“Charge your worth and don’t apologize for it. No matter how high or low, people will complain so…” – Eziaha Bolaji-Olojo
Selling a good or service you have hitherto offered for free is one of the most difficult decisions new entrepreneurs are faced with when they choose to transit from freemium (free good/service offering) to premium (paid good/service offering). Like I promised in the debut of the CEO Memoirs column, we’ll have real time CEOs and career persons address real time entrepreneurial, career and business FAQs, through their personal challenges, experiences, mistakes and success secrets. If you’ve missed any of the previous Memoirs, please catch up HERE. Thankyu
For today’s CEO Memoir, we will be having an interesting ride with a delectable budding entrepreneur who appears to have moved seamlessly from freemium to premium. Her name? Eziaha Bolaji-Olojo, aka FAB E’.
FAB E’ cum Coach E is all Shades of Fabulous, Amazing, Determined and Resilient. And I personally like to think she is a Nigerian household name particularly among those on the weight loss journey. No, she hasn’t always been a fitness Coach, but because results and transparency don’t lie, barely 4 months after the debut of her #SavedFitnFab Online fitness trainings, more media outfits than I can count have requested to have her as guest on their platform. She’s been on EbonyLife TV, Inspiration FM, Wazobia, etc.
News Flash: This CEO Memoir is a bit lengthy as most of FAB E’s post but trust me, you will enjoy it and learn more than a few lessons. Please seat back, fasten your seat belt and enjoy the ride.
CEO Memoirs: From Freemium To Premium – Coach E’
What you know today as #SavedFitnFab aka University of Coach E’ didn’t come as a business idea, at least it didn’t look so to me from the beginning. I was ‘just’ a blogger who enjoys sharing, inspiring and challenging others with my personal journey. So when I gained a lot of weight during and post natal, I shared it all on my blog. When I started my weight loss journey, I also shared it all. Even took on some ladies for free coaching in the initial stages before it dawned on me that this was one of the several businesses God had in mind for me when he told me: “your money is in your blog”.
I had never set out to use my blog for business, but I can tell you that now more than ever, I am grateful to God for my blog platform. It made moving from Freemium to Premium almost seamless. Even the free services were also done for my blog readers. Here’s a lil’ history on #SavedFitnFab.
I never had self-esteem issue, as far back as adult me can remember but sometime between August and November 2015, I dealt with major self-esteem issues. Reason being that sometime between July and August, I suffered some kinda post-natal depression (had my baby in March 2015). In that period, I resorted to eating. Food was a constant companion. And of course television. I would watch tons of TV whilst eating tons of trash. Terrible trashy combo, especially as a stay-at-home mama. The last two weeks of August, I realized that old cloths didn’t fit no more and I would say that the dress shrunk from washing. Lol. Buttons were staying undone or flying off… even my underwears were getting tighter but… I still kinda refused to admit the truth.
Then on a certain beautiful Sunday, I had a picture of how I wanted to look – Black pants and camisole, pink jacket, heels, my natural hair up in a do… Then I took a couple of pictures before church. I didn’t believe what I looked like. I said NO, this guy took pictures from the wrong angles jare. So after church, I got hubby to snap and my people, I still looked like a stuffed bag of fufu. My heart sank.
That was when it heavily dawned on me that I was I was adding weight fast! With my excessive weight gain left some chunk of my self-esteem. Insensitive weight-related comments from some close family members, friends and neighbors didn’t help either so I knew I had to do something about my weight.
I knew if I wanted to get my self-esteem back, I’d need to discipline myself 100%. This ‘orobo’ was brought by indiscipline so I knew if I changed my lifestyle, I would go back to my size 10/12. So I started watching my food. Loaded up on fruits and healthy ‘fast food/snack options’ like low calorie nuts. Then I started drinking TONS of water!!! I also started exercises! Initially, I was inconsistent… until fortunately, a dear lady casually mentioned jumping ropes. At the same time, I randomly bumped into an article on the incredible benefits of jumping rope.
So I started jumping rope morning and night. This took me September to December working out consistently and then middle October to December eating clean.
By God’s grace, I was consistent, both eating clean and training dirty! I started at 106kg in September 4, 2015 and by December 31, I was 81kg. 25kg down in under four months and at the start I didn’t know better about my meals. It could have happened sooner. (Started with 500 skips every night though I was not eating as clean as at the start. But as we progressed and I gained more knowledge, my eating got cleaner and my workouts dirtier and best of all, my weight lighter!!!)
