My first interview ever was published yesterday, guys and it is on Nigerian Tribune. According to our reader who sent me this, she was on her way from church when she saw my face on Tribune Sunday paper. lol. Thank you so much swty. And thank you so much NT for making my first newspaper interview possible. I am very, very grateful.
Here are excerpts, guys:
Laila Ijeoma, a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State, is a banker and blogger. In this interview with TOYIN KOMOLAFE, the mother of three boys, speaks on how she has been combining banking and blogging with motherhood as well as what it takes to be a successful blogger. Excerpts:
Can you tell us how you got into blogging?
I actually started blogging as a joke. I wasn't looking for money because I
was already gainfully employed. All I wanted was an outlet to share my life with people, inspire them with my stories because sincerely, I've gone through a lot of crazy stuff. And when I look back, see how far I've come and the success I've had so far despite the drama, I am thankful.
My big dream has always been to have a top Nigerian talk show. So I first started out with a show on radio. I eventually had to put it on hold because it was so demanding. Being married, mum to 3 boys, working too, there was a lot to do in just 24 hours everyday and the whole schedule nearly 'killed' me. So I dropped the radio show. Along the line, I discovered blogging. A close friend ran a blog. He introduced me to his, I realized I could reach out to people through it with so less stress. I told him I would love to have mine and he helped me set it up. I didn't even take it serious then.
•You are a banker, mother and blogger who regularly updates her blog, it is amazing! How do you combine all these roles?
www.lailasblog.com delivers all the latest Nigerian breaking news. How do I do it? Passion, time management and God. Passion; because I enjoy what I do so much that I don’t even see blogging as work at all. I have a routine that comfortably accommodates all my responsibilities. It gets crazy at times but God has been so faithful.
- Out of all the bloggers in Nigeria, who will you say has the greatest influence on you?
I love Stella Dimoko Korkus. We do have different blogging styles but she is my best blogger friend. I love her.
- Your blog is one of the top 100 blogs in Nigeria, how were you able to achieve this feat in less than two years?
To be a top blogger, you must be a doer. I blog everyday, seven days a week, 365 days a year. You have to do that to succeed. I also have the most awesome readers ever. These guys actually go out there and introduce their friends and family, everybody to my blog. They have my back. Then my content.
The real truth about blogging is that it is a brutal place. Lions kill for food, in the blog world, you will meet people whose goal is to kill you mentally for sport, especially if you are doing so well. You can’t let them win. To be a top blogger, you are not allowed to give up.
How rewarding will you say blogging is?
Owning a top blog is the best thing that can happen to a blogger. The rewards will blow your mind! The monetary gains are already obvious. You get lots of free stuffs. People just call you up. They want to advertise with you and they are handing out their products and services to you for free. But here is the best reward - You are recognised as a voice that can start a change. You are respected. People want to read what you have to say about a situation. Readers are addicted to your blog that they wake up in the morning and can’t wait to read what is on Laila’s Blog today. You get to work comfortably from home. As a blogger, what more can you ask for?
- What motivates you as an individual?
Desire to do all I can to inspire someone. To make them see beyond the difficulties they are currently facing and dare to dream big. My readers are part of my extended family. That’s how I see them. Passion to see them and more people around me conquer their problems and succeed are what drives me.
- What is your best moment on the job?
Recently, I had to help a reader who was so depressed and was considering suicide. I can never forget that experience.
- Do you see yourself quitting banking for blogging in the nearest future?
Time will tell. For now, my job is taking good care of me.
- Advice for the youth
The life of a top blogger is awesome! There is a formula you can follow to become a top blogger but you must be brutally honest with yourself. You must know what your true motive is. What value do you have to give to your readers? Getting rich as a top blogger in your niche is tough and you will have to be mentally tough too. Take action everyday and stay focused for the long haul. Remember, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”
- What is that thing we don’t know about Laila?
I’m my parents’ first child. Three years before I got married in 2008, I read a book entitled “How to Get Married in One Year.” It was given to me by my dad and that book changed me. I also used to weigh 90kg after my third baby, now I weigh 64kg, my body weight before I even got married. I am also one of those kids that are good in Sciences - I actually had A1 in Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Maths and Igbo (five A1s) but I found my passion in the Arts department. My life principle is “Do unto others as you would want done to you.”
- Can you tell us childhood experiences that shaped who you are today?
I grew up with a dad that gave me motivational/self help books to read on a weekly/monthly basis. So, even before my 20th birthday, I already knew my life’s purpose and had made goals for myself.
- There are a million and one entertainment blogs, what will you say is the unique edge for your blog?
Apart from the daily breaking news, my content is centred around people›s personal lives. I have two very interesting weekly competitions that no one can afford to miss — Laila’s Blog Most Fashionable Reader of the Week” and “Laila’s Blog Finest Face Faceoff”. My beautiful, handsome, fashionable readers send me their photos. We put three of them up, readers get to pick the most fashionable or finest face from the competitors and the winner gets a prize.These free shows come up every Saturday 8am on the blog and they are so much fun. I also have “Blog Reader Needs Your Advice” columns