For many Nigerians, making money online will definitely be a dream come true.
But sadly, it is not everyone that will ever get to start some decent business online. And i’m not trying to discourage you…
According to statistics, 90 percent of start ups usually fail. Most of them fail in their first year. And this can be worse in some locations. Like developing countries for example.
Now it doesn’t just end here…
With the current challenges in developing countries, starting a rewarding online business in a country like Nigeria becomes even more unpredictable. That’s the true situation of things.
But the truth also is that, despite the challenges of starting a business in most African and developing countries generally, there are a handful of people who are still doing phenomenal stuff with their online businesses right here in Nigeria… And other developing countries
So How did they do that?
If you’re wondering how successful entrepreneurs like Linda Ikeji, Seun Osewa, Demola Williams etc were able to build successful online businesses in Nigeria then you’re going to learn a lot from this post.
Because in this article, i’m sharing expert tips that can help you start an online business and make money online in Nigeria.
These tips are not theoretical. They are based on real life experiences of these digital entrepreneurs. These are part of their business philosophies, strategies and ideas that has nurtured their growth over the years.
I will be sharing each and everyone of this with you as practical advice that can also work for you as you set out to start your own online business.
Focus on Solving a Problem
Look for a painful problem that others are facing, and then devise a way to make people pay you for the solution – Seun Osewa
According to Seun Osewa, founder of Nairaland:
Look for problems that don’t require much capital to solve. In a developing country like Nigeria, there are so many problems waiting to be solved.
One man’s problem is another man’s profit! Competition is often weak which means you’ll make a lot of money.
So what are you waiting for?” Nigerians should not be talking about unemployment at all.
There are so many obvious opportunities around us waiting to be exploited. Being jobless in Nigeria is a big shame indeed.”
According to Nairaland’s founder, Being able to solve a problem for someone is one of the easiest way to make money online in Nigeria.
When it comes to problems, it can be anything. From giving people a reason to smile like your favorite Instagram comedians for instance, to providing services like graphics designs, Copywriting etc…
There are so many problems you can solve for people and get paid for it.
The most important thing is that your solution has to provide value to another person if you’re going to make money online in Nigeria.
This is because people out there can only pay you for the value they derive from you.
Do what you love – Lasisi Elenu
Lasisi Elenu, Instagram Celebrity and entrepreneur has this to say
I think it is just about doing what I love and enjoy. If you are consistent at doing something, people will notice you and eventually follow you.
They will also refer others to your page if you are doing something wonderful.
I never thought of coming online to be posting any skit. I was just doing comedy for fun, for my family and friends, who would laugh and compliment me. But afterwards, others discovered me and wanted to see more of my funny side.
So, in August last year, I posted my first video skit on Instagram. I think I got just about 80 views on my first post.
By the time I posted my second skit, it got about 110 views. I didn’t let the few views discourage me because I was not seeking fame in the first place.
So, I just kept doing what I loved and enjoyed and that’s how the following grew. Today, I get thousands of views on my skits…
I didn’t do any special thing to get followers on Instagram. I didn’t buy them and I didn’t also promote my account. It just grew because of my consistency and because there is a message in my skits.
According to Lasisi Elenu.
If you’re social media savvy, you’ll notice that some social media skits that have become popular today are something people started just for the fun of it.
Now, one thing you must understand is that if you work on it very well, your passion can pay your bills.
He ended with saying that; “You should also keep in mind that even when you start out with something you’re passionate about, you don’t have to stop at the passion, you can learn some business skills and take it to the next level.
In a nutshell, starting with something you’re passionate about gives you the leverage to to stay through and build your business until it turns out successful.
Start from where you are – Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook says,
I literally coded Facebook in my dorm room and launched it from my dorm room.
I rented a server for $85 a month, and I funded it by putting an ad on the site, and we’ve funded ever since by putting ads on the site.
If you look around you today, you will notice that one of the most common challenges with young Nigerians wishing to an start online business is the issue of funding.
In most cases, you may not get access to any collateral and there is hardly any bank that will lend you money to start any business without requiring you provide some collateral.
Thinking about this can be very discouraging. But as Zuckerberg is saying, instead of looking for eternal funding from the onset, find a way to start from where you are, with what you have at hand.
Yes! Start with your own savings. This is how i started out. And i was even a university student with a stipend as pocket money. You know how difficult that can be. And how much you’ll have to let go, just to save some extra cash… But the truth is, looking back today, i feel it was worth it.
So, to start an online business as a Nigerian without money, you’ll have to cut back on unnecessary expenses.
Also, another way of starting where you are is by providing services that will demand less capital for you to start up.
As you keep making profit from this particular services, with time you can expand to include the original service/product you wanted to start with.
Take for instance, if you want to go into Web Design and Development for instance, instead of waiting for borrowed funds to set up a web design firm, you can start with providing Graphics Design services.
With time, you can then expand it further into Web Design, after you must have made some savings from the Graphics Design Business.
Build a Sustainable Business Model – Debola Williams
For us, building a sustainable business model is crucial.
A business model is like a plan for the successful operation of your business. It helps you figure out how you solve the problem your business exists to solve. And it includes a repeatable process that can be used to provide consistent results.
As you already know, so many online businesses today run without business models. This is the major issues with most online businesses.
Some online entrepreneurs will rather copy business models from other businesses without testing if such models can work for their own business.
As Debola said, You can not excel or scale your business without a realistic business model so it’s important you get one set out before even getting started.
A sustainable business model will incorporate details of how you’ll source for funds at different level of growth, how you will get new clients, how you’ll expand and other details which will guide you as your online business gets poised for growth.
It will also serve as a guide for your business. And from time to time, you can adjust your business models based on the prevailing economic and social realities.
Don’t give up – Linda Ikeji
There were many times, I wanted to give up. I had bad times
back then but the worst was in September 19, 2010.
It was my 30th birthday. I was broke, I was angry because I have been done doing modeling in a long time.
I was still struggling, I was still borrowing money, I was depressed because I felt like a failure.
I will cry and cry but will still open my laptop and blog. I didn’t know that my breakthrough was at the corner and that God was leading me to it.
After my 30th birthday, my life practically changed.
One of the notions a lot of people have about online businesses is the belief that you’re definitely going to make it big as soon as you start an online business.
This is far from the truth. Because just as you need time to build your offline business, to be successful with an online business, you’ll also need sufficient time into a successful business.
In fact, an online business is not a get rich quick scheme. People have to know this.
Like any other business, starting an online business will require work, effort and time – as invesments from you. In fact, sometimes you’re going to work so hard and still see little results. You’re going to put in your best to build the business. That’s the truth.
There’s going to be times you will feel like giving up… Especially in the early days.
But truth is, putting all your effort and making your online business to turn out successful is going to be one of the most rewarding experience you’ll ever have as an entrepreneur.
So, like Linda Ikeji, here is my advice to you, whenever you feel like giving up on your online business, understand you’re not the only one going through this.
All established digital entrepreneurs felt like this at one point… But they kept struggling for their dreams. And that’s why they are being celebrated today.
So you shouldn’t ever give up on your online hustle like most wannabe entrepreneurs do. No I’m not saying you should keep hanging onto a business that is not sustainable…
I’m saying that before you decide to quit, let it be that the business is no longer needful… Not because you can’t wait to make it successful.
I believe so much in you. And I know you have what it takes to set up a successful online business in Nigeria. Or anywhere you want.
So are you ready?