How I started my business with N1000

stephen By Stephen Akintayo

The story of Stephen Akintayo shatters the myth that one needs millions of naira to start a business. Once upon a time he sold pure water and pop corn to make ends meet while studying in the university. Today he is an entrepreneur, a motivational speaker, a life coach and mentor and an ICT professional earning as much as N50, 000 per hour for speaking engagements!

In a chat with TS Weekend, Akintayo opened up on how he started his business while studying in the university with just a N1000 as a 300 Level student many years ago.

“People who want to go into business say money is the problem and that is not true. Money has wings and it could fly. They can give you those millions you have been telling yourself would transform your business but beware, you could eventually get those millions and before you say Jackie Robinson, you could end up blowing it all and everything could go down the drain! I am talking from experience.”

Recounting his journey into entrepreneurship, Akintayo says: “I started my business with N1000. It was during ASUU strike when I was studying at the university; I was in my 300 Level year. I realised that people needed to do bulk SMS so I started doing my research online and that was when I got my first job.”

He reveals that the deal was so bad his client could not even afford to pay the bill of N1000 he charged; he could only afford N700. But because he believed in his dream and the awesome potentials waiting to be unlocked on social media, he burrowed a further N300 from a friend and took the plunge. And guess what; he didn’t even have a laptop or a desk top; he had to buy air time at a cyber cafe! Today, that move has transformed him into one of the major players in the digital media marketing space in Nigeria.

“They were supposed to pay me N1000 but they only paid N700,” recalled Akintayo, “I had to burrow a further N300 to make it up. I did not even have a system then so I went to a cyber cafe and bought airtime and that was how I made my first purchase funding. Today, the rest is history.”

Akintayo says that though it was rough ab-initio, his business gradually began to grow and the demand just kept coming: “Before I knew it I had my own site and then I started designing web sites for other people. Before I knew it I had a foreign partner who was providing the service. Today I have over 10 multi-nationals as my clients and the demand has now expanded to email marketing, social targeted media marketing and everything digital marketing to web design.”

Commenting on the potentials of digital marketing in the Nigerian space waiting to be unlocked in Nigeria, Akintayo continued: “I think it’s huge and we are still at the infant stage. A lot of people have not embraced it so there are a lot of opportunities for people who want to come into the business of Business to Business (B2B).”


Are you a marketer? Do you have products you want to market? Akintayo says digital marketing has come to the rescue. Hear him: “Instead of stressing yourself marketing that product through the bricks and mortar approach, why not consult a digital marketing company and push it by social media, bulk SMS, email marketing and what have you, and you will be shocked the results you will achieve because with the advent of smart phones, everybody can now check their messages on the go and that makes email marketing so effective.

“A research has revealed that the average Nigerian spends four hours on facebook and how do they do it, on their phones of course! That is where the traffic is and as an entrepreneur in this age; you have to tap in; it is huge! That is the future so the question is, do you want to be there now?” Akintayo adds rhetorically.

Digital Marketing With Stephen Akintayo

Today, Akintayo has held over a dozen seminars and workshop where he has preached the gospel of digital marketing, and as you read this piece, plans have been wrapped up for another session.

Commenting, Akintayo advises: “Business owners, marketing executives, stop wasting your company’s budget struggling to meet your targets. Why not come and focus on marketing which is targeted and measurable unlike conventional marketing. Come to the next edition of Digital Marketing With Stephen Akintayo.

“Digital Marketing is the mainstay of my company. I am poised to share my wealth of experience by sharing my secrets on how entrepreneurs can harness the magic of digital marketing and apply it to their businesses.

“On November 15, 2014, all roads will lead to Protea Hotel, Lagos, when I host another edition of my annual digital media conference, a platform which unveils the secrets of the money spinning potentials of the web christened Digital Marketing With Stephen Akintayo.”


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