Mrs. Uchenna Rachael Mofunanya is a Uk-certified nutrition, diet planning, fitness and weight management coach. Her passion to help families become healthier and to raise a healthy and happier generation made her start “Shapeup with Mrs. Murphy”: a business she started with zero financial capital but with intellectual capital. She tells us more.
Why did you choose to go into this business?
Shapeup with Mrs. Murphy was born out of a passion to help families become healthier and the need to raise a healthy and happy generation. I felt the need to help women regain their confidence, especially after having babies. I had seen a lot of women lose self-esteem due to poor lifestyle choices.
It all started as a hobby (passion) and then grew into a business. Over the years, I had helped a lot of friends, neighbours, strangers and colleagues achieve their body fitness goals by eating healthy, drinking healthy and teaching them easy ways to stay fit. The results and testimonies from these encounters encouraged the international business consult that is now Shapeup with Mrs. Murphy.
What did you set out to achieve with Shapeup with Mrs. Murphy?
Everyone; no matter their size, can decide to be healthy by making daily conscious effort to stay fit, eat and drink healthy. Obesity and lack of exercise are silent killers. So I preach easy ways to lose weight the healthy way and in record time without teas, pills, starvation or sleeping in the gym.
How did you get funds to start the business?
Apart from money spent on trainings and acquiring certificates for what I do, I can say I started my business strictly with intellectual capital. All I needed was a laptop, a phone, steady supply of data and my knowledge. My business is mostly online, so I studied the social media platforms I needed to use as my channel and then did strategic pilot marketing with my followers and eventually extended it.
My business is to get people to lose weight, especially mothers, and my unique selling point has been myself. I am a mother of three, but hardly look it. So, naturally everyone wanted to know my secret and I have been able to show them how easy it is to lose weight and remain fit and trim.
What are the challenges you face doing this business?
One of my biggest challenges stem from the depth of mediocrity in the industry; when people try to compare me to this or that coach whose procedure did not work and when I am put in this position where I have to validate myself or my work. It’s more like paying for other people’s crimes. Truth be told, there are a lot of charlatans in this business preying on people’s need to be in shape.
How many jobs have you created so far?
Being mainly an online business, the value chain related to what I do is enormous; creating different levels of empowerment and enablement. But directly speaking, I have two permanent staff, over five contract staff and other ad hoc staff mainly for outdoor activities. Ours is still a young organisation and everything we have achieved so far has been achieved through steady organic growth with an uncommon devotion to learning and innovation.
How has technology enhanced your business idea?
This business would be nothing without technology, being an online business, almost everything I do is online; consultation, coaching, sending plans, conferences, etc. So I would say it has done a lot for me and every day I try to find new ways to evolve both online and offline. Our website is www.shapeupwithmrsmurphy.com
What is the secret of a successful business?
Consistency, discipline and dedication to your brand. Needless to say that I put God first in everything I do. If you don’t believe in God, you better have good alternative because you will need it.
At what stage did you know you were going to become an entrepreneur?
I just decided one day to cash in on my passion. I had always seen myself in the corporate world, I never saw myself as an entrepreneur. I thought I didn’t have what it took to be one. I felt I was too soft-hearted and that people would take advantage of that. I wasn’t wrong, but I learnt on the job and decided to enroll in a few business classes; those shaped me into the serial entrepreneur I am today.
What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?
The number one thing I will tell you is to put God first in everything no matter how small. Secondly, be consistent and stay focused. Love what you do as that is what can keep a business running with ideas and innovations even when the cash flow is slow. Be passionate about what you are doing because unlike processes, passion cannot be copied. Also, attend a lot of free programmes, network strategically and most importantly, watch the company you keep.
What key things have you learned doing business?
To be disciplined, learn to control your emotions, keep on reinventing yourself, believe in your ideas, learn to delegate and never give up. Focus on growing a business for wealth and not for profit. Most people don’t understand the difference. Profit is for the short run while wealth is for the long run.
How can we support and improve innovation in Nigeria?
Simple; by borrowing the template of the countries we want to be like. We mess things up when we try to reinvent the wheel. A lot of people have done what we are trying to do. Take a cue from them and follow it through. Give grants and provide infrastructure to budding Fintech start-ups everywhere. Merge and collaborate and don’t aim to take over their businesses as this kills innovation. There’s a lot to be done in this regard, but I think providing power and ease of connectivity would be a good place to start.
What five things do start-ups need to know?
Put God first in every decision. You can start a business without capital. If your business requires certification, please get certified, do not underestimate the power of social media and have a plan and do not be scared to execute, start small and build on your ideas.
What is your educational qualification?
I am a graduate of the University of Lagos ((Unilag). I have B.Ed in Chemistry Education and a Masters in Education. Added to this is a Diploma in Pharmacy; also from Unilag. I am also a Uk-certified nutrition coach, diet planning coach, fitness and weight management coach.