of our prayer sessions, she had an impression in her spirit to start training people on how to formulate hair products, yes, we pray.

She’ll spend 2k on Facebook ads, over 500% ROI a week later and it sustained us as a family. Her business sustained us. She was training people over Whatsapp every evening by 8pm charging 5k or 10k for her Whatsapp classes and then she upsells them on the entire value chain. She’s brilliant.

But as customers increased, so did the burden of daily 8pm trainings and aftermath of unending hours of support. One day, during one of our random talks I mentioned the need to automate her trainings, cos you will never get rich renting out your time — that was exactly how a service business operates — you do something time consuming, you get paid.

Within the next one week, I built a website, she put in the work of converting her lecture notes in digital format and I uploaded them, made a nice landing page and ran more Facebook ads.

Boom! Freedom. No more Whatsapp trainings, her time was now spent on improving the course, upselling and doing things couples do.

This is a shiny example of how to start and scale. Making money often always involve selling your time for money, don’t die on that hill. Automate it, free up your time — convert your experience and knowledge into a course and sell it online.

But don’t just sell a course, nobody wants to learn shoe making online, nobody wants to learn phone repairs online. People certainly don’t want to learn how to drive online.

Here are 4 things you need to do to ensure your online course is a hit back to back

  1. Solve a pain point — people don’t know how to cook and they want to learn. Believe me, create a cooking course or better still, a cooking course for your native foods. Thank me later
  2. Make it cheap and accessible — Please don’t sell your cooking course for 50k. Perfectly priced courses for Nigerians range from 1,500 Naira to 10,000 Naira. If you want to sell 200,000 Naira courses, I cannot offer advise at this point in time.
  3. Create a sales funnel — This is a topic on it’s own, create an email sequence for people when they arrive on your landing page/when they purchase the course from you. Set up a referral system to drive a continuous sales cycle.
  4. Accept bank transfer — Paystack is good but offer the option for bank transfer also. Nigerians love it.

If you run a service business and need help with ideas on how best to automate it, I’ll be happy to help. Drop a one liner in the comment box describing your business. I’ll throw in some bright ideas.

If you made it here and you loved this thread, definitely follow me. I share my journey (successes and failures) on building startups from heart of the economic nerve centre of Africa — Lagos.

I’m building stuff in Defi, it cuts across cohort based learning, NFTs and telecom

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Odior C Yole

Startup founder. I’ll share my journey, processes, tactics, challenges and victories till we hit 3 billion customers worldwide.