Our Passion2Profit series showcases amazing creators turning their passion to profit, we talk to them about how they got started, their journey so far, and get lessons that could help the next creator.
For our second episode, we talk to Olawunmi Esan, Nigeria’s leading Sex Therapist and Coach. She works with couples and individuals to discover and enjoy mind blowing sexual satisfaction and fulfillment.
She has built an impressive reputation in sex therapy both home and internationally through one-on-one coachings and online sex coaching courses all geared towards taking sexual intimacy from routine to mind-blowing. Her top courses include: Blow Job School, How To Be A Better Lover (for men), Ride Like A Pro and Preparing For Great Sex In Marriage (for new and intending couples). She talks about how she started and how she’s been able to gain more visibility and grow her business.
How long have you been doing this?
I’ve been doing this for over six years now. I trained as a Psychologist and then went further to get my certifications in Counselling & Psychotherapy, Sex Therapy, and Cognitive-behavioral Therapy.
That’s impressive! What fueled your passion for this aspect of Therapy?
I have always been interested in Sex. Not just the act but the biology and the psychology of Sex. However, some of my experiences around how people deal with sex also further propelled my interest in Sex therapy. When I had my first child, I had some difficulty with sex and there was nobody to help me. I had a very big baby (5.2kg). I needed help navigating Sex after birthing such a big baby but my questions made alot of people uncomfortable because I was talking about Sex and my Vagina. I would ask questions like, What do you do when your vagina has pushed out a really big baby? Would it ever be normal or well toned again? But no one was ready to talk to me about it because my questions were uncomfortable for them.
That must have been very tough. Did you eventually get answers?
Nobody wanted to talk about it. Even doctors were uncomfortable talking to me about it and I had to find my solution myself. Although I already started out with my background in psychology and was already doing trainings in the field of Sex, that experience made me see clearly how important it was for people to have someone to address Sexual issues comfortably and without shame or fear of judgment. That further solidified my decision to focus on Sex therapy. So I strapped on my boots and became more focused on acquiring the training and certifications needed to help people professionally.
Considering the experience you had seeking information for yourself, I assume there must have been a lot of challenges starting out
In the beginning, a lot of people found it difficult to want to pay for sex therapy or maybe even therapy in general, because I’m also trained as a psychotherapist. So outside of sex, I also work with people as a psychotherapist. Most people found it difficult to pay because back then, most people relied on their Pastors to be their therapist or counsellor. The attitude was, If I can talk to my pastor about my problem, why should I pay you to sit down and talk? A lot of people have this misconception.
I can imagine, so how did you resolve that?
I work with a network of psychotherapists and counselors and one of the things we’ve been able to achieve is to define what we do as professionals and consistently put our work out there to let people know the value we bring to the table and of course, let them know it is a paid service. Over time, people have become more comfortable with seeking professional help. People have also come to realise that their pastor cannot be everything to them. From being a spiritual advisor to being a mentor, a financial advisor, a sex therapist, marriage counselor and more. A pastor is one person! Pastors now also refer people to us.
That’s a great improvement
More people are getting to that point where they understand that there is a need for professional help. There’s a need for getting the help they require to move forward in any aspect of life. More people are seeing the value and are willing to exchange value for value.
So, constantly putting your work out there has been really helpful?
Yes. Consistently putting my work out there, and consistently letting people know that I charge. Some people still face difficulty where people come to them and say ‘is it not free?’ I don’t face that as much anymore because I have defined the work I do. That used to be a major challenge but it has gotten much better.
Do you remember the first time you got paid for your services as a Sex Therapist?
It’s been a long time ago, I’m not sure I remember.
But you must have been really excited?
Yes. I’m sure I must have felt that way. I’ve also never doubted the value I bring to the table which is why I’m not shy to let people know my services are paid. So when people say ‘is it not free? But you’re a Christian.’ I ask them, do you go to work? And they say yes. “Do you get paid for work?” They say yes. I ask, “If your employer asked you to come to work and not get paid because you’re a Christian, how would you feel about that? This is my full-time job. This is not a hobby. This is what I went to school for. I have close to 10 years of study in this field.”
I tell them “this is my job. So if your employer wouldn’t ask you to come to work for free because you’re a Christian, why would you expect me to do my work for free?”
What would you say is the most interesting thing about being a Sex Therapist?
