David speaks with Ama Amo-Agyei, a wellness entrepreneur and the founder of Plantmade.
Plantmade creates powerful, vegan growth products handmade in small batches to make an actual difference in you and the planet!
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📄 Show notes:
Her background and where it all started [3:53]
How did she develop her act to people [6:03]
The book that changed her life [7:25]
What did that teach you about what success looks like? [9:22]
The one who helps her how to break free [11:26]
How did that feel? What trajectory did that take you on after reading the book? [15:45]
The first steps she took to be an entrepreneur [19:59]
Learning and developing skills [24:21]
Copywriting is a massive skill to be able to develop [31:04]
Getting a job in recruitment sales, the worst decision [37:18]
A bit of conflict in passion [42:20]
She got fired and then two weeks later COVID happened [45:34]
I lost my job and it did give me a raise, how? [47:21]
An analogy of how to turn rocks into paper balls [48:42]
Self-limiting beliefs [51:56]
Impostor Syndrome is hilarious [53:51]
The more successful you become, the more options you get [59:00]
Building Plant made a legacy [1:01:48]
🗣 Mentioned in the show:
👨🏾💻 About David Elikwu:
David Elikwu FRSA is a serial entrepreneur, strategist and writer. David is the founder of The Knowledge, a platform helping people learn more and live better.
- Twitter: @Delikwu / @itstheknowledge
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- Website: https://www.davidelikwu.com,
- Podcast: http://plnk.to/theknowledge
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On The Knowledge Podcast, you’ll hear from the best and brightest minds in business, entrepreneurship, and beyond. Hosted by writer and entrepreneur David Elikwu, each episode features in-depth interviews with makers, thinkers, and innovators from a variety of backgrounds.
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Ama Amo-Agyei: [00:00:00] There was one quote that changed my life. "Get out of your own way". I finally decided to just get out of my own way. Most of the time, it's not your problems that stop you from doing stuff. It's just you. I fired myself from being the bottleneck in my life, things changed immediately.
David Elikwu: Hey, I'm David Elikwu, and this is The Knowledge. A podcast for anyone looking to think deeper and work smarter. In every episode, I speak with makers, thinkers, and innovators to help you get more out of life.
This week, I'm speaking with Ama Amo-Agyei. We had an incredible conversation about her journey going from zero to seven figures. It's a really incredible story. She was telling me all about how she was fired during the pandemic and decided to turn her hand to business and entrepreneurship, and started a business that made over [00:01:00] two and a half million pounds, which is incredible.
So during this conversation, we talked all about how she rebelled from the typical immigrant dream, and how she tried to chase a sense of freedom through entrepreneurship. And finally, one of the biggest threads throughout our entire conversation is this sense of building resilience in the face of adversity.
So I know there's a lot you're gonna learn from this episode and be incredibly inspired just like I was.
You can get the full show notes, transcript, and read my newsletter at theknowledge.io. And you can find Ama on Twitter at @Amaa___Official. And check out her incredible business at weareplantmade.com.
If you love this episode, please do share it with friends and strangers. And don't forget to leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts, because it helps us tremendously to reach other people. Just like you.
2.6, 2.6. That rolled right off your tongue. [00:02:00] That's awesome you know, I mean, it's not everybody that comes from where we come from that gets to just casually say 2.6 million and that's pounds.
Ama Amo-Agyei: It's pounds. It is pounds
David Elikwu: Into dollars. That's now like four plus million dollars. How has your life changed? How are you just so dramatically different from the rest of us now that ascended into greatness?
Ama Amo-Agyei: I mean, Hey, like I'm no different, it's just, I know better now. Like I've, I've experienced probably three lives at this point. And they've all been long. That's how I would describe it. This is has been really life-changing, not even in the monetary level. It's really about like, I didn't know I could make this much money from my mind and from my skill.
It's definitely been something that has changed me and it's forced me to become better. And at a rate that [00:03:00] I never expected, I needed to be, you know, improving at. I have big goals, but those big goals aren't just like things I can say without the effort and also the knowledge and skill set behind it.
So like the rate I'm consuming information as much as like the rate that I'm executing is insane right now. I'm no different to anybody I really am. And the thing is I'm very consistent. Like I'm a very consistent person.
I haven't changed. And some people find that strange because if they would have made some money, they would have gone, you know, bought a car you know, like I'm still at home and loving it at that. And just like, my life is just the same still. I don't know.
It's just me. It's just me. I'm very frugal. I'm very like, you know, the same. But yeah, some people, I was surprised by that. And I dunno why.
David Elikwu: Okay. I think you said so much that I'd love to dig into, but let's get into, I mean, what it means to be you I'd love to know. Maybe let's start with your, [00:04:00] your background and where it all started for you and like growing up, what was your childhood and all of that, like.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Okay, cool. So I am from a family of four I'm from Ghana by then, I wasn't born in Ghana. I was born here. I was the only sibling in my family to be born here.
David Elikwu: oh, really? You're like my sister.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah, Yeah. So it's not a choice. It was kind of by force but anyways, but yeah, I come from an immigrant family just working class.
They really built from nothing, which was insane. Like my parents really built from nothing. They were like cleaners and stuff when they first came here because their qualifications didn't matter, you already know the drill and they worked their way up. They did degrees while I was, I was like five years old.
They both studied at the same time. I even remember like reading and like correcting some of their stuff, like at like nine years old, which was insane. But yeah, they hustled [00:05:00] man and that's definitely where I got my work ethic from. We didn't really have much growing up, but like my parents were able to work a way up to like having a mortgage and stuff.
And it was just like something that's kind of been ingrained in me. Just seeing that amount of effort being put into like making sure, like your family's good, you all good type of thing. That really inspired me. I did grow up in a white, predominantly white area. I basically grew up in a village. It's not a village, but I like to call it a village.
It's about an hour away from London and yeah, I didn't really have a lot of diversity around me, so, and I didn't even have a lot of exposure around me either. So, you know, some kids, you know, they're really exposed to like different worlds, very early on, whether it be like different cultures. So like Spanish friends, you know, Arab friends, whatever, like I really had very much white friends. I was black. Some of them were rich, but like, I didn't know how they were rich. Didn't get exposed to that. I just knew they [00:06:00] had money. I just knew I wasn't the one with money and they were the ones with money. And I was like, I didn't even know. I didn't even think to be like, oh, how do I make money or anything like that?
Like, that's how underdeveloped my environment was to me. Like that exposure just was not there. However I was actually really into movies from like age 13. I randomly watched the Oscars with a friend of mine at age 13 it was just on, and I just decided that was my hobby. I was just going to watch anything and everything to escape this world, she's going to dive into anything.
And I feel like that's where I started to develop an act for like people, humans, understanding humans. And then I had like a weird drive to like really help people, but I didn't know what, how I wanted to do it. I just knew I wanted to help. Then I stumbled across psychology as an A-level choice again, hadn't even been [00:07:00] exposed to it before, but I was just like, Hey, let's go for it.
End up falling in love with it, did it as a degree. And then I was gearing up to be a whole doctor, this whole psychiatrist that was like, what I was going to do. And then like in my second year I was like, I don't think I can, like personally I'm an empath, so like when it comes to like receiving people's emotions and stuff, I just like I'm too sensitive in that regard, I was like, can I live a life where I'm carrying so many burdens every single day? I'll destroy myself.
I recognize that early on, I was like, you know, I need it. I need a different career path. And then I had my brother, I had a discussion with my brother. I remember this day, 2016 Christmas he had a, he basically called me out on my, on my crap.
He was like, what's your future plans look like. And I was like, what you talking about? He was like, what does your future look like? I said, well, you know, become a doctor have kids that uh, He was [00:08:00] like, why? And I was like, that's the first time anyone had ever asked me why? And I was like, isn't this? Why, isn't this just what we do? Like, this is what we do. I was like, I don't, like, I don't know. I don't know why this came about in my head. I don't know why this was my path. I didn't have any a reason to challenge why he was like, questioning me on this. And he was like, go and read, I know this book is controversial, but I don't care.
It changed my life, Rich dad Poor dad. Yes I said it Rich dad Poor dad was the book that actually changed my life, because that was the first time I'd ever been exposed outside of my environment and the first book that showed me I had a choice. Like I had a choice in my life, I had a choice to do whatever I wanted, I had a choice to make money if I wanted to. That was the first time I'd ever thought about, you know, business, like starting a business. I'd never, ever thought about it until then.
David Elikwu: Can I just jump in [00:09:00] with a, with a quick question?
Ama Amo-Agyei: Of course.
