Nelly Agbogu is the founder of Healthy Nellies, a food production company in Lagos. She started her company in a bid to find healthier options in the course of her weight loss journey.
In this interview with Woman.NG, she tells us how she started her business
FROM HAVING AN IDEA TO STARTING YOUR BUSINESS, SHARE YOUR JOURNEY WITH US
I did not just have an idea, I had a circumstance. I have been on the plus size for as long as I can remember, I had 100kg to lose and so far I have lost almost 50kg by experimenting with food and nutrition. Due to my constant posting of my creative ideas on a group I had, people thought I should start something but I wasn’t sure of that. I was big and I did not want to be judged so I refused to do anything.
But then I loved banana bread, I used to buy from a lady and I noticed I got bloated after having her’s so I chose to try to see how I could bake one following instructions from YouTube. When I posted a picture of it, everyone wanted to have a taste, someone paid me to make one for her and that was how it all started.
WHY DO YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO? THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER BUSINESSES YOU COULD HAVE EXPLORED, WHY THIS?
I love what I do because it came naturally in line with my needs, I had a weight problem and I was eager to find a solution in a healthy way and this drive pushed me to my passion. And to think of it, who wouldn’t love eating yummy healthy meals? (Laughs)
AS A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE HIRING STAFF AND BUILDING YOUR TEAM?
Yes, as a small business owner one needs to have staff, but what I ensured was that each staff was based on NEED.
Until I was sure we couldn’t cope, we bring in a new staff based on our requirements and make sure they could justify the hire.
YOUR GREATEST SKILL/STRENGTHS THAT HAVE BEEN PARTICULARLY BEEN OF HELP IN STARTING AND RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS
Well, I will say having worked at a structured environment helped me mould my business. Then, having a background in administration, customer service and procurement also helped. What put the icing on the cake was going to the Enterprise for Development Center.
DID YOU HAVE TO GET A FORMAL TRAINING OR QUALIFICATION TO BE ABLE TO DO THIS?
Yes and no. Yes, I went to EDC to mould my business skills. No, I learned baking from YouTube and Google and the creative part came naturally to me.
YOU HAVE BEEN RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS FOR SOME TIME NOW, WHAT DO YOU KNOW NOW THAT YOU WISHED YOU HAD KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED?
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS.
ANY LIFE EXPERIENCE THAT HAS PARTICULARLY PREPARED YOU DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY FOR WHAT YOU DO NOW?
I think my whole journey towards a healthier lifestyle is what has brought me to where I am today. And also believing in the inner me that I can do anything I set my mind to has also helped me a whole lot.
CHANGE CAN BRING OUT A PART OF US WE NEVER KNEW EXISTED, WHAT NEW THINGS HAVE YOU DISCOVERED ABOUT YOURSELF IN THE COURSE OF STARTING AND RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS?
Understanding that I can turn a solution into a business helped me a lot. Now I see I have a passion for social media, Instagram to be precise. Today we have another instagram coaching business called NAIJABRANDCHICK and it’s doing well also.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE MOST ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS ESPECIALLY IN NIGERIA?
I would say they should be confident and assertive. Have good time management and set goals