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Entrepreneurship

Meet the 22 year old Nigerian e-Commerce expert running Two 8-Figure Brands

In this exclusive interview with ecommerce expert Abdul-Qawiyy Hammed, he shares his experience with building and running two million-dollar brands.

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Abdul-Qawiyy Hammed used to live on a $41-per- month allowance from his parents. He got started in e-commerce, in 2015, with a burning desire for a better life. He had zero experience and no guidance, repeatedly going through the cycle of losing, almost quitting and starting again. In November 2019, he made US$1.19 million in sales.

I recently sat down with Abdul-Qawiyy for an exclusive interview to discuss his journey into e-commerce, the rules of the trade and his vision for the future of his brands

Can you share a bit about your background and how you got into e-commerce?

The Beginning

I started freelancing at the age of 16. My early work was focused on using direct- response marketing, copy writing and ethical persuasion skills to make 3d explainer videos for marketing clients. Things were going alright for me, until The Great Purge happened.

PayPal and Stripe made some changes to their payment policies, which meant Nigerians could no longer receive money from outside the country. Many Nigerians-including myself- were removed from major freelancing networks. I found myself suddenly left with no source of income. I had to depend on my parents for stipends, and they gave me $41 to live on every month.

The Day Everything Changed

One day, I was in the middle of my routine search for money making opportunities on the internet. I stumbled upon an ad by Jason Stone (@millionaire_mentor on Instagram).

In this ad, Jason was sitting on the hood of a Lamborghini, parked in front of a penthouse. He was wearing a black tee and shorts. The ad read;

“Ready to live your dream life? Free from the 9-5 hustle and travel the world?”

The Ad that Transformed Abdul-Qawiyy’s life

I was immediately charged up. He was offering a life beyond just managing to get by, and that was exactly what I had been searching for.

I signed up for his 1-hour webinar. At the end of the session, he made an offer to anyone interested in pushing the dream. The price tag was $297, and I paid without thinking twice.

My background in Marketing and Direct response Advertising helped me to understand the Principles of Sales. I have been doing business for six years now, and it has been on a total roller coaster of emotions.

How did you scale your business to become profitable over the years?

I knew what I wanted to do, and I realized I had to put systems in place to achieve it.

My background in Advertising made it easy for me to transition into e-commerce.

I read a book called“The E-Myth Revisited” by Micheal .E. Gerber. Gerber says, you need to work more on your business, than in it- if you want to scale to 6,7 or even 10 figures.

Abdul-Qawiyy Hammed on Growing and Scaling your Brand

In time, I realized I could be more productive if I did not try to do everything myself. So, I decided to recruit a team.

Right now, I have a team composed of Facebook ads experts and media influencer agents. We use a multi-channel marketing structure so even if our Facebook is down, we can rely on Google and influencer marketing to push products.

We have built a solid customer database by offering incentives to past customers and recruiting them as brand awareness creators. They post pictures with our products, and we drive traffic to this user generated content.

How do you find and keep customers?

There are three elements that drive successful e-comm; the triangle of The Product, The Offer and The Audience.

For my brand products, we use every platform that humans converge on. In recent times, Tik Tok is serving as one of our biggest sources of traffic. We hire influencers to do unboxing reviews and videos, where they show our products and talk about their benefits. This is a great way to generate traffic for us.

in all our content, we apply direct response principles learnt from Gary Halbert, David Oglivy, Gene Schwartz and several other marketing legends. The best part about it is we have built a huge customer lifetime value, with a high number of recurring purchases.

That, I believe, is the soul of business.

What are your plans for the future of your business in terms of figures and clientele ?

I plan to scale my brands beyond the $50 million or even $75 million mark. We will grow into a multi-million dollar ecommerce empire-in the range of hundreds of millions- and become a household name. My final move is to sell the business and retire in my 30s.

Right now, we have diversified into coaching and we assist other business owners with building their own brands. It has been really exciting to help other people get results.

What are your main challenges as a business owner and how do you overcome them?

As a Nigerian, I did not access to payment gateways when I opened my first store. I partnered with someone from an eligible country. In our first week of doing business, we made more than €1,000. Then, he suddenly disappeared and went off with all the money we both worked for.

In the e-commerce industry, many people call themselves “ecommerce gurus” and “mentors” just to rip people off. They collect huge amounts from people who are desperate to learn, then they just bail on you.

Another major challenge came when I had to register my business offshore. I did not have much information to go on, so I registered in a US state of my choice. Subsequently, I discovered this state had extremely high tax rates. I could not afford this expense and it ate really deep into my profit margin.

As time goes by, I keep learning several lessons from all of these problems. Being Nigerian- in itself- is a challenge. Because of where I come from, I had an extra set of restrictions and obstacles. Therefore, it was not an easy ride. However, tough times don’t last.

Only tough people do.

You can connect with Abdul-Qawiyy on Instagram and Twitter

Hey there! My name is Zulaikhah Agoro. I am a freelance Digital Marketing Strategist, certified by Google. I help high impact entrepreneurs use their personal stories to increase their income and expand their brand visibility. I also run feature stories on social entrepreneurs and innovators doing kickass stuff all around the world. You can reach me at [email protected] if you would like to be featured, or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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Entrepreneurship

How To Build A Thriving Brand in 2020 With Entrepreneur Marco Calamassi

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Marco Calamassi  is an Italian entrepreneur and founder of BrandsBuilder. BrandsBuilder helps influencers, web personalities, celebrities and media companies develop their own brand, product or service that speaks to their audience. It takes them from Brand Sponsorship to Building and Scaling their own brand.