David Elikwu: Yeah. sure. So, okay. Going back to what you were saying about up with your parents and watching them essentially working their way up from nothing, I'm really interested to know what did watching them and their experiences. And maybe also your siblings, are older than you.
did that you about what success looks on one hand, I know you mentioned that you get your work ethic from having single parents, but then on the other side, it seems like you were still very much pushed down this traditional route of expecting that you would have to become like a doctor or a lawyer or something of that nature.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah. So it was twofold kind of in the same regard, but like a bit different. It was like, Oh no you need to work hard in this life. Like, that's what that showed me. It was like, yeah, you need to work hard in this life. But then it was also like, but working hard, doesn't get you what you want. And I was like, oh, this is interesting.
Like, I was like the [00:10:00] harder they work, the same position we're in like, we're not moving anywhere though. Like it didn't change. And it was like, Hmm, maybe it's not what, it's not about the amount of hard work you put into, it's about what you're putting the hard work into, you know? And it was like, yeah, they were very traditional up until I literally started the business.
They were like, get a job, get a job, get a job like that. That's just what they knew because it was security. But I later realised that my life security is what our parents fought for and freedom is what we're fighting for. And it was like I needed. When I read rich dad poor dad is when I realized freedom was the thing I'm searching for.
You know what I mean? So yeah, my siblings, we all work hard. Like we're very hard working family up until this day. We, we have trouble sleeping. We have trouble switching off. We don't know, like, we all are like this, every single one of us. And it's like, cool. There's things
I passed down and some of those things are great.
But then it was like, what are we putting that [00:11:00] energy into? Like my sister's a nurse, she works all the time, but we all know, nurses are very underpaid, you know, my other sister, she's a hairdresser. She works really hard as well. My brother works really hard. But then it was like, oh, me and my brother were the youngest siblings were working hard in different aspects.
He's in trading and I mean, E-commerce all of a sudden things are changing now because that hard work is being switched into vehicles that really produced that freedom.
David Elikwu: Sure. And was it the brother that's trading that gave you the book? Cause that's the other thing I was going to ask is what kind of gave him that mindset, that this is something that you needed to read at that stage in your life.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah, he is the brother. Yeah, I only have one brother. I have two sisters and one brother. Yeah. He's the one that did give me the book. And it was funny because he was on his own path to find out his path ended up being trading that he found. But it was almost like, and it was strange because why did he like tell me and not [00:12:00] my other siblings, but I think it was because he knew that I would be receptive to it, but not necessarily.
I could find the tools to figure out my path for myself. He, he made a, he made it a point to not push trading on me. He made it a point to, for me to figure out what that could be. And that was the, probably the greatest part about him sharing this information with me, because it wasn't a case of like he knew better. It was a case of, I just needed to tell you that this is how we're going to break free. We need to figure it out for ourselves in order, because my brother was forced into accountancy. And he hated it. Like he hated that job. And not only that, I even later after this whole like passing down of information, I ended up taking a job because I caved into my parents asking me to get a job.
And I ended up hating battles, probably the worst experience of my life. And that's like, so we, we know what it's like to take advice from someone [00:13:00] who thinks they know better, but that advice or that path doesn't really resonate with you. And how it feels going on someone else's path basically that they've laid out for you.
Hate it, hate it, so probably the greatest gift was that he let me find my own way through this piece of like information, this like building my own way to freedom, basically.
David Elikwu: Yeah. that's so interesting. I think it's, it's such an interesting journey. I keep saying interesting, but it's a, it's a really unique journey being an immigrant. And one thing that I do empathize with is the fact that. Essentially like you're coming from another country first of all it's incredibly like, I know that I am incredibly fortunate and I, I might say the same for you to be born to the kind of people that would be willing to give up their lives somewhere else in the world and take a risk to move to another country.
So in, in some sense, that is a spirit of entrepreneurship that is, you know, taking a risk on yourself and making a bet on yourself that you can build a better life [00:14:00] elsewhere. But then I think the flip side of that is that you are now embarking on this project and All of your children, whether they like it or not are part of this project with you, where you have to prove that it worked, like all of your relatives might still be back at home.
Your grandparents might still be back at home and you have to be able to say that it worked. And so what they're looking for is what is the safest way? What is the most guaranteed way that I know that my children are going to be fine? Okay Go be a doctor. That's a job that people are always going to need doctors. They're always going to pay you money. And then I can tell everyone, okay, you're a doctor. Fine. We've made it. This is it. It worked the bet worked out. And so I think that's the hard part because on one hand, I'm sure that that is what a lot of immigrant parents are thinking is that, how can I, what's the safest way to make sure that this very ambitious project works out for all of the children.
But then you, I think being born here, and I think maybe this is part of the blessing as well. Like you get to have this [00:15:00] optionality because if I'm honest, so I'm originally from Nigeria. And I came here with my family from Nigeria and I don't think I would have necessarily the same optionality of saying, oh, I want to do like.
Right. If I were in Nigeria, just because, I mean, I still have cousins that are still in Nigeria. So I know that they don't necessarily have all the same options that I have and I can, you know, change my career and I can quit my job. And not that that's what my parents want, but that is possible. But here, then you have the option of looking like you said, for freedom and then what that can bring you.
So how did that feel? I guess maybe it's a two-part question. So when you read that book, what trajectory did that take you on? it something that sometimes you get an enlightenment. I think I've definitely had this in the past where I've heard something and I wasn't necessarily ready to hear it, so I didn't act on it. And it's only later as I develop and I grow that. Oh, I remember that, now I'm ready to hear that and now I can actually change [00:16:00] something based on it.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah, yeah, no, definitely I think it was a case of like, it's not even like, there weren't people around me who were doing stuff like there wasn't many though. And like every time someone was doing something, it just never worked. So I just never knew what successful business look like or a successful rebel.
I will say it with my chest. It's a rebel. If someone going against the grain. That is a rebel for sure. I had never seen a successful rebel. So why on earth would I do that? Cause every time I would be a rebel in my life, which I actually was quite a bit I liked to go against the grain.
Like my mom would try and force me to play you know piano, I'm like, that's cool I'm going to pick up a guitar because you don't like that, but I like it. I had that spirit in me, so, but I guess I didn't see success in freedom chasing, like growing up. So it just, I just never had it as an option. This book, however, opened my eyes because [00:17:00] it was like, it was just so broken down in the best way.
And because of like, it was a story and it was relate a boy. It wasn't like those hard, you know, hard back business books, like how to build a business 1 0 1 start with the name and the logo. Like it wasn't that it was like, it was really personal humanized. It was almost like a journey through, you know, an infant, an infant I envied, because if I had her rich dad, when I was growing up, my life would be so different right now. I probably would have made millions at 16. If I had the chance.
David Elikwu: But rich dad in the sense of the book, because I think that's also another thing that I find and maybe this is part of what you saw around you when you were growing up in the area that you did, where I think sometimes when people grow up with lots of choices, then I think it's easier just to take a safer route.
And you know, when you grow up and you have money and you have all of these things, you [00:18:00] don't necessarily have to think outside the box, always in the same way, or you're not forced to think outside the box in the same way you can choose to. Whereas for you, maybe it was like, if I don't do this, then I'm afraid of the kind of life that I would have.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. A hundred percent. A hundred percent. Yeah, like I didn't need my parents to be rich, you know, I didn't, I didn't envy. Well, I didn't I wasn't resentful of my parents in that situation I even, till this day, I'm not because they fought for their lives. And I can hundred percent commend them on that because not everyone has that in them. So it's like, it's not them. It was like, okay, cool. Just someone, it all it had to be. It was just, it's just one person to just give you that insight, give you that knowledge, give you that exposure into a new world.
That would have, that would have been the difference for sure. But yeah. It just made me realize that, yeah, that was the first time I'd ever seen. Well, first time I'd ever read or [00:19:00] realised that I had a choice, I was really in the school to work to wife pipeline. That was literally where I was going and it was just okay. Like, cause again, I didn't know any different, I didn't know any, I didn't know anyone who was doing anything, anyone that did something wild, like move away to a different country or something. It was just like, wow. Oh brave. You know, but it was never really like. It was only until after, and again, it's one of those things. It's like sensory awareness. Once you focus on something, that thing starts to come more and more, more. And once I, once I finished reading that book and started to look on a path of freedom, that is when I started to see literally 16 or 17 year olds making a ton of money online.
That's when I started to see Dan Lok, Garyvee I saw so many people just start to pop up. This is the same YouTube I had before, it's the same Youtube I had after but it's like my intentions, my focus was somewhere else. And then all of a sudden, you know, the [00:20:00] universe or God started to bring that stuff to me.
David Elikwu: Yeah. Awesome. Okay. And So what was the next step for you? Were you still working or did you already start looking at ways to start your own things and looking at that spark for entrepreneurship?
