How To Start A Business Online: Opinions From Successful Entrepreneurs

For so many Nigerians, making money online will definitely be a dream come true.

But sadly, it is not everyone that will ever make some decent income online.

Yeah. I’m not just saying this to get you discouraged… According to Google stats, about 70 percent of small businesses will wind up in the first 5 years. 

And this can be worse for an online business. 

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 difficult. 

That’s the true situation of things. 

But the truth also is, despite the challenges of starting an online business, there are people who are still doing phenomenal stuff with their online business right here in Nigeria… And other developing countries. 

How did they do that? 

If this is the question on your mind then you’re going to learn a lot from this post. 

Below are step by step guide to on how to make money online in Nigeria in 2019 according other successful (mostly) African online entrepreneurs. 

1. Look for a painful problem that others are facing, and then devise a way to make people pay you for the solution. 

Seun Osewa

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.”

Seun Osewa.

Ok. So Seun has said it all.

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…,

The most important thing is that you have to provide value to another person if you’re going to make money online in Nigeria in this 2019.

This is because people out there can only pay you for the value they derive from you.

2. Do what you love: 

Lasisi Elenu

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.

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 passion.

Now, one thing you must understand is that if you work on it very well, your passion can pay your bills.

Also keep in mind that even when you start out with something you’re passionate about, don’t stop at the passion, you can learn some business skills and take it to the next level.

3. Start from where you are: Mark Zuckerberg.

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.

Mark Zuckerberg.

Most problems with young Nigerians wishing to start online business is the issue of funding.

Of course you don’t have collateral and there is hardly any bank that will lend you money to start any business without requiring you provide some collateral.

So the mere thought of this is usually very discouraging. But as Zuckerberg is saying, you can really start from where you are.


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 many cool stuff you’ll have to let go just to save some bucks…

But truth is, looking back today, i feel it was worth it.

So you’ll really have to cut back on unnecessary expenses.

Another way of starting where you are is by providing services that will demand less capital for start up.

As you keep making profit from the particular service, with time you can expand to include the original service/product you wanted to start with.

So if you want to go into a big ecommerce business and you don’t have funds, you can start managing other people’s social media accounts as a side hustle. 

As you make some savings, you expand to build your ecommerce website over time.

4. Build a sustainable business model: Debola Williams.

For us, building the sustainable business model is crucial.

Debola Williams.

A business model is like a plan for the successful operation of your business.

As you already know, so many online businesses in Nigeria today run without business models.

This is the major issues with most online businesses. 

As Debola said, You can not excel or scale your online business without a realistic business model so it’s important you get one set out before even getting started.

Building a sustainable business including details of how you’ll source funds at different level of growth, clients, how you’ll expand and other details will guide you as your online business gets poised for growth.

It will also save as soon guide for your business. 

And from time to time, you can adjust your business models based on your current realities. 

5. Don’t ever 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.

Linda Ikeji

One of the wrong impression 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 time. 

In fact, sometimes you’re going to work so hard and still see far less results. 

That’s the truth. Let’s not sugarcoat this.

There’s going to be times you feel like giving up…

But trust me, 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 this is me telling you, whenever you feel like giving up on your online business, please understand it’s a familiar feeling.

All established digital entrepreneurs felt like this at one point…

But they struggled 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. 

Oh 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? 

What has been your biggest challenge in starting out your online business? 


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