Meet Abdulrasheed Othman: The Digital Creator Who Left 10 years of Experience in Oil & Gas For Business Coaching and Consultancy

#CreatorStories showcases the honest personal experiences of digital creators who monetize their knowledge of a skill and sell it on Selar. We share these stories every week to inspire you to create and sell a product out of your wealth of knowledge and be a part of the digital creator economy.

This week, we turn the lights on Abdulrasheed Othman, popularly known as the King of the North. 

Let’s get to know him, shall we?

Can we meet Othman Abdulrasheed?

My name is Abdulrasheed Othman. I am a  speaker, an author, and a trainer. I help business owners grow their businesses without stress and put structures and systems in place so that they can scale their businesses. Before now, I worked for 13 years in the oil and gas industry downstream where I have done several jobs from operations to sales. In the last part of my job career, I had a passion for motivating people and that led me to write my first book titled Propel Yourself To Someplace Higher (PUSH). From there, I started coaching and consulting. Later on, I left oil and gas to face this squarely. I like sports(not football, I hate football). I am a taekwondo athlete and a polo player as well. I am married with two kids.

Tell us about the Forbes coaches council, we see you are the first Northerner to be inducted into the council. 

There are certain criteria before you can be inducted into the Forbes coaches council. One of which is that you must be coaching for at least three years, with enough evidence to prove it. And the funny thing is that a lot of us do this amazing job but we don’t document our story, or what we do. 

The first time I had the interview with them, they asked for my social media handles and I was wondering why they needed them. I sent them my LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram profile links which they checked and vetted. 

Now, why Forbes Coaches Council is such a big deal is that it places you in the same category as top coaches in the industry like Fela Duruotoye, Sam Adeyemi, Paul Foh, and lots more outside Nigeria. By being in this council, there is no coaching problem that you have that you can’t get a solution to. 

The essence of being in this Forbes Coaches Council is not even for me, it is to be able to help my client grow better because I can share the best strategies used by other coaches in the world to produce results for my clients. More so, interacting with these kinds of people gives you a different mentality to life. It’s a huge deal. 

Also, because the Forbes Coaches Council is an internationally recognized organization, being a part of it has helped me upgrade the kind of clientele I work with and inspired a lot of people to become anything they want. 

What was your career journey that led to you being a business consultant and management coach? 

I studied chemical engineering at the university. And I did so after seeing an NNPC magazine when I was eight years old. A family friend brought it home during his NYSC program and immediately after I saw the distillation columns behind it, I knew I was going into the oil and gas industry. Because of this, I took maths and further maths seriously because I knew I needed it to get into the University. 

During NYSC, I was posted to NNPC Kaduna. But when I got there, alongside other corp members posted there, we were rejected. As I was driving out, I looked to my right and saw an Oando plant. I drove in confidently and demanded to see the manager, I think my confidence threw them off balance. I came in, introduced myself, and asked them if they needed a corp member. They asked if anyone sent me, and I said no. They wrote me a request letter, and I took it back to my LGI and that was how I served at Oando. 

While working there, I had two goals – To make them retain me, and to work so much that they wouldn’t remember I was a corp member. 

Before my NYSC was over, my manager wanted to retain me. But there was an exam I needed to write. I was cool with it and started practicing. I wrote the test and aced it and my manager said I had the role (Production Assistant) reserved for me when I finished NYSC. 

A month to finish  NYSC, we had a new HR manager whose mandate was to fill all vacant roles. She requested that they fill my reserved role as Production Assistant. So, they did another interview and brought someone else in. I had to do a handover to the person and my heart was broken. I handed over and left for Lagos. Before I left, the salespeople wanted to keep me on as their sales assistant. They were going to pay me 30k, but I said no. I demanded 50k. 

In Lagos, I attended a training, after which I got a job that paid 70k. The office was in Ajah. I was staying with my cousin at Adeola Odeku. I used to trek from the law school bus stop to Adeola Odeku. I didn’t have enough money to take the bike.