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah. So actually I was in uni. I was still in uni at the time. So I was finishing off. I was about to finish my second year and going into my final year. And I decided that summer I was just running around 2017 summer. Wow. It was funny. I was just running around going to business events cause somehow me, my boyfriend and a friend of us, where in the same, like the similar mindset, we just arrived there at the same time.
So we were like, cool. Then we started a podcast documenting that whole journey. But before that we'd spent a whole summer just running around and going to networking events, young people's entrepreneurs, like events and stuff. And I even had a [00:21:00] friend who had a business. All of a sudden, I now had a friend who had a business, so he was working in the Shard as well.
So I used to visit him and yeah, basically like anything he was doing, I was just there. I was just ready to learn and sink in I was trying to pursue almost like, basically I was like, okay, cool. I felt like out of the four things that he mentioned, you know, invest, a business, I dunno, blah, blah, blah. I was like, business probably lends itself to something I can do right now.
I have nothing to be an investor of. You know, I don't have any of that, but I can probably start a business at this age. So what kind of business? And I was like, okay, well marketing is probably going to be something I'm going to need to know. Again, I was so naive. I didn't know anything, but I was like, yeah, marketing probably will be helpful.
How did I even come across that in my mind? I don't know. And then I was like, actually, that's probably a business. You can make marketing a business. So I was basically gearing up to be almost like a [00:22:00] consultant. I'm an agency or freelancer. So I went with that. So when I went into my final year now, I was basically helping out my friend who had a clothing brand and he was actually getting more sales because of me.
And I'm just spit balling, like regurgitating stuff. I've seen all those. So trying to come up with ideas, then I had another friend I'd met then the same thing with her clothing brand. And I was like, Ok I don't have skill like that, but something. And some things working cause every time I'm touching the clothing brand their sales are going up.
Yeah, those were like the first things. Like those were like the first steps I took to like try and figure out how to turn the rich dad poor dad advice into like action.
David Elikwu: Amazing. Okay. And so you started, so you completely immerse yourself in entrepreneurship. You're making all these new friends, you're going to events and workshops, and then you start essentially consulting as like a marketing consultant for a lot of these brands, your friends, fashion brands.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah. Basically in [00:23:00] uni and it was just so scrappy and like, it is what it is, you know, I saw some people, I was just hitting them up. Like, I was like, Hey, your Brand looks cool, like, let me help. You know, like, okay. I was like charge like 50 pounds. Okay. Like they obviously had that and then I was going by sales but like, you know, maybe 58 to a hundred percent sometimes.
And I'm like, wow, like these two, two ideas. I have you actually making money from it.
David Elikwu: Yeah. And you're getting these ideas from, I guess, a lot of the content that you're consuming maybe online, or is this from like workshops and things that you attend?
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah. So it's probably a bit of, it's probably a combination of like me just thinking on my feet and seeing what could work, understanding people, seeing what's happening as well. Just like live like outside of the information I was taking in because I was cause at that time, like there was a lot going on.
Like there was a lot of brands trying to start up. Instagram was still hot. And people in uni, some people was some people had exposure, so [00:24:00] they were doing their things. And then I ended up starting to see some of that on Twitter and stuff. So I started to see, okay, this brand did this and it did really well.
Okay. Let's see. If this could help you. It ended up helping them. Okay, cool. I was way more I knew way more about Twitter than any other platform, but I also knew people were making peas off of Twitter too. Like how, you know, link is right there, ready to go, you know exactly what you're doing. You can make a ton of money. So that was like my expertise, even up until like, I started the business, twitter wasn't the place I knew, like back of my hand.
David Elikwu: Yeah, it's so funny. I think my journey in some ways was quite similar, not necessarily the uni aspect, but just in terms of learning this skill, adding it to your repertoire and then being able to monetize it. And I think it's so funny. I remember I was speaking to, so I was working in corporate law. When I kind of got back into entrepreneurship, I'd taken a break for awhile because law is very hard to get [00:25:00] into and you need to focus
yeah, but I remember I was talking to a friend. So at this point I'm already consulting for startups and for brands on like brand strategy, growth, strategy, marketing, things like that. And she was like, when do you even have the time to learn this? And I was like, I mean, just on the internet, I just buy books.
And I think it's so funny that you can literally just go and buy. I was just buying, looking for what are the most recommended books on strategy. Buy the books, read the books, books on marketing, buy that, read that all of the marketing podcasts, I was just consuming all of this information. So even though I wasn't working, day-to-day in marketing, I was kind of on the cutting edge because I was following all the people that were working there.
I was hearing all the updates that they were sharing. And every time there was a new feature or function that came up, I knew.
I wasn't manually personally on Instagram doing all this stuff, but I'm hearing what they're saying. And then I can just go to brands and say, Hey, you know, this is what heard you do this, boop boop bap. Then suddenly, [00:26:00] suddenly the money's blowing up.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah, no, I did the same thing. I did the same thing I was reading. I was, I was watching, I was consuming podcasts. all the podcasts, all the podcasts. That is, that's the thing that was like injected in my veins. I was like, eh, let's get all the information as humanly possible, it's insane. Crazy times.
David Elikwu: Yeah, no, but I think it's one thing that people take massively for granted that in this day and age, you can learn so much. You don't have to go to school for You can, if you like, but I don't know what you're going to learn I, I don't know what they're going to teach you, that you can't learn on the internet that you can't just learn with your hands and okay.
I'm not saying this if you are, you're trying to be a Doctor right. If you want to be a Doctor, go to medical school and please let them teach you how to do all of those things and maybe the same with a Lawyer or some of the more professional traditions. But if you in the end want to work online and that could be in tech, that could be anything that touches the internet. You already have the internet, like if you already have a [00:27:00] connection to the internet, you can already learn a lot of this stuff. And so I think you are a great example of how you can massively accelerate your trajectory just by starting to learn some of these things in advance. So that, and this is the part we're going to get to, but so that when you need to utilize those skills, you already have them. been developing them. So when the moment strikes that suddenly there's an opportunity that you can use. Oh, you were ready for this, but that wasn't intentional. I don't think you were necessarily learning all these things because all you knew that one day you wanted to use them to build this specific business, but you just start by building the skills, just start by learning the things and look for places that you can help people look for places you can apply them.
And then suddenly serendipity strikes and you're able to use for yourself.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. I definitely wanted to start an e-commerce business. Like obviously early on, I was told I needed capital. I needed money, like a lot of money to [00:28:00] start something the way, you know, that was information going around. Like I didn't see just anybody starting, especially physical product businesses.
Like I didn't see that happening a lot. So I was just, okay, cool. Let me go the route that a lot of people at the time was suggesting, which was build an agency, or be a freelancer get a couple of clients under your belt, then build a casual business and then after that. Then now go and pump in to something else, which was usually e-commerce for a lot of people, but they ended up just dropshipping.
They never built brands. They were just drop shipping money on the internet.
David Elikwu: Was e-commerce the most interesting, just because it was closest to you and closest to what your proximity and what you could see, or was there a specific reason that you gravitated towards that?
Ama Amo-Agyei: I mean, I had a lot going on. Like I saw a lot of people doing a lot of things. So again, I saw a lot of people just, just doing the agency life or just doing the freelance life, but they're just working with clients. And then especially like when it comes to like the four day work [00:29:00] week, like that was them.
That was them they were just like in, I write an email a day and I get like six figures. Like I was like, this is definitely why I wouldn't do like, no effort, big bucks. Like this is why I turns out though. I dunno why? It just wasn't for me. Cause when I was doing the agency thing, when I was doing the freelancer thing.
I just couldn't get the results for the customers. Oh, I was just like, I wasn't even letting the door, like, they just, they just weren't hearing it. Like But then I actually had very little e-commerce, individuals around me. It was very, very little, but I sold them like, in terms of like me actually speaking to people, like I had very little people in the industry.
So I had way more proximity to people on the agency and freelancer friends than I did like physical product businesses.
David Elikwu: Sure. Okay. So you leave uni now, what happens next?
Ama Amo-Agyei: It's a lonely, lonely road. There's a whole year where it's a hot mess, heat ed mess. [00:30:00] So I'm like, okay cool, I'm doing my little run around jobs. I'm working with, you know, hospitality agencies and I'm out here, I'm working at like, like five-star hotels, like changing sheets, like serving coffee. And I'm just like, what, where are we out here?
Like, I'm just like, I remember overhearing like billionaires talking about their banks and how they sold their banks. I was just like, what am I hearing right now? And I'll never forget what I heard cause I was like, wow. You know, wealth is really interesting. And there's really people with a lot of money in this world. So I was doing like run around jobs and then I was also still working on, like, you know, the freelancer piece or trying to build up my skill, I was like, Okay cool. Outside of uni now let's really hone in on this. I've now got the time. So in between these jobs I was learning copywriting because that was the new thing I'd found.