The transformation I see in my clients. I love to speak with descriptions. When a client comes into therapy feeling battered, I liken it to an injured bird. You know, when a bird is injured, it can’t fly. Its wings are clipped and it feels afraid.
Then in the course of doing the work, the client is able to heal, rediscover who they are, build their confidence and spread their wings, and fly. The transformation is so amazing and it’s always so gratifying every single time.
That must be really fulfilling
It is. When women come into therapy and they’re like, “Oh, I don’t enjoy sex.” They rule themselves out thinking something must be broken. Then we start working together and she goes from the woman who would say, “Why should I have sex?” to the woman who says, “Why shouldn’t I have sex?” The transformation is mind-blowing every time.
Speaking of clients, from your Selar numbers, we see you have a huge international client base. How did you achieve that?
Time has helped. Of course, technology, social media, the internet also really helped. I also try to also position myself strategically. If you check Google for sex therapists in Nigeria, you will see me.
So SEO, that’s a good one!
A lot of Nigerians in the diaspora look for “Nigerian therapists” because they feel a Nigerian would better understand and relate with them from a cultural and societal context, with the added advantage of being confidential and nonjudgemental. So a lot of my client base in the diaspora are also Nigerians in diaspora. Some of them find me on social media, some find me on Google because when they search Google for sex therapists in Nigeria, my page comes up. So I think that technology, the Internet, and all of that has been very instrumental in that positioning and exposure to clients outside of Nigeria. Word of mouth has also been very helpful. When clients I’ve worked with recommend me to other prospective clients.
How long did it take you to start earning some income from the business?
I think it took about three years.
That’s a long time
I started out with the therapy, And of course, at the point, people were skeptical about paying a therapist when they had their Pastors but I kept putting content out and kept showing up. We just kept going. At a point, a friend suggested I look into the sex toy industry and I did. But I think a breakthrough experience was when someone paid me to teach her how to Ride. She said, “You talk about riding a lot. I would like to have a session with you to teach me how to ride.”
Love the diversification!
It was very interesting because after I had the session with the lady, it gave me confidence. And I said you know what? If I can teach this lady and she’s giving such positive feedback, I can teach others too. So, we recorded the videos and put them out there. Then I did a course with a group of women. A lot of the course was in the text format. There was one aspect of the course that was supposed to cover oral sex and I just decided at the spur of the moment that I was going to make it a video so they could see it. The reviews and feedback were really encouraging so we packaged it into courses and that was an encouragement to keep moving. I actually started earning from courses before I started earning from Therapy sessions.
Interesting, so you didn’t outrightly start out making courses?
No, I didn’t start out with the intention to make courses. It happened and I ran with it
What part of your business sells more today? Toys, coaching/therapy, or online courses?
Toys are the biggest earners, although the earnings from Therapy and online courses come close. It is quite interesting, considering how sex toys are perceived by people in this part of the world
True, before we wrap up, you’ve achieved quite a lot so far. What would you say is next for you?
While we are focused on making what we’ve built even better and expanding our reach, our next step is to provide indepth, world class training for others who would want train as Sex therapists.
Love it! What advice do you have for anyone looking to start out as a sex therapist?
I’ll always say this, if you’re looking to go into the field of Sex Therapy, understand that you’re dealing with people’s lives, and please honor that. Get the required training, don’t go into it simply because you like sex. Training is required to become a Sex Therapist. If your desire is to work as a professional in this field, please get the proper training required. A background in Counselling or Psychology is important before specialising in Sex Therapy. That way you are well grounded and well trained to help people. Even now, I’m continually focused on professional development to keep abreast of new interventions in the field and to continually equip myself to offer effective solutions to my clients.
And we’ve finally come to the end of our interview with Nigeria’s leading Sex Therapist and Coach, Olawunmi Esan. If you’re looking to take your sexual life from routine to mind-blowing, then you need to check out her courses here on Selar.
Our mission at Selar is to empower millions of African creators with the tools needed to monetize their knowledge and turn their passion to profit. We’ve created a simple online store builder with creators at the core of it, so in less than 5 minutes, you can create an online store to sell any kind of product like ebooks, courses, training, services, physical goods, e.t.c Also, with Selar you get six currencies by default so you will be able to sell to anyone anywhere in the world! To get started, sign up at selar.co/register
PS: For clients selling internationally, we support Stripe & PayPal so your international customers will be able to pay without any hassle.
Shout out to Zikoko for pioneering this interviewing style, we love them ❤️.