I worked in that place for two weeks before my former boss in Oando called and said that there was a role that they were thinking of starting off and it was in Abuja I said yes and asked for the salary, He said it was 30k. I left a 70k-paying job for a 30k job. The reason was that I knew that in Oando, there was much space for me to grow, in this place, that was the maximum I could grow. 

One month after working at Abuja, I was moved to Apapa because they had more stock losses and they needed someone to fix it. I went to Apapa and my salary was renegotiated to 120k. 

After 2 years, there was an open sales position in Kaduna. I applied and got it. I spent one year there. In 2012, the next year, there was a vacant Commercial Branch Manager role in Kano. This was when Boko Haram started in Kano. I told my boss I was interested, and after three weeks, he called me to fill the role.  I moved to Kano and spent 8 years in Kano. It was the best year of my life and I had fun. It was in Kano that I started to discover myself. 

Going to work was a normal routine. One day I was sitting and gisting with my guys, I asked them if what we were doing is what life is about and they said no, I then asked what else is there to live; we need to find other things that we need to do and they said they wanted to be watching football, but that wasn’t what I wanted to do. 

I started looking for what I liked as a child and then I realized that I liked horses. Every trouble I was ever involved in as a child was because of horses. 

So I decided to go to Kano Polo Club. A guy met me and asked what I was doing there, I told him that I came to see the place and ride a horse. I started riding horses, then applied for membership, and then bought my first horse. That singular act made me realize that I could do anything I want. 

I left Oando in 2017 and joined Enyo retail. From the money I got after selling my books, I hosted a masterclass with six other people. Steve Harris encouraged me to host the masterclass after I told him I had written a book. We hosted the masterclass in Abuja, Kano, and Bauchi. 

Later on, I went to Lagos for a Leadership training. While in class, I started seeing that what they were doing could be my life. So, I said I was going to be a trainer. I started focusing on leadership. That was when I stumbled upon the John Maxwell team. This team is a world-renowned development organization. I used all the money I had in my life to pay for that course, and I did it out of ‘we die here.” lol. 

And that’s how I was doing bolt, working, and running my side business until COVID hit. When COVID hit, it changed my perspective on everything. Then I just had kids and I was really interested in being with them and playing with them too. They were in Kano and I was in Abuja, I didn’t want that back and forth. I decided to take a leap and jump and faced this squarely. Interestingly, on the last day when I dropped my job, I said “I had my laptop, phone, and Ipad – life is good, I will create courses and sell them.” At 1 am that night, armed robbers came to my house, put a gun to my head, threatened me and my family, and stole everything(laptop, phone, money, TV) and I started from scratch. I thank God, it has been a journey and here we are in a nutshell. 

Why were you so confident about your decision to jump?

What gives people the ability to do extraordinary things is confidence and confidence is a random act of courage done consistently over time. 

What I do is that I always link the previous courageous thing to the present courageous thing and it makes me want to do a more courageous thing. For me, the worst-case scenario is that if I jump, it doesn’t work, then what happens?

If it doesn’t work, I can always go back to doing what I was doing before I jumped. I have three master’s degrees and I’m a highly experienced person in oil and gas sales. So even if my former organization doesn’t call me back, there would be other organizations that would accept me. Even if it means taking a step lower. 

I think what helped me was I am comfortable with being uncomfortable. When I left my job, I said I wouldn’t continue the Polo life so I sold my horses and stopped. And there were a lot of chitchats around. People said I had gone broke, but I didn’t care. 

I did lots of analysis and realized again that worst case scenario, we will go and live with our parents and disturb them for a while before we get back on our feet. Just knowing that there is that option, you can say let’s jump.

How did you transition from being an employee to a digital creator/employer?

I made a lot of money in November and December and in February I lost my AirPods. I make a lot of calls so my AirPods were a necessity. I decided not to use my money to replace the AirPods, mainly because I was low on cash. 

I decided to create a digital course to sell so that I can make the money to replace my AirPods. I created the course BIZAC, put it on Selar and I priced it at 10k. 