So it was almost like [00:31:00] everything encompassed in one that I'd be learning over the past few years. So if, if written yeah, if words are the default language of the internet. And if those are the very things that get people to buy from you, let's see what learning that could be. So copywriting was really something that I delved into, with sales, it was, it was psychology, it was obviously writing, it was, it was challenging but it was incredible. And it really, really did change my life. That that skill alone has definitely changed. Everything changed the game, because it was like, let's let's actually bring all of this information into something tangible.
Like that's, that's how I felt about this skill. Even to this day, like, I feel like I'm still nowhere. I'm just, I'm not a master, but like, will you ever feel that way? I just feel like, oh, it's going to go back to the start. But yeah, I was just reading books. Like I was writing out like sales letters. That might be like 15 pages long by hand [00:32:00] because of the advice I was given. That was a lot, but I was like, wow, these people are making money. Like in terms of like how their words were able to translate into sales, how they were able to speak to their customers in a way where their customers are just like, I'm dropping everything in a bind, this one product. I never seen anything like that before, because I was like, that's power.
That's power to be able to communicate in that way to get sales like that. So, yeah, that's what led me to have that skill. The thing is though it got me somewhere because I actually ended up landing a four month contract where they start up health startup. They were looking for a copywriter that had background in psychology.
And I had both, it was so strange and now we're like, oh yeah, like, you know, you know what you're doing? Right. And I was like, yeah, I know like, okay, cool. So how much do you want? And I was like 2K a month, the way I said it, I just said it. And I just looked at him in the face and I was like, what are you going to say?
And he was like, okay. And I said, [00:33:00] oh, so I could have asked for more.
David Elikwu: Yeah.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Interesting, that was my first and only taste of a, of a positive freelance experience.
David Elikwu: And do you feel like you were able to learn and develop your skills during that time?
Ama Amo-Agyei: Oh my God. A hundred percent. A hundred percent. And it was even cool knowing that like, basically I was creating a chat bot for an App. Which was insane. I was like, my words are gonna be the thing that people are back and forth with them, this chat bot, so it was basically like chatbot therapy. And I was like, wow, that's really insane.
So I had to learn so much. I had to learn practically how to cut down a sentence. Like there's always waffle in language, especially when you're coming off of like more of the humanities. Like you have to explain yourself so much when it comes to sales and marketing, you have to reduce, you have to figure out how to succinctly say.
Everything that you're trying to say, maybe in like three to five words. That's hard, that's hard, but that's what gets [00:34:00] you, what you're looking for. And in this case, it did you know that that demand was there as well, because you don't have a lot of words so you have to convey the therapy, you have to convey, whatever the client was trying to do really short about words.
So, that was what I was doing, basically. It was, yeah, it was definitely challenging, but it was also very, very good. And it, yeah, it pushed me really, really deadlines, all sorts. It was It was really, really crazy.
David Elikwu: .Yeah. I was talking with David Bell, who I think you might know not too long ago about like what the highest leverage skills are. And literally we decided on sales, probably number one, sales and communication. And I think copywriting is essentially at the intersection of the two. And I can't imagine anything that's more important than that.
I think it doesn't necessarily have to be copywriting in terms of actually writing. So I think if you want to do the sales part and that's in personal on the phone, I think that is hugely important to develop, but if it's online or if it's on screen, then that's copywriting that is a massive skill to be able to develop.[00:35:00]
So being able to influence people with your words, being able to. I think also part of it, like you say, is the psychology part genuinely, right? It's understanding the frame of mind people are in, understanding what their pain points are, where they're at and where you want to get them to, how, how you able to solve the pain and being able to communicate that effectively in very small words, being able to communicate the transformation that you're going to be able to drive.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah it's, it's tough to learn, especially when, you know, especially when you're coming completely, like, like the thing is though I was decent at English. So like I already had like a writing something in me. So like, again, I was just pulling from like anything that I could to make this experience as easy as it could be.
And thankfully it was, but I know if it was anyone else who wasn't that good in English, they will probably have a high barrier to entry because they probably don't even think they can write, let alone sell with their words. So yeah, it was definitely one of, and still is a skill I'm trying [00:36:00] to master because it just transcends not just like, words that like pen to paper it's everywhere.
So even with videos, there's video scripts, like you have to write those scripts. You need to know copywriting to write their scripts. For my business, obviously I have product pages to sell my products. Those are words. You better know how to write them right before and that will affect whether someone buys from you or not.
Because if you're not saying the right thing, they're going to go. So there's so much at stake, but also it's like, right, like knowing that like just basically ignoring the pressure essentially and just going in for it. Yeah, that, those would definitely the days for me.
David Elikwu: Sure. And so time-wise, this is now heading towards the pandemic, I think.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah. Well, almost that we have a horrendous job in the middle of that. So basically I was now starting to help, worlds brands and financial brands with their marketing. So I was trying to do email, I was trying to do Facebook ads and stuff [00:37:00] and yeah, I just wasn't really getting anywhere with that. That's when I was really trying to lean into like freelance agency life. I had a friend with me who's now killing it, which is so funny to see a killer. We started at the same time trying to start these freelancing thing and I just could not do it. Like I just could not get the clients and stuff, she did. And now she's good.
I just ended up, you know, in e-commerce. But yeah, because I was struggling so much, my parents were just like, do you know what let's let's just get drunk, please. Like we're worried. I was like, okay, cool, fine. I'll let go. So I was like, at least, let me get a job in sales so that I can learn something.
Got a job and recruitment sales and yeah, worst decision of my life. Horrendous mess. They set me up. That they just set me up. Like the first day they were like, yeah, you have the hardest market. But what they didn't say is that they weren't going to train me well, they weren't going to support me the way I needed it to be. They're going to have very high expectations, [00:38:00] despite the market being the way it was. And they were going to blame me for things that were very much out of my control. Like if people aren't looking for jobs, people aren't looking for jobs like what'd you want me to do? You know? Yeah, that was funny. Then I got fired from that job.
David Elikwu: I've heard so many things about recruitment in general, particularly, you know, recruitment sales, just how difficult it is. And not just, I think not as the difficulty of the role, but more so I think this is 70% of it, if not 90, but the toxicity that somehow seems to exist within that field in general, I have no idea what that is, but at least from a lot of the people that I've spoken to, that I've worked within recruitment, that seems to be a very prevalent factor.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah, it's super toxic, super toxic. It's just the high stress environment numbers on the board. Let's go. Let's go. Let's go. Coffee de, late nights. It was Intense. Obviously when you're doing well, that's great, but even still the people [00:39:00] that are doing well, like you could just see anxiety and like the way these guys used to take the edge off was to do Coke.
So it's like, obviously you would know in these industries, these like high stress industries, this is how people take the edge off. I was just not interested in that. I was like the fact that you have to go to those lengths to be somewhat okay. Where am I like, where am I? And like the thought were openly speaking. This was the first time I'd ever heard in a corporate setting. Things like this being discussed. I'm like, yeah, I don't know what's going on here. And the thing is, I didn't hate the people until I had a reason to, but at the time I didn't have any problems with anybody. It was just the fact that I was putting in so much effort and nothing was coming out of it.
And that was a recurring thing for me. I didn't like, I don't like that. I put an effort in the agency, didn't [00:40:00] happen. I even put a lot of effort into school and I was still average. Like, I was just like, why am I always in an average place? I didn't like that. I wanted to change that about my life.
Thankfully, I can say I'm no longer in that place. But I have so much work to give up, so much effort to gave up I have much, you know, tenacity to give, but just to see the lack of like result or the lack of progress that was so disheartening.
David Elikwu: I can imagine. That's one thing I was going to touch on is this fact that very much, like you say, I can imagine that being an incredibly dark point in time where you've been, you've been trying already to do this agency thing. That's what you felt like was your calling. That's what your thing is. You spend all this time learning the skills to be able to do that well, and you're trying to make that work. Okay. It doesn't work. You'll get a job. And this is your safe option. And now in the safety option, you're struggling the same thing. Again, you're trying to make it work. It's not working. What had to [00:41:00] change, what is it that click that may be an enabled you to move beyond that?
Ama Amo-Agyei: I think it was the struggle between what I really wanted and what others wanted of me. I think that is why it was because e-commerce was in my mind from a very early point, but I thought I couldn't do it based on others' advice. So others' advice was get cashflow business in first, e-commerce is expensive. You know, the margins, terrible, blah, blah, blah, whatever, whatever. That was the one pillar, then the other pillar was, Go for the safer options, go for this and that. Instead of like following your actual passion and personally for me, I've seen some advice that literally said do not do while you're passionable. You don't have to be passionate about what you do.
