Why do some people make it and some people don’t? Not only did Uyi Abraham go from having $100 in his pocket to building an 8 figure company, but he built a company that helps other entrepreneurs create their dreams. In this interview, he shares what made it possible for him and offers critical strategies that you can adopt today.
More about Uyi:
Uyi Abraham is an award-winning business coach, serial entrepreneur, investor, strategist and best-selling author.
He is an African immigrant who relocated to America with only $100 in his pocket and a suitcase of clothes.
He has been educating people on business and success principles for over 20 years. Despite his humble beginnings, he has attained entrepreneurial success and is devoted to helping others become successful entrepreneurs.
He is the founder of Vonza.com – a SaaS company that makes it easy for entrepreneurs to start and grow a profitable online business, Higher Place Christian University, and Uplevel Enterprises – a marketing and consulting service firm.
His passion is to help people break the limits and fulfill their life and business dreams.
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Adam G. Force 0:03
Welcome to the Change Creator podcast where entrepreneurs come to learn how to live their truth, get rich and make a massive difference in the world. I’m your host, Adam forest co founder, Change Creator and co creator of the captivate method. Each week we talk to experts about leadership, digital marketing and sales strategies that you can implement in your business and like to go big, visit us at Change Creator comm forward slash go big to grab awesome resources that will help drive your business forward.
Adam G. Force 0:44
What’s up, everybody? Welcome back to the change credit podcast, this is your host, Adam force. So listen, if you missed the last episode, we spoke with Mickey Kennedy. And for over 20 years has been in the PR game.
So it’s interesting, because PR is not really a marketing channel, we talk about too much. And so we wanted to just, you know, kind of explore that a little bit and what it means to entrepreneurs, you know, in their first five years, and when is the right time? And why would we use PR, so we kind of get into all that stuff.
And what Mickey does, he actually has, you know, a lot of good, valuable insights on his website, but it’s also a very affordable form of PR, and he has some really great partnerships in the in the space. So it’s definitely worth considering and exploring.
But remember, timing matters, we need to do things at the right time. So you really need to ask yourself the right questions and understand is this does this make sense for me in my business right now, and how I’m using my resources and things like that.
So definitely a great conversation with a lot of valuable inputs about getting visible out in the market, and when PR might make sense for you. So today, we’re gonna be talking with UI Abraham, okay. And, you know, he, so he’s, he was actually referred to me from someone in my network. And he’s doing some really great stuff. And he’s been down a very long journey.
So his story is powerful, you’re gonna want to hear this. And, you know, he’s an entrepreneur, he’s the founder of a company called bonds. So, you know, they were able to get some investment, and it is a platform that offers an all in one solution type thing, all right, and they try to make it very accessible for entrepreneurs.
So it addresses all kinds of things with various tools that you need to run a business and they’ve had over if I remember correctly, 10,000 signups in less than in less than two years or so. And, you know, so he, he did, but this was not his first company. Alright, so they are a I’m trying to remember seven or eight figure company at this point, he’ll he’ll clarify in our conversation.
And, you know, the the point and one of the really powerful points that I found interesting was he started several companies. So he’s gone down this journey, and it’s only because of the journey that he was able to uncover valenza as finally his his like, sweet spot, like something that’s really clicking and really working. And now like, you know, he’s earning a lot of money, but he’s also doing something meaningful, using the skills that he’s adopted over the years.
So really powerful story, lots to learn from him. So we’re gonna get into a really great conversation in just a minute there. So hang tight. Okay, so just a quick update on our brand studio. We have one spot left, we just brought on two amazing people. And then we have a few others that are still on the roster that we’re working with. And it’s been really exciting because we’re getting some more and more sites live we as you guys probably recall, we put the pink bakery live, we just went live also with smart, creative social, we just went live with my product developer so smart, creative social is from Jennifer and she is a Pinterest expert, you want massive traffic from Pinterest organically. She’s the person to talk to she’s a content marketing wizard and she’s doing some amazing things.
