How many internet sensations make you think, examine your life, or motivate you to realize your potential?

Many, like Psy and Justin Beiber, entertain. Others, like TED talks, fascinate. Still others, like the Ice Bucket Challenge, are fun. Since Inc.'s world eschews flash, pure entertainment, and publicity in favor of thoughtfulness and helping others entrepreneurially, you'll be forgiven if you don't know our community's internet influencers quite as well.

Meet a truly self-made internet entrepreneur

I've read about Abdullahi Muhammed lately and found his rise fascinating. It remains to be seen if he'll rise to the level of an entertainment celebrity, but few overcame the challenges he did.

He's on his way.

Other writers, including at Inc., have recounted his remarkable rise from his family nearly being killed in war-torn Nigeria to a multiple-award-winning online writer, despite lacking internet connectivity, to starting his own distributed content marketing company.

He reports that his company, which he runs from his bedroom, has grown to mid six figures in annual income. He's already sold a niche site (, that was originally to experiment with his marketing skills.

He's become a contributor to publications including Forbes, USA TODAY, and Entrepreneur, and his content have been read by millions of readers.

As a teacher of leadership and entrepreneurship, I'm interested in what we can learn from others' success to create success for ourselves. Since many of us would have given up under lesser challenges than his, I asked him for advice for others facing adverse conditions.

If your material situation gives you more resources than being surrounded by armed fighting and lacking an internet connection, you have advantages over him. His advice may give you ways to use them.

Abdullahi's advice

His advice ends up being downright practical. Maybe practicing the basics is the most useful and inspiring way to get things done.

  1. "Leave your excuses behind. All of them." When you read his story, you see he could have used many interactions to excuse giving up--his living in a remote community in a third-world country, his lack of a laptop or reliable internet connectivity, his difficulty making ends meet, his having to type articles on an old Nokia phone. He could have used any number of excuses. He didn't. You can always excuse giving up. He allows you to ask, "Do I have to?"
  2. "Develop a strong appetite for learning," adding, "I became intentional about reading books and blogs, listening to podcasts, attending webinars and taking online courses people I trust say are valuable."
  3. "Target the right audience," adding, "I had to pivot from targeting a Nigerian market to the international market." Note that he started first, found out his original target was off, then corrected. He probably couldn't have learned what market would work without starting first.
  4. "Show up daily and practice your craft," adding, "In my case, this meant writing blog posts, optimizing for search engines, optimizing conversion rate, etc. for, aside running my company, Oxygenmat."
  5. "Invest time to do great work, but more time to market it," adding, "Sending cold pitches, doing SEO and guest posting to promote accounted for 80% of the success: getting to 50,000 monthly visitors, $9k monthly income and the eventual sale for $280k."

This is the making of a self-made man, whom we can emulate. Let's see what happens next.