I'm not that person, if I don't care, nothing's going come of it. Like as very clear, because my entire life, every time I put my all or like I had [00:42:00] so much passion for something, I ended up making it happen. I failed, AS Psychology. I ended up getting to the point where I got a B in A in A levels, because like I had to do AS and A2 the same year and I got a B that's a lot. I just crammed my entire ELA was into one, but because I can I got a B. Anything I put my mind to, I thrived that when I was passionate about it, when I was not passionate about it. And I was just putting the effort and just didn't work, it's just a misalignment. That was the key to changing, alignment.
David Elikwu: I agree. I think it's a really interesting point with the passion thing, because I am a bit conflicted on it at times. I do agree with what you're saying in terms of you do have to care, but I think sometimes I think in some ways it's still, you care about making it right. And you, I almost feel like at any point when you have that drive that you need to make something happen and you believe [00:43:00] that you don't have any other choice other than for it to work out, then you will look for ways to make it work And I think from what I see from people, part of the reason that I might also warn against people solely for following their passion is because some people feel like the only time that they are going to be happy or any time things are going work is when it's easy and it's going to be easy cause you like it, right. And it's going to be easy. Cause this is what you love. But the thing that I say is, you know, if there was something that you would loved, if there was something that you loved and you were better at it, would you still like it? If you were really, really bad, would you still love it the same way you do? And some people do people that can't sing and they want to sing all the time. But I, what I would say is the difference is, those people saying as a, as a hobby for fun, they're not trying to become professional singers. Right? Very rarely. Do you see someone that loves to sing knows they're bad at singing and, and for a very long time, pursues becoming a singer, [00:44:00] don't do something else.
And so I think that is a part as well, where sometimes you have to focus on what can you get good at really quickly. That will fulfill some of the needs that you have and to develop that motivation to make something happen. Because I think it's not always going to happen when everything is perfect.
And I think even for you, there's two parts of There is one part where yes, everything works out when maybe preparation met opportunity when, when the time and place and everything was right. But you'd been in many ways preparing for that for a very long You'd be building copywriting skills.
You'd been in the mix with entrepreneurship. You'd already been looking at e-commerce you'd already been building a track record of skills, right. Even though that's not what you were working in day-to-day necessarily, you spent some time working in a startup, you spent some time working in recruitment sales, you had your day work was something different. And okay. You weren't passionate about it, [00:45:00] whatever, but the whole time you were building a skillset. So it got to a point where you had skills that you were good at, and then you found somewhere that you could apply them and then it came and then those things were able to manifest themselves into success.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And, and again, like for me personally, it's just a personal thing. And when it comes to the whole, like doing stuff that you hate, I just, I just can't do it anymore. Like literally kill me, kill me. If I don't have to enter a job again, it's just, I can't do it.
I'm not built for it. You know, but the thing is I also understand, like, that's what I'm saying. That's all I saw in my life. I only saw doing things out of necessity, doing things to get to another level, but never seeing the passion so interesting though. I, yeah, it's very interesting. So I literally, I got fired and then two weeks later COVID happened.
David Elikwu: Wow.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yup.
David Elikwu: That is tight.
Ama Amo-Agyei: On the bank [00:46:00] account yes, it was tight.
David Elikwu: What was going through your mind at that point in time?
Ama Amo-Agyei: It was funny. A lot of people would've panic. I was still pissed off, they beat me to it. Cause I was thinking that the weekend before, whether I should quit or not, and then I stepped into that room, they move in mad and then boom, I'm going to let go and I was like, you little anyway, fine. You do that. I'm going to do me.
But it was a great, like sense of freedom. I was like, oh finally, the shackles are gone, thank God. Let me figure out what I'm going to do. I might now going to start doing things a bit recklessly, cause I've been doing things by the book for so long they shut it up. I spent like three or 400 pounds, I had very little money in my bank accounts. That was a lot of money to me at the time I spent that change out my room. I was like, let me create a better environment for myself. So I did that and then I was like, let me work on a brand let me start a Brand. This is not Plant made. This was something else. I was like, okay, cool. I'm looking at the research.
[00:47:00] I'm seeing men skincare could be an option because it's an under utilized market. It could be interesting, but I'm out here building something towards men's skincare, but then, yeah, I was not like, I wasn't like, oh my gosh, panic mode. I was actually like. Cool, let's use this as an opportunity to rebuild myself, to become who I need to be. It was a, a restart.
David Elikwu: I love that. And I really think that what you showed there is the resilience that is needed to be a successful entrepreneur, I think. And it comes out in moments just like that. So funnily enough, I actually lost a job once the only time I've ever been fired from everything, anything. And I remember just thinking in my head, literally the same day I had just left the building and I was just thinking, there's no way I can go home and tell my dad, I don't have a job.
And so I literally just sat down on this park bench and I was just Googling like all of our [00:48:00] competitors and I just walked. And the funniest part of this story is that it was dressed on Friday. So I'm wearing like I'm wearing trainers, I'm wearing this white top with graffiti on it. I just really bad and a bomber jacket. So I just walked to the offices of one of our competitors and asked to speak to the guy that was their head of compliance. I was consulting on a compliance and financial requirement. I was like, can I speak to the head of compliance? And he came out and he looked at me and he was a bit weird. And I had just explained, and you know, long story short, he was on his way out to a meeting. But he was like, if you're, if you, if you come back in two hours, then we can have a chat. So I had an interview for, for another job. And so at least I could go home and say, okay, you know, I'm not doing that job, but I've got a second interview for my new job that pays more and is much better. But I genuinely think that this is the key fundamental thing. And it's one of those things that in some ways I don't think you can teach, you have to learn and develop. You have to develop yourself.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah, yeah.
David Elikwu: You have to develop this resilience of, I was thinking of this analogy earlier today actually. You [00:49:00] have to be able to turn rocks into just paper balls when rocks hit you and fall on your head, you have to just mentally just, imagine it bouncing. off You can't it to knock you down because I think when you do that is when you become like defeated and it's hard And then all there's more rocks. It's never just one rock. It's always the first rock. The first rock after that 5 more rocks come, 10 more rocks come. And even if they're smaller rocks, they're all gonna feel painful.
Whereas if you allow that first one to bounce off, you're like, okay, I can do this. And then you start thinking of, okay, how can you get out of that situation?
Ama Amo-Agyei: Wow. That analogy is perfect because I know only that being fired that was a Boulder, but guess what? There was going to be another Boulder later. Like your problems don't leave. It's your perception of them that has to change. You're never going to know how problems in your life, you know, but [00:50:00] what is, is that, yeah.
You have to turn them into paper. You have to be like, you know what? It's all good. It's all good. It's either not that deep, like you just, you just make it not that deep. That's it, that's it. Okay, cool. It's happening, whatever. What can I do about it? You know, instead of worrying about it, you know, dwelling on it and all that stuff, it's just like, it is what it is. It's outside of things, and then there's also the optimism out of this situation. So in like dire situations like this, like there was so many people fired in COVID. How many people ended up starting a business? Very little, very little. And who's to say that wants to start a business. Right. But let's say there's people with business ideas who Were fired, right. Still 0.01% actually did something. Why? Because it was such a heightened, such a heightened time where like, fear was rampant. Like stagnancy was okay. Like it was the first time people were like, you know what, you do nothing for the first [00:51:00] time in your life. You do nothing for the first time you slow down for four or five months that was the time. Also though, there was another, there was another set of people in the corner that were moving mad. These are the people that are getting in the best shape of their lives. These are people that are building businesses out the jump myself. And that, there was just other people that was just doing their madness because they saw, okay, Why's everyone's slowing down.
Yes, this is a place to slow down, but it's also a place to reset my life. So let me do that. You know, I was in that pocket, it was mainly because it was like, well, I don't have anything to lose. And there was one quote that changed my life. I keep on saying, change my life. There's one quote really was the thing.
Get out of your own way. I finally decided to just get out of my own way, because most of the time, it's not your problems that stop you from doing stuff. It's just you. So I finally took myself, you know, I [00:52:00] fired myself from being the bottleneck in my life things changed immediately once I started, you know, live in my life, bottleneck free.
David Elikwu: That's amazing. No, I definitely agree with that. I think very often we have these limiting self-beliefs where a lot of people, like you say, just have the default expectation that there's certain things that they can't do. And it's partly because they haven't tried or they haven't explored, but people just assume, oh, only people that are born like that can do things like that. And I don't know if I can do that. Maybe one day, I'd like to try, you know, if, if I have some time and first of all, you don't even know exactly what the criteria is for you to ever try this thing that you'd so desperately want to do.