If you’re looking for physical products, I prototyping that’s Brandon that is my product developer you can check that kind of stuff out so lots of really good stuff going on there. Alright so guys, if you are interested you just go to Change Creator calm and if you are looking to take your brand to the next stage, right really polish it so you can build trust, you know, earn credibility and then really set up this really the online real estate, your web pages your website to sell more, right?
This is key. Let’s talk like this is who we like to work with. We only have one spot. So we’re always very selective. We’ve turned down people before, even just recently, and So reach out. We’ll have a strategic conversation about your business and see if we’re a good fit.
All right. All right, guys. I think that covers it for now. So We will dive into this conversation. Okay, show me the heat. Hey, Lee, welcome to the Change Creator podcast. How you doing today, man?
Uyi Abraham 5:10
Doing great, man. So good to be here with you. I’ve heard awesome things about you. I heard your demand. And I’ve been looking forward to being on the show with you today.
Adam G. Force 5:21
Awesome. I appreciate that. I appreciate that, you know, seems we got some common ground in our networks, which is always cool. It just shows the power of having the people that surround you. Right?
Uyi Abraham 5:31
Go, right, that’s true.
Adam G. Force 5:32
Yeah. So I always like to kind of hear what you have going on right now like these, like, present day, and how you got there. So if you could just give a little bit of that kind of like, here’s where I’m at. And here’s how it happened kind of in a nutshell.
Uyi Abraham 5:49
That’s a great, thank you so much for having me. So, of course, you can tell from my accent, or the listeners can tell. I was born and raised. I was born in Nigeria, I came to America a few years ago with just $100 and a suitcase of clothes, that call me initially to go to school to become a medical doctor. But things didn’t quite work out that way. So I can have, you know, at some difficult times as well. And I found myself in the path of enterpreneurship, an online business, you know, so I went from $100 to my name and a suitcase of clothes, and now leading a successful eight figure, online business software platform called vonda.com. So I know what it takes to go from nothing to becoming a successful enterpreneur.
Adam G. Force 6:39
Wow. So there, that’s a great story and a lot to unpack. So let’s let’s, you know, we’re talking to an audience of entrepreneurs, they’re all trying to make their journey. And I know you support entrepreneurs, I support entrepreneurs, and there’s lots of support out there. And I’d like to hear and I think they would like to hear some of the steps you had to take to start, you know, manifesting and making this a reality for you. So where did it start that you had first started making money? having your own business? Like, where did Where did that all begin?
Uyi Abraham 7:10
Yeah, so, you know, entrepreneurship is always a journey. And for me, you know, going through those difficult times, I was homeless, you know, very short was to be my car, and just trying to pursue my vision. So there are three things that really helped me, and I think will help anybody to go from wherever they are to where they want to be in the intrapreneurship journey. One is mindset, right? So when I was poor, and things was really, really bad, and I was not able to achieve my dreams, when I look back. Now, I could say that one of the things that was really, really wrong was the wrong mindset. Because when you grew up in Africa, where there’s a lot of luck, a lot of, you know, things not working out, well, it kind of other way of conditioning you for a certain lifestyle, you know, well corrosive environments, environments matter, right. So working on your mindset, you know, getting out those garbage thinking, loads, thinking, thinking, and you know, I’m not good enough, nobody’s gonna help me, my ideas are not good enough, I’m not gonna get customers and sometimes we are self defeating, will defeat our own selves, right? So I’ll just say the very first one is working on your mindset, get rid of the stinking thinking, right, um, but you know, think successful. Think like you are, you know, you can get it done, think that you are somebody important begin to work on your confidence and your self esteem, because we attract who we are. So if you think poor and broke and luck, you’re gonna attract the same type of people into your life and the same type of customers too. But if you just change your thinking a little bit, and just kind of think possibility, Think positive, you also be to attract the right type of clients, which is necessary for any type of entrepreneur. So number one, gotta work on your mindset. That’s what I did.
The number two was mantle, you got to understand what you are put on this earth to do. Right. You know, like, I love and what we have a little chat earlier on about social entrepreneurship, right? Well, some of us, we wanted to become intrapreneurs not just so we can have a fat back bank account or so that we can have big houses, but so that we can also give back as well.
