My Journey: From Tech Enthusiast to Digital Marketing Strategist

Last year, I joined Duketrah Fisheriess Nigeria as a Junior Tech officer under the SasaKazi programme. I was required, for a period of 4months to help the Duketrah with ‘its digital needs’. While this was an umbrella term for those of us under the programme, for me it meant I was supposed to give Duketrah Fisheries a solid online presence. After my four month contract ended, the CEO expressed his desires to retain me, but this didn’t happen until early this year.

When he did finally reach out, he asked me a question, which has formed the basis for this article. “Pharis, how did you get here?” Well, let me tell you exactly how I got here.

I got introduced to computers early, and made a resolution to start my own tech company. After completing high school, I worked at a cyber café back home where I learnt how to use computers, on the job. Before long, I started learning web design on Codecademy, before I joined the university in 2016 to study English and Literature. An odd pick? Yeah, I know. In 2018, I launched my first brand, Dawn Technologies. Using the Dawn Technologies brand, I did websites, PC repairs & networks. Sawan Hotel Bungoma was my first web development client brought my way by Peter Mboku, a talented Digital Artist. I then pivoted after being influenced by a friend, Aldrine and Digital Bridge and Data, a data collection and analytics company was born.

This one didn’t pick. The idea was too big and we didn’t find a way to start small. Everything we thought we could do with Digital Bridge and Data demanded a lot of money and we just couldn’t find capital. I remember trying to explain the business model to my dad so that he could invest in the company, but he doesn’t understand technology so a data analysis business did not make sense to him Plus, I was studying for my undergrad degree away from where we intended to run the business from. At the university I developed a knack for media and learned photography and videography.

Here, the likes of Anthony held my hand. We shot weddings and corporate events and I’m glad I went through this experience. We also did graphics under the Guardlight Media umbrella and indie short feature films. My proudest moment during this time was when I took the role of the production designer for the Aoko Short film which was submitted to the Kenya National Drama and Film Festival in 2018. In 2019 I directed two short films meant for the KNDF Festival. The Guardlight team taught me so much and I’m I feel indebted. I even made the Guardlight Media website at that time and it earned me the title ‘Developer’ among my peers.

Many of my friends were Media, PR and IT students, even though I was studying English and Literature. Sometimes people would be visibly surprised when I told them I was neither a Journalism nor an IT student. Hehee, the power of association. What I didn’t realize then was this was giving me an experience that would shape how interact with my clients later on, and even the type of clients I’d work with.
In 2019 I realized I had perfected one thing: recognizing human patterns and behavior. Mboku had introduced to digital marketing and I realized I could use my skills to influence marketing strategies. By then I had developed about 8 websites for different clients had honed my graphics design skills, I was good in photography, videography and editing and was running influencer campaigns for our university. But just before diving into it, I got a job at Purpose International Ministries as the Media and Communications officer, a role I held for about 8 months before resigning. Reason for quitting you ask? Well, after working every day of the week for about 6 months, you need a break, don’t you? It was time to try freelance.

There is thing about freelancing; today you are swimming in money, tomorrow you ain’t sure about your next meal. I took the risk anyway and learnt the hard way. I would recommend freelancing because it teaches you one thing; fiscal discipline.

One thing about being self-taught is that sometimes you doubt whether you have learnt enough (Imposter Syndrome). I also realized I had sometimes sold myself short in cases where the client would have paid more. I am glad that at this stage, I discovered Chris Do, the founder of The Futur. His videos taught me how to deal with imposter syndrome and how to price creativity and would recommend people working in the creative spaces to check out his teachings on YouTube.

This is one of the photos I took during the Kanduyi Festival Cycling Races organized by Kanduyi Events in Bungoma in 2022

It was in one of Chris Do’s videos that I was introduced to Seth Godin. He had just launched his book, This Is Marketing. His ideas blew my mind! One thing Seth said that stuck is that marketing is about solving a specific problem for the minimum viable audience. The rest is just advertising. This formed the basis for starting Entirety Solutions, A design and marketing agency that focuses on solving real problems for our client’s customers.

I have worked with many clients, but there are some that have been patient with me. The teams at Kanduyi Events led by Clare has always welcomed me to be their photographer every year while I run their social media and maintain their website. The CEO of Duketrah Fisheries Mr. Bidemi Oloorukoba has always been supportive and confident in my abilities.

The Logo I designed for Kanduyi Events

Looking back, my journey has been a series of learning experiences, each shaping my understanding of technology, media, and marketing. The pivot from Dawn Technologies to Digital Bridge and Data was a tough lesson in scalability and the importance of starting small. My ventures in media with Guardlight Media and the hands-on experience in photography, videography, and graphic design not only honed my creative skills but also taught me the value of networking and collaboration. The realization that I had a knack for recognizing human patterns and behavior became a turning point. With guidance from industry experts like Chris Do and Seth Godin, I overcame my imposter syndrome and learned the true essence of marketing. This knowledge inspired the creation of Entirety Solutions, a design and marketing agency committed to solving real problems for our clients’ customers. My journey, filled with ups and downs, has ultimately led me to a place where I can confidently leverage my diverse skills to make a meaningful impact.

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