Being Creative is a State of Mind – James Abinibi C.E.O Abinibi Creative Academy

This week on Chat Fridays, we feature James Abinibi, the legendary serial entrepreneur making waves in the Nigerian creative industry. Over the years, he has stamped his authority as a top game player when it comes to Digital designs, Photography, Cinematography and everything that has to do with digitalization.

Awetech: May we Meet you?

James Abinibi: I’m James Abinibi. Digital Artist and Film Maker based in Lagos, Nigeria

Awetech: Awesome, lots of people call you trainer of all trainers

Others call you the father of modern digitalization (when it comes to photography, film making and others)

How’s that?

You’ve been able to boss your niche, making impacts across the country.

James Abinibi: Well, I just see myself as a creative person driven with a passion to impact my immediate surroundings and the world at large. I discovered at an early age my love for Art and I knew that was what I was going to do in my life. I think the realization that I don’t have anyone to support me drove my passion to become very good and relevant. And of cos I believe strongly in sharing knowledge. Which is why I started an Academy

James Abinibi: I’ve trained well over 500 people so far. And I’m glad to have been able to pass the baton on to others while I explore other Creative sides

Awetech: Amazing, amazing!!!

Can you tell us; how did you get started?


What exactly fired up the entrepreneurial spirit in you?

James Abinibi: I started by buying a pc with some money I was able to raise from my mum back then. Then I went into hiding for about 6 months. By the time I realized it, I was already self taught in Graphic Design, Web Design and Flash Animation. Then I started charging fees to design for events and church fellowships back then in school which was my sole means of survival at some point

James Abinibi: I dropped out in my final year to pursue a career in advertising and I was able to launch some campaign for major brands such as PZ Cussons, Haier Thermocool, Tura and many more

James Abinibi: After about 5 years in advertising I left in 2008 to start on my own

James Abinibi: then I set up Abinibi Multimedia with a promise to work with premium clients only. I was able to achieve that by delivering beyond expectation to my clients. Like I usually go the extramile to get the clients satisfied and that kept referrals coming in all through till now

Awetech: Wow; you’ve always been a workaholic!!!

This certainly defines “starting from the bottom”

Hasn’t this become a problem for new age entrepreneurs?

They certainly want to always achieve very fast

James Abinibi: Yes, that’s a big problem for new age entrepreneurs. They want to be successful overnight. They learn a few skills and once they get some sort of appreciation online, they instantly feel they’ve arrived and assume they are successful already. Most of them are not patient enough to grow their brands to a level that can really position them for success. Then we have the “social media high” too. A lot of them equates the many LIKES on their posts (works) to being a hotshot.

Awetech: Has this become a culture, or is there anything we can do to savage this issue

I.e. Motivate entrepreneurs, encourage patience and bravery (like you did with only wanting to work with premium clients).

James Abinibi: I think it’s a personal thing. Entrepreneurs need to decide what they want for their careers, you really can’t force it down on people. I’ve personally tried to educate people individually about this but I find the same people going back the same path. It’s really a preference issue.

Awetech: Very well.

Awetech: I’d like to know; what exactly do you think of Nigerian content creators…..

Over the years we have grown in all spheres

But we are also lagging behind greatly

Is it that we don’t have contents, quality enough to dominate?

James Abinibi: Nigerian content creators are really trying I must say. What seems to be the problem is opportunities and platforms.

Consider the Black Panther movie, the director is a 31 year old film maker. Over there, they don’t care how old you are or how long you have been doing this, long as you bring something fresh to the table and you can prove yourself, you will be given the opportunity. In Nigeria, however, no matter how fresh your ideas are, the politics and Man-Know-Man ideology won’t allow truly talented content creators to be discovered/showcased. So the issue now becomes, if people are not given opportunities and they keep trying to put out something but limited in reach, does that mean they are not trying? I won’t say we are lagging behind seriously, I would like to think the problem is our environment doesn’t provide the right kind of support.

Part of the problem is also the I-must-take-the-sole-credit syndrome, people don’t collaborate enough in Nigeria and this has affected our growth creatively.

Everyone loves the Black Panther movie but I know some really talented guys that have awesome ideas and stories that can put us out there, but these guys don’t get people that believe in their ideas.

Awetech: Epic, for content creators and entrepreneurs in your niche

Do you think the future is bright?

James Abinibi: Very bright! The opportunities that our own people are failing to recognize will be taken advantage of by foreigners. You can quote me on that.

Awetech: Finally

Can you learn Creativity? or Do you think creators are born and if you aren’t creative, you aren’t (nothing you can do about it)

James Abinibi: Creativity can’t be taught. You can only learn to be creative all by yourself. Let me explain. First, being creative is a state of mind. If you don’t understand creativity, you can’t appreciate it. Once you understand creativity then your mind is positioned to be able think in that line, you start seeing creativity in everything. Before you push out a work of art, you ask yourself first what’s creative about it? If you can find more than one answers to the question then you are on the right path. The other thing is to make it a habit. You can’t be lazy and be creative. Lailai! No one can force you to be creative except you choose to.

Awetech: Awesome.

Awetech: Final words to entrepreneurs in your niche, particularly those struggling to find their feet….

I’m sure if you ask some people, they’ll tell you they have issues with funding, others the right connections or how to land premium clients

I’m sure you’ve got couple of words for them

James Abinibi: For the young entrepreneurs out there, consistency is Key. If you keep churning out quality works you will attract all sorts of clients but if you stick to your price, the premium clients will stay. And the premium clients will bring more premium clients. You must be ready to persevere as the success you want won’t happen overnight no matter how many connections you have. You need to be ready to put in work and embrace the process.

Awetech: It was amazing having you on Chat Fridays sir

Awetech: We really do appreciate

James Abinibi: thanks

James Abinibi: my pleasure