Hello Africa. It is another Konnect Africa Interview.
If you are interested in doing more than just chatting, ‘like-ing’ and tweeting with the smart phone you have in your hand, then you will want to read this interview.
Today, we have on our Hot Seat, a very hard working young man. When it comes to the effective use of social media (BBM, Twitter, Facebook etc) to spread one’s message, touch lives and make some cool money on the side, I can tell you for free that this Guy is not smiling. I am talking about none other than Mr Emeka Nobis. He is a Writer, Author and Thought Leader in many respects.
Do well to relax and enjoy the ride. You will be inspired. You will learn a lot.
Tell us about Emeka Nobis – family, ethnicity, education…
I’m an artist – I create literary pieces that evince change. I’m a thought leader. I help folks recreate their thought lives in other to live their best life always.
I was born on 1st July, 1980 in Imo State, South East Nigeria. I am Igbo. I attended Marist Comprehensive Academy, Uturu, Okigwe and then proceeded to Government Secondary School, Owerri, where I bagged 9 Alphas at the West African School Certificate Examinations in 1997. I went on to bag a degree in Industrial Production Engineering at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri.
I am married to my wife, Joy, and we have a lovely two-year old son.
Many of your peers are in paid employment but you chose Entrepreneurship. What informed this decision?
What many people don’t know about me is that I am an engineer in a reputable company from Monday to Friday (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and then a writer and trainer at night and during the weekends.
I had the nudge to start doing the business of my art in 2011. I knew I needed to learn the ropes. My tools of trade are writing and public speaking. Because I am in the business of intangibles, one needs time to grow the perception and trust of the public. This is necessary so you grow the social capital that can get you the needed clients who can sustain the cash flow.
Because I am a methodical person, I am taking my time to set the right structure, grow valuable content, and showcase my art consistently to the world. I have attended Business School and countless seminars to work on my art and polish my skills. However, growing to become what I am today has come from practicing what I have learnt, receiving feedback, recreating my offerings and ploughing back.
Entrepreneurship is a worthy venture. Nothing gives joy than knowing your art or talent is valuable and you can actually bless lives and live from the proceeds of your investiture.
It takes a lot of hard work, openness to critiques, empathy towards the tribe you lead and investiture of time and money to better my art. I’ve spent more than 2 million naira (about ten thousand USD Dollars) in the past two years on resources — books and audios and seminars to better my speaking and writings skills.
I’d advise folks to become gainfully employed first. There is a plethora of experiences to be gained. If possible, get a job in an organisation that tallies with your future ambitions or your gifting. If not, straddle both streams till a point you have got the leading to make a jump. Jump after you’ve plugged the holes reasonably.
In a time when many people generally have fun on social media, you have carved a money-making niche for yourself by offering training services via social media. How did it all begin?
Our world is an ever-changing entity. Ours is the information economy. There is always a flood of information at our fingertips. This frequent flow of information, building a community of informed individuals in matters of minutes, has been effective because of social media.
I started doing classes on BBM after my experience with my coach, Steve Harris. In 2012, he coached me on the business of public speaking via BBM for 3 months. I paid him N120,000 to do so. The coaching was flexible and fun. After that, I just knew I could tap that and expand it, so I started hosting classes on BBM for free at first. Then I proceeded to charge N1500 and then N2000 and so forth. The least of my group classes now on BBM goes for N5000 per participant for 6 hours. And BBM groups can take 30 at a time.
Personal coaching is done on weekends – Saturdays and Sundays – and depending on what I am coaching someone one, fees can range from N20,000 to N50, 000 for 4 Saturdays and 4 Sundays in a month.
Training and Social Media Marketing are two different things but you have been able to marry the two. What does it take to be successful as a Trainer via Social Media?
To be a formidable trainer using social media, you have to be perceived as thought leader. You grow expertise by consistently sharing valuable content. You have to show you’re serious about what you are sharing with the world.
