GIDEON NZUKI – Entrepreneur, Digital Marketing Consultant
We all have a gift, a skill or talent that we can package and make money out of but sometimes understanding how to turn what we have into a business can feel like the biggest hustle there is. Gideon Nzuki, A Business Strategist and Digital Marketing Consultant shares his insights on how to navigate the world of entrepreneurship. Value grows with time. Don’t rush the process, grow It is one of the insights that the Co-Founder of Cresent 360, a digital media consultancy, shares.
How does one package a skill or gift into a business?
The first step is figuring out where your strength or strengths lie; are you a jack of all trades or are you better at specializing at something? If your interest or gifting lies in one thing, then build that one thing and become so good at it that people can trust you to deliver with excellence. I’m good at business and project management as well as strategizing, so I collaborate with others who are experts in their field – I put together a team that comprises of individuals who are good at what they do and we all work towards delivering what the client wants.
I know a lady who has specialized in media buying alone and is making some really good money out of it. Tell her what your target audience is and the specific number of people you want to reach and that’s it. It’s as good as done. Then be ready to part with some good cash. She has mastered her craft and her work speaks for itself.
Letting people know what you do is good, but excellence has a way of marketing itself.
How do you determine the pricing model of your business?
Business is what the buyer and the supplier agree on. Simple. It’s based on the art of negotiation and agreement. Of course when one is starting they often have to charge a low fee since they are working towards penetrating the market. But to be honest, no one can really advise you on what specific figure to quote, it’s something one has to learn as they start and grow. Do your research, figure out the market rates but remember that at the end of the day, how much business you rake in depends on how well you negotiate. Also, allow yourself to grow. When I was starting out, I would quote kshs. 30,000 for digital marketing services but now, a lot has changed, the cheques are much bigger, just as the scope of work involved has also grown exponentially.
Navigating the world of digital marketing, where does one even begin?
To be honest, I believe the opportunities in this field are enormous. There is still so much room, the pie is big. It’s one place where the demand for services is still so high, but the skill set required is extremely diverse. So, I think anyone interested in exploring this space still has to figure out what niche they would prefer to capitalize on – would you like to become an animation guru, or a media buy expert or a copywriter? What is it you want because there is so much that goes into digital marketing than just a post on social media.
After starting a business what is the secret to growth
Build relationships. Relationships will always be your most potent asset. Take time to actually care about people and genuinely desire to help.
Ensure that you always deliver, build trust – people will trust you with business if you have a track record of delivering.
How did you start your venture?
To be honest, I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset. As a teenager, I had an eye for small opportunities from which I could make some monies here and there. I was always trying out something, I’ve also learnt a lot from my dad over the years. Sometimes, that’s what entrepreneurship is, trying your hand at a number of things till you find that place that feels like home. With time, I figured out my strength lay in business strategy – developing ideas and pushing till I have them see the light of day.
Your experience with freelancing/entrepreneurship this far
It’s been 7 years now. I will summarize my journey in this statement, “You get in what you put in.” Entrepreneurship and freelancing can feel like a heart wrenching exercise at times. There have been times when we (me and whichever partners I was working with on a particular project) have presented 20 to 30 proposals in different boardrooms before we could get a deal or 2, those are 18 to 28 nos. Taking such blows isn’t always a walk in the park. Wisdom has at times demanded that we take a day or a couple of days off to unwind, deal with the heartbreak then get back in the game.
One must understand that entrepreneurship will demand that you develop a thick skin and a die hard spirit. There are no two ways about it. But the rewards are equally exhilarating. The greater the risk, the greater the reward.
The other lesson would be – value grows with time. Don’t rush the process, grow through it.
Your take on relationships in business
It’s everything. It’s not the things, it’s the people.
You will probably get more business out of someone either putting in a good word for you or referrals from satisfied clients. At times you will get repeat customers or have someone advise you on the best way to approach an individual or corporate; they will only share such information if they feel like they can trust you.
So, yes, relationships are everything in business.
Other skills that are important for a freelancer/entrepreneur to have other than the core talent
Financial management – at least have some fundamental knowledge of managing money. You cannot be successful if you don’t have some basic knowledge of how the money game works. Even if you eventually hire an accountant, you must understand what your books like and how to interpret that in simple terms. You must be able to interpret whether you are actually making profit in the long run.
One other important thing, it’s not a skill but I have found this to be highly beneficial. Have a legal advisor, don’t sign contracts without understanding the intimate details of what you are about to get yourself into.
Your favourite books
I like biographies. I like studying people’s journeys, see where they got things right, where they got it wrong and what I can learn from the insights they have to share.
Some of my favourite books include; Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, Hurricanes by Rick Ross, just to mention.
Your best business insights – what you’ve learnt from experience
- No one cares what you say, just deliver. People understand your end product better than your words.
- Be tenacious and don’t give up. Know that you are good enough and don’t let all the NOs you will hear along the way convince you otherwise.
- You are allowed to feel bad when you lose a deal you had placed high hopes on. It’s okay to feel sad and disappointed, just don’t dwell there too long. Take a day off, relax then get back in the game.
Challenges you have encountered along the way
The lack of assurance is a mountain one must continually conquer. I don’t have guarantees. Every day is a risk just as much as each day holds opportunities. There is a beauty in living life on the edge for me though, I guess when you are wired for it, you find no contentment in being in comfort zones.
Of the balancing act in life
Choose a partner who understands you and what you are working towards. It’s hard to be productive if you have to continually go home to endless quarrels. Your choice of a spouse will contribute greatly to how effective you are in your craft. Additionally, don’t allow societal pressures to determine what direction your life takes, marry when you feel you are ready for that responsibility, have kids when you know you are ready to be present in every way for them. In summary, live your life.
Your take on mentors
I have mentors for each area of my life. Some don’t even know that they are my mentors. They just think I am overly inquisitive. I ask questions, I ask of those I have observed steady success in a particular area – faith, relationships, business e.t.c.