This week has been a pretty relaxed week, for me as I have been catching up on my lectures, and assignments.
I sat down with Meli Moyo co-founder of Check Out Africa, and Promoshin Media & Marketing pr company. We discussed how he and his partner Ivor decided to create the online company which showcases Africa finest artefacts, fashion, culture and also African companies.
Meli is a man of business and at a young age is succeeding in his business ventures, check out how our interview went below.
How are you today, Happy New Year
I’m feeling blessed and highly favoured. Happy New Year to you too.
Last year was a successful year for you and your brand. What would you say was the highlight of 2017?
I would say the highlight for me last year was all the great stuff we achieved for CheckOutAfrica. After going through a rebrand and website revamp, we can back strong with high profile interviews, more content and growing our social media following. 2017 was a good year for us.
And what are you looking forward to for 2018?
In 2018 I’m looking forward to more success & growth. We have launched Promoshin, our social media management and marketing agency and I’m excited about what’s to come.
Please tell our readers what you do?
I’m a jack of all trades and a master of some. I wear different hats in my roles, so I’m sometimes a content creator, a social media manager, a blogger, interviewer but I’m always a entrepreneur. I think we’re blessed in this day and age that we’re able to be multi-facetted creators and have that as a job role. I love it.
You are co founder of Check out Africa and Promoshin how did that come about and how did those two brands start?
Well these companies have been around for a long time, but the last couple of years have been our most ‘successful’ if you will. The genesis of CheckOutAfrica came from a need to show the beauty of Africa. Unfortunately, media coverage of Africa doesn’t always present our Motherland as we Africans know it. We made it a mission to change the narrative around Africa, showcase the beauty in our many cultures and traditions, but also the beauty in our cities, villages and provinces. And social media gave us the tools to do this without going through mainstream media channels.
Promoshin, our social media management and marketing services started because we saw that a number of the companies we were working with had little or limited social media presence. So we set up and started helping businesses grow their online audience, amplify their reach and ultimately grow their business. The rest is history.
How did you get your idea or concept for your business ?
We saw the need and the demand, and decided we wanted to do something about it. Like most businesses. If you’re business isn’t meeting or addressing a social need, it can be hard to stay operational. So make sure you address a need and if it’s not there. Create it.
How did you know this is the career for you? And what made you to go forth and chase it?
I didn’t, I kind of fell into it. So it wasn’t a choice I made but something that happened naturally. This lifestyle is always glamourized or romanticized. However, not a lot can prepare you for the struggles that come with being an entrepreneur or a business owner, and it certainly isn’t all roses. There’s peaks and valleys, but you just have to keep pushing. A wise person once told me that being a entrepreneur is more about the journey than the destination. And that statement couldn’t be truer.
What made you choose this type of business?
Two things: one, access. The barriers to entry have essentially been kicked down. Social media and the internet has given us a voice, that people didn’t have before. Through social media we’re about to reach people in Africa from our phones or laptops. For an organisation like ours, that’s gold. We’re able to empower, inspire and collaborate with people in Africa remotely.
And in regards to Promoshin, social media marketing is crucial to businesses, this is the trend going beyond 2018 it seems. And with our skills we want to help businesses harness the power of social media as we have managed to do with CheckOutAfrica and others.
What is unique about your business?
What makes our business unique is our team. We don’t work like traditional companies. We have a genuine passion and care for the companies we work with. We work closely with all our clients so we’re personally invested in helping companies grow and reach their goals.
You have worked with a number of high end clients and brands have you ever turned down a client?
We haven’t turned down a client per se. We try to hear out anyone who gets in contact with us. However, there has been times when things haven’t worked out for various reasons obviously. Maybe the budget wasn’t right, we couldn’t work out schedules or just differences in perspectives.
And if so how did you know it was the right thing to do?
One thing we try to avoid having in our line of business is FOMO (fear of missing out) – When things haven’t worked out, we try to see to it as a blessing in disguise. We try to do the best for our clients and have a vested interest in their business, so when we get a client where we feel we this isn’t the case, we try not to do them a disservice by taking the project if we’re not fully invested.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
I would say comparison kills and perseverance is your oxygen.
What advice would you have for young men who are trying to get involved in the fashion and business industry?
I’d advice them to study their craft. Find balance and don’t be afraid to try things out. Don’t feel like you should know exactly what you want do, you can take time to explore and figure it out. It’s a marathon not a race.
Do you ever take time out to relax and rest and if so what are the things you like to do in your free time?
I’ve been lucky to have a good work-life balance, in my free time I like to chill and hang out. Grab a drink with friends, go to a concert, see a movie. Live life not just exist, if you know what I mean.
Finally As a business owner, what are your top three priorities? And Do you set high expectations or tolerate mediocrity?
Balance & Discipline: Not comparing ourselves to other organisations and being disciplined in our practices enough to make our business succeed.
Knowledge: What we’re doing to stay ahead of our competition but also how we’re empowering and inspiring others to have a voice.
Network: Not only networking up but networking across – So not only trying to work with people in a better position or higher up in the food chain than us but working with people from our backgrounds, different African countries. Growing our network so we can better help others too.
We do not tolerate mediocrity. We definitely set high expectations, mostly for ourselves as an organisation.
How do you balance the up-keep of CheckOutAfrica and social media outlets ?
Updating social media platforms and outlets has become second nature at this point. Obviously we use social media tools and resources where we can but for the most part we manually manage our social media platforms as well as for clients. It can be a lot of work but you learn to love it.
Where would you like the businesses to be in the next 5 years?
For CheckOutAfrica, in 5 years we will be bigger, with offices in Africa and also working with bigger organisations and actively doing more work within Africa. Promoshin will be bigger and better. High profile clientele and offering a wider array of services.
What advice do you have for the young men trying to start up a marketing and social media platform ?
I would advise them is build your own social media platforms first before managing others. Also, stay up to date with the trends. Social media moves very quickly, trends change over night. We’ve seen it recently with Instagram, so it’s important to know whats happening. But most importantly, have fun. Nothing is worth doing if you’re not having fun or enjoying yourself, so try to do something you truly enjoy and will fulfil you.
Importantly, you don’t own your Instagram account, your twitter account or whatever platform you use. You’re renting the space, and if your business is solely based on a social media platform, whether you have 1M or 1K followers you’re always an algorithm or a new popular platform away from not having a business. Think beyond social media.
You can follow Lynn and Check Out Africa & Promoshin on all Social media platforms