I utilise my BBM to share my thoughts on relationships, spirituality, writing, organisational and personal leadership. I do series on Twitter consistently : MWAD (Men, Women and their Dynamics; a teaching on marital relationships) and Unfettered Feet ( a philosophical soiree for probing minds) and Salty Brooks (a platform where I share the stories of remarkable individuals living their life dreams). By doing so, I position myself as one who has answers to challenges of life in these areas.
Project a psychology that you’re the best since sliced bread, as they say. Project an ideology worth buying into by the products you’re building and offering.
Invest in yourself to gain more knowledge in your area of business. Read, read and read. Then apply. Tweak what needs to be tweaked and apply.
Apply empathy. Your tribe matters in the scheme of things. Respond to their needs, their takes on your offerings and predilections. This is what builds brand loyalty; when you listen to your tribe speak.
Based on that, I have the wherewithal to host classes and coach folks via social media. Currently, I host classes on Facebook for writers every two months. It’s a paid class and not open to the public. I will expand that to accommodate public speakers and then later for leaders of organisations.
Social Media has helped me tremendously. There are positives and negatives to many inventions and discoveries in our world today. I focus on the positives. Social media has given me the leverage to reach many more souls that I may not have been able to if I were to depend on traditional media.
My ebook, SO YOU CALL YOURSELF A WRITER? has been downloaded hundreds of times by individuals I’ve never met. Nigeria is growing. The impact and relevance of social media is growing. Its influence on policy formation, business exploits and governance is increasing by the day. It’s such a veritable tool.
What are the challenges you have encountered thus far?
Many Nigerians have not come to understand the importance of self development. And so it sounds a bit odd to make them see the need for it. The challenge comes when your message is not accepted by many.
It’s also a perception thing. In this arena, we are in a ‘battle’ with foreign experts and also leaders of religious organisations. Most folks would love to read a Myles Munroe in preference for a Nigerian thought leader. Also, church leaders have so presented the inclusivity of the gospel to solve all human problems and so someone may consider to go to his pastor to pour anointing oil on him instead of paying a coach to help him or her deal with anger issues. This is a challenge.
Lastly, as is always, is the money issue. It often seems to be never enough. Certain expansions are cut back due to finances. The average writer in Nigeria pays for his book publishing works. And to get a good book out in Nigeria costs up to N400, 000, depending on the size and quality of print. That’s not a small sum to come by.
What is your inspiration? What keeps you going?
Simply, the joy of seeing lives become better and the tangibility of the proceeds that accrue from the input. These reasons keep my engine revving.
You have met loads of people online via your social media-based training courses. What is the most impactful experience you have had so far during your training sessions?
I learn a lot from the feedback I get from the participants. They form the basis of my articles and fodder for my teaching modules. In such classes, participants are prodded to share their personal views on issues. Being that it is virtual and some love the impersonality of it, they pour forth without holding back. That’s the joyful experience I get during the classes.
From your experience, how effective and impactful are trainings delivered via social media?
They are effective. The only difference is the human contact that is not available. It’s flexible. Depending on what you are teaching, people don’t have to be physically present all the time for the lectures. They can come in at their own times, read the notes and correspond at their own times. That is the beauty of it.
What words of wisdom do you have for the young person reading this interview who are toying with the idea of becoming an online Trainer?
Start sharing your thoughts on issues that you can offer values and solutions in. If it’s in leadership, share your thoughts. If it’s career growth and success, share it. By all means, project your thoughts onto the landscape.
Sharing your own thoughts is bringing a unique personal perspective to the issues, and not merely regurgitating the words of others. That way, folks don’t need to go buy a textbook instead.
On your Blackberry Messenger Profile, you describe yourself as a Writer and Thought Leader. What is Thought-Leadership all about and what does it take to be a Thought Leader?
Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas; turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success.
Wikipedia puts it thus: “a thought leader is an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.”
So when it comes to writing, public speaking and organisational leadership, I am thought leader. By putting it on my BBM, folks will perceive me as so.
You are a published author. Tell us about your book(s) and what inspired it ?
