Home Articles / Poems Part 10: An Entrepreneur’s diary of Being Broke and in Debt.

Part 10: An Entrepreneur’s diary of Being Broke and in Debt.


“Own the answers to the questions in your market/ industry.”

In 2006 when I got into banking, I prayed and fasted that I won’t end up in the marketing unit.

I had heard various stories of Banks’ giving their staff high targets in respect of deposit mobilization, and the consequences faced for not meeting same. These stories created fear in my mind. So when I ended up in Credit Analysis, I was happy.

However, my foray into spoken word poetry meant I could not escape the art of marketing and sales.

The closest thing to a marketing plan that we had when we started our events in 2012 was to send mails to potential corporate sponsors. I sent out so much mails and messages, I got locked out of my first Linkedin account, and also lost my quora account.

As regards our attempt to get sponsors, it was not all doom and gloom. We got product sponsorship from Red Bull, Fan Milk and some other brands. We also got support from a Bank and a Telecoms Company twice.

Note that I used the word “support” and not “sponsorship.”

Support is a credit alert, sponsorship is a credit “alarm.”

Anyway, our outflow was way more than our inflows, so I had no choice but to start researching on how to market and sell spoken word poetry, and in this instance, our events were the products.

There was no material that spoke directly to this subject matter. There were materials on how to sell music and comedy. There were grants for writers and poets. But nothing specific in terms of funding for spoken word poetry.

In my research, there was a particular phrase that got my attention, i.e. “How to sell the invisible.”

That phrase inspired me. I dug deep to find answers. I bought, got, downloaded and consumed books, CDs, DVDs, YouTube Videos, as well as, attended sales training and digital marketing classes.

The knowledge gained from our study we put to practise and executed some things. A few worked, but most did not. We had to adapt and tweak the answers we got to suit and solve the problem (of funding/ revenue generation) that was at hand. We knew that if we hack this problem, we would have solved a major issue for this emerging industry.

I’m sure you realize the impact of solving an industry wide issue.

Do we have the answers yet?

Hmm, I would like to believe we’re close. Or at least, much closer than when we started.

So, how can we sell the invisible?

Well, I think if you can decipher the marketing strategy/tips below, you will have your answer:

For anything to be a business, you need to tick the box of a service provider, (especially at events). Make people see it as  service that they need. – Ali Baba.

It can’t be poetry for the sake of poetry because that will only attract enthusiasts not buyers. It needs to go from just poetry to service. You will need to understand those who will pay for it. – Tolulope Tomori Adedeji.

What is the value chain? What are the enablers? What is the Business Model? How can the process be digitalized? – Mitchell Elegbe.

Figure out the real value underlying what customers want and explore ways to become a marketplace between those that have the assets and those willing to pay. – Michael Lynch.

Create network effects. – Michael Lynch.

Make the product ubiquitous. – Business Wars podcast (Facebook vs Snapchat).

What problem are you solving? Is there money in the problem you are solving? Don’t assume that the reason you are fixing the problem is the reason people want to buy. When you fix a problem, you have got to ask yourself, “is the reason I’m doing this, the reason that they are going to buy?” Most times, the reason you sell, is not the reason people buy. – Vusi.

Don’t find demand, create demand. – Vusi.

To monetize your personal brand into a business using social marketing networks, 2 pillars need to be in place: Product and Content. – Gary Vee.

People are not going to spread the word (about your business) because it is important to you. They will only do it because it is important to them. Because it furthers their goals, because it permits them to tell a story to themselves that they are proud of. – Seth Godin.

You can’t be seen until you learn to see. – Seth Godin.

It is impossible to create wealth and not create value. It is possible to create value and not create wealth. Value is measured by the impact you are making. Value is in the problem you solve. Every time a solution is found, value is created. Value is never destroyed, it will eventually be earned. – Fela Durotoye.

Being valuable is not enough, your value must be needed and useful. – Joshua Selman.

You will not evolve from somewhere and tell a generation to honour you, timing matters. Have a place in their history, so they can relate to your impact and influence in their growth. Look for what this generation must know you for and start branding your impact specifically. – Joshua Selman.

Stand where you will be seen and your voice heard. – Sam Adeyemi.

Positioning is superior to momentum. – Olakunle Soriyan.

On a final note:

Come to the marketplace with your seeds, and not with your needs. – Jim Rohn.

Sow your seeds.

But remember that the harvest can’t be rushed.


Written by Olumide Holloway (King Olulu)

Twitter @olulu4ever, Instagram @olulutheking, olulu4ever@gmail.com, +2348025070892

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