10 Ugly Truths About Starting Your Own Online Business In Nigeria

10 UGLY Truths About Starting Your Own Online Business

Starting an online business in Nigeria seems to be the new rave. I mean, who wouldn’t want to tap into an industry that yields multiple billions of dollars in revenue?

Nigeria has one of the fastest growing populations in the world and this means that lots of Nigerians wake up every day to new possibilities of life daily and that includes new ways of doing business online in Nigeria too…

Getting a lucrative job in Nigeria is not just competitive but downright cutthroat.

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You need to have not just the right kind of people in the right places but also a deep pocket to land yourself most high-paying jobs. So, a good number of Nigerians have opted out for alternative ways of earning money. And this desire has led a lot of people to seek refuge under the umbrellas of the highly lucrative online business industry in Nigeria.

If you follow the current online trend you may have heard lots of rosy tales about starting an online business in Nigeria.

You may have heard testimonials of the incredible incomes & gains online business people pull in monthly online and this may have urged you further into deciding to start and run your own  online business in Nigeria.

I understand that you are all hyper and positive and can’t wait to start your online business tomorrow. It’s great. Really. It is.

I mean, I’ve been doing online business in Nigeria for 2 years now and I wouldn’t advise anyone to do otherwise.

But then, irrespective of how glamorous running a business may seem nothing good comes easy…and that includes making money online in Nigeria.

I hate to be the one to burst your bubble but here are the Top 10 Ugly Truths About Starting Your Own Online Business in Nigeria…a must read for every beginner.

 Starting an online business in nigeria infographic


Truth #1: It’s Actually Harder Than You Expect…

Starting and running a profitable online business is so easy that it fools you into thinking that it is as effortless as it seems.

Like every business, the early stages are usually the hardest. I have created and made millions of Naira in monthly sales and I can authoritatively tell you that starting and launching a profitable online business in Nigeria will take more of you than you anticipated.


You’ll need an extra thick skin and a rock-hard military style discipline to wade through the entire process of creating, launching and making sales from your business online in Nigeria.

I mean, you are a complete rookie at this stage. A learner. Absolutely naïve with absolutely no freaking idea what to do next. It is only natural you’ll make wrong moves once (or twice) in a while.

Don’t sweat it. It isn’t your fault.

Your steps are shaky and the entire system is vague. And most mistakes will likely cost you money. In fact, for people who are starting out with the unrealistic plan of hitting it BIG within the first 3 weeks of starting, your chances of running into rocks that may shatter your boat are highest at this stage. Be expectant.


Truth #2: You’ll eventually have to spend some money

One of the most important advantages of starting an online business in Nigeria is that it requires little or next to zero capital to launch as against running an in-shop business.

Inasmuch as this may be true, hoping on running a business entirely on free services may not be best for the growth of your business. It’s like saying you’ll learn to fly planes by reading books as against flying the damn plane.

And most beginners I’ve come across have this laughable expectation of getting something for nothing. They expect to make money without putting in or having to spend any at all.

Okay, let’s handle this misconception once and for all…

I want you to understand that getting a blog or social media page for free and running your business online on free services may be possible but you & I know that most free stuffs have extremely limited features…just like the ‘free’ Night Browsing Data Plan offered by telecos in Nigeria, it get to lose your night sleep to access it.

You’ll be handicapped and cannot compete optimally with services that does not allow you the flexibility you need to reach out and gain more engagements.

Understand that no matter how bad you really want to launch your online business on free services you’ll eventually need to part with a few naira (or dollars) here and there. Here are the major unavoidable expenses to expect…

  • You’ll have to upgrade from free services to paid services especially as the business grows (email service providers, payment option integration, adverts, domain & hosting)
  • If you’re in Nigeria then be prepared for a whole lot of extra expenses like paying for your company registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria, paying for an internationally recognized means of identification etc…
  • You’ll obviously have to pay for your data connection and other electronic devices you’ll need.

You can’t run from it.


Truth #3: Funding & Lack Of Funds.

You’ll need all the funds you can lay your hands on.

As you start and grow your business online in Nigeria, you’ll come to the hard realization that your business comes first. You’ll be digging your own financial grave if you put yourself above your online business.