Through my weight loss journey, I learnt a lot on the subject ‘cause I had to do plenty research and read a whole lot. And as FAB E’ who doesn’t like to keep important useful information to herself, I shared my workout routines, healthy meal recipes (you can check out one of the posts here – https://eziaha.com/2015/10/28/healthy-eating-in-nigeria-is-affordable/) and other helpful info on my blog.
Also, my weight loss journey birthed the #Fit.FAB.Fam idea in September last year because I wanted to help others on a similar journey. Here’s some excerpts from the post I wrote for anyone interested to join me:
“I need some FOUR ladies to join me. Ladies SERIOUS about losing weight and gaining discipline AS A LIFESTYLE. So we can encourage ourselves. And keep ourselves accountable. We MUST share with all sincerity what we eat daily and MUST do our skipping daily too… We will keep ourselves accountable. All 5 of us. Don’t wanna have too many people so we can really interact. All you need have is BBM, a skipping rope, some good shoes and DISCIPLINE!!!
… And nope, my friends are not welcome to join. Any opportunity to make NEW friends honey, I’m taking.”
For some reasons, I specifically didn’t want my friends to join…
So I started #FitFabFam with some of my readers. It started well ooo, then come and see major slacking and a truckload of excuses!!! I was so pained because… Let’s just say it is so hard being the only consistent one in a group so I had to leave the group. All my friends who wanted to join but didn’t because I said I wanted people I didn’t know, laughed so much at me when I told them the group was no more.
Lol. I didn’t know they were secretly beefing haha. Anyways, I wasn’t deterred. Frankly, I didn’t have time to mourn. Plus in the 3weeks or so we were together, I learned a lot from one or two of them for which I’m thankful. I actually joined to learn more and I did. Because I decided to be my own coach too.
January this year, I started a #SavedFitnFab segment in my blog because a lot of people ask me questions and are like I wanna lose weight , how did you do it? Share your ‘secret’, and then when I suffer to type it all for them, they say I can’t do it ooo, hey ya, it is hard ooo and all such nonsense.
Plus I cannot give out my phone number every time anyone asks me especially after they have seen my picture or heard my story. It is not that I am prouding or stuff. It’s just that I can NOT!! You see, at the beginning, I indulged every ‘please let me call you so I can ask you XYZ’. I would spend sometimes one hour talking to just one chick. Then at the end of my talk, the chick will tell me ‘na wa oooo, it is hard ooo. I don’t think I can do all that. You really tried. It is your personality’ and various degrees of such nonsense.
It happened so many times. Sometimes, it would be via whatsapp or BBM. I would type and type and the person would say any of the nonsense above… Trust me, it is real painful to pour your heart and soul out only for the chick to say that. No wonder one of the people who helped me on my journey said ‘the only thank you I want from my clients is that they really put in the hard work and lose the fat’.
80percent of people don’t take what you say. They always want the easy way out. So that’s why I started that segment on my blog. I wanted to have a broader platform to refer such requests to. So I won’t suffer myself to do one-on-ones.
With the passion to help others in this weight loss journey still burning in me, I again took some set of ladies to help in the 1st quarter of this year. This time, I took on 6 serious ladies to help on this journey for absolutely free, pouring water and blood in to make sure they saw results in 5weeks. You can see their picture results here.
Taking these ladies through the journey educated me even more. I grew. A lot!!! It definitely stressed me but it was worth it. I pushed them because I knew they could kick fat ’cause I already saw their seriousness from the beginning.
And I was willing to do another free set after them which is why I ended the post of their results with – “… I wanna do this again…”
But God wasn’t in it this time…
#SavedFitnFab Premium Launched
One of the things that made transiting my fitness coaching services from freemium to premium seamless, was the trust I had built overtime with my blog readers. I was very open and transparent with my weight loss journey…
#SavedFitnFAB offers 3 basic services:
- Online Weight loss Class (Whatsapp and BBM powered)
- Customized meal plans
- Phone call consultations.