And second of all, it's never going to happen. Like there's never going to be the magical moment where you finally decide to do that thing until unless you're forced to, right.
Or unless you force yourself to, like you say, getting out of your own way removing that mental limitation that you've put on yourself, but it's not something you can do right now. It's not something that you can learn and sometimes it's even something you can do [00:53:00] incrementally. So again, referencing your journey where you've been learning these skills over time. You've so it's not one day, I think it would be an entirely different proposition, if you left uni, you did these jobs and then you lost your job and now you have to go and learn copywriting, and now you have to go and learn I think that is way harder. And I think that's what most people end up being in that position.
And it's like, well, you may not have to go and learn all of this. If I want to change my life, that's so hard. I can't do that. I'm just going to look for the next opportunity. But if you can start early as early as possible, not knowing that you're ever going to need it, but starting to build some of these skills, then by the time you do need it. You're ready and you can take action.
The two hard parts, one is making the decision to take action because most people don't even do that. And then the next part is once you've made the decision, actually being able to make it.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah. Yeah. Those are really the two things everyone's fighting against and the thing is, it never stops. And that's a funny thing because really, and [00:54:00] truly it's just imposter syndrome. Right.
And like, I read something yesterday, which was really funny. It was like impostor syndrome is hilarious because the people who think they know the most, actually know a little and the people who know a little actually know more than they think.
So either way, no one's ever as impostor, someone knows something, you know something about something. So do it, just do it. But the other thing is that you'll always feel like an impostor because you're always going to be growing. So you think someone, you know, in my position who's built a seven figure business.
Wouldn't feel like an impostor would be fine to, you know, it's just even my struggle to this day, I'm in and out. Whether I should build a personal brand, whether I should be talking about what I'm doing, maybe to start consulting again, there's a period I did forget to mention, but there was a time where I was selling my services.
I was on twitter. I package myself in a cheap way to help people who was trying to start up businesses. And I was selling that and I was doing these like consultancy reports [00:55:00] and stuff like that and talking them through what I would do in their business. That kind of thing. I was doing all of that, but I had never had a business at the time and I was very confident to do that.
Now, I am a seven figure business owner. I am like, oh, should I do that again? Oh, I don't know would anyone even listened to me, which makes no sense. And I still feel that way. Why? I don't know. It makes no sense though. And it's just like, imposter syndrome will never leave you, but it's something you'll have to fight every day.
David Elikwu: Yeah. But it's good. It's good that you feel that way. I genuinely feel like even the insight is the inverse it's that if you're not feeling imposter syndrome, that means you're not doing it right. You're you are in a place where you're too comfortable and you're not trying enough things, because if you are trying something new that you didn't know how to do, then there would be, of course you feel like an impostor because you haven't done it before.
If you've done it before, it would be what you did [00:56:00] yesterday. But if all you do every day is what you did yesterday. I mean, maybe some people are happy with that life, but I think that's also what leads people to feel stagnated and leads people to feel like they're not growing because all you're doing is the same thing.
And so, like we were just saying, you really need to be able to step out of your boat and take that next step and be able to decide to get out of your own way and decide that you're gonna make something new, something different. And part of that is just, you will necessarily feel like an impostor because you're trying something new and you're figuring out as you go along.
And I think that is the most powerful bit. That's almost the most powerful thing that you can have is this feeling that you are making it up as you go along, because I think that's where the insights come from, because if you would just, if there was some kind of book that you could read and it told you the answers, I feel like you wouldn't have even learned or the things that you've learned on your journey so far, because it's quite likely that, you know, if there was a [00:57:00] formula for the most straightforward way to become successful and everyone just did that. It would look very boring and basic, like I think all, everything that we have, all of the different brands, all the different, exciting things come from people, making mistakes, people, doing things the wrong way. People learning things in a very roundabout way that leads to what you're able to produce. But if you did everything in a very formulaic way where you knew the answers, you know, if you make this decision, it's going to work out like this.
If you make this decision, it's going to work out like that, then you don't learn all the same lessons.
Ama Amo-Agyei: No. Yeah. that's very very fair. I mean, it's still something like the confidence piece. It's like, it's thought that I lack the confidence to do something, because again, I'm still in the business of helping people no matter what I do. And I also know, like I struggled and there was people who conned me people who were selling courses and they were trash. And it's like, I know if it was me or whenever I spit games to anybody, I'd say it as real as humanly possible. And [00:58:00] I'm like very much like the stakes are high. So let me just show you exactly what's going on, right. That's just how I am, but it's like, why can't I package that into a book? Why can't I package that into a course?
I don't know, but cause it's one thing, it's one thing, the imposter syndrome side, but it's also a case of like, is that even the right thing for me, it was like, cause I remember, Gary Vee saying something and he was like, oh, by the way, like speaking is probably more leveraged than like, you know, internet money.
Basically he was saying, it was like, yeah, you're gonna, like, if you do sell a course or do sell stuff like that, just know you're gonna like bite your bag. Like you're going to cut your bag in half or even in three quarters. But when it comes to speaking, I find that really interesting and not like put it in my head for a long time to say like, I felt like that's where, like, it's not, it's not daunted between like, is that it's imposter syndrome. It's also like, this advice is interesting and I don't know what the right thing is to do, because I know if I was to package something now it might really pop off to be fair. [00:59:00] Yeah,
David Elikwu: I mean, it reminds me of, I was listening to a conversation with Shane Parrish, I think, and Ryan Holiday and Shane Parrish. What they were talking about is with Ryan holiday, for example, he's written all these great books, but the more successful you become, the more options you get and the more wisely, you have to pick what you do next, because you're going to get more and more choices, more and more options. People want you to speak here. They want you to do this. that, you could write a book. You could do a course. You could do all of these things. And I think then the power becomes saying no to the right things and saying yes to the right things and being able to constrain yourself in the most effective way.
Because I think when you're starting, you want as much optionality as possible. You want as many options as possible. You want as great a chance for success as possible. Like how can I start from here and get some money that lets me, you know, buy anything that I want and do use my time, how I want, do all of those things.
So you're kind of trying [01:00:00] to open the funnel of the options that you have, but when you start to become more successful, Probably you want to start closing the funnel and narrowing down your focus into where you can be the most effective, because if you try and do everything at once, you're going to lose your efficacy and you can do a million different things, but you're still one person and you probably won't do all of them well. And so it's probably much better at that point to do a few things excellently than to do lots of things half-heartedly.
Ama Amo-Agyei: I'd probably say like, it's really interesting because, focus has been the very thing that has been integral in this business. I'll tell you that because I dropped everything. I dropped everything for this. Obviously I was working on this, you know, the skin care business. I dropped that and I decided, Hey, I'm going to go all in.
And I was like, let me see what it finally looks like if I [01:01:00] go all in into something.
David Elikwu: And is that what made you decide to pick,
Ama Amo-Agyei: No, no, no. Go ahead.
David Elikwu: Yeah, I was going to ask because okay. Between the skincare thing and what you're doing now, which is effectively a hecker thing, these are hard businesses. You did not pick, you know, drop shipping water bottles from China. There's loads of other businesses that you could have done a way easier than this. You pick some really hard niches. So how did you get to that point?
Ama Amo-Agyei: Again, it was just a passion thing. It was just a passion thing. Like, what am I passionate about? You know, what am I passionate about? I love wellness. Skincare was something I have always been interested in. I've had to take care of my skin because I had terrible. Acne and stuff like that, and I had steroids and a whole mess.
These men were better than my face to the ground. It was insane. But so I already had an affinity to that. So yeah, they want hard businesses. And I was like. Wow, but I want to build a brand though. I don't want to just build a business that just makes it a bit of money. I want to build a legacy brand. [01:02:00] So that was already my intention behind it.
I wanted to build a legacy brand that would stay forever that had intention that took work. And I didn't mind the work you know, I was excited for the work actually, because I wanted to see what those kinds of efforts would breed. Obviously it changed into Plant made and it was like, I hadn't build growth business, but I'd still built Plant made the same way.
So I built Plant made as if Apple would build in. So Apple has different names for their products. They have the iPhone, they have the Mac book, they have the iPad, they have this. It's not a tablet. It's not a phone and it's not a laptop. You can't just call them that, you have to call them by their name. And it was like, I want something with that kind of integrity, even as basic as products.
So that's why all my products have their own individual names and assume it's like, I personified them because it's like you not having affinity to this. Oh, you can talk about how Drizzle is your favorite, not just a hydrating [01:03:00] mist. Oh, you can talk about how Inches really gave you inches, not just to have oil.
