Metrowoman entrepreneur of the week: Nelly Agbogu

Nelly Agbogu is the brain behind the NELLIES Healthy Food and Snacks Company in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria. She started her company in a bid to find healthier options in the course of her weight loss journey. All this was made possible through the use of Instagram … this has made her to start online masterclass and live videos on Instagram through her platform NAIJABRANDCHICK.

She calls herself Lolo One of Instagram. And people love to listen to her because she breakdowns social media to the simplest terms.

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 hers, 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 skills 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’ve 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.

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 NAIJABRANDCHICKand 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.

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