On this episode of chat Friday’s we feature a young man who isn’t new in the industry; he is setting the pace as the founder of UnilagGist and Lagos Life. He went down memory lane and it’s definitely something you will enjoy; 

Awetech: May we meet you?

Tomiwa Talabi: My name is Talabi Tomiwa, I’m a social media expert, brand influencer and also the CEO, founder of Lagos life (@Lagoslife), UnilagGist (@UnilagGist).

Awetech: Great; would you dig in a little more on your background and what growing up was like?

Tomiwa Talabi: I’m the first born of 2, growing up wasn’t all that fun; ‘cos I’m from a very strict family, My mum is a teacher, My dad is also a teacher and also a part-time pastor so you can imagine how tough growing up was like for me, but we thank God, all the toughness was for me to be a better person, and I’m sure I’m going the right path already.

Awetech: Did you always have the dream of doing the social media?

Tomiwa Talabi: Not really, I started realizing my passion for Social media in 2009, I could spend my entire day just checking Facebook. Didn’t know you could make money off it until later, was just doing it for the fun then. 

Awetech: So; what was starting up like? Did you meet up with people or attend any special events or trainings?

Tomiwa Talabi: Sometimes in 2010, my cousin hit me up she was like there’s this guy called “BigTimi“, he owned a blog and he needed twitter accounts with over 1000 followers that will be tweeting feeds from his blog, as at this time I was in SS 3, my twitter wasn’t doing bad then. I had over 1000 followers, so I signed up for it. Although I didn’t meet the guy all through this period. *fast forward to when I got admission into Unilag in 2012* as at this time I was still doing freelance with BigTimi but was low key learning one or two about blogging until I decided to start up a blog myself then “tommyzeeblog.blogspot.com” (Tommyzee was my nickname *covers face*), i got a couple of jobs via that platform too, but I wasn’t feeling the whole idea of “Tommyzee” LOL, like what is a Tommyzee, After few weeks of brainstorming “UnilagGist” came and miraculously we got a proper website. And that was it. I remember I didn’t even own a laptop then, I’d run from my hostel to my friend ‘s (Mikado) hostel whenever there’s hot new gist to post. His laptop was very useful back then.

Awetech: So, the journey wasn’t all that smooth? How about funding?

Tomiwa Talabi: Not at all. did a lot of free jobs back then? When UnilagGist started, it started as a social media platform just Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so we really didn’t need funds to run all those! There was this faithful day I was tweeting at the faculty and there was this guy (Pelumi) he asked if I was the one in charge of the “already getting famous UnilagGist” I said Yes! He was like wow! He then asked if there was a website for it I told him No, it was expensive to get a website. He offered to build a website for it, lo and behold the website was ready in less than a week. He has been the one funding that aspect till date. (God bless Pelumi)

Awetech: Great; starting was Divine for you then, did you get support from home?

Tomiwa Talabi: Lol. No!!! I said earlier that my parent are teachers so they were just all about me facing my studies and that alone.

Awetech: So far so good how has the journey been?

Tomiwa Talabi: It’s been awesome, trust me! I’ve met different people that I never even dreamt of meeting, I’ve slept in the same house with some people I grew up watching on TV, I’ve worked with so many top brands I can’t even remember … it’s been wonderful. It can only be God.

Awetech: Wow!! Wow!! How did you grow your circle of influence; was it just the social media that helped out?

Tomiwa Talabi: Yes! It got to a stage where people just wanted to know the face behind the brand, so that way they tend to follow me across all my social media accounts, that was my audience started growing.

Awetech: What do you think of Internet/online entrepreneurship in Nigeria? Do you think we are doing fine?

Tomiwa Talabi: Sure. We aren’t there yet but then to an extent we are doing very fine, my problem is most of these upcoming acts these days don’t want to pay after budgeting for studio sessions and high quality video, some of them will tell you they didn’t budget for social media and all of that, people should start seeing the importance of social media marketing, not just seeing, they should also appreciate it.

Awetech: In a few words; tell us about the explore Lagos tour

Tomiwa Talabi: Hmm. The Explore Lagos Tour is one of the many Lagos life projects, we’ll be Exploring different cool spots in Lagos one after the other, we had our first edition and it was a huge success, we visited the Lekki Conservation Centre, more than 50 tourists were on board. Here’s a clip of what went down – HERE …Looking forward to the next.

Awetech: Great innovation; I must commend you in this feat, have you got any words for startups?

Tomiwa Talabi: Just do you, keep doing what you love doing as long as it’s the right thing it will definitely pay off, be unique, be consistent.

Awetech: And finally, we would like to know; what drives you, what inspires you and what keeps you going?

Tomiwa Talabi: God, prayer is the key! and support and advice from a few friends.

Awetech: Thanks for your time

Tomiwa Talabi: Thanks for having me!