Digital Marketing Skill Institute was founded to help people succeed in their business or career using proven digital marketing strategy that works. We help our clients to systematically develop relationships with their most valuable prospects, to not only get more leads, but to efficiently turn those prospects into clients.
Tobi Asehinde is the Founder/CEO Digital Marketing Skill Institute. He shared his story with Alaba Ayinuola of Africans Building Africa on his ultimate goal to empower 10,000 people in the next 5 years to increase sales and make more money online using smart digital marketing skills, channels and strategies.
1. Tell us about your business and the role you play.
I am the founder and CEO of Digital Marketing Skill Institute Services Limited where we certify people with global standard skill in digital marketing and take the guesswork out of digital marketing to help make rapid career and business growth available to EVERYONE.
While Digital Marketing Giant Services Limited is the digital marketing agency that has the ability to show your ads to an exact ready to buy customers using our intent-based formula on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Gmail, Google AdWords.
We help our clients to systematically develop relationships with their most valuable prospects, to not only get more leads, but to efficiently turn those prospects into clients.
I also founded finddigitaltools.com to provide affordable digital marketing tools to turn ideas into profitable businesses online.
2. How much did you need to start your business and how were you able to raise that capital?
This is an interesting question because I didn’t have capital and I had lost my savings to the previous business I initially started with my flat mate.
I took a different approach by marketing myself and then doing the first breakthrough job for FREE for a young female entrepreneur, Keshia Austin, an Undergraduate Student who founded English Direct at that time. She was not happy about the 400 pounds website which she built as the website was not delivering the results she wanted. Then I thought to myself this is a good candidate, so I arranged a meeting with her and proposed re-branding her website, which she agreed to after which I gave her a result driven website.
I called it breakthrough because that landed us our second client that paid me 1,500 pound (5 times the amount I would have chargedKeshia-Austin) and also opened up many new businesses, ever since it’s been re-investing money made and revenue growth. This taught me a lesson, when you are good and committed to quality, speed and result; it is like a candle which lights up a lot of other candles!
However, we do not build website again unfortunately but we are more focused now on marketing businesses online and training people to be able to drive results using digital marketing.
What I tell people whom I have mentored, is that you do not need to have a product before you sell a product, you can pre-sell your products and raise funds as far as you are committed to delivering.
I remember my brother, who raised 20 million naira for his business almost immediately after graduation by pre-selling to people interested in becoming a distributor to a product he was about to start. That gave him the funding to manufacture the products from china.
This taught me a lesson, that your best source of capital are from your customers, if you can drive in a steady cash-flow from your customers then you will have a business that will last for long.
Most businesses today are running after funding from banks, Venture Capitalist (VC) and all but most of them misuse the capital when they get it because they do not understand the basics that your customers are your best capital.
3. What are some of the challenges you faced in your business and how did you overcome those challenges?
The biggest challenge was hiring the right team members for the job.
I believe I was not the only one facing this challenge, as most job seekers are not job ready and are not ready to improve. It is either they submit a poor CV or they do not turn up for the interview or they come late for the interview or they do not answer the interview questions properly.
The few that succeed and passes through the job interview, get the job and then they can’t use their initiative, they are not proactive and result oriented.
When I returned to Nigeria in 2012 and started my company I kept hiring the wrong people until I had to change my strategy of recruiting.
Here is the process I use to recruit now to hire smart people into my team:
- Write out the list of task I want the person to do.
- Create a Job description from that list of task and then include task and scenario-based challenges such as “our goal is to grow our organic traffic by 10,000 a month. What will you do for us to achieve that goal?”
- Short list 5 people that applied incorrectly by doing the simple task and challenge. What to look out for:
- Binary answers: One word answers to open-ended questions (these people are removed)
- Ability to follow instructions: Who carefully followed what was asked
- Quality of answers to the challenge: Who really put in effort and stands out.
- Give the 5 people shortlisted a real task of what they will be doing at the job.
- Invite the people that did the task correctly and qualified for a face to face interview.
- Make a decision on who to hire.
This process solved my hiring challenges.
4. Where do you see your business 5 years from now and what steps are you taking today to reach that goal?
In setting goals, I like to focus on a giant goal and all the smaller goals will be achieved in the process.
Our giant goal is to impact 10,000 people in the next 5 years through our institute, however, achieving this goal will provide the funding required to achieve our smaller goals such as owning our office building, increasing our staff strength and so on.
We understand that for us to impact 10,000 people we need to take the institute online and we are currently working on an online platform which is scalable towards achieving our goal. We would be launching in January 2018. We would still have physical training classes alongside.
Our focus is on our student’s success. That they will actually learn and implement what we teach them and most importantly they get results from what we taught them. That’s why we are building our online platform with a difference.
Here is what the online platform will include for the students:
- Over 100+ Digital Marketing Video Tutorials: They will get access to training lessons such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Content Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Video Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, Pay per Click (PPC) Ads, Email Marketing, Analytics, WordPress Website, Online Traffic Generation, Online Advertising, Search Engine Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Online Business, Digital Marketing Agency and many more ….
- Monthly Implementation Challenges: Fun, monthly challenges to keep them focused and motivated to achieving their business or career goals. The challenges will keep them focused and motivated to increase their sales and make more money online.
- Monthly “What’s Working Now” LIVE Webinar Training: FULL access to “What’s Working Now” LIVE Webinar Training where we share what’s new, what’s hot and what’s WORKING in Digital Marketing. Not only will they get the latest and greatest digital marketing ideas, they will also have a chance to ask questions and we will give them the answers.
