by Gbenga Shaba
Our friends over at YES! magazine conducted an interview with the inimitable Linda Ikeji – and they’re allowing us use it here. The interview is reproduced below as published in the magazine.
Linda Ikeji, arguably, runs the hottest blog in Nigeria today. The thirty-something year-old who started out as a model and was educated at the University of Lagos poured out her heart and secrets to GBENGA SHABA. Excerpts…
For many youths who wish to be like Linda Ikeji, what do you think they should do?
First and foremost, they have to find what they are good at—their talent. Work hard on your talent, be patient, because for you to succeed in life, you need patience which a lot of people don’t have. They want quick money and success, but lasting success does take time. They also have to be very prayerful.
With your experience as an entrepreneur, why do you think people fail?
If you are impatient and not good at what you do, you will surely fail! Mediocre [people] will always fail because they only come into business to make money and if after a year they are unable to make it, they are set to fail. They try things just because other people are doing it rather than looking for what they are good at. I’m a blogger who is making money from blogging, so you can’t say because Linda Ikeji is making money from blogging, let me start my own. It takes skills and passion for it. There are thousands of blogs in Nigeria alone and only few of them are recognized and are making money. So, don’t follow the crowd, rather find what you are good at because, it is only what you enjoy doing that you get the best out of. I enjoy blogging and that is why my blog is number one. I’m not into it because of money or fame, but the enjoyment I derive from it.
When you started your blogging business, what goal did you set for yourself?
I didn’t set any goal. I just started the blog out of my passion for it. I made it my hobby. You know, while growing up, I wanted to be a journalist, but I wasn’t successful. I see blogging as a close substitute for journalism, which was my dream job. I just love meeting people, reading their stories, interviews and the rest. I never knew that four years later people will begging to pay for what I enjoy doing. I never thought that I will be making millions from blogging, but I thank God that what I enjoy doing is now making millions for me.
What should someone do to be a successful blogger?
You have to love blogging. You can’t say I want to blog because I want to make money. It takes a [series of] stepping stones to get there. There are over a thousand blogs like I said, but what will make people enjoy visiting your blog depends on the efforts you put into it. So, be passionate about it, be consistent, don’t blog once or twice in a week, blog everyday if you can, enjoy it, and love it. Don’t be anonymous when it comes to blogging. People find it easy to relate more to people they know. For example, if you are Amebo.com, people do not know who is behind it, so their response will not be felt. If you use your name, it commands credibility and acceptance. Like I use my name, I use my pictures, I talk about my intimate secrets at times and it has really helped me to a very large extent. People wish to have my numbers, BB pin and everyone wants to be my friend. So, find what you can do easily and you enjoy doing. That was what I did for the first four years that I started the blog before I began to make money.
Have you ever thought about being a motivational speaker before?
I’m actually a motivational writer. I’ve written a couple of motivational books. I don’t like speaking, I only enjoy writing which has positively affected my blog. I do my motivational talks through my blog.
What of the idea of training would-be bloggers?
I have never thought of training anyone o! Because me too, I’m still learning (laughs). I can only give advice on what to do, only that I can’t tell you what to like and hate. People tell me they want to write the way I write, which is not possible, because what works for me might not work for you. You have to know your strength and find a niche for yourself. Nevertheless, I might give it a shot sometime.
What do you think are some of the things that inevitably hinder success?
For me, it is what people don’t usually notice and it’s lack of patience. When you think something is not working after two months, you move on to another place and on and on like that. Check all the successful establishments around us, they are like two to three hundred years old. A lot of people started their businesses in the seventies and the eighties and today they are no more. Another thing that hinders success is mediocrity. You have to be good in what you do, if you do, you don’t have to spend your money on advertisements again because people will be looking for you and vice versa. But if you are not, people will run away from you. Like me, I don’t have to look out again before big companies, banks and telecoms look out for me to advertise because they have seen a product that is selling and that works.
Tell us your success secret…
It’s God. You see, when God is ready for you, it is your turn. I have hustled for many years now, I don’t hustle any more. I have worked very, very hard and remain persistent in what I do. From being a model until I found my way into blogging. It has been the combination of God’s favour and hard work.
What is your current hit per day?
I am number 26 in Nigeria as a whole. Others are The Sun, Vanguard, The Punch, GTBank, UBA and so on. I’m actually the first in entertainment in Nigeria. I’m like number 8,000 in the world and that is a very big achievement. I used to have about 50,000 hits per day! Just because I do it all alone. So, when I get people who are ready to work with me, I’m sure it’s going to get to 100,000.
You posted some shocking things on your site recently about your eagerness to marry. What is delaying you from getting married?
It is not that anything is delaying me, but I’ve not found the person I can spend the rest of my life with. That is why I’m still single.
Can you tell us about your kind man, somebody you want to rock your world?
How can I know a man who will rock my world when I’m still single? Maybe when the time comes I will be able to tell.
But you can describe your ideal man?
Ok. My ideal man must be a decent guy, God-fearing, good-looking and must be able to support what I do. I mean very supportive.
Are you saying you’ve not found such man in Nigeria or even beyond?
I can’t start explaining all that! One thing I know is that people who are single are single because they have not found the men they want to marry. It is not that men are not coming, it’s just that you’ve not found the one you want to spend the rest of your life with.
But, do you share the same opinion that most young female achievers find it difficult to marry?
It’s not true. In fact, it’s easier for us to get married because a lot of men are looking for women who are successful in their businesses. But the problem is that we are always mindful not to settle for what is less. Because if you settle for what you less deserve, you may be punished for it.
People in your category see men as gold diggers. How true is it?
I think it’s very dangerous to marry below your status. People who have nothing to do because they may eventually turn against you. I know of a banker lady who got married to a guy who didn’t have a job. He would collect the lady’s money and spend it on another girl and was also maltreating his benefactor, but eventually the marriage didn’t work out. It’s not compulsory for the guy to be as rich as you are, but he must have a regular income, not a totally dependent guy who may eventually pull you down and destroy you. Even if you love him, the love will later turn to resentment.
Photo Credit: TCD Photography