“Trust beats skills is our business”
Wesabi meets the market need for skilled freelance workers, who can also be trusted. In the spring of 2016, Murtala’s online mentor gave him some advice that changed the way that Murtala and his colleagues developed the fledgling Wesabi. A Nigerian mentor told Murtala that “ensuring that persons contracted are trustworthy is a hurdle that you must overcome.”
“Up until that point,” Murtala says that he “emphasized highly skilled workers. That was our message. Then, a mentor advised that we should push trust.”
Murtala says now “Trust is our business, and that has changed everything.”
As Murtala passed from Round 1 all the way until the Presidential Jury in the 2016 African Entrepreneurship Award, mentors guided him along the way. Mentors encouraged him to emphasize trust. How to pilot and prove Wesabi’s effectiveness to investors. How he would effectively recruit freelancers. And, when Murtala came to Morocco for the Presidential Jury, it was a Boot Camp coach who influenced him and his pitch. Murtala muses at the memory of working with his coach and says that “He perfected our pitch and contributed to how we won!”
A Mentor Who Knows the Business
Before winning the Award, Wesabi was growing steadily; but key advice and targeted funding have helped the business increase their impact and become a trusted platform for homeowners. With $50,000, Wesabi continues to on-board more freelancers, train them, and develop Wesabi’s back-end software to handle more traffic. And, post-Award mentoring advice encouraged Murtala to develop Wesabi in two more directions: subscriptions and insurance.
Murtala joked that at times, it seems their Award mentor “knows this business more than us! Prior to working with Award mentors, Wesabi operated on a simple payment model where homeowners paid freelancers by the job. Wesabi has now moved to a subscription model where a homeowner pays a monthly fee. This ensures steady profits, and improves customer retention. Also, Wesabi needed to continue to bridge the trust gap to this end. The company now includes insurance for all monthly subscribers on their platform.