So I wanted to be an intrapreneur because I tasted poverty, firsthand, growing up in Africa, and coming to America to win just $100. Right. So I know what it feels like to not have three square meals. So either when I was growing up, you know, things were so bad. My grandma was raising about maybe 14 children and she couldn’t afford to take care of all of them, right?
So she just has anybody that had a problem raised in a church black, bring them bring about Grandma, you can’t afford to take up all these people, right.
So these were so bad that I got used to them in one boy Imagine a boiled egg, the only meat, the only protein in the food is one boiled egg split into six places. And the only part you get is the meat of the protein for the day, I never ate, I don’t remember really eating like for chicken leg or chicken pie, except Christmas, Easter, or when I came to America. So I want to become an entrepreneur and be successful so that I can give back.
And that’s what we’ve been doing with Vanga. In fact, I don’t know when this episode is going to be live.
But in August, I’ll be going again, on a medical mission trip to Africa, this time around taking wheelchairs over there.
So we have hundreds of people we take care of over there, we feed them, clothe them get young women out of the street, or do prostitution.
In Africa, when people are disabled or have disabilities, their family not able to care for them, usually just abandon them to the streets.
So what I’m going to do in the next couple of weeks, is to take some wheelchair shapes on wishes wheelchairs over there, and people that have disability, walking problem, you know, get them off the street and give them our way of mobility.
So, mantra is very, very important. So mantle is why do you really want to be successful? Why do you really want to be an intrapreneur? Is it just so you can brag and say I’m a successful entrepreneur, or for you to give back? Right? I like the most successful companies are those on give back. So understand your mantra, right? And the third thing is mentorship. Right? I think it was Isaac Newton that said, I’ve gone further by standing on the shoulders of giants, you got to find a mentor, find somebody always doing or has done what you’re trying to do, and learn from them. You know, there’s one or two things that they could teach you that will help you go for the faster, you know, don’t try to be a one hit wonder I’ve lost so much money in my life in my intrapreneurship journey. By trying to be no weed or so now I’ve learned to get a mentor. So three M’s to quick success in life. Entrepreneurship, number one mindset gotta work on that mindset. Gotta surround yourself with like minded people, people that think the way you want to leave people that are thinking people that live in, you know, in a way that is similar to what you want to live in your dream life. then number two, you got to understand your mantra Was Your Man towards your purpose on earth? Was your calling, right? Why do you really want to be successful, so bad? then number three, you got to find a mentor that can help you navigate through the entrepreneurship journey?
Adam G. Force 12:46
Yeah, those are three great pillars that you can hear, you know, often enough. And I think, you know, in my experience, the mindset. I don’t think enough people take that seriously, because it’s not tangible. Yeah, gotcha. It’s not a tactic. It’s not like a strategy. But it really makes a big difference in the behaviors that you have. Right, and and how you do things. And I’m curious if there were any particular steps that you took to help actually be more disciplined about having a good mindset?
Uyi Abraham 13:28
Very good question. I don’t Wow, you have great questions. So there a couple of things that I did one, you got to be intentional, it doesn’t happen by accident, or by chance, you got to be intentional. So that’s some of the steps I did one. I’m married. So I had to have a good partner, that will help reinforce the right mindset. because growing up poor broke, I had a lot of rejections built up inside of me. I felt like people hold me something. And that was a negative thinking negative mindset.
So my wife always reinforce positive mindset to me and say, Hey, nobody owes you nothing. Be grateful. Even somebody don’t support you today, doesn’t mean they will not support you tomorrow. So what am I saying? Step number one, find somebody who can help reinforce or help provoke you towards positive or the right mindset could be a spouse, a friend, a brother, anybody, right? A mentor, whatever, right? then number two was environment, yada, stop hanging around the wrong type of people that think wrong, that talk wrong, that move around, you know, and they’re not they don’t inspire the best in you, right?
If people keep talking about everything is so hard, nobody’s gonna make the economy negative, right? You know, you know, you got to call them out. associate yourself with the people that look like your future. I gotta say that one more time. associate yourself with the people that look like Your future, right. So that’s another good step.
