Yomi Gerard knows what it means to struggle to build a successful business in Africa. A conversion copywriter for SaaS and Tech companies, he attributes his achievements to learning how to fend for himself from a very young age.
Scraping to get by while working in restaurants, water factories, and phone repair shops, he finally turned his aspirations toward copywriting as a sustainable career that could help him thrive.
“I didn’t start writing until my last job – a pure water factory – where I was paid N13,000 (15USD per month) for working 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day of the week,” said Yomi. “I knew I could not fulfill my dreams at that rate, so I went into copywriting.”
That was in 2018. He took a brief break from his new career in 2019 before diving back into it in 2020. He niched down to serve SaaS and Tech companies within the last year, which is a specialization he’s enjoying.
Today, he writes for some of the most successful businesses in Africa and beyond. “It was pretty amazing to me that I could make money from writing,” he said. “The fact that someone would pay me to do what I love to do, it was cool.”
Yomi hasn’t let success go to his head. He’s never forgotten how hard he worked to reach his goals.
Fast forward to today, and Yomi is paying it forward by helping other young African entrepreneurs achieve their dreams through E-preneur Africa.
E-preneur Africa is Born
Imagine. Innovate. Inspire.
Those three words adequately capture the vision of his passion project. “Access to the internet provides us all with equal opportunities,” said Yomi. “But not everyone knows how to navigate these paths.”
That’s where E-preneur Africa comes into play.
Conceived in April 2022, E-preneur is a storytelling platform featuring the tales of Africa’s most inspiring e-preneurs. It serves as a place where Millennials and Gen-Zs can find community, funding, and visibility to grow their brands.
It’s modeled after Forbes, but specifically for young Africans who are leveraging the Internet to build businesses and grow their brands.
“I believe stories are the world’s greatest motivation,” said Yomi. “Nothing stirs you up more than knowing someone has walked a path you’re currently on and succeeded.”
His motivation to launch E-preneur stems from his early struggles to make ends meet. Yomi said he hopes to spare his fellow African entrepreneurs the same rough road by giving them a platform that showcases their value and expertise.
Leveraging the Internet’s Power
There’s more to E-preneur Africa than showcasing up-and-coming young talent. Yomi plans to use his years of experience leveraging the power of the Internet to help others do the same. “(The Internet) helped me get away from doing menial jobs,” he said. “It allowed me to do something more that I actually enjoyed.”
Knowing the Internet exists and understanding how to use it to start or grow a business idea are two different things, Yomi said. He hopes to spare other young Africans the struggles he endured by teaching them a better way.
“Having to go through the hustle and the struggle to make ends meet, not knowing that there were opportunities online, was hard,” he said. “I didn’t have anyone to guide me. It makes a big difference having someone to point you in the right direction so you’re not constantly making mistakes.”
Yomi said the average African is very ambitious, with a lot of aspirations. “I see a lot of opportunities presented online, but if you don’t have access to them, you can’t take advantage of them,” he said.
Growing with Family
Once E-preneur Africa gets past its initial launch stage, Yomi said he plans to add coaching and mentoring services to the platform. He wants to provide access to experienced African entrepreneurs and instructors across multiple industries to provide insight to those just starting out.
His growth hub joins budding creatives and entrepreneurs on the same journey to making a global impact. To help facilitate exposure, E-preneur Africa has a digital magazine, email newsletter, and social media accounts that feature young African talent. Yomi also recently started a podcast that hosts young African success stories to inspire others.
The Man Behind the Mission
Going all-in as an entrepreneur is challenging. No one knows this better than Yomi.
When he first launched his copywriting business, Yomi was juggling it with finishing school. He found himself writing 3,000 words every day to make a reasonable income as he gained experience.
“I had to churn out a lot of words every single day,” he said. “Because I was new and I was trying to make ends meet, I really didn’t have the opportunity to say no to some kind of jobs and predatory payment behaviors.”
He felt constrained and unable to say no to unreasonable tasks and low pay because he felt pressured to pay the bills.
Some other challenges included the inconsistent power supply and connection issues that plague Africa. “Customers would tell me that we couldn’t work together if we couldn’t communicate,” he said.
Limited resources also kept him from working effectively when he first was getting started. “For a year, I did everything on my phone because I lacked the resources to buy all the equipment I needed.”
Toward the end of 2020, he had a client in the United Arab Emirates that helped him turn things around. It was his first retainer job, replacing the low-wage content mills he previously worked with while trying to gain experience and support himself.
“It gave me much more confidence,” he said. “I knew if I poured my heart into it, I could make it work.”
A Guiding Light for African Entrepreneurs
His future vision for E-preneur Africa is to make it the gold standard for Internet entrepreneurship. He hopes to reach people who are less privileged throughout Nigeria and all of Africa.
“We want to impact people and see their lives changed, the same way my life was impacted by leveraging the Internet,” he said. “I want to see the same kind of transformations happening in the lives of young people.”
E-preneur Africa seeks more influencers and collaborators to help create fresh content that aligns with its mission and vision. Already established entrepreneurs and content creators interested in helping grow the platform are encouraged to reach out to Yomi to learn more.
Shari Berg has known she wanted to be a writer since she was old enough to hold a pencil in her hand. She believes everyone has a story to tell, and it’s her job to discover it. Shari owns The Write Reflection, a Pittsburgh-based copywriting and content writing company that empowers small business owners to wield the power of words.