All I needed was fifteen people so I could buy my AirPods. When I finished the campaign, 50 people paid and I was surprised. After a couple of months, I launched it again and NOBODY paid for it. I took my L and went back to strategize. (laughs). 

I launched it again and this time around, I increased the price to 20k, and 30 people signed up. Then I launched it again and took the price to 50k, and 12 people signed up.

I decided to launch it again, taking the price back to 10k. I did it because I wanted to have a lot of people in the class. 

Generally, just being comfortable with being uncomfortable has helped me. I am always comfortable with being uncomfortable. When you see yourself being too comfortable, do something that will make you uncomfortable. That’s how you win. 

How did you discover digital products?

My first encounter with digital products was during the MVP(Matching the Business with your Talent). It is a digital course/coaching. The classes are virtual on a platform, but you jump on weekly calls. 

I never thought I could create a digital course, it never occurred to me. Reading the book by Akin Alabi “How To Sell To Nigerians”, gave me insight. Plus a lot of people around me were doing digital courses. I think that’s important, being around people that were all doing it inspired me to do the same. Everybody was using Selar so I decided to do the same thing. I used other platforms to sell my book, but when I jumped on Selar, I loved it from the get-go. 

Two things that made me love Selar; First is the Affiliate network. I made an equal amount from Affiliate marketing, selling other people’s classes as I have made from selling my own classes. The second thing is the follow-up sequence, whereby when someone is trying to make a payment and doesn’t complete it, you send the person an email. That thing is mad!

What I do is that when Selar sends the person an email and sends their details to me, I quickly send the person a text on the number. The follow-up is just perfect. I am honestly considering canceling all physical classes and sticking to digital classes.

Tell us about the WANDEC foundation

The WANDEC foundation is a foundation I created to provide sustainable drinking water. We have dug about 3 boreholes since inception and it is 100 percent funded by me.

I have people that go around and check/source for communities that are struggling with water. They come to me and we send people to check it out and seal the borehole. The reason is that we have to give back to the community. I believe that if God has blessed you, increase the way you give back. 

I also think that for you to be able to enter certain kinds of rooms- it is not usually about the amount of money you have, but it is about the impact that you are making in the community. To play at that level, it is not just transactional, but philanthropic. I am just preparing myself for when I get there. We’ve not done much and it’s fine by me. We have only dug 3 boreholes. We are not in a hurry, however, it is just to have that structure and that mechanism in place so that when you are really ready to invest energy into it, you can have the impact that you want.

Tell us about Shap Shap, we see you’re also the Chief Operating Officer.

We started Shap Shap because there was a huge gap in the market as regards logistics. First of all, logistics companies die off easily because they tend to become more like phone operators than logistics. 

We realized that as we evolve, there is a huge market in Nigeria, and these foreign players want to come in but they can’t grow without a local partner, so we decided to position ourselves as the ideal local partner for them to partner with. We are like an aggregator, so whether you are a competing or district company, we don’t mind. So far, we’ve been able to create that synergy where we attract riders and customers so that we can provide them with those services using technology.

In all of your experiences as a retail branch manager, territorial lead, and b2b lead, one thing that’s constant is Sales. So how did you get involved with sales and marketing seeing that your earliest career experience was a production assistant? 

My first sale was when I was 10 years. I went to secondary school, my secondary school was Nigerian Military School, Zaria. My mum gave me envelopes, stamps, and writing pads to write home to tell her how I was faring in school. 

I got in there and realized that there were no envelopes or stamps. So I sold the envelopes and stamps my mum gave me. The only letter I ever wrote to my mum was to say I needed more envelopes and stamps.

There was another time, when we were in the university, the ID cards we were using were paper ID cards that were laminated, but by the time we were in 400lvl, they changed it to plastic ID cards. A friend of mine put his ID card in his wallet and sat down at the edge of a concrete slab and the ID card broke. And he came to us to complain. Immediately, I saw

an opportunity. I realized that it would be a common occurrence for lots of people so I got ID card holders as the solution. 

I got it for 50 Naira at that time and sold it for 200 Naira because of how I packaged it. I made good money from that. 

