Darshan Hada, a 37-year-old graphic designer in Kathmandu, decided to learn Facebook advertisement and marketing techniques in the summer of 2020 to add another dimension to his work.
“It was critical for me to stay current so that I could compete among graphic designers in the market,” he says.
In reality, he had already dabbled in social media marketing after picking up some tips from free YouTube tutorials and other websites he discovered through Google. “However, I hadn’t gotten positive reviews from the customers, and I wasn’t happy with myself.”
Meanwhile, on his Facebook timeline, he came across an advertisement for a course. Sikumna, a business he had never heard of, had posted it. “I then contacted them, asked about the course, and enrolled in it,” she says.
Sikumna’s course was very successful because it was more informative than other free online tutorials, and it has provided him with many professional benefits, according to Hada.
Sikumna, a new startup that lives up to its name (which means “let’s learn” in Nepali), is providing a powerful online platform for instruction and learning to many tutors and students across the world. The company is setting an example in the industry by using pre-designed online packages to take instructors from students who are outside the reach of now-common online classes.
The pandemic perks
Saugat Basnet, 27, was the driving force behind Hada’s success. In early March 2020, he left a well-paying job as a digital marketing executive in a corporation to start his own business offering similar digital marketing services.
The Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown, which began on March 24 of that year, put a stumbling block in the way of Basnet’s strategy. He had to put an end to his newly-launched company. He ran out of money during the lockdown days, and he regretted that if he hadn’t quit the job, he would not have been able to deal with the crisis.
“I was irritated and angry. But then an idea came to me that would put my skills to good use,” he says, adding that he considered creating a Facebook advertising and marketing course and selling it for Rs 1,000 per person to 50 people in order to quickly earn Rs 50,000.
He put in 15 days to design his course, told his friend about it, and asked them to spread the word to anyone who might be interested. He also set up a Facebook page to advertise his course to prospective students.
“Surprisingly, over 100 people showed interest in my course and purchased it within 10 days.”
According to Basnet, his performance inspired him to launch Sikumna.
According to him, Sikumna is not just a byproduct of the lockdown; it has gone through an entire process of business concept creation and preparation.
“Many degree holders in Nepal are finding it difficult to find work or make money because they lack practical knowledge and skills, which are rarely taught in Nepalese schools, colleges, and universities,” Basnet, a management student who says he learned digital marketing from his workplaces, continues.
Basnet finally registered the company on December 10, 2020, despite the fact that it had been running since the lockdown.
According to Basnet, Sikumna began with one course that he delivered himself and has since grown to include more than 15 courses and a staff of seven. Tutors at the company create and build multimedia courses that students can purchase at any time and from any location.
However, Basnet believes that many people have yet to grasp this concept, and that it is his company’s greatest obstacle. “As a result, we’re having trouble locating and registering tutors on our platform.”
Basket claims that his organization provides future tutors with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a living by spending their skills and time. However, many people still don’t get it and compare it to the now-common online courses.
Basnet argues that Sikumna tutors’ courses are special and distinct from freely available tools. “Only about 20 people out of a hundred claim they will find a similar course on YouTube. But we have our own defenses: we’ve designed the course to be realistic, with drills and assignments.”
“Learners can post any questions they have about their courses in Sikumna’s private Facebook community, and the tutors will respond, which is a function that can rarely be found in a YouTube tutorial,” he claims.
The most difficult thing for most entrepreneurs is raising funds. Basnet, on the other hand, claims that his story was special.
“When I started this company, I was absolutely broke. But I figured I’d make money off of it and put it back into the business. And that is just what I did and continue to do.”
Basnet claims he spent Rs 700,000 on Facebook advertising and Sikumna’s website, all from the company’s profits.
Sikumna, according to Basnet, primarily advertises its services on Facebook through paid advertisements. Furthermore, it asks enrolled tutors to share their encounters with Sikumna and other tutors so that they can understand what Sikumna is attempting to accomplish.
This company has now sold over 2,500 units of various courses in just six months of operation.
The cost of a Sikumna course ranges from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500.
Sikumna got a brisk response and sales in the early days. “We used to sell around 20 units daily,” Basnet says. However, after the lockdown was lifted, it was limited to only five courses a day.”
“This is possibly because we only had one or two courses at first and we focused all of our efforts on selling them,” he believes. However, now that we have more lessons, it is far more difficult to maintain the same level of performance.”
Nonetheless, Basnet is optimistic that by enrolling more and more tutors in this platform, this organization can become a center for learning all practical skills and expertise.