The Unconventional Drift from Law to Startup to Tech

— Juliet Edjere

As a legal practitioner with an avid interest in tech and startups, there was an innate desire to be involved somewhere in the 'idea to launch' process. I knew that to make that happen I had to delve into software development … or so I thought. This post houses details of my attempt through software development and design.

The Journey Began with Phase Africa in 2017

The journey did not quite start with Phase Africa but let's not get into the details. What better way to demonstrate my interest in startups than to manage a platform showcasing enterprising talent in African Communities. There was a plan: 'break barriers, make voices heard and promote empowerment through creating a professional community for networking'.

Logo designed on Canva

Problem Statement – Being in a society where mostly the elites work with those in a similar niche or barely based on top connections, it leaves little or no room for those who strive and work hard but do not have the 'connections' to climb up the ladder.

Solution – A Business Social Networking Platform. 'The Phase Africa' strives to fill the void in the society created by lack of networking opportunities by

  • Offering growth opportunities through networking and consultancy.
  • Motivating budding Entrepreneurs, business leaders, Business Owners, start-ups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and Self-employed individuals in Africa,
  • Support in launching/scaling business operations by providing valuable resources and inventory for the business growth and development, Leveraging networking opportunities as a huge key to career growth and business building.

How's that plan going? It's a work in progress.


Is she a Software Developer?

In November 2018, I started building with freeCodeCamp and got accepted to the Rails Girls London Workshop.


While this was an amazing experience, I quickly realized that coding probably was not created with me in mind. I enjoyed the community, not so much the experience.

Kicking off with VacaiTribe in 2018

Moving past my distorted attempt at software development, I found a new interest in design while searching for a tool to visualize my ideas for a new travel startup - VacaiTribe. I stumbled on AdobeXD via Caler Edwards on YouTube and my design journey began. I enjoyed implementing new features and creating transitions. P.S. I still love AdobeXD but I'm now a Figma Babe.

The VacaiTribe (wordplay on 'Vacay') idea was aimed at connecting non-Africans with travel agencies, guides and residents in Africa. Although there was some untapped opportunity to grow this business, it flopped for many reasons. One being that we never actually launched. The background noise stifled its progress. I always had 20+ pages detailing the features needed but never built. I understood the Lean Startup methodology, but it flew over my head in practice. I typed away my plans without any real progress.

Next was the name ... nobody understood what 'Vacai' meant, much less how it was to be spelt. We are now working on connecting locals and visitors to travel agencies, vacation spots, hotels, places to eat and attractions within African communities with the aim of promoting tourism. Name ideas are welcome.


Sliding over to PickedbyJen

I decided to create an alternative source of income while studying. PickedbyJen came to life, an e-commerce space for outfits operating solely on Instagram. I tried a number of projects in the fashion space including dropshipping. I could take care of the project, logistics, operations, designs but the pieces didn't fit into the well-defined plan. Looking through my account books, I recovered my capital but never made any profit.


A Starter or a Builder?

I always nurtured the idea of starting a company from scratch. Thanks to the 2020 'break', MailChimp free domain and Founder Institute, I worked on my first real startup experience - GradRange. The idea developed following from my personal experiences in career building. I loved the idea of being a lawyer but I not actually being an attorney. This propelled the idea to create a startup targeting high school students and educating them on the career trajectory.

At Founder Institute Lagos, I took some time out to work on my proof of concept with GradRange. Young individuals may be less likely to resonate with how their degree path impacts their future. The actuality of a career path is practically realized on getting into the labour market. As a means of validating the idea, students needed to have a chance at job shadowing or internship but there were quite a number of barriers to that in Nigeria. Parents were not open to the idea of sending their high school kids out to work, placing considerations on the traffic in Nigeria and the unhealthy work environment. That gave rise to another problem job creation and curbing unemployment in Nigeria.


Here comes Senskill

As an advocate for equity, social inclusion and capacity building, I'm still passionate about educating young individuals on the reality of the job market, soft skills and internships to facilitate learning. I placed the microscope on B2B and B2C MOOCs. 2020 saw the prevalence of masterclasses, Zoom tutorials and online classes. The (over)saturation of information was prevalent but it did not seem like the next move was to build another Coursera competitor. About 40% of the target market could not access the internet anyway and unemployment was still unsolved.

These classes and opportunities need a place to stay. And then Senskill came to life as the roadmap to transitioning to entry-level with no tech experience transitioning to tech from a non-traditional background.

Stay with me, I’ll be documenting every phase of my product journey.


ABOUT ME

I'm Juliet 'Hiri' Edjere, a no-code expert focused on design, business development, and building scalable solutions with minimal coding knowledge.

I document all things product stories, MVP validation, and how designs, data, and market trends connect to one another.

In our world where innovation knows no boundaries, and creativity reigns supreme, no-code is a game-changer in today's tech landscape. Whether you're a developer looking to expand your skill set or a beginner curious about creating without writing a single line of code, you will learn from practical examples, and explore the possibilities of no-code technology. Together, we'll navigate the tools, platforms, and strategies – one blog post at a time!

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