Small Girl, Big Dreams: How I Got Here
In 2009, I made an online friend named Somebody. My girlfriends bored me or pissed me often and I just wanted to talk to someone new. I had just got on Twitter and I was entering DMs anyhow, trying hard to make new friends and expand my network… so I met Somebody.
Somebody was somewhat my relationship therapist. I’d tell him all the gory details of my past and present relationships and he always had good advice on how to handle my problems.
Then one day, Somebody advised me to start a blog and write all my woes in it. Maybe he got tired of the sordid gist or it was a random thought, it’s helped me get where I am today and I’m grateful.
Honestly, I didn’t know what or how to write, even though I was in my third year in UNILAG studying English. I was absolutely clueless and I had no one to put me through.
What made blogging more interesting was the premise. I wanted to write about sex because, for some biological reason, the thought of it entertained me. Mind you, this doesn’t mean I was getting good sex or I was great in bed or anything like that. I was just always enthusiastic about writing about sex and every word in the dictionary that was affiliated with it.
My stories were often described as absolutely raw, vulgar and real. My friends called it Porn. Some readers thought I needed to refine my stories, some thought they were absolutely fantastic, I thought it was fun. It was just a hobby for me at that time.
Everyone loves “Ms. Producer”
I wrote so many articles back then but only published a few and hardly shared them for the fear that my society would take in my stories the wrong way.
As months passed and I discovered blogs like the Naked Convos, I began to see writing as an art and the urge to share my stories began.
I started with my BBM contacts. The reception was so good that I began sharing on Twitter.
My service year came and I wrote only once all through 2013. This was because I had to wake by 4 am on most weekdays to get out by 5 am in order to beat the crazy Ajah traffic to get to work early. Also, I got my first Android phone around that time and discovered the joys of Instagram and Keek. These sites took up my writing time at night. Whenever I tried to write during weekends, I’d either sleep off or just go back to my Instagram.
I served Nigeria as a Literature teacher in a Lagos state public school where some ss2 and ss3 students could not comfortably read one line of Shakespeare. Some couldn’t even read at all.
This shocked and hurt me so much that I continuously thought about writing about it. However, I never did. I was afraid of putting my best teachers in trouble and I just wasn’t cut out for raising any “political dust”, so I wrote nothing.
In the middle of my service year, my bestie, Ifetoluwa Aduloju encouraged me to take NIPR exams with her. NIPR stands for Nigerian Institute of Public Relations.
We talked about how cool it would be to have those professional acronyms behind our names in future. So I went with it. I’ve written all three exams and should collect my second certificate soon.
Nearing the end of my service year, I had become very interested in gaining experience in public relations and advertising. I hardly ever thought about writing. I had stopped reading blogs and monotony had taken over my life.
In December 2013, I decided to work for an unpopular agency located in Ojodu-Berger pro-bono just because I wanted to learn the rudiments of marketing communications.
It was in my third week that Lanre Aileru sent me a BBM broadcast message about O2 Academy Lagos. I remember how Lanre encouraged me to call and told me he’d be pained if I let it pass me by. I didn’t understand then but I registered anyway.
It cost me N20,000 — money I couldn’t afford and had to ask my mum for.
I’ll never forget my first day at O2. The motivation was too much. Spoken word videos, inspirational talk, video testimonies prepared my mind to take up the copywriting challenge.
Mind you, all this time, I wasn’t writing anything. I just wanted to be a copywriter who made mind blowing, world-class ads.
It was at O2 Academy that I met Hammed Okunade Goodman and Abdulwahab Oshomah Abubakar — two fantastic conceptual designers who made me fall in love with graphic design and illustration.
About four months into O2, I got a job as a media manager in an old bakery in Surulere, Lagos. It wasn’t helping that I was learning so much at O2 every Saturday and I wasn’t doing anything with all that knowledge. Also, I needed money.
Many people didn’t understand why I took a bakery job and often times, I got weird looks and comments whenever I told most people where I worked. So I stopped calling it a bakery and began calling it a bakehouse. It sounded bigger and better.
As at the time I got into the bakehouse, they were hardly online. They had a static website, a few online directory links, no social media. I had to come up with website copy during the creation of a new website, copy for catalogues, company profiles and so on. I was also responsible for taking pictures of bespoke cakes and ordered desserts with a digital SLR Nikon camera, monitoring keywords important to the business on social media, handling customers on Whatsapp and visiting consumers in-store to find out what they loved and hated about the company.
I recall one particular incident where I told my then boss that I needed a graphic designer. My boss simply said, “you can do it Oyinda.” I objected and told her I knew absolutely nothing about design but she encouraged me to try. So I did.
I went from making really simple ads to editing our cake and dessert photos with photoshop. I even opened a Behance page for myself when it got into my head.
I thoroughly enjoyed doing all of it and looked forward to writing more corporately fun content.
In February 2015, I moved to ID Africa, the digital arm of BHM Group where I work as as a content executive. It was at IDA that I learnt the difference between content creation and curation. I, along with my colleagues, write and curate for IDA’s blog and company owned websites. Now, I work with clients, social media, Google ads, video producers, graphic designers, PR executives…
It’s been a good journey.
Although I want to be so many things right now and in the future — techpreneur, documentarian, Miami Ad School graduate, power writer, digital marketing specialist, caterer… but I’m learning little drops make a mighty ocean.
I’m grateful for my 3 little years of experience.