THE PERSON, THE BUSINESS.
– CAN YOU PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF?
Well, my name is Ayomide Tayo. I studied Mass Communication at the University of Lagos. I’m a Manchester United football club fan, love music and movies. I am a blogger at ‘Pop Off Central’ and also a freelance writer. You can read some of my articles and reviews on www.thenetng.com and www.hiphopworldmagazine.com
-TELL US ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS.
I am in the blogging business. ‘Pop Off Central’ is the name of my blog- it is a blog on Nigerian pop culture. It’s not strictly about music content but anything that grabs the attention of the young Nigerian within the entertainment circle.
-HOW DID YOU SETTLE FOR THAT INDUSTRY, WHAT WAS THE MOTIVATION TO ENTER THAT MARKET?
Settling into the blogging industry was just natural evolution. Before starting my blog I worked with Hip Hop World Magazine. I am obviously a music buff and back in 2009 the music internet game started popping up so I thought about setting up a blog strictly for Nigerian music. Back then ‘Pop Off Central’ was just about music but we’ve expanded our content to accommodate pop culture. The Nigerian Hip Hop Music and Not Just OK sites had just popped up, so I decided to be a part of the movement.
The motivation was far from monetary. There were a lot of upcoming acts back then who needed to enter the industry but get radio and TV play back then was hard. It is still hard. I decided to be a blogger so as to give these acts some sort of back room door access to the industry. In 2010 we released a mix-tape which featured acts like Ice Prince, Beazy, DIPP and others. I’m sure everyone knows Ice Prince. And this has been an underlying passion at Pop Off Central to shine our light on the undiscovered, not just artists but actors, bloggers, video vixens etc.
-CAN YOU SHARE WITH US THE OBSTACLES YOU ENCOUNTER IN THE COURSE OF DOING YOUR BUSINESS?
There are obstacles in every kind of business. Even the local vulcanizer has obstacles. In the blogging business the first thing has to be the crappy internet service. Having access to the internet is one thing, having access to good internet is another thing entirely. The relationship between a blogger and good internet service is similar to that of a car to petrol. That’s the perfect illustration I can give.
The other obstacles are universal to any type of business- monetary obstacles and what not.
-DID U CONDUCT A FEASIBILITY STUDY?
No we didn’t. At the time we started the blogging field was so raw that collecting information and data would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. If we had started Pop Off Central last year, yeah for sure but back then it was so primordial.
-IS YOUR BUSINESS REGISTERED?
This is our next step. We are about to enter a phase that requires us to do so.
-SO HOW DID YOU RAISE SEED CAPITAL TO START
Truthfully back then it was from my salary. It was tough then, it’s still tough now but back then it was really crazy.
-WHAT ROLE WILL YOU SAY THE FINANCIAL SECTOR PLAYS IN THE LIFE OF SMALL BUSINESS IN NIGERIA?
A great lot. In more developed countries media conglomerates buy up blogs like ours. I don’t think AIT or STV are interested in buying blogs when they are still trying to keep up with operating a network. If AIT can make let’s say N1b in profit in a year then I see no reason why Dr. Raymond Dokpesi wouldn’t want to buy Linda Ikeji’s blog.
And it’s not like we can walk up to a bank and say “hello I am a blogger please can you loan me 20 million?” I think banks are interested in other things. We are at the bottom of the list and it’s going to take a long time before they get to the bottom.
-WHILE TRYING TO GET STARTED, WHERE THERE ANY MAJOR SET-BACKS AND HOW DID U SURMOUNT THEM?
The major set-back was monetary basically which affected us updating regularly.
-HOW DO YOU HANDLE LEGAL MATTERS?
Luckily we haven’t posted anything that would make us hire the services of a lawyer. We are careful in what we post. We are not really into sensationalism. We don’t post rumours or fabricate stories just for traffic. A blogger was arrested once. We however have a lawyer to call.
