Can you please introduce yourself to us?
I’m Taofeeq AZEEZ, Web Consultant and Founder of The Generalissimo Media; a web consulting company that helps businesses and ventures become more profitable by effectively reaching out to their appropriate audience, clients, and customers on the World Wide Web.
Can you tell us about your background and how growing up was like to you?
I’m from Ona-Ara LG of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, and third child of a family of 5 children. Both parents are retired teachers.
Growing up was awesome, although, I didn’t spend most of the years of my life with my family, I was in a boarding secondary school for 6 years, and I only go home for holidays. Afterwards, I did the pre-degree program of Obafemi Awolowo University, after which I gained admission into the same University. I grew up mostly among well-mannered, cultured, and religious people.
How did your growing up motivate you and what impact did it have in shaping your person and personality?
Like I said, I grew up mostly among strangers and adults who cater for their own lives. That actually motivated me from young to always think of being independent and catering for my humble self. It made me made up my mind long ago to have a business I would own and control. I engaged in some form of trade or the other in my school days, although mostly unsuccessful. During my NYSC program between 2014 and 2015, I got to know about working online legitimately. And, to the glory of the Almighty, here I am today.
What are your principles in life?
Honesty. Justice. Humility. Love. Mercy.
Did you had a career before you became an entrepreneur? If yes, tell us about your career and why you quit.
Although, like I earlier mentioned, I engaged in one trade or the other in my school days, and like most Nigerians of humble backgrounds, I took up some teaching jobs at some time after graduating from the University before leaving for my NYSC program, and even briefly after my NYSC program to get my feet grounded in my newly found ‘Online Business’. I never had the intention of working for anyone else for a long period, even when I was poor. I’ve always had the intention of standing on my feet. I’ll always give myself a deadline for when I’m going to leave a certain employment I’m getting into. Hence, why I never stayed so long working for anyone else.
Why did you choose to become an entrepreneur?
I earlier mentioned that I’ve always loved to stand on my feet. I don’t really like working under people.
Do you have more than one business? If Yes, How do you run multiple businesses without one affecting the other?
I have multiple businesses and engagements. From my web consulting jobs, to clients always wanting me to be part of their web projects, to even offline projects people invite me to, or the ones that I set up myself. It’s not easy, but I manage to get along one way or the other. The issue is, I’ll always give more attention to whichever of them is of pressing need at any moment in time, and see it conclude well before moving to the others. Man must be strong.
What inspired your business/businesses choice? Did your being a Muslim had any impact on your choice?
Well, my choice of career has no religion undertone, but I think it helps me in deciding whomsoever I want to or not want to work for. I’ve had great clients and customers across religious boards, so my career has little to nothing to do with religion, per se.
The fact that I can work anywhere in the world, provided I have my laptop and access to the internet makes me love my choice of career – Web Consulting
I’d love to even share a PDF (The Laptop Millionaire) I got from my major mentor – Muhammed Abdullah Tosin, a lawyer – with you. The material talks about most things, if not everything about earning a living, working online.
What’s your business philosophy?
Same as my life philosophies.
Honesty. Justice. Humility. Love. Mercy.
How did an Accounting graduate become a web consultant?
I already mentioned that earlier.
I actually never thought of it. All my life, I love designing. If I had not been an Accountant, I’d have been an Architect or a Fine Artist. Anyway, I came across online businesses during our SAED sessions at the NYSC orientation camp. I fell in love with E-Commerce (Importation Business), I didn’t seem to understand the web designing aspect then…
But I later (still during my NYSC program) got to see an advert from Muhammed Abdullah Tosin on Affiliate Marketing, where I learned web designing. I built on that, and that’s what I’ve been doing till date. Digital Marketing, Web Designing and other things.
Take us on the journey of your business story. How you started out? How you got to where you are today?
I already answered all that. But let me add that it has not been as easy as anyone might think. I started Affiliate Marketing, and lost all earnings…it was like everything was against me. I moved to training people about Digital Marketing, no one seemed to notice me. I almost quit. Around 2016, after I had decided to quit, I attended another training under Mr. Olumuyiwa Dada, the Founder of ClickHub, Lagos. His training was focused on Fiverr, although he showed us other things like e-commerce, etc., briefly.
I tried Fiverr too, but the competition was too much, and I don’t know how to fake foreign accounts. I had to quit Fiverr and started working on myself.
I found out a lot of people wanted to learn web designing, and a lot of others need someone to set up websites for them. I sharpened my skills on that. And here I am today. To the glory of the Almighty.
What are the challenges that came your way and how did you handle them? How you acquire and retain your client? And all other interesting stuffs we might be able to draw lessons from.
Like I said, it was not easy, especially for a person from a humble background like myself. No money to run ads to promote my work or business from the start. I only managed to own a laptop my mum bought for me then to write my thesis. It took time before people started to know me in my marketplace. Getting customers in Nigeria is not easy. If you charge them too low, they’d conclude you’re hungry and charging them too high, they’d say it’s too expensive.
And the worst is that, some people are out there ready to work at any shit of a price anyone throws into their face, sad.
But my expertise in the industry has always brought me referrals from students and past clients. I get over 70% of projects from referrals. In a highly competitive industry as ours, web consulting, it’s difficult getting jobs from strangers who don’t know you. But at the first instance, I won’t over-charge them, so that they don’t say it’s too expensive. And I won’t under-charge, so that they don’t conclude I only needed to survive. I’d be considerate. And giving them a good job, they’d often return with their referrals too.
What advice will you give to young Muslims?
No one should give up. With dedication and seriousness, there’s no limit that’s not attainable. The sky is actually a starting point.
READ ALSO FOLORUNSO EWUMI ABDUL AZEEZ; TALKS ABOUT HOW HE FAILED WAEC TWICE BUT LATER GRADUATED WITH A FIRST-CLASS IN AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES MANAGEMENT FROM THE FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE ABEOKUTA (FUNNAB)
Are you married? If yes, how do you run your business(es) and family at the same time without one affecting the other?
I’m yet to be married. But, I must confess, I cherish my business over anything. I believe I’m responsible for my upkeep and well-being. No one will fend for me if I don’t. But I always try to stop anything, like I earlier said, and focus attention on my spouse, if around. Yet, I still err, because I love business over other things. I must confess. Pardon me for that.
What is/are your advice(s) for those who wish to become an entrepreneur or tow your path?
I believe everyone have what they’re good at. Seek that. Focus and improve on it. Be better than anyone else at it, and very soon, you’d surely become a go-to person in your marketplace. Even, your competitors would refer to you, when they know you’re an expert. I got a job last year from a travel company to review and re-design their website, even when they have an internal IT staff. I did that, and handed it over to that person and everyone was okay. Just be the best at what you love and know how to do.
Love your job, and put your hope in God. Don’t ever give up.
Thank you so much, really appreciate