This is the story of how I quit my job 3 months before the first case of COVID-19 hit my country. In the first 6 months of 2020, I had three main goals. Marry my fiance, move into a home together, and grow my new business. Why did I quit my job? I wanted to spend more time with family, to have more time to do the things I love, and to run a profitable agency.
But before I let you in on how I have managed to pull through this difficult time, I must give you a short back story of how I got here.
University and first job
I pursued computer science at Strathmore University in Nairobi and graduated in 2018. While in my second year of studies, I got an opportunity to manage the social media accounts of an eCommerce company. The pay was Ksh 5,000 ($50) per month. At the time, that was huge for me. I had extra money besides my allowance. Plus, I had money to take my girlfriend out and show her the wonderful things life has to offer. (With $50).
After a couple of months into this project, I got a bigger gig to work on. Managing the social accounts of a promotional unit of the Ministry of Health. After this job, I started getting interested in digital marketing. I learned a few principles, did a few courses, and got better at it.
At the same time, I’m still pursuing computer science, programming my way into digital marketing. (Pun intended)
Digital marketing is broad and I narrowed it down to two specific areas. Website design and search engine optimization (SEO). These are the areas that my company (Jeder Agency) focuses on.
Finding my purpose after developing a mobile app
While in my second year, I participated in a competition whose aim was to come up with solutions to improve the agricultural sector in sub-Saharan Africa. The competition was a partnership between The University of Waterloo in Canada and Strathmore University. I came up with an idea of developing a mobile app providing farmers with soil type information to help them know what to plant and when to do so. I was the best candidate before the competition was put on hold.
Later, in my fourth year, I developed an android app that provided farmers with this information and gave them a marketplace within the app to sell their produce. The app was pretty good but this is when I fully confirmed that my path was not as a full-stack programmer.
That was my back story. I cleared university and immediately got a web design & SEO job as I also pursued a diploma in digital marketing from the Digital Marketing Institute in Ireland.
It was at this job that I knew I wanted more. I wanted more freedom. I wanted to do the things I love. To design different websites for different organizations and individuals. So, I planned my exit.
One year into working there, I gave myself another year to get a few clients to take with me to start my web design and SEO agency. This was in January 2019. And before you know it. December was here with me. I handed in my resignation letter.
Running my agency
In my first month after quitting, I got 3 recurring clients. Insane. It was. Second month. Two more. I had projected getting two more in March 2020. And as I was busy trying to close in on a couple of prospects, the first case of COVID-19 was announced.
At first, it was business as usual. The government assured us that everything was going to be okay. I believed that. I should have known. It’s the government. But in their defense. They were defenseless, against an invisible enemy.
A couple of days later, gatherings were banned. One of my clients was in the events industry. And as you all know, they require gatherings to do their thing. And that was my first blow.
Businesses began to close while others were on partial shutdowns. It wasn’t looking good. Not for a guy who just quit his job and is planning on marrying and moving into a new home in a few months.
Businesses were very reluctant to sign up at a time where they were not sure how they’ll make money themselves. I had to now think outside the box. I had to be smarter. But before I finish and tell you what I did and where I am at, let me briefly talk to you about the wedding.
Remember the girlfriend I was showing the world to with my $50 pay. Well, I am marrying her. It seems the $50 monthly pay worked!
We got engaged in November 2019 and slotted our wedding for the 20th of June the following year. When we got the news that gatherings of more than 15 people were banned, we had two options, to cancel the wedding to an unknown date or to continue with the plans. We chose the latter. The budget was cut by approximately 80% which is great. The downside is not having family and friends there.
Tips for growth during this time
As we speak, I have just closed two clients and in talks with another. I have grown my monthly revenue into 6 figures in 5 months. Things seem to be looking up. I moved into our home and waiting for the wedding.
I will list 5 things that have helped me go through this and sustain my business.
- Work on your business more than in your business. Don’t get me wrong. You need to do both. But working on your business more than in it has its advantages. For starters, you get to focus on things that will bring growth and money. Paying too much attention to answering all sales calls, tweaking things on your site, and following on tasks that can be assigned to others will steal from your time to grow your company.
- Perfection is only good if the only person you want to please is yourself. Nothing is perfect. And focusing on making a product, service, or pitch, perfect will only steal time from you. Just start. As they say, scrappy is the new “perfect”. I got this from Daniel Vassallo, a former employee of AWS. (Great guy).
- Be frugal. Saving while I was employed has helped me pump some money into my home and promote my business.
- Promote yourself. Whether it’s through social media or optimizing your site on search engines, let people know who you are, what you do, how they can benefit from you, and what you stand for.
- There is a greater power among us. God. And without His grace, I do not think I would be where I am.
Bonus tip. You have to be passionate about what you do. Passion led me here!
Being in the tech space has also definitely helped. It’s one of the industries that one can say has grown as a result of the pandemic.
I will be releasing a course on how to optimize your website like a pro in a couple of weeks. Subscribe today to my blog to be notified when I release it. This course will get you results. (https://jederagency.com/blog)
In the meantime, you can download my free ebook on digital strategy here.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you have any questions, do ask through my website https://jederagency.com/contact-us/ or visit the site https://jederagency.com to learn about what I do best.