And we officially opened up for business on Monday the 13th of April 2016, well Tuesday technically and you don’t wanna know how many local and international clients we have today… Something you also don’t know is that I was so scared to venture out. It took the heavens opening, God winking, Angel Gabriel waving, Joyce Meyer scolding, Chris Caine screaming, Pastor M prophesying, a few friends harassing and 24 white doves singing hallelujah for me to step out and do this post that heralded #SavedFitnFAB official paid Fitness Coaching.
Starting a business like #SavedFitnFAB was way out of my comfort zone. I didn’t want to charge anybody for anything especially using my blog as platform. So when I felt God pull me to monetize right after the first free one, I resisted. I thought lemme do a second free first. Wrong move.
Almost everyone in the second group had an ‘ish’. 2days in, major frustrated, I heard God clearly again… “I’m not in this. You don’t have the grace anymore to do this for free. Step out baby. Monetize and I will BLESS it.”
Then a friend, Ru, came to visit. I hinted her and she said “…Eziaha, if God told me to stop something, as I’m talking to you, the group would have been closed…”
Hian!!! You would think I’d know better.
The next morning, I was very troubled. I had given my word to these ladies. I wanted to do it. But I wanted to obey God more. I spoke to my bestie Dumebi and she said to shut down. I did.
I apologized to the Chicks, told them I would give them a discount if they came on board the next, and I shut down… that ended the free sessions.
Even though I’m quite new to the business terrain, I have a list of business principles that will help any entrepreneur especially the #ApostlesInTheMarketPlace (Christians)
- Let God lead you. Not Money. Money is good but Purpose is best. Pursue purpose and watch money chase you. There is something specific God wants you to do so He can have something to bless.
- Get a WORD and your confessions!!! If number 1 is in place, you will have a Word. And then you will continue to war with that WORD until it is flesh. Tangible. Don’t even go anywhere without a WORD!!!
- Identify your cheerleaders. Stephanie Obi was one of mine. She pushed me. Maybe a little too hard but I’m thankful she did. Then my friends – Vee. Dumebi. Sapphire. Priceless. Ayo. All my besties. All of them. Awesome lot. The moment my post on going premium got out, they all started calling excitedly as if it was my birthday. Gosh!!! My darling husband was also more than supportive! When I shared with him all God was pushing me to do, he had on this coy smile and then he reminded me what God had told him about my future back then as my Pastor in Winners Campus fellowship, UI, even before we started dating. He said:
“…Global figure baby. That’s what God said you will be. I’m happy to see it coming to pass with all this…”
Several friends shared my DP, reposted on FB and Twitter, told their colleagues, gave my number, shared my links. Ah!!! They also prayed for and encouraged me. Gosh, you need your cheerleaders. And I guess you get cheerleaders yourself by being one for others when occasion demands.
- Don’t wait till you are ready… You will absolutely never ever be fully ready. Have faith in God, not in your plans. Step out in faith. I did. And I have grown in just these few months because some emails and meal plans have brought requests that have thrown me off. No matter how I prepared, I would never have thought of these. But then, I pray, God gives ideas and we work something out.
- Face your fears!!! I was afraid. But I stepped out. In one day, I amazed myself. Sitting on my bed ooo… Priscilla Shirer said if she has two decisions to make and fear is standing in the way of Choice A, she knows that’s exactly what God wants her to do hence the devil clouding it with fear. Your fears, they are from the father of lies in whom there is no truth at all and so they are a lie!!! A big fat-nosed rotten lie!!!
- Know your worth. Charge your worth at whatever level you are at. Consult with the Holy Spirit and not your emotions. Charge your worth and don’t apologize for it. Your aim should be to obey God and not please everyone. No matter how high or low, people will complain so…
- Know your harvest! You ain’t sent to everyone. There are specific people you are sent to and when they meet you, they won’t complain, or make you explain yourself like a school kid. They will be super-duper excited to patronize you. They can’t wait to work with you. They will harass you for account number. They will hurriedly pay you. They will say thank you. They will say God bless you. Those ones are your harvest. They are paying for it but they will be happy to. God personally blew me away with this one point.
Focus on your harvest and don’t even vex at all or argue when anyone says otherwise. You don’t have time for that. God told me to just say to myself ‘…hallelujah, she is NOT my harvest…’ Then stay believing for my own harvest. And no, your friends, your circle, the people who promised you before you started, your neighbors, your church members, etc., they might NOT be your harvest!