Then three is physical environment. I mean, I live in Atlanta. And you know, we live on the south side, we just kind of, you know, the rough part of the south side where, you know, kind of crazy stuff, harpoon and stuff. And you know what I didn’t know, I thought, Adam, I thought I was saving because it was the cheapest part of town, like me how much I’m saving money compared to people live on the north side, which is more affluent people that think differently, you know, but really, for several years, I was stuck. Because, again, well, product of AI environment, right? if everybody’s making 40,000 a year, that’s the most they can make. And you’re right there with them. Guess what you got to make just about 40.
Though, I literally physically moved to a different type of environment. Because what you see would eventually inspire you to become better, or to become better, right? So, so gotta move the environment. And another quick step, I can also say that we help to ease books, read the right books, listen to podcasts, like this pattern as a great podcast, right? Subscribe to this podcast, listen to it over and over, over again, right? Because what you hear in the scripture that says Faith comes by hearing or hearing, right? So what you hear eventually becomes who you are. So those are some quick steps that will, you know, will help anybody to develop the right mindset.
Adam G. Force 16:32
Yeah, you did mention something that really stuck out to me and I, I do a weekly coaching call for our brand accelerator that we run. And we talked about, you know, people set weekly, monthly, quarterly annual goals, you know, and I, I sit down every day, and I look at my daily plan, like, and I start off and I was like, now this is everybody goes, Yeah, and I’m just not gonna do that right now. I’m busy, I get it, I get it. But the first thing on that daily plan is three things I’m grateful for.
Yeah. And I don’t think people realize the power of just thinking about that every day. And you mentioned, like, your wife was, like, be grateful for it have, you know, stop thinking that?
Oh, you know, like the negative side of something. It’s kind of like the glass half full, half empty, right. And, you know, when you start thinking about what you’re grateful for, you start attracting more of that in your life. And I think everything that you’re saying is just kind of like hitting the nail on the head.
And you’re right, you know, you can have mentors, you don’t have to spend 30 grand on a mentor. I mean, it’s nice when you can work one on one with somebody, but there are books, there are courses, there’s bonza, there’s programs out there that share and surround you with this information. Do you agree?
Uyi Abraham 17:48
I agree. Absolutely. You know, I mean, there’s YouTube, there’s your show, right? There’s books, everything that can help, right? So there’s really no excuse for anybody to say, Well, I cannot afford a coach one on one or mentor, right? There’s a lot of free information out there that will help anybody to begin to not just only grow their mind, but really anything that you want to learn or become. You can easily find it right now.
Adam G. Force 18:18
Yeah. And so was bonza your first business or?
Uyi Abraham 18:23
No, I failed in about 13 businesses before I found success online. Let me just say real quick to the audience listening as well. Never ever give up. The first business you start is not always going to may not be the last may not be the only business you have. Right. So I’ve had multiple businesses before my very first business was a web design company.
I was building web design for for people. Web Design, I look online Christian University. I did photography, videography, professionally, coaching, consulting course creator, SAP did all of these things, and I filled in some businesses to along the way.
But why don’t the secret of success is just to never ever give up? Right? But when you’re creative person, your Creator, he has got to keep creating until you find your magic.
So I feel like Vonda was my magic. And the reason I started Vonda was because you know, as a creator of Creative I have multiple things I do. I’m not just a one trick pony, right? I’m not just like, okay, an online course creator or I sell ebooks.
So I sell ebooks, I have courses I I do email campaigns and stuff like that. And I am I was just frustrated. I’m burnt out with tying multiple tools together to do just one thing, which is to run my business online.
So I had one platform for my email, one platform for my courses and Another one for, you know, for my sales funnels, one for my ebooks, one for my hosting one for my website, I’m like, this is crazy, they gotta be simple, only one solution that will help a small business owner like me or an entrepreneur or a creator, to easily do one thing we’ll try to do, simply and easily run our business online.