- Online Mastermind Group:They can just ask their questions in the online mastermind group and they will get a detailed answer from us and other group members. It’s that simple and easy. Ask questions, network and exchange ideas with smart and passionate business owners and digital marketing professionals.
- Weekly “Question & Answer” Live Coaching Webinar Sessions: WEEKLY and direct access to the entire Digital Marketing Skill Institute team (and occasional special guests experts) in our LIVE, members only “Question & Answer” Live Webinar Q&A sessions. This is their opportunity to ask our team of experts anything… literally, ANYTHING! We’ll stay on until the last question is answered each and every week!
- FREE and Discounted Digital Marketing Tools: We will give them free and discounted tools with adequate training on how to use these tools.
5. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs looking to start a business or invest in Africa?
I would start by saying focus is very important in business, we have a bad advice going around about diversifying, yes it is important to diversify but only when the time is right.
Here is what I mean, most successful people in business start by focusing on one business and grow it before they start giving birth to multiple businesses. They literally put all their eggs in one basket and watch the eggs to ensure none of the eggs breaks then when the eggs are matured they start bringing out one egg at a time.
Basically, do not try to do so many things at the beginning of your business and it is important that the businesses you are giving birth to complement each other in the long run.
So for example my 3 high growth businesses compliments each other, you can either want us to train you in digital marketing in our institute or do your digital marketing for you in our agency. Whether you want us to train you or do yourdigital marketing for you, you need digital marketing tools and that is where the third company comes in Find Digital Tools.
Business is a win–win situation, be committed to delivering your best, and people will notice. The rest will follow and it won’t even feel like work. Let your passion and purpose drive you!
However, passion and purpose can only sustain you for a while especially if your business is not profitable or sustainable so I will advise that you understand what makes you profitable and sustainable early and be committed to implement what will make your business profitable and sustainable.
For you to really be profitable you need to drive value at the right price point and find the number of people that are willing to pay you for that value at your price point.
Most businesses in Nigeria, compete with price and not value. I will advise you compete with value and not price as people are willing to pay higher for value – it is easier to make ₦1,000,000 by selling 10 products with high value at ₦100,000 each than to sell 100 products with low value at ₦10,000.
Most start-up fail because they do not understand pricing and the market, it is important someone looking to start a business or invest in Africa to understand how pricing and the market work together. Selling something at ₦5 requires you to have a big market that is willing to pay for products on a regular basis for you to be profitable and sustainable.
Most businesses find it hard to invest in marketing or become profitable because they do not understand customer lifetime value. You should be willing to spend x amount to acquire customers and then upsell, cross-sell, down-sell to the customers. You also need to be able to turn your customers to advocates to drive referrals to maximize your customer lifetime value.
It is better to start business early because then you have a lot of chances to fail and learn because with failure comes success.
I will say there isn’t a specific amount of things you need to know before you’re ready to start a business or company. You will never get started if you feel you have not got the right experience because learning is a continuous process and the most effective way to learn is by doing.
The popular 8 to 5 jobs never gives you the entrepreneur experience, they give you what you can learn on your own or from training, if you are committed. You also need to understand entrepreneurship is not for everyone.
When I decided I am not going to the job market, even turned down fantastic job opportunities I was getting at the time. I started attending trainings, seminars and networking events on business and entrepreneurship; one of the best was the school of professional skills workshop and Pipeline program, by University of Portsmouth, School of Enterprise.
I continuously read every morning different articles on sales, marketing, finance, business law, management and so on, to improve my knowledge. I have mentors and advisors from various specialties that I get advice from on a day to day basis. I am never scared to ask for help.
I would say overcoming self-doubt is one of the biggest challenges to starting your own business. I believed that being an entrepreneur was about believing first before seeing the result.
As an entrepreneur you have only one guarantee to success, the ability to see things differently, with great details and painting a picture in your minds with such specificity, color and richness, that it becomes real.
I started my entrepreneur journey, with the mindset I could imagine things in my mind into reality and knowing that the only variable I can control to succeed was my work ethic, whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well that is my motto, so I give my companies my very best.
Success might come in a lot of ways, one could be that you are lucky, or you have good connections or be particularly clever. But even at that, your work ethics is what determines how long this success will last. I learnt that from my parents, they are both successful in business.
My final advice is to read a lot and be committed to implementing with a willingness to change what you are doing if it is not working as many times as possible until it works. Having a mentor or accountability partner is also important as it keeps you focused on achieving your goals.
6. How is your business participating to the development of Africa?
I am very passionate about Africa, turned down job offers from multinational organizations within the UK and throughout Europe to come back to Nigeria to make an impact. Our agency has helped many companies in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Gambia and others to grow their business profit which has resulted to increasing their staff strength to meet up with delivering their products and services. This has created jobs indirectly and put more money in the government’s hands from Tax.
Our institute for digital marketing has helped many people start a highly rewarding career in digital marketing. Some of our graduates have gone ahead to start their own businesses either by starting an online business or starting a digital marketing agency. It has also helped many business owners scale their business faster. This has created many jobs and has helped many achieve their dreams. There are a lot of success stories on our website- digitalmarketingskill.com. Through our agency and training programs, we have impacted over 2,000 people directly since 2012 and have impacted many more indirectly in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.