How Linda Ikeji Started her Blog

I BLOGGED FOR 4 YEARS WITHOUT MAKING ONE KOBO – LINDA IKEJI

How Linda Ikeji Blog Started

How Linda Ikeji Started

Do you want to know how Linda Ikeji started her blog? Yes, Linda Ikeji runs arguably the hottest blog in Nigeria today which attracts close to one million visits from up to 180 countries monthly. She makes average daily revenue of 3000 dollars and the company now a multi-million dollar worth of business. But she never knew she could make money from blogging when she started, she only started it for the fun of it and was very passionate about it. In fact she said she only realized she could make money from her blog after four years of blogging when she got a mail from someone requesting her advert rate. It may also surprise you to note that she only discovered there is anything like blogging just in 2006. So the key question is about how Linda Ikeji blog started?

Read this post to the end. If you do, you will understand how Linda Ikeji Blog started. You will also get the true picture of her present worth. And most importantly you will get insight on how to grow your own blog.

How Linda Ikeji Blog Started
How Linda Ikeji Blog Started

Background

Linda Ikeji was born September 19, 1980 to a modest family in Nkwerre Local Government Area of Imo State. She is the second of seven children. She grew up in a Catholic home. Though the parents were not the richest in town but they could afford a decent life. At a tender age of 10, Linda started writing as a hobby. Linda spent more time writing than playing with other children because was so interested in writing. Luckily for her, the parents were very supportive and encouraging of her hobby.

 

Her friends and family members praised the fictions she penned down and over time she cultivated a passion for news. Linda loved watching newscasters and interviews unlike many teenagers of her age and by the time the opportunity presented to attend university in Lagos, her course choice was decided-Mass Communication. She only wanted to be a journalist, she loves to meet people, interview them and write about them.

Linda Tried a few other things before she started Blogging

Linda was disappointed when the admission list came out and she was offered English Language in the university instead of her preferred Mass Communication. But being who she is, she decided to make the best out of it. To support herself and her family through school, Linda began working at the age of 17, doing everything from being a waitress and ushering, to modelling and bar-tending, none of which paid a lot in the late 90s. She started modeling in 1998 and also worked as a fashion columnist for a struggling celebrity magazine. After two years of toiling in the news room, she quit.

She began her advent into entertainment as a striving model while in UNILAG. She modeled for several brands, including the ‘Rose of Sharon’ label owned by former President of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN) and Nigerian billionaire and oil tycoon, Folorunsho Alakija. Though only 17 when she took to modeling, yet she could feature in some of the most glamorous fashion shows in the country. Talk about St Moritz Style Selection, she was there. She has also been to ECOFEST and done several outdoor advertisements too.

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By the time she graduated from the university in 2004 she was already very popular as a model and she felt it was going to be difficult trying to get into being a journalist, so she just moved on from there. She however did launch her own company in a similar line of business-Blackdove Communications; it’s a modeling agency and event management company.

The name Blackdove she said was inspired by Silverbird-a name and a bird. It so happens that her favourite colour is black and favourite bird is the dove. Incidentally a popular TV channel in Nigeria already goes by the name Silverbird.

But Linda still stayed in her comfort zone which was modeling, so instead of being in front of the camera she went behind it by running an agency, recruiting models, training models, getting jobs for models. She also started what she later described in her first ever blog post as her “true passion”, her magazine called, FM & B.

The first edition of that magazine was released in 2006 and only two more editions made it to print after she discovered how capital-intensive and time-consuming magazine publishing could be. She eventually quit modelling in 2005 to concentrate on the magazine and Blackdove. The modeling agency still exists but Linda is no longer the one running it.

From Bella to Linda

In 2006 Linda casually discovered there is something called blogging.

How did that happen?

How did Linda Ikeji’s blog started? Follow me

A friend of hers had told her that something has been written about her in Bella naija’s blog; probably the most popular blogger in the country as of then. She visited the website-www.bellanaija.blogspot.com, saw the story and the comments from people and she liked what she saw.

