Q+A with Abidemi Sanusi
Tell me a bit about yourself, your background and where you are from.
I’m Abidemi Sanusi, an author, and founder of abidemi.tv. I was born in Nigeria and now live in the UK.
Tell me more about your business abidemi.tv and how the idea for it came about.
My dream was to run my own writing business, but after three years of running Ready Writer, a boutique content agency, I realised that I wanted to work with my own tribe: writers. So I set up abidemi.tv, which helps writers write better and grow their brand.
We do this via online courses, books and other products which are currently in development.
The ambitious goal is to make it the number one destination website for writers – globally.
How did you get to where you are today and what was your career path?
I started off in human rights, specialising in gender and conflict in West Africa. When I got jaded, I left and decided to go back to my first love, which was writing.
The first book was Kemi’s Journal, which was aimed at the religious market, and surprisingly ended up with me being on page three of the Independent on Sunday newspaper. The next two books didn’t do so well, but I hit the jackpot with Eyo, which was nominated for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
In between these books, I was doing consultancies and also running my own then-business, Ready Writer.
You’ve had a varied career path. What has this brought to your business and how has it helped?
I’ve worked at all levels of government (UN, Number 10/Cabinet Office), brands (Unilever, Symantec, Exterion Media) and charities (Salvation Army, Shelter), either as an employee, consultant or service provider (via my then-company, Ready Writer), so I think the experience has given a nuanced perspective on the world of work and opportunity.
More than anything, I’ve been convinced of the value of having multiple sources of income and being mistress of your destiny. In this day and age, relying on your salary as your sole source of income is nuts.
What has been the most challenging aspect of creating abidemi.tv and how did you overcome this?
The key challenge is focus. Businesses make money (if they don’t, it’s a time and money-sucking hobby), and I think once I understood that, it kind of freed me to focus on the things that would bring in the cash, and help grow the business.
The second thing is understanding the difference between tactics and strategy. The latter will give you long-term wins and focus, and the former won’t.
What have you found to be the most effective way to promote what you do and why?
I think it really depends on what you want to achieve.
Social media is great for brand building. I like to call it unconscious selling. It takes a while to get traction, but post consistently and you will be the first person that people think of when they need your services or products.
Facebook ads are good for traffic and they tend to convert well, but can be a beast.
Webinars work, but again, you have to know what you’re doing. And this takes time.
Email marketing works wonders, but you have to have the right people on your list, otherwise, you’re marketing to crickets. So you really have to be strategic in terms of attracting the right people to your list.
What do you consider your greatest achievement thus far?
abidemi.tv. I’ve created a service for writers. And I’m only just getting started. It’s not just the online courses or the business templates that we’ve designed for freelance writers, there’s much, much more to come.
What do you most attribute to the success of abidemi.tv?
I’ve worked hard to create something authentic and valuable for my end-users (writers), so they know it’s a name they can trust.
And honestly? I named the business after myself, so I have to work extra hard to maintain that trust and the brand’s reputation.
How do you keep your passion for writing, while having to manage a business?
My personal website www.baldglasses.com, in which I talk about writing, food, photography and business.
It keeps me sane.
Any advice for women who have business ideas, but fear the process of starting?
I would tell them to go for it. Start by doing it on the side and when you’re ready, go full-time – you will never do it if you don’t start. And that fear of failure is usually that; fear. Start by doing it on the side and you’ll manage, if not completely annihilate your fear.