My first book is called THE PROFOUND LIFE, published in 2011. It’s a 6-chapter book. It was written with a heartfelt desire to stir a deep desire for impact in life within the individual. It centers on the core of our essence and existence which is our purpose and ropes around it the requisite actions to be taken to live it successfully.
The second is called SO YOU CALL YOURSELF A WRITER? It’s a free ebook specifically written for writers — aspiring and budding.
I have finished two manuscripts this year. I didn’t want to do another book since 2011 because I was accepting feedback from the first.
One of the scripts is UNCHURCHED. It’s a book of my thoughts on faith, church doctrine and religiosity. It will be put up on my blog for free download. It will also be printed in thousands to be given out for free to churches and individuals hungry for expunging religiosity from their worship of God.
The second is called REVIRGINED. The editor will commence work soon. My book designer has also been intimated about the concept. The publisher is also awaiting the transmission of the script to commence production. Hopefully I’m looking at October to do the unveiling.
What challenges did you face in the course of publishing your book(s) and how did you overcome them?
For many Nigerian writers aspiring to publish a book, the path is usually self-publishing. The writer pays for everything on this route — editing, designing, and printing. Also, the bulk of the marketing is done by the writer. For those who don’t have such financial strength, publishing a great book is thorny.
Being a first-time author, I faced rejections by folks. My book was under-priced at some point, though I stuck to my guns. Today, the challenge of reaching a wider audience remains, but it’s about taking one step each passing day.
What is your best strategy for becoming a best-selling author?
Hard-work and commitment are the keywords. I wrote for a year and kept at it doggedly till the manuscript got to the press. I also leveraged on the strengths of my mentors regarding the right paths to take and that has brought me the phenomenal success I enjoy today.
Also, absolute dependence on God for the breakthrough needed. He infused the desire and tools but I depend on Him for the grace because there are times I get to a cross road where all my strategies,human efforts and brain seem to fall short!
What is your best perk of being a Writer and a Thought Leader?
When I see lives climb out of the rut and let light bathe their souls by virtue of contact with the waters of the blessedness of my works.
You have an upcoming Facebook MasterClass. Tell us about it.
FLOWING INK, a Masterclass for writers, will hold on Facebook in a closed Facebook group. Classes will hold for 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays in the month of May, starting from 22 of May. Lectures are posted on Saturdays and Sundays and correspondences take place throughout the week.
4 Modules will be covered – Psychology of Writing, Priming for Writing Ideas, Book Writing and Publishing Process, and Social Media for Writers.
Fee is N20,000. To register, pay into GTBank, 0120774989, Profound Impacts International. Email “FI” (with body of mail containing Facebook url) to firstname.lastname@example.org
Mentors are very important. I have quite a few who walk with me as I wade the paths to brighter lights. Steve Harris imparts me with business strategies, Samuel Obafemi infuses me with behavioural patterns for relationships, and Tylor Ilori is a guru when it comes to success engineering. These three lead the pack of the mentors that hold my hands. I learn a lot from so many others.
Where do you see your Brand in another 5 years?
A friend said he’ll not be surprised to see me address the United Nations general meeting. He said he will be surprised if I don’t. That to me is prophetic.
In 5 years, I see the brand gaining international acclaim, blessing lives and forming larger tribes that can perpetuate progressive cultures via the principles of thought leadership.
For you, Life is….
Life is meant to be lived according to a divine purpose.
Africa will rise when…
Africa will rise when her children fully accept its peculiarity and embrace worthy virtues. Our land can still brim with excellence and greatness and wealth.
What is that one thing you would like every African youth to know? Inspire a young African in a sentence
Live your best life always!
Many thanks for sharing with us, Emeka.
You are welcome. Thanks so much.
You can reach Emeka Nobis via His Facebook url : www.facebook.com/nnaemeka.nobis, or via Twitter @iamemekanobis. He is also on Instagram @nobisemeka. So, go on and connect with him.
Now, it is your turn. In what ways are you using social media to achieve your dreams? What did you learn from what Emeka Nobis shared?