” We want to create more awareness of the online education market “
A platform with various online courses and coaching program that shares insights and business strategies to help female entrepreneurs create, build, launch and sell a profitable online course.
Stephanie Obi, who is popularly referred to as Queen of Online Courses started off making Ankara inspired T-shirts and accessories. She eventually started teaching other women how to make Ankara accessories while making them feel empowered.
Stephanie held her first workshop in the garage of her parent’s house, since she has worked with people who want to create and sell online courses.
Through her website, www.stephanieobi.com, she has impacted over 82,000 people in over ten countries teaching them how to change their lives and change the world by leveraging on the internet.
With more than 500 people enrolled in her online courses, she has developed a proven system of creating irresistible online courses.
She is also the founder of Trayny, an online platform that host online courses from Africa’s top leaders.
She is a First-Class graduate of computer science from Covenant University and holds an MBA from the Lagos business School. She won first prize at the
Wimbiz impact investment competition and has been recognized as one of the 100 most inspiring women in Nigeria.
She speaks in notable conferences around the world and has been featured on various notable platforms in Nigeria.
In this interview with GuardianWoman, she tells the inspirational story of her success and her new book Knowledge Is The New Gold where she reveals the creation of online courses as a pathway for financial freedom
What’s the name of your online company and what do you do?
The name of my company is ST HUB Limited and we are an online education company that is focused on making practical training programs more accessible to Africans through online courses.
We do this using the train the trainer model. We empower knowledgeable individuals to create profitable online courses so that they can continue to run those training programs which will in turn lead to more lives being impacted.
We also own a platform called Trayny that creates and manages online courses from Africa’s most trusted leaders, where they break down the skills that have made them successful into tiny digestible lessons that people from all over the world can watch and apply in their lives and businesses.
We do this because we believe that a lot of people and businesses in Africa are suffering because they don’t have access to the right information that can help them grow. We want to bridge the gap, and give more people access to the knowledge that they need.
It is interesting news that an online entrepreneur is putting something on print. Give us a lowdown on the book you’re launching. What is it all about?
We decided to launch a book to create more awareness of the online education market. In other markets, anybody who is knowledgeable about a topic can literally just make a living by just teaching what they know online.
The global online education market is now valued at $107 Billion and is projected to keep growing, but in Africa, we haven’t scratched the surface because we don’t even know that this opportunity exists.
The book, Knowledge is the New Gold, first of all, explains what online courses are and reveals why it’s such a big opportunity.
It goes on to help people discover what other people can pay them to teach, which are usually topics that they are very good at, but take for granted.
The second part of the book, demystifies the myths and deeply held fears that hold people back from monetizing their knowledge, putting themselves out there, using technology, etc.
The third part of the book shares expert tips, tried and tested strategies and proven practical advice on how to create and sell an online course. This is an expertise I gained after launching over 20 online courses across multiple niches.
Who are your target audience for the book? Is it selling only online or in bookstores, too?
My primary target audience is women. I’ve seen so many of my female clients use the creation of online courses as a pathway for financial freedom, and we want to be able to reach more women with this book.
The principles in the book are, however, universal. They can work for any gender and so anybody who has a topic to teach is also a target audience for this book.
The book is currently sold online on Amazon and at www.stephanieobi.com, but will be available in local bookstores and in stores that women frequently visit.
You are one of the few women involved in technology.
Give us your educational background and why you are so involved in the world of technology
I am a First Class graduate of Computer Science from Covenant University and I believe that this background has shaped my view of the world.
When I see a problem, I intuitively think about how technology can be used to solve that problem and scale up its impact.
I was also exposed to technology from a very early age. My mother bought my siblings and I a computer while I was still a teenager, and we started fiddling with it.
I find that this has taken away my fear of tech as I now believe that no matter how complex something might look at first, I can figure it out with time.
When and how did you start your online coaching?
I actually started out as a fashion accessories designer. I had been making and selling accessories since 2004 and sometime in 2012, I decided to organise a physical workshop to teach other ladies how to start their own accessories business.
To my greatest dismay, not a single person paid for the workshop. Instead of quitting, I went back to the drawing board and decided to learn how to use social media to market my workshop.
