This probably is the first time I will be telling my story because I have always lived a fairly secret live.
I am from Nigeria where I was born and still live in. I know we are all stereotyped as scammers and thieves but trust me, a lot of us own and operate legit (online) businesses. Just like in every country, there are good and bad people and we are no exception.
I had a great childhood. Everything was fine and rosy until I lost my Dad which meant I had to shoulder the responsibility of my family as the first child. I manage to finish secondary school and was awarded the best Math student.
Introduction to The Internet / Web
Back then in secondary school, I had a rich friend who owned a Nokia phone (that could browse the internet) he brings to class which he uses to play games and do fun stuff online even though we weren’t allowed to bring nor use a phone in the class. (Funny right? :D)
I have always been a football lover (called soccer in the U.S). I still play very well and support Chelsea FC. So each time I have the opportunity to use his phone, I always visit Goal.com to read football news especially concerning my team Chelsea FC of England.
Being a very inquisitive person, I wanted to learn how the web works as well as have my own website. I was able to buy a Nokia 3120 classic phone via the menial jobs I did after school.
I visited Google and search how to create my wapsite. We refer to mobile phones optimized sites as “wapsite”. The result of my search were filled with site builders like xtgem.com and wapzan.com.
I chose the xtgem.com and discovered I needed an email address to sign up. Didn’t know what that means so I googled it and eventually created a Yahoo email address. Finally registered and built my first website. Sadly, the site is no longer online but I was able to get a screenshot of the site thanks to Wayback Machine.
I had to learn HTML and CSS from w3schools to build the site and it came out well didn’t it?
I later moved on to wapka.mobi site builder which allows you to build dynamic websites such as a social network or forum using its own programming language called “wapka tags”. I was able to build a community/forum, sms collection and a file sharing site.
I came across a Facebook group called BloggersLab and discovered I could make money blogging. Two prominent platform at the time to create a blog was Blogger.com and WordPress. I chose WordPress because WordPress blogs were always pretty.
From my savings, I bought the cheapest hosting plan from a local web hosting here in Nigeria and installed WordPress using Softaculous included in cPanel and started writing wapka.mobi tutorials. See https://w3guy.com/?s=wapka.
I did all this with my Nokia phone.
Here’s how I publish a new post: first I write it on a notebook before publishing on my blog. I was also building mobile sites for people for small amount of money.
I couldn’t go to the university because of my precarious financial situation. I continue to do menial jobs during the day and started learning PHP in the evenings and at night using my mobile phone via w3schools.com. I later was able to get a cheap old IBM Thinkpad laptop which I used in getting eBooks from torrent sites because I couldn’t afford them at the time and also to practice coding. Mind you, I was also blogging about the stuff I was learning on w3guy.com
I later took up a job teaching children at a school primarily because I got tired of the menial jobs and wanted to earn enough to take care of my internet data plan. After a while, I became fairly proficient in PHP and even took up a job to build a school management system which was really slow and ugly.
WordPress Saved My Life
I needed to start making money with the PHP, HTML & CSS skill I had because my blog wasn’t making any money via AdSense. I think I got to the $100 payout on my second year of blogging.
I came across a post on Sitepoint.com that they were looking for writers. I applied and got in. I started writing PHP and WordPress development tutorials and got paid few hundreds of dollars per article. In Nigeria, that’s quite a lot of money. I was able to improve the life and well-being of my family and I. I also wrote for Smashing Magazine, Designmodo, Tuts+ and Hongkiat.
I later got admission into a polytechnic to study computer science and decided to stop writing and try to make and sell WordPress plugins for a living.
I discovered my tutorial on building custom login form on Designmodo was popular with lots of comment so I decided to make a plugin out of it. That was how my first premium plugin ProfilePress was born. I wanted to sell it on Codecanyon but it was rejected so I decided to sell it myself. It was and still hard doing development and marketing at the same time.
Thankfully, after a year, it started making enough revenue for me to live pretty comfortably here in Nigeria because the cost of living here is little.
Few years later, I came across a payment processing library for PHP called Omnipay which included support for many payment providers like Stripe, PayPal. I use 2Checkout as my payment gateway to sell my plugins via EDD and discovered the driver for 2Checkout in Omnipay was old and unsupported so I built one. I figured I could make money building EDD and WooCommerce payment gateways base on the Omnipay and I did and place them on Codecanyon for sale. They didn’t do well sales wise and I had to stop selling them and moved the 2Checkout gateway for WooCommerce to omnipay.io. I have since built an EDD Paddle gateway which I now sell alongside.
My latest product is MailOptin, a WordPress optin form and automated newsletter plugin. I initially built it for my own need. I figured there might be interest in it so I made a free version and a paid version.
I currently live on the revenue from my plugins.
I am thankful for WordPress because without it, I’m really not sure I would have been able to live a decent life. Who knows what would have become of me.
I am also thankful for the community. I have made lots of friends that has been very supportive and helpful in my journey.
If you live in a third world country like myself and going through hardship, I hope my story will inspire you to be great.
I tell people, life won’t give you what you want. You demand from life what you want. You make these demands by being determined and never giving up on your dreams and aspiration.
If you are poor perhaps because you came from a humble and poor background, it is not your fault. You can’t go back in time to change things. I implore you to be strong, determined and hustle hard.
I will end with this story.
Two guys had become shipwrecked and were directionless-ly drifting on the vast ocean, desperately holding onto a wooden plank.
A big ship comes along. Elated, one of the guys let’s go of the plank and makes a bold move, using his last strength to reach the ship.
The other guy holds the plank and tells himself: “God will save me.”
A few days later he died and is sent to heaven.
In heaven, he angrily asks God: “Why didn’t you save me?”
“I sent you a boat you idiot.”
No one is coming to save you. You are all alone. It’s up to you to change your fortune.
Do nothing, be nothing.