Here’s what I mean…

At the end of the month, during the financial breakdowns or when you close your business’ financial books you’ll find out that the cost of running your business will be settled first even before you think about leaving out a little of the income for yourself. You’ll pay for the hosting of your site (if you have one) and other services like email services. And you’ll want to settle those expenses first in other to keep the business running and growing…sometimes, at the expense of personal gratifications.


But then, if you do otherwise (which most beginners do anyways) you’ll almost always be left in need of funds when you need it.


Truth #4: Running a Team Isn’t Child’s Play.

If you want to go fast go alone. But if you want to far form a team. That’s the creed of the Jewish billionaire Club.

Okay…I just made that up 🙂


But here is the truth…being a soloprenuer is best for you if you want to go fast. But when you decide to build something that’ll take you far then you’ll need a team.

And trust me, having a team work towards a goal is a totally different ball-game. Whether you do business online or in-shop, working with good hands on deck is expensive and even if you could afford it as a beginner it would need you to have a good dose of confidence and leadership qualities to take on the demanding task of managing people.

For online business people who can’t afford to hire a team the next available option is to become all that which you cannot afford to buy.

For example, when I was starting out with my first online business in Nigeria, I was my own website developer, content provider, backend person, customer care guy, delivery person, social media handler, accountant, coach…in fact, let’s get real here… you gotta know how to do about everything in the initial stages.

But remember, if you don’t want to bug yourself with the technical aspects then you need to delegate or get a team.


Truth #5: Tick! Tock!! Time Ticks!

Time waits for no one…and that includes you. Nothing is as painful as looking back at the past week and realizing you didn’t achieve any major goal on your to-do list.

You need to stop dreaming and start doing. You can’t be in preparatory mode forever. Quit checking Instagram for motivational quotes. Quit reading and planning…start practicing.

Running a profitable online business in Nigeria needs discipline like I said earlier.

Time waits for no one…and that includes you. Nothing is as painful as looking back at the past week and realizing you didn’t achieve any major goal on your to-do list.

You need to jealously guard your time if you want to get stuff done. You need to stop spending time on issues, stuffs and people that have nothing to do with your goal/s.

As a newbie, you’ll probably spend the bulk of the first month setting up your products and creating an online platform for it. You’ll: provide contents, follow up on customers, engage your audience on social media, watch and read your advert metrics, optimize on the better ones, follow and keep-up on the newest advert trends in the ever-changing world of online business…. and also make lots of trips to the bank.

All I’m trying to say is that you don’t have all the time in world to discuss soccer or play FIFA 24-7.

Heck! You don’t even get to sleep as much as you want…especially if the power supply is inconsistent and you have to utilize power whenever it gets restored…sometimes, as late as 11.59pm.

Time is all you have. And that is the reason most successful people aren’t easily accessible. Time is money.

I work (at least) 3 hours every day on my laptop and read for about an hour and 30 minutes daily. And I think anyone serious about starting his/her own online business in Nigeria should w Working with a detailed timetable or guide is a habit you’ll naturally develop real quick if you wish to crush your goals and get ahead.

Don’t let the idea of ‘working from home’ fool you into getting too relaxed. Work!


Truth #6: Your Location Sucks!

Nigeria ranks 5th in the list of worst economies to start a business in. This isn’t exactly the good news you need but hey, this is Nigeria and there are lots of constraining bottlenecks to doing business here. For example, getting your business registered in Nigeria takes a minimum of 5 to 9 working days as against 4 working days when compared to countries with better working conditions.

And this doesn’t make running an online business in Nigeria entirely groovy.

(NB: I wrote this article as early as 1.30 AM only because power just got restored few hours ago. Up Nepa!)

I mean, you aren’t in Sweden, New Zealand or Canada…or anywhere closely located.  There are no free wifi here. Data subscription fees are astronomically outrageous and you get crappy network connections to work with.

Sounds like a challenge? You bet.

Almost forgot… you’ll constantly get confused for an internet fraudster too when you tell people you work online for a living. But then, you get lots of tax breaks and you can get away with certain practices that are frowned upon in other climes.

