It dawned on me in May, 2016 it was that strike season again; a time students always dread, a time when some students tend to lose focus, gain weight, get pregnant, start something new, take up new skills, make new friends and visit new places. Yes, it was about that time that my life changed for the better. It was during this time that I took a major decision in my life.I started my Instagram platform during the OAU strike in 2016.
There’s a popular saying, that an idle hand is the devil’s workshop, but contrary to this popular belief, an idle hand can be God’s workshop; that’s if you take the right decision. I am the CEO of an online marketing platform that promotes creative start-up businesses in Nigeria, ‘Nigerian Showcase’. I started this online business without having any idea of how to go about it, I just had that desire to start something. All I had was that gut feeling, a voice in my head, I wanted to make a CHANGE! It was on a Saturday afternoon during one of the longest strikes in Obafemi Awolowo University, I was discussing with my sister about how so many talents out there are hoping, someday, for a breakthrough. There are people out there who create amazing things with their hands who are not even known to the world for so many reasons, one of which is lack of funds and ‘connections’.
To cut the long story short, I decided to start a platform to help showcase the creative works of Nigerians. I didn’t see anything in it for me as at that time, but the fact that I appreciate people’s art and talent was a major push for me. That same Saturday I created an Instagram page and named it ‘Nigerian showcase’, my skill as a graphic designer has also helped me a lot, that same night I created the logo which I still use till date. I uploaded about 3 creative works on the page that same day and got a few likes. You would agree with me that I am a die-hard optimist.
That was how my journey started, I checked Instagram for creative start-ups and I was amazed to see how creative we Nigerians are. This made me push further, along the line, I started getting followers and comments, people thanking me for showcasing their products. I felt a sense of fulfilment. Surely, I wanted to do more. At a point, the strike was called off. I resumed school and I still continued running the page, I wasn’t as involved as I was during the strike but I made sure to squeeze in some time to upload. Most times when there is good network reception in the lecture room, I would do most of my uploads during lecture periods. I did that till I got out of school.
I started checking various pages that I could learn from, I went on Google to read on social media marketing. Gradually I started gaining more followers and recognition and the feedback was amazing. Then after a while, I decided to start charging a token for adverts on the page as the page was already getting recognition and feedbacks. But will feedback pay the bills? Of course, NOT! I needed data to keep up the good work. Wink, Yes! I needed funds. I continued showcasing these businesses and I discovered that there was a problem peculiar to most of their pages. I discovered most startups didn’t know how to brand their product or service on social media and even offline. With my set skills in graphic design, I was able to sell the idea of creating graphics for their businesses, like logos, flyers, Facebook cover designs, business cards, social media designs. Most of these businesses I sold the idea to, gave it a trial and trusted me enough to pay for advert and graphics. Though some of them are still of the belief that doing business online is a scam, I was able to convince many while some…I am still waiting on God to change their minds. That was how I got a multiple source of income with my online page with Clients I haven’t even met before.
Money is good, but we also know money is not everything and my purpose is beyond the gains from the page. I still want to do more. I want to be the reason for someone’s happiness, pretty much the reason why someone somewhere has not given up. Looking at the economic recession, there are people who give up in the early days of business owing to lack of funds and motivation. My aim is to motivate entrepreneurs and help them grow their business and gain recognition both home and abroad through my cutting edge marketing strategies. But how does this happen if they don’t stay motivated? I created a platform for entrepreneurs to join what I call my ‘EMAIL TEAM’. The aim is to get all close and personal with entrepreneurs, talk about the challenges faced by entrepreneurs on daily basis and how to go about proffering solutions to them. I started two months ago and lots of entrepreneurs have signed up. I have gotten lots of testimonials and people are waking up to their potentials. Recently, a lady who I met through my page, who also subscribed to my email team came to Ibadan and insisted on meeting me. She was so happy to see finally meet the person behind the page and the truth is that feeling for me that day was indescribable. I was overwhelmed!
My page has been a source of motivation to a lot of people, I have been a source of inspiration to most youths and even the middle age class. I will continue to give Nigerian Showcase a push, I won’t stop until it becomes a platform that showcases Nigerian brands to the whole world and till all our products become exportable. I would like government, celebrities, and influencers help support this vision by promoting the work of our own by supporting creative Nigerian startup businesses. To reference my mentor, Fela Durotoye, by 2025, together we can make Nigeria the best place to live. What’s your excuse? Are you living your life to bless others? Are you constantly working on yourself? Are you thriving to make a change in your locality? Or are you constantly blaming circumstances or people, for your problems? What’s your excuse? strike?. Turn your excuse to your drive, START SOMETHING TODAY!
The lady who insisted on meeting me in Ibadan.
Feedback from my email team
All you have to do to get featured on the page is send a direct message or an email to my email address, from there we would discuss the duration of the advert and the social media platforms involved.
My email team is a platform where I share challenges faced by entrepreneurs, basically to motivate entrepreneurs to do more and NOT give up.
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Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOTUNDE TAIWO TIMILEHIN