Technology has made coaching more accessible and tangible – Zubairu
Ruth Zubairu is the founder of Sambe, a tech platform that provides the perfect plug for solopreneurs and content creators to have access to tools and people to help them build a visible and profitable brand online. It was designed to provide search engine optimised content autogeneration as well as offer training and accountability to entrepreneurs. In this interview with IFEOMA OKEKE, she speaks about her passion for tech, the solutions Sambé, her tech platform, is providing to entrepreneurs across the world and the evolution of the digital marketing space. Excerpts:
Tell us about your passion for tech and how you developed interest in it?
I stumbled into tech. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be doing tech, I’d laugh myself to tears.
I moved to Lagos after marriage and had my two sons within two years. It was practically impossible to seek paid employment, so, I decided to do business that would allow me to be around for the children. I tried fashion designing and making ankara accessories. So, I began to make dresses and gift my clients with ankara accessories. This was exciting for me but I couldn’t work because of my children. If I tried to sew during the day, they would be playing with the pins, chalk, etc; so, I had to resort to working at night. As a nursing mother, my health suffered terribly because I wasn’t getting enough sleep. So, I asked myself, what can I do online whilst working from home?
Being on the internet opened my eyes to the world of freelance writing and since writing has always been an interest of mine, I put all my energies into it.
So my entry into the tech industry began with content writing. I learned how to write blog posts and articles for online consumption. After I was published on the Huffington Post in 2017, I had a number of people reaching out for me to teach them how to write and get paid for it.
I then opened an online group which had over 2000 members learning and implementing my online tech tips. Some students after learning will ask to pay me to provide the solution for them as opposed to doing it themselves. That was how I transitioned into Digital Marketing Consulting.
With time, I realised that for my clients to get the best results, I needed to understand how the backend of a website worked to help them update their blog content regularly, how to design landing pages built to sell products or services, email marketing, etc. So, it was one thing building on the other.
Tell us about your digital application, Sambé, and what solution is it providing?
Sambé is an Ikwerre word that means access (Literal meaning is key). So, Sambé gives access to content, community and cash opportunities for business owners.
The Sambé app is a one-click content generator that can turn a single keyword into hundreds of compelling content ideas which are search engine optimised, designed to drive organic traffic to your posts and helps you build instant connection with your audience.
With the Sambé App, you have the daily (content prompts) post ideas that help you educate, inform and engage your audience; globally recognised holidays, special days and celebrity birthdays that guide you to create relevant content and search engine optimised content headlines culled from phrases people are already searching for.
Sambé App also gives you a community of like-minded entrepreneurs from around the world to share ideas with and gain support and accountability.
What is the impact of Sambé?
The impact of the Sambé App will be felt mainly by coaches and consultants who are tired of the overwhelm that comes with creating social media content for their online presence. They will save the money they may have spent to hire someone else to create content for their social media.
It will also impact busy working female entrepreneurs trying to grow their business whilst raising a family will be able to do more with the little time they have.
Social media managers who are on tight deadlines managing pages for clients and want to earn more without getting burnt out will also benefit from the app. They can double or triple their client base and serve them efficiently.
How important is this app to growing entrepreneurs?
The app is hugely important as it will help growing entrepreneurs to do more in less time. With the burden of content generation taken away, they have more time to devote to revenue generating activities.
As a coach, offering advisory services to brands and corporate organisations, how would you describe the impact of technology to your work?
Technology has made coaching more accessible and tangible. More accessible in the sense that distance is no longer a barrier. I have client meetings with brands in the US, UK and Europe without any problems (especially with good internet!). It has made coaching more tangible in that learning and communication have gone beyond text and voice. Technology has opened the doors to artificial intelligence, performance assessment tools and systems that assist in excellent service delivery.
With the benefit of analytics that technology brings, businesses can better assess their performance and create optimal forecasts for their business goals and objectives. They are also able to use technology to create multiple streams of income. Technology has revolutionised teaching and learning.
Statistics show that the worldwide E-learning market is projected to be worth $325 billion in 2025. This means that there will be more demand for subject matter experts as well as eLearning platforms on any given topic. So, seasoned professionals should position themselves to be paid to share their knowledge and expertise.
You are also an author of two books focused on your field, what informed them?
My books were born out of a desire to share my journey and provide actionable tools for people like me. My first book, ‘I Am,’ focused on how eliminating low self-esteem can be the game changer for anyone.
Excellence is synonymous with confidence. You can never fulfil your greatest potential when you have low self-esteem.
My second book, ‘The Content Cookbook,’ is a business manual for online business owners to understand how to create content for the internet. It also has copy-and-paste templates and prompts for social media content.
How would you describe the evolution of the digital marketing space and what peculiar challenges do you face?
The digital marketing space has evolved to becoming an enabling environment for people to learn new skills and earn good income.
It has a low barrier to entry and as such, anyone with interest can begin today and with implementation, comes reward. It has given opportunity to so many people who without digital marketing would be unemployed and a burden to their families.
The peculiar challenge with anything that has a low barrier of entry is the quality of service. As things have evolved, it is almost as though everyone is a digital marketer. They have attractive headlines on LinkedIn or send you amazing CVs but when given the tasks, they can’t execute.
I’m a big believer of getting the required skill and certification in a field even when I have years of practice under my belt. This is why I got an Advanced Communications and Digital PR Certification from the International School of Communications, London. And I ensure that each member of my team at AVC also has some form of certification to establish their credibility and give them confidence as they execute their responsibilities.
You must have faced challenges in your line of work; could you please share some?
I’d share one work-related challenge and one life-related challenge. Clients are the lifeblood of any business and networking is a great way to build connections that will lead to referrals or actual paying jobs.
In the early days, showing up to networking events and seminars was a great way to meet new people and I could not do as much as I could. I leveraged the internet to build real connections as much as I could and do physical meetings when it was possible.
Managing my family as well as building a business meant that I had to juggle multiple hats at the same time. I have had times when I had to prioritize my family, for example rescheduling a client meeting when my son took ill, etc. Thankfully, my husband is very supportive and also gives me mental and emotional support to thrive as I build a business in the Nigerian entrepreneurial terrain.
What keeps you going in fulfilling your mission in the tech space?
The fact that I got here means that anyone can. And so, I believe it is my duty to help as many people as possible transform their lives by tapping into the opportunities that the internet presents. Seeing the lives and businesses that have been transformed with my help is a huge motivation to keep going.
I look forward also to a time when the world turns to Africa and especially Nigeria for skilled tech workers.