Young Entrepreneurs: Lotanna Ezeike
The Epitome of Serial Entrepreneur
Have you ever felt like something was missing in the world? Something that would better your life experience? Only to realise that it doesn’t exist or it’s only for an exclusive group of people, (i.e. see-through toasters or a dog toy doubling as a toothbrush). What did you do about it? Probably nothing, like most people would. However, Lotanna Ezeike isn’t like most people. When he feels like something should exist that doesn’t, he creates it. He is the epitome of a serial entrepreneur and this has been his journey…
“How to Make Money as a 14 Year Old”
While most people found it relatively easy getting a job while at school, in his secondary school years despite numerous attempts, being born outside of the UK made it difficult for Lotanna to secure himself a paying job. Luckily for him however, there was this thing called ‘the internet’.
After failed attempts to get a job, rather than give up, he turned to the internet and began to search up “How to make money as a 14 year old“, a position that I’m sure many young entrepreneurs can relate to. Unfortunately for Lotanna, suggestions like ‘mow your neighbour’s lawn’ weren’t really applicable for someone who lived in an estate in South East London. So the young entrepreneur had to get creative.
“Are You Over 18”
Of course he wasn’t! He was 14/15 but the internet didn’t know this. The serial entrepreneur started his journey by outsourcing jobs. Signing up to the freelancing website currently known as Upwork, taking on any job he could get and outsourcing the jobs to cheaper individuals, usually based in third world countries. All he did was copy and paste this job description and took the difference in pay. A bit mad for a 14 year old no? However, his cunning plan was cut short because like most people who have grown up in an African household, education comes first.
Welcome to the Big Leagues
Young Lotanna, the finesser of Upwork, eventually grew into a sprinter. And like most individuals running at the level he did, he attracted a lot of attention from brands. Constantly being bombarded with tracksuits every week from businesses who wanted a piece of the spotlight.
Eventually the free clothes became a burden (Can you imagine?). Business transactions were becoming stressful to handle over instagram and a friend of his was having a similar issue when it came to working with influencers to promote his events. So they decided to solve this issue by creating an app that made hiring and paying influencers a simple and safe process. This app was called XPO
With no prior knowledge of technology or app development, Lotanna and his co-founder decided to reach out to app developers on social media and eventually they were approached by a developer from Hungary. Long story short, after working with them for 10-11 months, the developer finessed them of nearly £10’000. (Sometimes I guess you can finesse the finesser).
Imagine investing almost all your savings and a year of your life into an app for your developer to do a dash three days before launch. This situation put Lotanna into a two week rut. Binge-watching the whole of ‘Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood‘ as well as other anime series, not showering once during this process.
This was the former sprinter’s reality until he heard the words of the great Gary Vaynerchuk which said, ‘If you keep doing the same thing, you’re going to get the same result’. This brief quote was enough to get Lotanna out of his emotional slump and get back to doing what he did best – solving problems.
If you keep doing the same thing, you’re going to get the same result’Gary Vee
He took things into his own hands starting with, what I can only hope was a bar of soap, then enrolling himself for an online coding course on UDEMY. In 2 months or so, he had learned the basics of coding. Enough to understand what an advanced developer was saying or doing. Shortly after he started the development process again with the help of multiple individuals. One being a developer which he was referred to by an old childhood friend he met on a coach trip back to university.
On To The Next One
Since XPO, Lotanna has really lived up to the position of a serial entrepreneur, starting multiple ventures. His most recent being Altar, an app that allows you pay your offerings to your church remotely. An idea that came up as a result of his mother complaining that he never has cash to give the church.
For the last 3 months, I’ve been building a church app because my mum annoyed me— Lotanna Ezeike (@lottsxpo) April 20, 2020
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Alongside Altar and XPO, he also runs an e-commerce business where he sell lashes on a subscription basis. This too, was a spontaneous idea. He saw a problem and created a solution.
Thing thing about Lotanna is, when he says he’s going to do something, it means it’s going to get done. With Lash Batch, I saw him post on his snpachat story, ‘I don’t know anything about E-Commerce but in 24 hours I will have my own e-commerce store’ [para phrased] and he did just that.
The Deciding Factor
As a serial entrepreneur, besides solving problems, Lotanna simply wants to see a return on investment or a least a way to breakeven. The numbers need to add up. For a lot of people, they don’t test out their revenue models. They don’t ask themselves, ‘How will I make money from this?’ or when they do, they are not realistic about the figures.
Lotts of Advice (You Get It?)
Lotanna’s advice to future serial entrepreneurs is simple.
– Just start: This has been recurring advice from previous hustlers like, Reuben, Amanda and Isioma. You don’t need to know everything when you start, as you go on you’ll pick up new things along the way.
A Lot Of People Have Ideas In Their Heads That They Never Put Down On Paper Because They’re Scare It Might Not Be That Good Of An Idea
– Think about the revenue model: How are you going to make money from this? At the end of the day that’s the point of a business – to make money.
– Persevere: If you can’t persevere then you can’t complete anything, any little knockdown and you’ll stop. Don’t be the person that can’t persevere when times get tough because they will.
– Be blunt with yourself and others: If you don’t like how something looks, you think that an idea isn’t good or you disagree with your co-founder or employee, let them know. Nobody likes a yes-man. Nobody trusts a yes-man. So don’t be a yes-man.
How Lotanna Became Lotts
For most black boys growing up in London, the future seems to go in one of few ways. You either play football, go through the education system and get a job or went into music. If all else failed then you start looking towards trapping (selling drugs) or doing fraud.
Lotanna wasn’t too privy to the tech side of life but he had always loved the act of making money. Not because of the money itself, even though that was a factor, but he was more-so drawn to the fact that he could provide a service that people would pay to use.
I Believed That To Be In The Tech Industry There Was A Certain Aesthetic An Individual Needed
On the contrary, looking at Elon Musk, the simple fact that he was a South African was enough to convince Lotanna that there was a chance for him in field of tech. Watching him do random stuff that ‘just worked’ made him a big influencer in Lotanna’s journey into entrepreneurship.
The Future For The Former Finesser
At the end of the day, Lotanna doesn’t ask for much in life. He simply wants to empower black individuals and educate them about what it takes to become an entrepreneur. He has ambitions of owning his own holding company where he comes up with an idea, forms the blueprint for it and hires an individual to bring that idea to life for him. Simple.
In the meantime he is constantly involved in new ventures and bringing new ideas to life. He definitely has a few more ideas that he plans to create before the end of the year, so I strongly recommend that you get in touch with him via socials. I can promise you there is a lot to learn from this man. He is really the epitome of a young serial entrepreneur.