What is your background ?

My background is in Business Management. But I’ve been involved with online commerce since I was 10, Ebay.com was just becoming a thing and while my friends were outside playing soccer, I was searching suppliers in China and order a full ship container of goods.

What was your first business venture ?

First “online” business I managed to setup was buying and selling sneakers. It was the early history of Ebay and online sales were starting to skyrocket, at the end of the past century. Economies were booming and consumerism was at its peak. I was 10 and making between 5 and 8k a month.

What was your first success story ?

A surprisingly successful business deal was the purchase of a full container of Jumping Stilts when I was like 12. When I saw the truck with the ship container arriving at my house, from China, made me “wow”. I was able to flip those Stilts for a 6x markup.

Remember to follow him on Instagram

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Entrepreneurship

From College Football Star to Fitness Apparel Owner; Journey of Justin Allen

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Justin Allen

For most athletes the next step after college is to head straight into the major leagues. Whether that is the NFL, the NBA, the MLB or even the NHL the journey to get to the next level is almost 90% of all collegiate player’s plans. They put their bodies on the line for those college years without the ability to earn a penny from their talents on the field. Getting to the next level is the common goal that makes all the hard work and sacrifices throughout college worth it.

Meet Justin Allen. He is a serial entrepreneur, but before all of that he was a nationally ranked linebacker at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. He attended that college as a business management major which propelled him not to the NFL, but to be the owner of several companies. His biggest company to date is a fitness apparel clothing called “DA Method Apparel”.

Planting the seeds

Since an early age Justin Allen knew he was going to be an entrepreneur. Although he had dreams of playing in the NFL, his vision of ownership eclipsed those thoughts. He went to share with me that entrepreneurship has always been apart of who he was. He came from a very driven, disciplined and hardworking background. His parents were hard workers so it was something that was always around him. Although as child, his job was always to focus on his education, his personal love for sports, work ethics of determination, dedication and follow through seemed to reveal itself in everything that he did. Whether it was in the classroom, church, the football field or just as a leader amongst his peers. When a strong foundation is built on those principles it becomes second nature to put your all into everything you touch.

Determinate Action

Understanding Justin’s passion for sports, entering into the fitness apparel industry was not to far from his love. Knowing he would be competing with some heavyweights in the fitness apparel industry such as Nike, Champion, Under Armor, Gym Shark and many more. I wanted to understand what inspired his company “DA Method Apparel”.

“The goal of DA Method is to be a lifestyle brand. The apparel is piece of a larger entity where the overall focus is to inspire and empower the whole individual to be the best that they can be, period. Being the best is more than physical, it’s mental, emotional and environmental” Justin says.

He believes in and stands by the principles of his brand Determinate Action – You as the determinate must put the method into action.

Turning Point

As a fellow entrepreneur there is always a turning point that puts us in a certain direction. Justin attributes his turning point to a time when he was working for another company and they asked him to either sell them his business or quit. It was then that he had to make a decision to make the safe and comfortable choice or go all in and bet on himself. Clearly he chose the latter.

PG Valor Basketball

To date his company is growing into one of the fastest fitness apparel companies nationwide. DA Method Apparel is the lead sponsor for the American Basketball Association PG Valor basketball team. They are also sponsors for many athletes in mixed martial arts, professional wrestling and boxing.

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Entertainment

Why Kaho Shibuya Was Born To Be An Entrepreneur

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Time is finite. Whether you accept this or not, one day your life on this planet will come to an end. While that is out of your control, what you make of this life is very much in your hands. For Kaho Shibuya, realizing this at a young age has changed the game for her and she wastes no time chasing her dreams and making a name for herself. 

A cosplayer and writer from Tokyo, Kaho has an incredibly diverse resume of work experience and has always been active in pursuing what she is passionate about. After watching American wrestling shows as a high schooler, she did not just develop a passion for the industry, she went all in on immersing herself in American culture. In fact, she became completely fluent in English in college and majored in international communication. Post graduation, she spent time as a newspaper publisher and reporter, worked as a school teacher that focused on the English language, and even spent time in the adult film industry where she garnered a large audience that would help her YouTube and entertainment ventures take off rapidly. 

At the moment, Kaho is fully invested in the entertainment industry, spending time as a DJ and appearing at anime conventions and meet and greets. In the coming months, she will be a voice actress on a brand new anime series that will be premiering. Her dedication to learning the English language has paid off in a major way as well, as she has been able to travel to the United States for anime conventions in Los Angeles and will be in Houston in July this year for another one.

While she started out as an office worker, her transition into entrepreneurship was a no brainer. She has always gravitated towards freelance work, and has always wanted to try new things that she would not be able to do at a desk job. While her experiences as a journalist were invaluable, she is able to work towards her passion every single day as an entrepreneur in the entertainment industry. 

In Japan, agencies are extremely tough to work with, and take around half of its clients earnings before paying them. While Kaho used to suffer from a partnership with an agency, she has since grown her social media presence on Twitter and Instagram so much to the point where she has achieved independence and is able to take on clients that she is eager to work with rather than having to hit a certain number for her agency. 

While she is still young, Kaho Shibuya is a force in the anime and entertainment industry and will only look to grow her personal brand both in Japan and internationally, and it will not be long before she is a household name in her homeland and countries worldwide.

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