Oladimeji Ajegbile is a creative who employs different storytelling techniques, including carousels and videos, to pass across unique messages to his audience. Beyond that, he studied architecture at Bells University of Technology, Oota. He also has a master’s degree in Architecture. He practised for about two years before he decided to take a break to venture fully into creating and freelancing. He is a native of Iseyin in Oyo state. He was born and raised in Ibadan, also in Oyo state.
At the young age of 6, Oladimeji decided that he was going to be an Architect. This decision was influenced by the Cocoa house in Ibadan. Oladimeji was one of those kids who would build things with paper and cardboard, break down products and tech items and put them back together. He was very expressive, and one would have expected him to be a full-time Architect by now, but he isn’t.
In this conversation, he took us through his journey from growing, being an Architect to a full-time content creator on Instagram and his plans moving forward.
This conversation has been slightly edited
YellowLyfe Mag: Tell us a little bit about your 9-5 experience and why you decided to switch
Diimeji: Getting into Architecture showed me that there’s more to the creative world than having your eyes fixated on just one aspect. The turning point for me was when I had my first industrial attachment, I was working with a firm when I realized that I didn’t enjoy working there. Though I was skilled, and we executed amazing projects, I just didn’t find fulfilment in that space, being an employee because I am very expressive. When I resumed back to school, I decided that 9-5 was not for me. I decided to explore new areas where I could express myself better, but I needed Capital. I graduated in 2015, after which I started experimenting and exploring various aspects of design and creativity beyond buildings. Then I realized that exploring means experimenting with different things, so I practised Architecture for 2 years. In 2018, I took a hiatus from Architecture to explore fully the world of self-expression and creativity and that has led me to where I am today.
YellowLyfe Mag: There are several other fields that you could have ventured into. Why content creation? What was the motivation?
Diimeji: I would not describe myself as a content creator, though that is the prevalent definition. I am an expressive person who had a message but needed a platform. Social media is the easiest place to target this generation and Instagram is the main platform. It wasn’t content creation for me initially, I just needed a platform to share the knowledge I had and see who would listen. From sharing little designs, I started creating longer content on YouTube. I talked about humans being multi-dimensional. You don’t have to have a single passion; you can explore as much as you want. These led to making it more streamlined and I was on all the platforms, except Twitter. Video is the most prominent form I use because it includes all the other media forms, Audio and writing. Also, before I went fully into creating and expressing myself on social media, I started a business. It was architecture related too but it had a lot of downsides to it, so it failed. I learnt from that and moved on to create other things that are doing way better.
YellowLyfe Mag: What was the reception like when you started and what is it like now?
Diimeji: In the beginning, nobody understood it, I was just sharing my story. Every day, I created a 60-secs vlog of myself working or having meetings, which I shared with little messages and anecdotes for 100 days. At the end of 2019, I wasn’t satisfied with my growth on Instagram, so I removed my followers because they didn’t align with my new goals and started all over. I started making bite-sized that depicted who I was and what I wanted people to know about me. Now, I have a little bit over 100 thousand followers. That is mind-blowing but it is not about the numbers but the impact I am making on people. I love the feedback; it means the messages are reaching millions of people and the message has remained the same.
YellowLyfe Mag: What inspires you daily?
Diimeji: One of my major mantras is that “once one person benefits from something that I shared in a day, I am fulfilled for that day”. The satisfaction that I get from a message changing someone’s life is inspiring. Being able to offer a piece of advice to someone or even be a listening ear is fulfilling in itself.
YellowLyfe Mag: What are some of your favourite things to do?
Diimeji: I like cycling. I’m not an outgoing person but I love adventures. However, it has to be within a closed group of maybe 3-5 persons, I can’t handle anything above that. I also enjoy sleeping in my spare time. I am always working, so I enjoy quality rest when I can. I enjoy spending time with my family as well.
YellowLyfe Mag: Can you describe your journey using five words?
Diimeji: Eccentric, Simple, Progressive, Fulfilling, Evergreen
YellowLyfe Mag: What is the best advice you ever got?
