In September 2016, Linda Ikeji was our Cover Girl. In our interview with her, she opened up on the details of her journey to success.
Find below an excerpt of that interview written by Syreeta Akinyede. Prepare for some ups, some downs, some tears, some fears, and a lot of SUCCESS!!
Linda’s road to success is paved with disappointments, challenges, lots of hard work, tears and frustrations. She started working as a model at the age of 17 to finance her education and support her family, and when you do something like that, at that age, sometimes hunger ends up being a regular visitor.
Linda has always known hunger. She speaks of times when she had to drink just sugar and water in the absence of food. “Sometimes, when I was hungry, I would go to a classmate’s room to visit and they would offer me something to eat.” There were also those days when four balls of ‘puff-puff’ taken with garri and sugar would be her meal for the night!
Before she turned 30, she was running her modelling agency – Blackdove Models; a fashion and beauty magazine – FM & B Magazine; organizing a periodic event called Style Night and of course blogging, and of all these, blogging was the one thing she hadn’t thought through as part of her plans and interestingly, the first article she read on a blog was about herself.
“In June or July 2006, a friend of mine in London sent me a link to a story that had to do with me. I was a model at that time. When I opened the link, I saw bellanaija.com and I saw the story. That was my first encounter with blogging. I was basically fascinated with the whole thing and my story had more than thirty comments.”
Linda declines to reveal the details of the story though she says whatever was written in the story was true. She was deeply enthralled by the comments and before she knew it, she had gone to read more stories on the blog. “I was always going to Bellanaija and that was how I discovered Perez Hilton, then I started reading random blogs.” She continued to read other blogs; then one day, the desire to own a blog and be like Bellanaija surfaced. She googled how to start a Blog and also reached out to Uche Pedro, the owner of Bella Naija, who encouraged her.
Then on November 26, 2006, Linda published her first blog post. “I wrote, ‘This is me Linda.’ I was basically introducing myself to my readers. I got about 13 views.” Yet before things would start to look up for Linda, she would have to walk through a valley of desperation and despair.
It was her 30th birthday in 2010 and as she took inventory of her life at that age, which should usually have been a milestone, she was far from happy. As she recalls her thoughts and feelings that day, it seems the pain and the struggle of the period can still take Linda to a place that leaves her emotionally laden as her voice wobbles slightly. “I was just sitting on my bed, pondering. I had been hustling since 1998 and had done so many things. Still I was here at 30 and didn’t have any money. The day before, I wanted to withdraw money from my account. I hasN800.00 and wanted to withdraw N500.00 but I wasn’t allowed to leave N300.00 balance. Then I wanted to withdraw N300.00, but I couldn’t also withdraw N300.00. I was angry at God and angry at myself for failing because I thought I had failed.” It was the day Linda opened up herself completely to her creator, crying her heart out to him to bless her endeavours.
Though it seemed that life had handed her a whole bunch of lemons, giving up was not an option after her crying session. Linda still opened her laptop and blogged. She was soon to realize that progress and success came after a process.
Her 30th birthday, was in September 2010; by the next Valentine season, things had turned for the better in ways she hadn’t quite imagined. She got a call from someone in a company that wanted to advertise on her blog. This sounded strange to Linda, who didn’t know that blogging could be an avenue to make money. So, she traded their advertisement for an invitation to their event. The company called again to advertise, and this time, insisted on paying for it. “Apparently there was a budget for me. They paid me N100,000 and I gave them multiple posts and banners. I was so happy to collect the money.”
With the paid advertisement. Linda had stuck the surface of her gold mine. The advertisements started to trickle in and then after February 2011, more came and then it became a steady stream. “Since then, it’s been constant and I have never been broke,” she says.
At first, she couldn’t believe what was happening to her. Her family knew she was always on the computer but they had no clue what she was really doing. She started fulfilling everyone’s needs so easily. The good times rolled in and Linda made sure they stayed.
By 2012, the money started to come in millions. She admits she was scared a little. “I was like ‘Is this how God works?’ It was non-stop and over-whelming. It just kept coming.”
As the blog grew, Linda’s business also became sharper. She seemed to have an innate capability to sense a god business deal from a bad one. “A company approached me and said they wanted to take over my advertisement space and they would pay me N3m a month. This was in 2011, when I was making less than N500k – N600k a month.” One might have expected Linda to whip out her dancing shoes and sing praises to high heavens, but no. Even after she told her parents and the told her to go for it, she refused and went with her gut instinct.
“My mind kept telling me that these people had seen something I hadn’t seen. If I could get this amount of money now, with these number of people, in two years…” So, she turned down their offer and it turned out she made the right decision. “By two years, I was making way more money than what they had offered me.” She refuses to take credit for that decision and instead says it was God, who was guiding her.
It is 2017, and Linda Ikeji’s blog is still a MASSIVE SUCCESS!!
What an Inspiring Story of Courage, Hardwork, Perseverance and Faith!
What are your thoughts on Linda Ikeji’s Story?
Let us know in the comments section below.