For the first time, Linda began to see a new possibility to take her writing to the world. It looked like the closest substitute to journalism and did have all the charm: it was free except for the cost of an internet connection on one’s device, easy to do and gave you instant access to millions of readers from any part of the world. From that first Bella Naija’s blog post, she was literally sold. She took her time to study very well how blog works and almost immediately she was enjoying everything about it. She started blogging fully in 2007 to share things that she was interested in with her readers. That was how Linda Ikeji’s blog started, but that is not all the story.

Linda’s excitement grew when she noticed that from the outset people would read her posts and drop comments, the passion and the love she had for blogging naturally increased and she was really enjoying it, so she kept blogging happily. If Linda is engaged in any other activity she is always looking forward to the next available minute to share the happening gist with her readers.

Money was not the focus at first

Linda never made a dime from blogging when she started and she didn’t actually know she could make money from it, yet she was doing it so diligently that the number of visitors kept growing by the day. She never started blogging with the mindset that it could turn to a business or that she could make some money from it, in fact such a thing never crossed her mind.

How Linda Ikeji started a blog without having the mindset of making money from the beginning sounds like a joke to many. But that is exactly one of the things that helped her succeed without much pressure. She was running it purely as a hobby that she was so passionate about because of the joy she derives from it.

It might sound strange but it remains the truth that she never set any goal for herself when she started (quite unlike typical entrepreneurs). “I didn’t say to myself that okay let me blog now and maybe in five years’ time, I will make money from it. I never imagined that it would ever happen” she affirms.

Her First Income from Blogging

In 2008 and 2009, she was putting free ads on her blog, as part of her post she will just ask readers to bring ads on anything they do and she will place it for free on her blog. But then in 2010 she got a “strange” mail; someone wanted to find out her advert rate, more of such would soon follow from different people and she was like ‘really?’ She didn’t even know what the rate was supposed to be or even the range to consider. So she had to inquire from a few people that were into blogging and they gave her their own advert rates and holla-business started. This is how Linda Ikeji Blog started making money and it has only gotten better since then.

How Linda Ikeji Blog Started
How Linda Ikeji Blog Started

Exponential Growth

Her blog has grown exponentially from the 200 daily visits when she started to close to one million visits today. The huge traffic has also brought her unexpected fortune as she makes over 3000 dollars daily from advert placement only. According to SitePrice.org the blog is now worth an estimated 4 million dollars as at 2015. Linda has earned herself the title ‘Queen of Blogging’ and Forbes Africa described her as a success and a case study for the business of blogging in Africa. She remains a motivational writer with a couple of motivational books to her credit but she has resisted the temptation of delving into public speaking. She maintained that she does her motivational talks through her blog. So sharing the story of how Linda Ikeji’s Blog started is another way of inspiring young people in business.

Made Popular by Controversy

It was clear to Linda when she started that she wanted her blog to be a gossip blog. Though it has grown massively to the point that it is now a regular source of news, entertainment, celebrity gist, gossip and many more, but one thing you should always be very sure to get each time you visit Linda Ikeji Blog (LIB) is the latest gossip in town. Where there is gossip there will surely be controversy. Despite how controversial some of her posts may be, the real controversies were generated from the comments section.  Over-excited readers who are usually from all walks of life will just comment anything they like. A reader once confessed that she visits Linda’s blog to entertain herself with comments from readers. That is actually true of most visitors to the site, so controversy has inadvertently driven traffic to her blog.

Not Moved by Criticism

She is not immune from criticism as is usually the case with anyone who is serving the public and she has received her own share of that, most notably from some celebrities precisely actresses who believe her blog slanders them and also pry into their private lives. But in her defense the one time model said she respects actresses. Though she could be ‘mischievous and naughty’ in the course of serving her readers, she will never go on the blog to insult anyone. “It might be that people say negative things about them (as comments) so invariably they feel that I’m the one instigating it.

Personally, I’ve never insulted any actress on my blog. I just write a gist or put a picture and people start insulting them. You can’t blame me for that” she continued. Linda insisted that those celebrities should not be offended or take such comments seriously, after all, those comments are from anonymous people who they ought not to be bothered about. And her reason was that most of the readers don’t actually mean any harm with their comments but use them just for fun.