This led to a turnaround in my business as I started getting customers and requests from people outside Lagos and even outside Nigeria.
I could not travel to all the cities I was getting requests from, and so I decided to launch an online course so that people could have access to the training program regardless of where they lived.
This experiment turned out to be a great success as people paid for my Ankara Accessories online course from all over Nigeria and from over nine countries. This was as far back as 2013 and I could not believe my eyes.
These ladies started asking me to teach them how to market online, and I soon started teaching online marketing courses.
With time, I had created lots of online courses and had built a reputation among my online community.
People started coming to me to help them to create and launch their online courses.
I had to create a signature framework that anybody can apply in any niche and this is what I now share in my online programs and in the book, Knowledge is the New Gold.
How has the business grown from where it started? Is it more lucrative to do business online?
My first Ankara Accessories training was held in the garage of my parents’ house. I’ve come a long way from that. To date, we’ve trained over 600 people from over nine countries.
I always joke that this is such a great time to be an entrepreneur because we now have access to an online market that is not limited by space and time.
With online courses, you can serve an unlimited number of customers across multiple countries affordably.
Why pick this title for the book?
I picked the title, Knowledge is the New Gold, because the Internet has made knowledge the new gold. There are now so many tools and platforms you can use to create an online course and accept payment internationally.
There are also platforms you can use to build a community around your brand who will pay for your online course.
With the advent of smartphones and the growing penetration of the internet, anybody, anywhere can pay for your knowledge that has been packaged as an online course and you can literally be waking up from sleep everyday with credit alerts on your phone.
It’s a good time to be alive. One major question a lot of people who are hearing about this for the first time ask is, “what can I teach”.
I have a chapter of the book that answers this question, and you can download it for free at www.newgoldbook.com
Since your book is about turning knowledge into gold, you must have certainly hit your goldmine online. How much is your business worth now from where you started?
In 2018 alone, I earned N16 million from just one online course. We also have other online courses that have attracted hundreds of customers.
How many women/businesses have you helped to build their businesses online and make this breakthrough, too?
We’ve built an online community of over 20,000 who we have helped for free. Out of this number, over 600 have gone through at least one of our programs.
More specifically, we have a 90-day program that guides people through the process of creating and launching online courses and over 100 people have gone through the program so far.
Many of them have launched online courses that earned them millions of naira.
Being one of the few women in successful technology business, how are you helping other women to develop interest in technology?
The nature of my work itself involves helping women get over their fear of technology and empowers them to embrace it. I’ve made technology look feminine, fun and easy.
We start by helping to shift mindsets and then we provide easy-to-follow trainings. We also have a support team that they can reach out to when they get overwhelmed.
What are the challenges of being a woman in technology?
The challenge I see is that we don’t have a lot of role models, so a lot of women in tech are figuring out things by themselves.
Tell us a bit about family life, growing up etc. In what way has it influenced your career?
I was a very restless child and during every holiday, I always had one new thing I wanted to learn. I learnt how to sew, crochet, bake, play the piano, quilt, make accessories, etc.
My mother supported all my hobbies and encouraged my curiosity. It’s this same curiosity that has helped me to build an online education company today.
It’s the accessories classes she paid for that led me to my first accessories online course.
Even though I made a First Class in Computer Science and people had certain expectations from me. My parents gave me the gift of freedom.
They allowed me to chart a new course for myself and to go after my own dreams.
Do you feel fulfilled doing what you’re doing? What else would you be doing if you were not doing this?
I’m absolutely fulfilled. I love what I do. If I was not doing this, I would probably be a movie actress.
That’s something I still hope to do with my life in future. I want to tell inspirational stories about entrepreneurship.
Any role models who have influenced your career/business path?
In Nigeria, I was inspired by Tara Fela Durotoye, particularly because she pioneered an industry and has built a business model around impact.
These are the two things I experienced in my journey and it was encouraging to see another person who has done it in her own way.
Outside Nigeria, I was inspired by a lady called Marie Forleo. This was the first person I saw who was teaching online and she opened my eyes to the global online education market.
Your advice for younger women?
I created my first online course when I was only 26. Don’t allow anybody to tell you that you are too young to go after your dreams.
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