When smart people see a great opportunity with a potentially bright future they leave off whatever they are doing to develop and grow that opportunity, no matter what friends and family think. Leaving a bank job to face blogging seems a huge joke in Nigeria and anyone who does that might be seen as needing mental checkup by family and friends. Well, someone who believes in a potential will not think of looking back for any reason. This was what Laila Obiagwu did and her brave decision led to one of the most thriving blogs in Nigeria, LailasBlog. Her story will inspire you.
Who is Laila Obiagwu?
Laila Ijeoma Uzochinyere Obiagwu is a multi-talented writer, blogger and motivational speaker who operates one of the most widely visited blogs in Nigeria. She was born in Aba, Abia state, Nigeria on August 12th, 1984. Laila left banking in 2017 to focus on blogging and this story did not go down well with people around her but she has since proved them wrong. She is a huge brand in Nigeria today.
Laila hails from Owerri, Imo state. She is the first child of her parents, from a Catholic home. She grew up in Abia state where she had her primary and secondary education. She attended Ninlan Demonstration Secondary School Aba (1994-1996), and Abia State Senior Science School Ihie (1997-1999). She then proceeded to Federal University of Technology, Owerri where she studied Chemical Engineering between 2000 and 2005.
Laila’s career has interesting twists and turns that will definitely inspire anyone to follow their minds and focus on building any dream they have. In 2006, during her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme, Laila was employed first as a corp member in one of the top new generation banks in Nigeria. After her NYSC service year, she moved up to being an Executive Assistant with the bank. It was while working as a banker that she created her celebrity gossip and entertainment website, LailasBlog.com in 2013. Before then, she had created her first blog in 2012 as a prank. She later abandoned that blog in 2013 for Lailasnews.com, which is a Nigerian news site that publishes latest news stories happening in Nigeria and beyond. LailasBlog gradually became very popular and has grown to become a leading source for diverse news and life style stories about Nigeria and other countries across the world.
Resigning from a bank job to focus on blogging was one of the biggest and most controversial decisions Laila has ever made. She shocked family and friends when she made this decision to leave her bank job as an Assistant Banking Officer, on June 30th, 2016 to focus on blogging. Today she looks back and commends herself for taking that decision. She says she has no regrets whatsoever after leaving and there’s every evidence to show she was very correct in taking that decision. She abandoned a banking job that reportedly paid her over N5million per annum to become a full time blogger focusing on entertainment and other stories. She risked everything to take a gamble on her passion and it paid off.
When her friends, family, parents saw she wasn’t going to quit blogging and that she had prepared for the worst, they had no option but to rally round and support her decision to leave banking. This support made her stronger and focused on pursuing her passion. She says her income tripled after she became a successful blogger.
According to Laila, in an interview with Vanguard, “I started blogging as a joke in 2012; I wasn’t looking for money because I was already gainfully employed at that time. All I wanted was an outlet to share my life with Nigerians, inspire them with my stories. So I started a Facebook group called, ‘True love for my man’- that should be around 2010.” That Facebook group was her first social media platform which she used to gather people and they chatted about love and heartbreak.
Laila also worked briefly as a radio presenter because she had always dreamt of owning a popular talk show. She had to abandon it at a point because it was too demanding. She then met a colleague in the bank who had a blog and requested to be introduced to blogging. She said she wanted to have her own blog and that was how her journey into blogging began.
Laila’s stoy shows that patience is one of the major keys to successful blogging. This is a big lesson you can learn from her biography. According to Laila, “If your main reason for blogging is money and you have no patience for earning it, then you’re not going to earn from blogging at all.”
Laila is one of the personalities in Nigeria who have happy homes and have stayed away from marital controversies which often characterize the life of female celebrities in the country. She got married in Lagos State on November 15th, 2008. The marriage is blessed with 3 sons.
Laila also loves philanthropic work a lot and has an innate passion for helping the needy, especially kids. She says she has a huge passion for taking care of orphans and vulnerable children, kids under the age of 18 years who are at high risk of lacking adequate care and protection. At a point she had up to 10 kids under her care, apart from her biological kids. This is a way she is giving back to the society.
Awards and Recognition
Laila’s achievements in blogging have been recognized by various organizations. She has numerous awards among which is the Most Promising Social Media Personality of the Year won in 2014 at the Pan African Humanitarian Award which held in Dubai. She also won Entertainment Blogger of the Year Award in 2017 at the Nigerian Writers Awards (NWA).
Laila was nominated for Best Entertainment Blog in the Nigerian Blog Awards in 2014. She also got nominated for Best Blogger (SME/Online Editor) at the 2014 Exquisite Lady of the Year (ELOY) Awards. In 2016, she was named among the 100 Most Influential Nigerian Writers Under 40.
Her Advice on the Big Secret of Having Successful Career Blogging
For those of you who want to become bloggers but you’re wondering whether it is actually worth it, in view of the frustrations that bloggers face, Laila has a very big secret for you on how you can succeed as a blogger. Here’s what she said: “As long as you are a passionate blogger, as long as you are in blogging because you enjoy what you are doing, as long as your blog, its concept, its contents are original, not a rip off of another blogger’s website; blogging is the best thing that can ever happen to you. The rewards will blow your mind! It’s already an open secret that blogging can make you a billionaire. You get lots of free stuff from brands too. People just call you up. They want to advertise on your website and they are handing out their products and services to you for free so you can review them and share with your readers. Then you have 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 so addicted to your blog that they wake up in the morning and can’t wait to read what is on Laila’s Blog today. As a blogger, you can comfortably work from home in your pyjamas.”
You might not see financial returns initially but you don’t have to relent once you know you’re enjoying whatever you’re doing. That’s another lesson you can learn from Laila’s story. “My traffic didn’t translate to so much money till 2014. That was the year this particular company contacted me and ran an advert with me that lasted for a full year and changed my life,” she told Vanguard newspaper in one of the most inspirational interviews she has granted to any news platform.
Even if you don’t want to go into blogging, this comment on secrets of success from Laila can take you to the breakthrough you dream of. She is simply saying consistence in what you’re passionate about will definitely pay off in whatever you’re doing.
Laila’s story is truly inspirational. It is one of the biographies you should read and recommend to others who want to actualize a dream even against all odds, no matter how ‘juicy’ your current job is. This story will teach you that there’s always a better tomorrow and you should believe in any dream you have despite your current job.
You might be saying you know nothing about writing or about a particular thing you want to focus on. Well, that was the same experience Laila had which she didn’t allow to stop her. She said when she started blogging she was never serious about it but when she saw how it was turning out good she knew that was what she was born to do: “I didn’t even take it seriously then. But as I kept on sharing stories, and I read comments from my audience, I knew this was what I was born to do. I have always been a science student in school, I knew nothing about blogging, and I had zero celebrity friends, zero celebrity sources for my stories but I didn’t let that stop me.” This comment coming from one of the best in the blogging industry should inspire you to ensure your dream does not die for any reason.
Laila is a role model to several younger Nigerians who want to become entrepreneurs by following whatever they are passionate about.