Where is Linda Ikeji’s Blog Today?

Linda Ikeji’s Blog started as a hobby. But there is no doubt that it remains the most popular and most visited personal blog in Nigeria today.  Millions of unique visitors throng the blog on a monthly basis. It is a testimony of how far Linda has come that she could afford any luxury she deems necessary for herself. In October 2015, Linda was in the news for acquiring a luxurious building in the exotic Banana Island in Ikoyi Lagos. Many estimated the building to be worth close to 850 million naira.

But it has not just been about Linda.  She has shown enough commitment to the empowerment of young ladies in Nigerian. This commitment was further highlighted in 2015, when she launched a multimillion empowerment initiative, ‘I Would Rather be Safe Made’. The initiative is aimed at empowering young ladies with innovative ideas with startup cash for any entrepreneurial venture they may have.

Advice to would-be Entrepreneurs

In a heart touching public letter to Nigerian ladies in 2015 Linda narrated her experience. It was a story of persistence, hard work, thinking big, believe in God and giving one’s best. Below is an excerpt of the letter in Linda’s own words.

I have been hustling since I left secondary school, started modeling even before I entered university in 1998. Even as a student I was running a modeling agency and made it a full-time business after I left university. The determination was there and I never doubted the fact that one day I would succeed. And please do not think this happened over night.

I Have told you how Linda Ikeji Blog started after almost every other thing failed and how it took time to grow.

I’ve been blogging since 2006, but for the first four years I made nothing. God, consistency and hard work brought me here today.

Up until five years ago, I was a struggling entrepreneur. I can’t tell how many offices in Lagos I sat for hours waiting to see who could support my business. But I never made it beyond the reception of those offices most times. But I refused to give up and I never stopped believing and here I am today.

You too can be this…you can be better than this. No dream is too big, no dream is too small, no mountain is too high…it’s all in your mind. It’s all up to you. If you believe in you, in your God who is guiding you, then the sky is your starting point. Please stop waiting for a man to give to you, put food on your table and put clothes on you. I promise you, you can do it for yourself.

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Start thinking big, believe in yourself, be creative and start working. Realize that your dreams are valid…and nobody will make your dreams come true except you. Find what you are good at. Find something that you are passionate about. Work hard at it. Be consistent. Be patient. Start young. Even if you’re not young, it’s never too late! Unfortunately, a lot of our young girls aren’t patient. Some of them are lazy, they want it quick and fast but it doesn’t work like that. Success takes time – takes hard work-takes passion-takes consistency-but more than anything else, it takes the grace of God.

She Continues

When you get your first breakthrough as an entrepreneur you don’t need to stop working. Personally, I make enough money to hire people to work on this blog while I go do other things. I can go and enjoy myself…but I don’t do that. I’m up while some of you are sleeping, and already blogging before some of you wake up. I don’t take this for granted because I know that to stay on top, I have to constantly work. I also know that nobody will be as dedicated as I am because this is not their own thing. It’s mine and I have to keep feeding it. So I’m constantly here! Young ladies, I promise you…you too can do this.

Sincerely, nothing is an excuse for being a mediocre or a disgrace to womanhood, not even your poor family background. Trust me, I knew poverty. Did you know I lived in Idi-oro, Mushin for 15 years? I once lived on ‘puff puff’ and garri for weeks in UNILAG.  I was supposedly a top model but nobody knew what I was going through up until when I was 25? Did you live in Mushin? Eh, so what’s your excuse?

Finally

I can’t say some things here for my family’s privacy but here I am today because I never doubted myself.  Not for once did I allow the doubters to distract me. I knew that the God I serve will never let me down. The road was long, sometimes very frustrating, sometimes painful, but look at me now. God did it for me because He saw that I was willing! Because I am a woman, I must make unusual effort to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, “She doesn’t have what it takes”.  They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes.”

LIB is one of the 25 businesses featured in HOW THEY STARTED by Kachi Ogbonna
LIB features in HOW THEY STARTED by Kachi Ogbonna along with other 24 businesses

The story of how Linda Ikeji Blog started and the tenacity of purpose she displayed has inspired me personally. I hope you are inspired also.

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