What’s one business growth (sales) strategy that all CEOs and top-level executives should not ignore?

Understanding the ideal customer. A lot of people don’t do that. They are too focused on selling. If you take time to really understand who your ideal customer is then you would know their pain and what pleasure they seek.

This BIZAC course that I am selling, was a pain I knew people had. I was teaching them email marketing, video marketing, and copywriting. Every time I have launched a course, something always happens. Coincidentally, Twitter went down and I told them that they shouldn’t build their business in a rented space. I told them that if they had their email lists and email marketing system, they would have easily reached out to them. 

The third time I launched the course was when Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp went down. As soon as it went down, I sent an email to my email lists telling them of what had happened and the need to have an email list. Some of them said that they were waiting for me to say it (laughs). 

Understanding the pain of my clients and the pleasures they are looking for has helped me in all the businesses I have been able to run and do. Even with the logistics, we understand their problems and proffer solutions to them. Our riders are given access to other platforms like Jumia, Uber, etc. they are not just limited to our platform alone. 

As for the customers we don’t just give them our riders, but also third-party riders. It is also the same thing for both my physical and online classes. It comes from a place of understanding what the problem is and then creating a solution.

I think that if business owners can do that adequately, they will be successful. That is why Apple is very successful. Steve Jobs before he launched the iPod sold everyone the idea of having a thousand songs in your pocket.

How did you get started with the creator economy and online business ideas? 

I was posting my Polo pictures online, they were nice but at some point it became boring and at a time I started adding captions – motivational captions. I saw somewhere online; Steve Harris – Masking the business of your talent.

I saw the few people he had worked with and then I decided to join the course and see what it is all about. I joined the course and went through it. It expanded my horizon and after the course, I decided to write my book. I wrote the book and sent it to the editor – Chisom. She asked me where the rest of the book was.

I was surprised, then I told her that this is all the book and I can’t write again. At the same time, Lamide had just published his book – Story Hack. Story hack is the act of using storytelling to enhance your book, courses, etc. I read Story Hack and it gave me the inspiration I needed to upgrade my book. I upgraded it and launched my book. 

I did that because I was always posting online that you can do anything. But I realized that I was a fraud.  I was telling people that they are limitless, but I had limits. I had things I was telling myself that I could not do and one of the things I was telling myself I couldn’t do was to write. Even my emails are very short. I said I am going to challenge this limiting belief, I am going to write a book and I decided that that was what I was going to do.

I wrote the book, and when I wrote the book, I asked myself what was the worst thing that could happen. I said that the worst thing that would happen is that nobody will buy the book. I decided to print 200 copies. I didn’t mind if I finished selling the books in a year or two, but to my greatest shock, I sold all the copies within two weeks and that’s the physical copy. I can’t count how many online copies I sold. 

In all your years of being a consultant, speaker, trainer, coach, amongst other things. What’s one thing you’ve learned? 

Never underestimate doing the work. A lot of people complain about not getting results and also not doing the work they are supposed to do. If you put in the work, you will see the results. When I launched BIZA the second time, I knew why it flopped, I was distracted, and I had Hubris. After the first one, I felt that since it was successful, the second one will be even more successful. That is one mistake people make. If I have a course, nobody is going to enroll until I market it aggressively. I have learned to always do the work because the work will be commensurate with the result that you get, and it applies to every sphere of life.

What advice would you give to other coaches who are inspired by you?

Believe in yourself and always keep learning. Learning is the best thing. I still learn and I will still sign up for courses. But don’t just be a knowledge junkie, I have a rule that for every book I read, I must translate it to cash before I read another one. One of my favorite books is Tractions by Gino Wickman. I can’t count the amount of money I have gotten from that book alone. 

So I always get a book, read it, implement it for my business, and when I see that it works, I implement it for someone else’s business and I charge them for it. Always seek knowledge and then apply it, especially for coaching. As a coach, you have to have a continual growth mindset, you can’t be in the same direction that you are in. Keep growing and aspiring. 

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