We want ourselves the problem of removing the chaos, the craziness, Bonny time, money, and even a team by you know, multiple plugins or multiple platforms, right?
We put the tools that intrapreneurs and creators need in one place. So what are you need to be the website, you can return Vanda, sell online courses, avanza email, do email marketing, avanza sales funnels avanza, over 12 plus tools in one place. So that’s the journey of the frustration from time multiple tools to run my business online.
I remember one day I was doing a launch for my new online course. And the plugin broke. And I was you know, and then the plugin broke, I was not talking with the plug in I was using for my email campaign and I was just tired, I’m like, if I have a software that can run all these things in one place, I will need to be, you know, doing all of this. So that’s how I got to where I am today.
Adam G. Force 21:30
Yeah, and it wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t have all those other experiences. So like you said, to find that magic, you know, I feel like sometimes people will hear like, everything that someone’s doing, you know, here we have a seven or eight figure business, whatever it is, and they’re like, Oh, I’m gonna do what they’re doing.
And I always make the argument that will, that’s not how they start, right? You start with all this stuff, because you get to drive yourself crazy. And you’re gonna lose control. So starting, so where so like where you started was these other businesses, like you ran a web design business, you know, that process, you know that you ran a course, right? So you know, the process. But now you can actually put it all together successfully and create something special. So I want to be clear to people that this was probably many years in the making, if you many, many years,
Uyi Abraham 22:19
over almost two decades of failures and success and learning. And that’s why the key is never to give up. Right now. Failure is not final, right? So you know, learn something when you feel low something’s and keep moving, yes, or your Creator, right, you just keep creating onto you find your magic, and it took time.
But the sad thing is that many of these gurus out there, they make it look like it just like a magic wand that you just like, throw right here, and you just kind of figure out your thing, right?
Sometimes it takes a decade to really mature in your mantle mature in who you are mature in the unique problem that you are created to solve. It doesn’t just happen overnight. But the key is this, if you don’t start, you will never, you know, discover what that thing is start today. And then you’re gonna just keep making changes as you go if need be on to kind of, you know, Polish that thing you’re really supposed to do.
Adam G. Force 23:26
Right? You know, I an example. That’s, that’s such an important thing that you just said. So I want everyone who’s listening to really pay attention that you have to actually be in motion to have these opportunities come and show themselves, right.
And just like you started these business, some were successful, some are small, some were larger, you failed at some, but it’s because you were pursuing something that this opportunity avanza actually showed up and now is a reality. I remember when we went to California for a conference, and it was the socap conference for social entrepreneurship and all this stuff. It’s a big conference. And we were going every year. So we went out there this one year. And we found out that Muhammad Yunus he’s a Nobel Peace Prize winner for Grameen Bank. And he supports social entrepreneurs. We found out that he was talking at the Common Wealth Center, I think that’s the name. And we’re like, oh, wow, we gotta go. We gotta go meet him. And he’s like the godfather of social entrepreneurship. And so we we called ourselves called up and they were sold out, couldn’t get in. We said, we were press. They snuck us in. We connected with Muhammad Yunus. We got him on the cover of the magazine, the whole nine yards point of the story. If we weren’t actively out there and doing stuff, we would have never come across the opportunity with, you know, what you’re trying to say there. So the point is, you know, it really you have to be in motion pursuing.
Uyi Abraham 24:57
Right? Very true. You got to be I mean, you can you can get there if you’re never stuck. So you got to start somewhere you got to keep moving right? You might take breaks sometimes. But don’t stop promenade don’t make your heart stop mental health
Adam G. Force 25:11
breaks, right? Yeah, you
Uyi Abraham 25:13
gotta you gotta keep making that motion. You know, cuz that’s how you’re gonna get to that destination point
Adam G. Force 25:18
was, you know, you hear people say Believe in yourself or never give up and I think it’s been said so much that people sometimes like it rolls off their shoulders like yeah, yeah, yeah.
But the reality is when you say Don’t give up, it means, you know, one thing I’ve learned, let me know, if you agree, it’s like, you can get very emotionally tied to something you’re pursuing.
