Hi Chris, who are you and what are you currently working on?
My name is Chris Ani. I’m an insightful teacher, teaching is my first calling. I’m also an entrepreneur and author.
I lead a company called Digital Abundance whose mission is to help create wealth in developing nations.
The core industry we are focused on so far is online education and financial tools, that’s why I’m involved in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
When did you start the digital abundance?
Digital Abundance started and was incorporated in 2017, but I got into crypto in 2016.
Digital Abundance Business Academy (DABA) started in 2019.
So, DABA is like the one that’s more popular as one of the subsidiaries of the company, Digital Abundance.
What motivated you to get started with Digital Abundance?
Right from day one, I’ve been a self-starter. I was raised in a home where I saw my own late father do lecturing and consulting jobs. He was the one who started planting the seeds of entrepreneurship in me.
There was a time when he (my late father) was working as a lecturer in one of these centers where they teach ICAN, and I saw every time my dad keeps complaining about the place where he works; they make another person director instead of him that has been working in the company for long due to tribalism.
I saw those things, and one day, my dad came out almost crying inside the car and I said to myself, “I’ll never work for any man”.
Now that word is really deep. I work for people, I’ve clients, investors, customers but I was not going to be a salaried person.
That’s where the motivation started.
And as for Digital Abundance, I knew it was time to aggregate all the skills, experiences, and vision I have into a company. So the vision was to disrupt and create a future. That’s what Digital Abundance is.
Digital Abundance is so dear to my heart because it’s the platform I’m using to change lives, build products, products that are helping people, products that are creating profits, and creating impacts too.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Resilience and vision.
I’m somebody who doesn’t give up, except if it’s something I know that’s not going to work again. Consistency has also helped me a lot.
So far, my company has not had any venture capital, we are still bootstrapping, but consistency has been my formula. I’ve been consistent in the game, I’ve been consistent in what I’m doing and I’m also constantly improving and I’m also not stopping at making new moves to make sure we get to our goal each time.
These are some of the things that have kept me going.
What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?
First of all, as a group company, we make profits, first from trades and exchange business, we buy and sell cryptocurrencies, tokens, we trade, we even do it in such a way that we have a kind of private hedge for it that we run too.
We have clients based on family and friends that come to us and we help them invest in the market, get a profit on it, and share the profit.
Secondly, we are focused too on education. Education is also a big business for us. In fact, I think in our income drive for the year so far, education has been like the number 2.
So, it’s a mixture of trading and education. So those are the 2 revenue sources for us as a company.
What are your business goals for the future?
We want to hit 100 of millions of people as our users on our platform.
For instance, for our hedge fund, we want to become a billion-dollar hedge fund that will be managing billions in crypto just like our model company, Grace Skill and Digital Currency Group.
Secondly, for DABA, we are the masterclass of Africa, so we are still saying it again that we want to colonize the entire African continent with high-income skill and digital education because this is the major tool for poverty eradication and wealth creation.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources for you?
As for self-improvement, in terms of knowledge, I’ll say this year, I’ve not read many books, I don’t think I’ve completed a full book this year but I’ve consumed massive courses and videos, maybe it’s because my kind of person, reading is kind of tasking on me.
In short, right from day one, I read books but there is a time I started graduating from just reading books and I learned faster. If you give me a book now and a course, I will prefer to get that book in audio, that’s my kind of person.
I can stay 6 hours watching a video, creating notes from those video courses, the same way if it’s a book if it’s an audio book. In short, I can stay on an audio book and finish it in one day.
The last, most influential business book I read that changed the course of business for me in 2017 was Small Business, Big Money by Akin Alabi. In short, that’s one of the most important business books I’ve read.
So, I know the things I listen to, I take YouTube videos serious, in short, apart from the wifi I use, my data are consumed more by YouTube videos, I take my time to learn, I take my time to study history, leadership, business, society, people, and all that. So that’s my nature, that’s my kind of person, I’m an ever learning person.
And also, asides from books, I also take blogs and tweets seriously; there are people who I follow on Twitter, who I read their threads and I take lessons from it, I can even turn tweets into a book, that’s me for you.
Then another way that I improve myself is by thinking, I take time to meditate, I take time to think about things, process my thoughts, then put it out also in writing.
The thing is everything is about priority and focus.
You may not get everything at once, but the goal is that at the end of the day, you are focused on what you are doing, you know what you are going for and you direct your energy to those things that will bring the result.
I’ve not been involved in so many things, but the few I’ve been involved in, I dedicate my everything, because, to me, I feel like if I don’t get it done now, when will I get it done. There is no time. You will wake up one day and you are 40 years old.
So that’s the way it is for me.
Which were your marketing strategies to grow your business?
For me, the best marketing strategy is result.
The reason why people patronize what we do is that they see the results, they see the impact.
For instance, on DABA, this year, people have made money. If we are to do a cumulative income of what DABA students are earning, there are DABA students who are earning a million naira monthly, there are DABA students who have bought a house this year, some have bought lands.