- No Competition drama – Of course you can NOT be the only person in the business so don’t even disturb yourself about others no matter what. God told me ‘…Eziaha, the harvest is plenty. I still don’t have enough laborers… So make friends with your colleagues jor. We are co-laborers not rivals
- Pay the Price… Especially in the early days. I have had to sacrifice a lot. Even hubs had to let me be for some time because I had to get some things up and running. I had research to do, proposals to write, publicity to do, skills to acquire, late nights to keep, all-nighters to pull, online courses to start and complete, etc. In order to get these done, somethings would give. You can’t slack because you can speak in tongues. You speak in tongues so that you can do fruitful targeted work. Be Diligent!!!
- Have a Kingdom mindset – I believe Christians who own businesses should always realize that it is not just about us. It is about the kingdom. Putting this always in front of us changes how and why we play the game. So yes, my desire to change my wardrobe and buy another car is legit and will be met through my businesses because a workman deserves his luxuries, but I can’t afford to be distracted from the goal… THE KINGDOM!!! And His people. And since God is looking at your heart, honey He will bless you if your heart is right and your business is steeped in HIS purpose.
- Genuinely love your clients – I’m not even kidding, I’m on my face for some people. I’m like God before this is over with me, let this Chick have XXX testimony. I confess that my Clients discover purpose as they work with us. SFnF lets me deal with these Chicks directly and a bit intimately so empathy is a part of the package. You would also wanna do your best when it is done from a heart of love. Let. Love. Lead.
And my bonus point, which is me repeating point 2. Have a Word and war with it.
Honey, do what you can do (diligence), then let God do what you cannot (prayers)
I have a couple of scriptures and confession for my businesses I wanna share with you. Actually just three.
Numbers 11:31 – “A wind set in motion by God Himself is released into all the world and is bringing my ‘harvest’ my way…” (paraphrased)
I believe this ‘wind’ is the Holy Spirit. Heaven’s own PA system is sounding for us.
Mathew 13:39 – “Reaper Angels are bringing my harvests to me. Angels are my harvest workers. They make sure not one of my harvest passes us by” (paraphrased)
1Thessalonians 1:9 – “News about my businesses is spreading everywhere. People are telling everyone. Everywhere people are talking about us.” (paraphrased)
I make my confessions using the Word. I say things like – “My Eziaha (good reputation) precedes me. Before I say a Word, people say ‘oh I know you Eziaha, you run that FAB blog eziaha.com and you do all those awesome social media businesses…”
No scripture is of private interpretation so feel free to use too if you are a Christian in business.
So are you afraid? Fear is your cue that you were born to do this. God’s got ya. Just. Do. It.
Thank you sooooo much FAB E’. Thank you for honoring my request… even though my whatsapp/phone crashed soon after the interview and I lost the original voicenotes you sent in.… and I delayed like forever before getting this done… God bless you plenty for moi.
Unlike my previous CEO guests whom I had some sort of close rapport with, the closest I was to Fab E is – being a part of her blogfam, and I follow her on various social media platforms (facebook, twitter and Instagram)
I hope you enjoyed the ride and picked more than a couple of lessons? Reading Eziaha’s Memoir, makes me appreciate every challenge or situation I find myself in ‘cause you never know which God is orchestrating to set you up for greater heights.
Eziaha Bolaji-Olojo wears many fancy hats but lives one integrated life and that’s the one to be found in Christ. She is a wife to her ‘perfect slice of heaven’ Bolaji Olojo, a mama to a Giant Slayer KingDaveed (and twin girls to come), a Christian Blogger at www.eziaha.com, a Food&Fitness Coach at SavedFitnFAB and a Mentor to many. She is also an Author, a Speaker, and still has ‘the-girl-next-door’ personality. Eziaha is super extroverted, smiles and compliments people a lot, loves Joyce Meyer with a passion and rocks life totally as a WARRIOR in Heels!
If you need or know someone who needs a wellness/fitness coach, don’t hesitate to holla her on firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a terrific Coach! Nice and all but she is also very strict! I particularly love one of her pre-conditions for joining her online coaching classes.
“I am busy. I have one life. I work two jobs. I don’t have time to work out daily. I have two husbands. I have three kids. I am allergic to workout. Etc. PLEASE DO NOT APPLY.”
You can follow SavedFitnFab on Twitter and Instagram @savedfitnfab and also watch weekly vlogs on YouTube every Wednesday @Eziaha Ajaero on YouTube.