Ifeanyi Julian Etuokwu-Oludumila is an unconventional coach with a passion to help business owners get it right with marketing. She can be described as a woman that shines the path for others in the entrepreneurship space. In this encounter with Olusegun Rapheal, she takes you into her world.
FOR the creative lady, the journey has been interesting and awesome. “It actually began with a skill she acquired in graphic design which made her rediscover herself and the many opportunities that came her way. Interestingly, this started when I was a student of one of Nigeria’s higher institutions and I got inspired in different ways”.
Looking back now, she is ready to tell anyone who cares to listen that this is one of the best things that ever happened to her. So many doors have opened and she goes down memory lane to talk about the memorable opportunities and experience.
“Today, I am the initiator of Grow Your Business (GYB), a social media platform with a combined community of over 15000 entrepreneurs”.
Interestingly, she works 9 to 5 and yet, has the rare energy to Coach a number of Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) who subscribe to her services.
“I have been a graphic designer and artist since year 2000. It was tough at the beginning but interesting. It’s been a learning curve with a lot of benefits. Hard work, determination and perseverance I have 20 years of experience playing with colours, lines, shapes and interpretation of thoughts”.
Creativity has been her selling point and this she informed has taken her to places. “With my skill, I had worked with a few Advertising Agencies creating billboards, logos, brochures, fliers, web banners and much more”.
Happily, she goes down memory lane to recall the humble beginning and the journey so far. “ In 2008, I started my first business without shape or form. I was happy deploying my skills just working for a church, family and friends till I stumbled on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Scholarship in partnership with Enterprise Development Centre (EDC), Pan Atlantic University. I applied for it and was lucky enough to benefit from the scholarship”, she informed.
She explained that the scholarship opportunity gave her the needed exposure to start and run a profitable business.
“On completion of the programme armed with a certificate in entrepreneurial management and her laptop, she began to explore the different opportunities and potentials that came her way. “I then took the bull by the horn, leverage on the connections that I had as well as the people opportunities available at the Enterprise Development Center”.
It was a very inspiring period in her life and tapping into the opportunities plus her skills in designing, she immediately launched an online design studio for SMEs. Speaking further, she recalls how she got hired by First Bank in 2014. That interestingly, was another turning point in her life.
“To some entrepreneurs, it made no sense. Picking up a job looked like I was going backwards. The truth is, my 9 to 5 job taught me discipline, gave me that crazy determination that was required, drive and more opportunities”.
She continued: “Being in paid employment helped me pivot into what I’m doing now which is Business Marketing Coaching. I connect with prospects across social media handles like @growyourbizng and went further to list “Canva Done for You”, a service where I offer very busy entrepreneurs who love consistent look and feel on all social networks but don’t have time to design”.
She informed that training and setting up in-house design teams for businesses with more than 5 staff were some of the things she worked on at that point. ‘We trained on “Become a Canva Designer pro, a workshop for SMEs who want to create attention grabbing social media graphics and other marketing materials using the Canva app, among others”.
Concluding, the unconventional marketing expert admonishes those in paid employment with marketable skills to take a cue from her, auditing their skills and looking for people and businesses that are willing to pay for their creativity and initiatives.