But hey, what doesn’t kill makes you stronger…or, permanently disabled.


 Truth #7: You’re Never Perfect at running an Online Business.

Change is constant, so, you gotta keep evolving. Stay fluid and update your knowledge base on a daily.

Remember I told you earlier that I take out 1hour 30 minutes every day to read and update myself on the ever-changing trends in the annoyingly vast world of doing business online in Nigeria.

Perfection is a crime when running an online business not just in Nigeria but generally speaking.

I grew up in a home ran by an almost 100% perfectionist mum. Lol. So, I naturally tend to spend more time analyzing, contemplating, cherry picking, editing and re-editing a work before hitting the publish or launch button.


I hate it. I wish I could spend more time publishing and launching products as I do preparing it. It’s like a curse that can’t be broken. I don’t expect you to understand this if you don’t have a perfectionist trait in you.

To avoid getting stuck editing and preparing a product forever you need to adopt and repeat this mantra of mine constantly… “Perfection is a sin. Perfection is sin. Perfection is a sin”

Repeat it long enough and it’ll subconsciously keep you on track. Thank me later.


Truth #8: You never stop learning…and doing.

keep learning

One of the ugliest truths of doing business online is that you never stop learning or doing. You keep learning. It’s a never-ending cycle. You create, sell and repeat. You don’t sleep on your grind. Well, I guess you already know this.


Truth #9: You look confident. But deep down you’re confused.

When you start your own business online, you’ll find out that you may have to bite more than you chew once (or twice) in a while. And when the obstacles hits you may lose coordination for a few days.

It is advised to work with a plan.

Don’t sail the uncertain waters of doing online business in Nigeria (or anywhere else) without a working compass.

Have a blogging plan; a reading plan, a plan for how long you work and sleep. Have a plan for every single thing that affects your business. It keeps you focused on the goal.

But the funny thing is this—no matter how confident and all planned out you seem to be there is this little uncertainty that tags along your mind when you set out on a new project…especially when you’ve been previously hit by a tornado of obstacles. Experience teaches you that there isn’t any promised or guaranteed end result in business.

You know what to do and what result/s to expect, but then, you always have about 10 – 15% uncertain (even when you follow proven steps)


Truth #10: You may QUIT!

don't quit

I want you to stand up right now (if you can); stand in front of a mirror, clench your right fist hard, and take a good swing at your left eye.

Okay. That’s how hurtful it feels after you survive the first avalanche of obstacles that hits you as you start your online business in Nigeria.

As expected, you’ll encounter a zillion obstacles. Some of them will come at you with lightening speed. And a few are guaranteed to knock the breathe out the lungs of your business life.

You question your sanity from time to time. You’ll wonder why you chose such self-torture as against working a 9 to 5 and earning a salary. You’ll definitely wonder if starting your own online business is really worth the hype.

I still get that feeling till today. And with time you’ll learn to ignore it as the business grows and the mega income seeps in.


But then, it’s absolutely worth it.

And no matter how ugly starting a business online may seem I want you to know that if you follow an already proven and tested roadmap to making money online in Nigeria as against testing out new terrains then you’ll be alright for 80% of the time.

That is why we highly recommend you download and go through our free eBook—The 25 Hottest Selling Online Niches.

It will guide you as a beginner and it will help you select and spot the perfect online business that will not only make you crazy silly profits in the long run but will also save you money, time and the stress of trial & error.

Download, read and digest this eBook like twice. Share it with your kids, friends or spouse. And let the information we revealed in it direct your steps to choosing the most profitable online niches as you head out into the vast electronic jungle of doing business online in Nigeria.



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Written by Kelechi Idemili

Idemili Kelechi or Kenny as he is fondly called is a serial online business person who started and grew his first ever online blog business from zero to a multi-million monthly yielding enterprise in less than 2 years.

Kenny doesn't claim to be an expert, guru or any other self-acclaimed B.S title of any sort.

But then if you are interested knowing how to start & grow a profitable blog online then it is recommended you join his exclusive private Facebook--Digital Marketing Class by visiting www.facebook.com/groups/digitalmarketingclass0

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