-WHAT’S YOUR OVERALL MARKETING STRATEGY, HOW DO YOU PLAN ON REACHING PROSPECTIVE CUSTOMERS?
We are not into blogging content for the whole of Nigeria. We are not a human interest blog. We are focused on the young Nigerian. We ask ourselves what will interest this set of people and deliver content that will interest them. Prophet Obadare recently passed away we didn’t blog that ‘cos we asked ourselves which young Nigerian knows him. If there is any news on Pastor Adeboye or Oyedepo we will definitely put it up because these are names popular within the circles of young Nigerians.
-WHAT DETERMINED YOUR BUSINESS LOCATION
Lagos is the entertainment capital of West Africa. If you want to know what’s popping Lagos is the place to be.
-IN THIS INTERNET SAVVY WORLD, HOW DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA?
We use social media to deliver content to our readers. We are talking Twitter, Facebook and any new social app- Instagram and Keek. We also use it to interact with them too.
-MOST ENTREPRENEURS WANT TO KNOW; WHERE DO I GET MY BUSINESS IDEAS, HOW DO I FIND MY NICHE?
That’s simple. What do you like? This is the essence of it all. God has given us everything we need to make us succeed. We just have to find it. When you find it, game over.
FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING
-CAN YOU SHARE WITH US HOW YOU KEEP YOUR BUSINESS FUNDED?
I have two partners who have contributed financially. In addition to that, brands with interests in entertainment have approached us for adverts or special content creation like what we did for Nokia. These two sources of revenue keep us floating.
-WITH BUSINESS COMES ACCOUNTING, HOW DO YOU ADDRESS THIS AND TO WHAT EXTENT ARE YOU COMPUTER COMPLIANT IN YOUR BUSINESS?
Yuck! I really hate juggling of numbers. Lol. This aspect is handled by one of my partners. I just ask for money they deal with the balancing of books.
-THE FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS IN NIGERIA HAS GEARED UP THE DRIVE FOR TAXATION; WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON THIS AND HOW DOES YOUR BUSINESS RESPOND?
Tax is not bad. In this part of the world we are kind of sceptical concerning taxation because as Nigerians we are still struggling with basic things such as healthcare, good roads and constant power supply. As a responsible citizen you should pay your tax. The UNO has recently made access to the internet a basic human right. If Nigerian government can guarantee us quality internet service they can double my taxes.
-DO YOU HAVE ANY PERSONNEL?
I am the blogger on Pop Off Central, we use mainly contributors for now. We haven’t started using personnel/staff bloggers yet.
A LITTLE PERSONAL
-HOW DO YOU BALANCE WORK AND PERSONAL LIFE?
Right now there is no balance. It’s all work. There is little time for having a personal life which is sadly the price for success.
-WHAT ARE WE MOST LIKELY GOING TO CATCH YOU DOING WHEN YOU ARE RELAXING?
Reading. I haven’t been doing much of that lately so I am back to that. I have just finished reading El-Rufai’s book The Accidental Public Servant.
-IN A NUTSHELL WHAT WOULD YOU DESCRIBE AS THE PURPOSE AND IMPACT OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
The purpose of entrepreneurship is basically to make humanity better and advance how we interact and see things. That’s my opinion of the purpose and impact of entrepreneurship from the Steve Jobs angle anyway. I feel every entrepreneur can tap into this and succeed.
-IN A FEW YEARS TIME, WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM YOUR COMPANY?
Hopefully that this will be the MTV of blogs.
-WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL IN YOUR CHOSEN INDUSTRY
Most of my role models in this business are women funny enough. From Karen Civil (who created Lil Wayne’s website when he was in prison and now works for Dr. Dre’s Beats company) to Necole Bitchie (who was homeless at one point ‘cos her aunty kicked her out because she didn’t know why she was wasting all her time on the internet). Of course I can’t take Steve Jobs, Sean ‘Diddy Combs’ and Jay Z out of the picture.
-WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS?
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish- Steve Jobs.
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