These are things that are like strengthening, in terms of like brand awareness and brand equity. I wanted to build something that had that kind of strength, like Apple did so I would, I didn't mind the effort it would take to build a business like this. I was just like, let me see what all in looks like with, with something challenging.
I was always up for a challenge, but yeah. What, what would all in look like? And it looks like this.
David Elikwu: Yeah, that was beautiful by the way,
Ama Amo-Agyei: I appreciate it. I appreciate it. I appreciate it.
David Elikwu: So. Okay. So you're starting this brand. I need to understand, you starting from complete zero. Did you, were you already leveraging a mailing list that you had? Because I'm assuming from what I know that you still didn't go down the route from the advice that you got before that you need funding and you need to go and get some money. You need to go and amass some capital. What was the zero to one there looking [01:04:00] like?.
Ama Amo-Agyei: It was Zero, it was completely zero. And you know what's funny? I made it that way. So obviously I had a following at the time on twitter and I was like, do you know what don't care about this? Especially, so let's backtrack a bit. So basically I made it have oil for myself. It worked, I was only trying to solve my issues.
I wasn't trying to make us into a business and then turns out I actually had a lot of interest in my personal Instagram. These were people I only knew I didn't, I wasn't following anyone else. I didn't have a platform there that's all right. And then I, I just said, I was like, oh, like, these are some of the things I'm using. Cause it wasn't weird for me to talk about like hair care cause I was writing like into hair. But someone asked me, oh, like, could you, could you make it for me? And I buy it from you, and I was like, ahh, okay, I don't mind. Remember I'm broke. I don't have any money. And I'm down to my, like a couple hundred. So it was like, yeah, cool.
So basically I put up on my story. Oh, is anyone interested in buying this? And then I had a hundred DM's and I was like, that's so [01:05:00] mad. What the hell did I do right now? So I was like, I took a screenshot of basically, the oil I made. I think I took a screenshot of the DM itself and I put it on Twitter and I was like, do I, did I just start a business by accident? And I was just like, let me document on Twitter, but let me sell on Instagram. Again, I decided to take the harder route. I already had an existing audience. I could have really done a lot and become like this whole like, oh, your mindset coach, and now you do your hair consultations, like, well, I was like, no, what does it look like to really start from zero?
Because I don't want anyone to be like, yeah, you piggybacked off of your following. You did this. Like you had. I wanted to see, because to be honest, At that time I was still cool with like really, really cool with like selling information. I was like, let me see what happened if I built this from zero, like zero, zero. That's why I didn't leverage Twitter. I decided to document on there anyway, and then build it from scratch from Instagram. The funny thing with Instagram is, I didn't [01:06:00] know it that well, I didn't know Instagram that well, it was new. It was certainly to me, I didn't know how to run a business on there.
I didn't know anything I had to learn so fast, so hard, outside of just learning about e-commerce. So learning while hope you know, new platform that doesn't lend itself to links and quicker information and being seen by anybody. This is followers and an intention and, you know, education and stuff like that. So it was definitely, definitely a steep hill to climb, but once I climbed it, the money was pouring.
David Elikwu: Okay. Let's, let's dig into that because I know you said that from the first time you posted about it, you had a hundred DM's and we know that right now you've turned that into a, a business that's made 2.6 million pounds in revenue, which is amazing. So I mean, did things always work? Where things always, I mean, I know we're going to get to a big wrinkle. I think that came up in the early [01:07:00] days. But even before then, was it like a very smooth trajectory in terms of, there was already a massive audience that really wanted this thing and people were ready to buy it and things were just taking off already.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Nope. I have to work for everything. I was DM-ing people. I was, yeah, doing thing people saying, Hey, I have this oil, I have these results let me know if you want to follow back. I was, you know, going to my friends and telling them, okay, don't worry, like follow this page and follow me.
But I was also like even filming like content and like tips and tricks and stuff. Cause I was like, if anyone's going to buy anything from me, they got to see me as an expert. They got to see me as someone that knows something. So I literally relayed all the information that I had known about hair, about how to take care of my hair.
And it also, every time I was taking a video, my hair was progressively getting more healthy, longer thicker you know, that kind of thing, healthier. Those things were being noticed and like, oh my days, your hair is so much bigger than it was two weeks ago. People were asking me for tips and tricks and then [01:08:00] I was always using Inches, which was my first flagship product.
Everyone's asking, what is this oil? And I'm like head over to Plant. Well, at the time, planted and head over there and see, see what it is. But even when I initially, even when I initially started the business. In that period where I had a hundred DM's, I had sold. So I basically turned a hundred pounds into a thousand, right. In 10 days. In that time I told people to send me back their before and after pictures. So those before and after pictures, what coming in strong, I basically had 15 to 20 before and after pictures before I had even launched Planted. So I already had proof that I was talking something. So I was just posting those on the Instagram, as well as some making videos. I was taking advice because this was around the time where Marie from Moon X Cosmetic. She had just made a Mil in eight minutes with her skincare brand. I was watching that like a Hawk. And I am never forget the day when I [01:09:00] saw that. Cause I was like, this is going to be me. This is going to be me. I was like, no, this is so weird. How this type of business just blew up like this. It was just one of those things where like, it was, it was the attraction. I was like, I'm aligning myself into this trend. It was a good. This frequency. I'm aligning myself into this. I'm going to get it. I'm still chasing that one mil till this day.
I'm still chasing that. But yeah, no, that was insane to see. So it built everything from scratch. Yeah. But then it told me, wow, you don't need as many follower as you think to make a lot of money. Cause even think about it. I'm only, we only got 67,012 followers, there's people were a lot bigger than us. They haven't even made as much as we have.
So it really matters more who's following you rather than number. And I was always proving that because we'd already made six figures. We'd made six figures with like 6,000 followers or something like that. Like something dumb, you know? [01:10:00] Yeah. About sorry, about seven or 8,000 followers. Yeah. We had about seven or 8,000 followers and we'd already made six, six figures.
Like you think you'd need more than that? No, it's just really depends on, you know, who's, who's actually in your corner, as well as, the kind of people you're attracting.
David Elikwu: And was a lot of this coming simply organically even at this point where you're now crossing the six figure mark, or did you have to start dabbling into ads and email and some of the other social channels?
Ama Amo-Agyei: Okay. So email was a hundred percent from the very beginning a part of business. That was how we launched our products, basically. So, yeah, that was a massive thing for us. When it comes to ads, we didn't really run ads until like month nine. so it was still very organic and, we kind of gifted a few things to some micro influencers.
One of my friends, I gifted to her she'd post it on Twitter. And she got like 50 retweets, which at the time was a lot. And we were in stock. I was just like running posts under, you know, Kia, pennies to pounds. [01:11:00] She was at cause cause it was around the black, black pound day time.
She would always run, black pound day post basically to help businesses promote their businesses. What I do is I put before and after under the post, I put link, basically set up a quick brief as to what the business is. I'll drive in traffic as much as humanly possible outside of, you know, actually making the products themselves. I was doing a whole lot. I don't know what the positive version of desperation is, but whatever that is, that is what I was doing for six months straight by myself.
David Elikwu: And at what point did you start having to bring on people and having to start building your own team?
Ama Amo-Agyei: So I had someone helping me every now and then I had one person and then it came to the point where I think it was black, Friday 2020. I had just hit six figures and I had to call people to help. We were still make no, we weren't making product, but we were like wrapping products, ready to be shipped, like ready to be packaged still like during like [01:12:00] three or 4:00 PM that day, bear in mind.
Like if you were in the business at the time, you knew like everything was prepped before, so that the orders could just be quickly done. No, my friend had to drive from S6, two and a half hours to come down and help out. Well, he offered and I was like, oh, thank you so much.
David Elikwu: So you had a bunch of people in your house. Packaging bottles.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah, just that one time. Yeah, it was like, and we were up until like 5:00 AM packing orders. I slept for like a few hours and then I went back again and it was, it was tough. It was tough. And I was like, okay, cool, January I think I have to hire. And then I did hire a lot. Well, not a lot, a lot, but I hired about five or six people, something like that.
David Elikwu: Sure. What's that process been like becoming more sophisticated? Cause I know that very often you have people that start very young businesses and they might be easy to deal with when it's like a side hustle. And it's just something that you can do in your own time. And then your [01:13:00] life at some, at some point almost becomes encompassed by the business, particularly as it grows and as it scales and it necessitates your time and your energy.
So how have you found that process of like scaling now you have a much bigger team. Now you need much more process and you have to think about probations. There's so much more that it encompasses.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah. It's been a learning curve in the best way. Like even the staff that we even got the first time round, like those were people that were helping us out more than like them actually working for us. We were working around that time. It was almost like, oh, when you are available come and work here.