And not giving up just means keep the destination the same, but the approach may change, right, and you cannot, you said you had multiple businesses, so not getting emotionally tied and being smart enough to change directions when the opportunity comes, right?
Uyi Abraham 25:54
Very, very true, you know, because sometimes, too, with creative people, creators, intrapreneurs, we’d like you said, you just you just hit it right there. You know, we get emotional, we get married, we fall in love with our idea without business, right.
And sometimes, you know, we get so emotionally wrapped up. And we don’t know when it’s time to short, one thing down to move to another, or to pivot or something like that.
But other than that reason to is always good to have a friend or a coach or a mentor, that cannot have an understanding of what you’re doing what you’re trying to do. Because that person usually will not be as emotionally invested in what you’re doing like you are, and so that they can come from that very, very neutral point of view, to kind of guide you a little bit when you kind of get so stuck in it, you know, because sometimes you image you can see because you’re aiming Sydney, somebody a little be few steps back to say, okay, you there’s something you miss it right here, and they can bring that to you as well.
Adam G. Force 27:00
I love that. Yeah, no, that’s a great point, that outside perspective is really powerful. And, you know, when you get into getting mentorship, and even I read every day, I read books, I have two books, one audio book when I’m in the car, one hardcover book when I’m at my house, and it’s constantly helping push perspective outside of your own world, right? So you constantly grow and stretch and things like that. So who is Vonda for exactly? Is it for a seven figure entrepreneur? Is it for someone just starting? Is it both? I who who does it make sense for the most?
Uyi Abraham 27:34
So it really makes sense for everybody, right? Because even from making $10 million in one of my friends have a software company just launched? And is the software company helps, you know, big companies like 10 finger companies to save money. So everybody needs to save some money, right? I mean, it’s a more streamlined approach.
So both sides really, for any body, any organization that simply wants to run their business online, in a very similar a streamlined and simple way. Right. But is most practical is most beneficial to those just starting out. And those are small, okay, economical, small, six figure enterpreneurs, right?
Because usually you don’t have, you know, that person don’t have that budget to like, hire a team to help them run this multiple tools, right? Because if you if you make me seven figures probably have like four or five people on your team that one can run your email, one can run your marketing, one can run your website. But when you’re just starting out, really you don’t have that budget, you don’t have the time, you don’t have the expertise to run all these things.
And then you don’t you know, so once I just solved that problem, that pain point real, real easy, because it just gives you everything you need in one place. And they’re all seamless and walk walk together.
Adam G. Force 28:53
What did the first version of bonds I look like? Did it require a larger budget, meaning you had to make money doing other things to afford to build it?
Uyi Abraham 29:02
Exactly. We got we bootstrapped. We just received little funding for the first time in May. But up to that point we bootstrapped so a little success I’ve had with my other businesses, I was able to I was able to put that money into building vans. We’ve put in over seven figures in the last 15 months to beat Vonda to where it is today. And we just kind of almost getting to that point whereby is a break even going day by software takes a lot of money, a lot of staff of Team A lot of marketing to grow it but I had that pain personally. And I know that we’re Vonda is doing is changing the word for entrepreneurs and small businesses by just making it easy, saving you time, money tech frustrations, and making it easy for you to just run your business online. Awesome. And what’s
Adam G. Force 29:56
the URL that people can visit
Uyi Abraham 30:00
Yeah, so it’s just vons.com V for Victor v onza.com DONZ a.com. So
Adam G. Force 30:07
you guys can check that out, see what they’re up to, and if it’s a good fit for you, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story. I love it. It’s a great story. And I’m just happy to see your success and appreciate you sharing it with everybody today.
Uyi Abraham 30:22
Thank you. Awesome, man. You’re such a great interview. I appreciate you having me on today.
Adam G. Force 30:27
You’re welcome. All right. We’ll be in touch man. Take care.
Uyi Abraham 30:30
All right, thank you.
Adam G. Force 30:35
Thanks for tuning into the Change Creator podcast. Visit us at Change creator.com forward slash go big to get access to free downloads and other great resources that will drive your business forward.