If your life has been changed by a platform, it will not be hard for you to go and tell your friends about it.
We’ve even discovered that the money we spend on our ads doesn’t bring much more results like the ones that word of mouth does. Even though we stopped running our ads online, we kept on seeing massive sales. Like this month, we’ve not even done anything on ads, and the sales are even better than without ads.
Of course, I know it’s a cumulative effect, but at the end of the day, having the best products is also a good marketing strategy because people will always talk about the thing they experienced from your product.
Have you had any failed business?
For me, I don’t think it is a failure. It’s something I just started and closed down.
Digital Abundance is like my first major organized business that I have actually done as a company.
Of course, we do side hustles, sell books, when we were growing up, go to campuses, organize training, but I don’t think I’ll call those things failed businesses because, for me, Digital Abundance is the first of its kind I have done.
It’s not like I opened a company today and I closed it, I’ve never had such an experience.
What were the biggest challenges you faced and the obstacles you overcame?
Firstly, when we got started, more inspiration came when I saw my success in my early days in bitcoin. So when I started crypto and I started seeing what I was doing and the money being made, I started to convert those skills and those services I offer into a company.
I will say there were times when sales were not coming the way they ought to come, profits were not coming the way they ought to come, it was challenging.
There were times we had losses even in trades, times when we did not have customers coming to patronize and it was even hard at a time to even release the money to run ads massively, there were times when Facebook banned our crypto ads, it was hard reaching out to people.
For me, these were some of the challenges.
There was a time when we needed to launch an app, and we needed about 70 million Naira and no investor could talk to us. The ones we got didn’t believe what we’ll say, they kept on dragging us.
But I went back and used those things to flood my motivation. So for me, these were the challenges and it didn’t really move me down, I used those rejections, those challenges, and increased my determination because I’m a brutal person when it comes to going for my goals. The more I try to be suppressed, the more there is anger in me to work harder.
What has made us move on like that is the fact that I use every downtime to not pity myself, to not just console myself but to encourage myself and push harder because the game is about going harder all the time.
If you had the chance to do things differently, what would you do?
When people ask me that question, sometimes, it means like we regret the stage we are in.
For me, if I had a chance to do something different, I would intensify my reach, that’s the thing I use to say.
Intensify my reach, invest harder. Like in 2019, I had the opportunity to raise some money from the market and I got scared because I didn’t want to lose money and I know what I missed with that. And these are things I’m already doing differently, I’m investing harder, I’m reaching out harder, I’m building more structures and I’m acting on my game fast.
I’m the kind of person who believes in the process. I’m not saying I don’t want to be a billionaire overnight, but at the end of the day, I don’t want to receive the kind of money that will make me confused and that will put me down.
There are some kinds of growth you may have, if they don’t grow organic, it may crush you.
So what I’m doing now is to set up more structures because if you are going to build a skyscraper, the foundation has to be very deep and that’s what I’m doing, I’m building the foundations well.
The goal for Digital Abundance is to own and have investments in several companies. For me, Digital Abundance is a kind of company I’ll build in such a way that we’ll be so big that we’ll have influence in several industries, we’ll have several subsidiaries in their hundreds, that’s the goal for me.
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Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
One of the things that I think has helped me over time has been mentorship. You may be surprised at how come I’ve been able to put this as my first business. The truth is, while I was in school, I was learning, I had a mentor who trained me in things like public speaking, how to do business, so I was working under a mentor.
Then, I led the leadership school, I led the youth foundation as the vice president and we’ve covered several programs, campus editions in several schools. So, I learned how to start on my own.
It was under this mentor that I learned how to go to a park with my suit to go and sell books. So, I learned the act of selling early, and I learned the act of building early.
Of course, naturally, that’s who I am, I can build, I can sell, but what mentorship does is that it takes you from that thing you have as an ability but you cannot do, mentorship now processes it, and you can now do it.
Mentorship is like the push. So for me, these were things that helped me.
As a leader, as an entrepreneur, learn how to sell because there are times when you will build software and if you can’t sell, you will be stuck.
Learn how to sell, then learn how to build. If you can do the two combined, you will be unstoppable.
What’s helping me? I sell, and I know how to build.
Mentorship helped me in understanding the law of process, knowing how to sell, knowing how to build. When you build something solid over time, you’ll be surprised that all your efforts of 3 years, by the time it comes to the 4th year, you will do 10 times what you’ve ever done in those past 3 years.
Learn how to sell, learn how to build, follow mentorship well, be an executor, not just a theorist.
Where can we go to learn more about you?
My website is still coming up (chrisani.com). It’s actually live but it’s still under construction.
If you want to really learn a lot about my stories, my impacts, my classes, you can go on my YouTube channel, Chris Ani, and also you can take my courses on DABA; these are places you can learn about me.
There are certain magazines that have said 1 or 2 things about me, so if you use Google, you can see some articles written about me, my story, and my history.