We just agreed a few days that you have to wipe minimum every week. The minimum was very low. low but then it came to the point where I was like, oh, the business is growing. And like some days we're getting 10 people in and another day is getting two people in and financially and also productivity wise that was not working out for us.
Yeah. So like literally experience has taught us so much. Now we have a permanent team and you know, that literary contracted like for 40 hours [01:14:00] a week. And also I built out, a head team people. People that are now working in operations, influencer, marketing, CRO, sorry, Conversion Rate Optimization, design, content, literally like those pillars are being built out and yeah, sure. Sometimes you pinch yourself and you're like, oh, you're really running a business right now this is a bit mad. So like, there's like wanting, not wanting, you know, that perspective there but really, and truly, as long as you're getting what you need to get done, you don't have to act any way.
There's no one way to be a business, you know? Again for me, I've had to keep up with the growth of the business and my expected growth for the business. I had to keep up skill-wise, maturity wise, mentally, mindset wise. All of these things I had to do, because if I didn't, I would've crumbled when things hit the fan.
David Elikwu: I mean, let's, let's talk about that. So you had some, some drama.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yes. I had some drama. If that's what we're going to call it. Back [01:15:00] in July, 2021. This was just after our first year anniversary. So it was kind of like, why did you do this at this time? But fair enough. Go off sis. So we just moved into a 6,000 square foot unit after being in like a big ghetto storage for ages or for the past no six months prior to that, right.
So we've now got big boy, you know, commercial property. I hate paying, you know, big boy rent, you know, grounds at a time. And he got staff to feed because they work for your full time. To see that come through and I'm like so I have to shut down the business.
Okay. And if you know anything about e-commerce, you know, that one day alone can change your life. Let alone two months out of selling, which is what we had to do. We had to not sell for two months because of it. It was insane man. The mental, the mental I had to build, like, cause I was crushed like for so many reasons, the name I'd come up with, gone. What it [01:16:00] encompassed to me, you know, the journey of being Planted and growing and soaring and all that stuff. That was gone.
I had to now come up with a name to think outside of planted. It took us a month to come up with a new name. Legal, have to now pay legal, how to protect ourselves for ambitious future to, how to now get all these trademarks and stuff.
And under Planted, Plant Made now, sorry. To future proof the business so that we can freely go into other industries without any worry or stress. It was so much, it was so intent and then restructuring the entire business whilst we were away. Cause it was like, okay, cool. Let's make a packaging better. Let's tie in operations, let's tight in finance, let's tie in the marketing. Let's do all of this stuff. that's standardized, production facility, like we did all of this transformation in those two months. Basically it was so intense, but it happened for the better it really did. We would have been limited anyway, in terms of like kind of fulfilling all our interesting business.[01:17:00]
My business, thoughts and feelings, like what products I wanted to to release next, those sorts of things like those innovations, I wouldn't have been able to do under the name Planted anyway, because of other people that even had trademarks and copyrights under that under certain things.
So, yeah, it was really interesting to go through that. I changed so much. I became someone that really had to really feel a paper, paper ball instead of a boulder, like that was a boulder. I couldn't take it out my stuff cause they did nothing wrong. But also I had to almost like deal with them, grieving this idea they bought into and like also comfort them and knowing that like this business isn't going to die, it's going to just reform. It's almost going to be like a Phoenix.
They needed to have security that they were going to have a jobs that was going. To be a business to be a part of still. So, there was so many moving parts going on in that time.
David Elikwu: And what did you have to change maybe mentally to get through that? Because for me, this is another one of these big, almost like [01:18:00] tests. This is the part where you prove yourself and you show like where you're at and what your'e made of, not that and again I don't want to necessarily say that someone that didn't bounce back in the way that you did is worth any less, but just from the perspective that in your journey, you've now this is like almost the third, the third test where the first you try to do something, it didn't really work.
You tried to get a different job. It didn't really work. You've built this business. Everything feels like it's finally clicking. It's going well, things are coming together. You're scaling incredibly beyond maybe what you've even dreamed for in terms of the time that you were able to scale it in. And then suddenly at the drop of a hat, everything changes and you have to stop.
Like what, first of all, what makes you even decide that this is something you can keep going from? Cause I think a lot of people genuinely would say, okay, that's it. I tried my best. This is too much. The world is against me, maybe it's [01:19:00] not meant to be.
Ama Amo-Agyei: I think it was the fact that ? I have nothing to lose again. So I have nothing to lose and everything to get in. I could not give up on this mission. I'd embarked them. I had seen so many people, it's lives change because of me and because of the products that I'd created. I'd seen people that had been depressed because of their hair loss, I'd seen people that should have been told by doctors, the decades they can't grow hair in a certain area. And like, I didn't take this stuff lightly. Like this stuff is mindblowing. Like my little mind was able to do something whilst transform someone's life. But when you have that kind of impact, how can you just let go? That was the mission. The mission was still there, regardless of name. And I had to remove myself from the business as well. I had to be like, Ama, you're not, you're not planted, you know, even Plant Made, you're not even Plant made, you're you. That was, you know, seeing the business and a third person aspects, seeing myself removed from it and [01:20:00] also understanding that it kind of get back to where it needs to be.
It was having that delusion cause that's where it wasn't the time because no one saw us out of that. What's that going to be like, like the worries and the anxieties were there. Especially even when we came back we lost like ridiculous amounts of revenue. Like, people didn't know who we were anymore.
They couldn't, you can't search a name you don't know all this stuff was happening. And it was like okay. You have to now pay for more customers. You have to be seen again. Cool. It was very mad. So then it was like, well, we're back at square one. Let's build this into the machine it was going to be, this is now no strings. This is now no problems and no, what I mean like no problems. It's that, no one can now come and be like, oh, no one can do that anymore. We protected ourselves, you know? Those sorts of things like, yeah, that's, that's really the changes that happened in myself. Just that coming back [01:21:00] to that first lockdown Ama and seeing the situation as get out of your own way again.
Sure. I didn't choose for this to happen, but are you going to be the reason why this dream dies? This mission dies. If I can't accept that responsibility, then we keep, we keep it pushing, keep it going. And it's not even the mission against my customers. It's also my family and my friends that bought into this as well, my staff that were working with me as well, there's a, there was a lot at stake, so I couldn't just give up.
David Elikwu: You touched on a really important word, which I think is delusion. And I think in order to become successful within entrepreneurship, because it's not that it's easy, but you can become successful in other much more traditional fields just by working hard for a Very long time. is one way to do things within entrepreneurship.
At least from my perspective, I think you genuinely need to have this almost irrational self-belief that things have to work out things [01:22:00] it has to happen. There's no other option. This is, it needs to work. Even if it doesn't necessarily work out exactly the way that you originally envisaged, you have to find a way.
So if something, if a part is blocked, you have to find another route. If something doesn't work out the way that you planned, you have to find another way because it needs to happen. And you need to almost, you have to create your own fuel and that has to come internally. It can't come from the cachet of the company that you work for.
And it can't come from, you know, the energy of your friends. You need your own fuel and you need to be able to push yourself through very difficult moments and times where you don't understand what's going on. There's no clear path. There's no guarantee that you're going to be able to make money.
There's no promise that everything will work out, but you just have to believe that will happen and do everything within your power to just bring that dream into reality.
Ama Amo-Agyei: Yeah, yeah, a hundred percent, a hundred percent.
David Elikwu: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for making the time. I really appreciate it. And thanks for sharing so much, not [01:23:00] just about your journey, but all the gems that I'm sure the listeners are going to love.
Ama Amo-Agyei: I appreciate it, I appreciate it. Thanks so much for having me. It was definitely a, more different conversation, that I've had recently. But yeah, it was, it was good to kind of reflect on that time and, and see kind of the changes that I made. To stay on this course, because again, it wasn't easy, but I really heard if anyone's hearing this and resonates with some part of this just know that like.
Like I also do recognize as much as I was not privileged in terms of how I started this business with very little money, very little resource. I was also very privileged because you've got people like Steven Bartlett, who were homeless, eating pizza out, you know, beans during that, during that struggle. And obviously he's a multimillionaire now like I was more privileged than him on his come up. So it's really understanding how nuanced life is and going for whatever you want, regardless of where you're from where you're at. [01:24:00] And just having that belief and delusion that you're going to get to where you want to be somehow, some way. All you need to do is just focus, and put the energy and the work in.
David Elikwu: Thank you so much for tuning in. Please do stay tuned for more. Don't forget to rate, review and subscribe. It really helps the podcast and follow me on Twitter feel free to shoot me any thoughts. See you next time.