Diimeji: The one that is very dear to my heart is, “You will find your true self in service”. It’s not like you are being a servant or anything, leading people means serving them. The second one I learnt this year, isn’t much of a piece of advice, just a couple of lessons, “You need to know your worth. You should also learn to control your emotions and never settle”.
YellowLyfe Mag: Do you ever get overwhelmed?
Diimeji: Yeah, often. Being creative is overwhelming because a lot of things are poking you in the face, social media, your parents, and friends and you also have to maintain a certain lifestyle. People say work-life balance is achievable, but I disagree because balance is not 50-50, one thing has to give to make life a lot easier. When I get overwhelmed, it means I’m not getting the desired result, but I have learnt that if it is not in my control, then I should just let go and let time take its natural course. I also get overwhelmed when I am impatient with the result that I am trying to achieve. However, I have learnt that the journey is more important than the result. So, I cherish the journey and the little things that happen while on it.
YellowLyfe Mag: What are some of the principles that guide you?
Diimeji: Always put God first. There is this thing that has been on my bio since I opened Instagram and it is, “Christian Creative”. it is a belief that guides everything I do, and I don’t exist outside it. It is also pivotal that I remember that there is a part of me that is not physical, the part that deals more with my intellect, emotion, my will, that part of me has to be taken care of more than any other because that is what drives the physical that people see. I prioritize my health as well.
YellowLyfe Mag: What are some of the challenges that a content creator is likely to face in Nigeria?
Diimeji: Oh my God, there are a lot! We are talking about social pressures which are universal anyway. Then Nigeria’s problems include electricity, internet, not being taken seriously, and working twice as hard just to make an impact. The economy isn’t favourable for creators who invest so many resources financially, emotionally, and mentally but get little results. It is almost like creators are the targets. However, the creators in this generation have thick skin. I am so proud of us because regardless, we are changing narratives.
YellowLyfe Mag: You talked about, “not being taken seriously”, how do you handle that?
Diimeji: Numbers are very important on social media. I made a thread about this on Twitter some time ago talking about how, “only those who have a huge following, or are public figures are listened to on social media”. No matter how important your message is, people won’t listen if your followers are few. So everyone is chasing the numbers and not really building on why they started, thereby losing their essence in the process. However, I have been able to help myself to a point where I am not validated by the numbers that I have or seek to get on these platforms. The day I hit a hundred thousand followers was just a normal day for me, nothing was special. I thought it was amazing but I care more about the people behind those numbers which is why my message or approach hasn’t changed.
YellowLyfe Mag: What is the most interesting thing about creating content?
Diimeji: Oh my God! You have 0.00001% of God’s power, for you to look at a blank canvas, an idea and it becomes tangible. People can listen to, watch and read it, that’s God-like abilities. The best creators say that the video is not the content, the content is the message, so whichever way you choose to deliver it, it came from nothing. However, we carry both a God-like nature and extremely destructive power that could bring down systems if misused. So, I advise people to create carefully.
YellowLyfe Mag: What piece of advice would you give someone looking to start content creation?
Diimeji: I think this is very simple, “Create more! Focus on quantity!”. I’m saying quantity because, “the more you do, the better you get”. So, wanting to perfect it at the beginning is not a solution, because you will just spend months trying to perfect one thing, while somebody else has created fifty of it and has learnt 50 new ways to be better. Create more than you consume and learn from those who have gone ahead, but don’t compare. For instance, before I started in 2018, I did some research about the biggest creators on the planet, not to be them but to learn from them. After this, I amplified my efforts and produced more. I created it every day, and I discovered a new process for Vlogging. Start with what you have as well and then grow in the process.
YellowLyfe Mag: What is the craziest thing you have had to do as a creative?
Diimeji: Umm… I spent over 50,000 naira to make a video and it got only 4000 views.
YellowLyfe Mag: LOL… Sorry, how did that make you feel?
Diimeji: I felt bad because I waited for more than 7 days to achieve the video. I was trying to get a particular footage, but I couldn’t do it on my own. So, I got stock footage, but they were not great, so I bought them. I enjoyed the process though and I had high expectations for the video, but the result was disappointing. So, I formulated a new approach to creating content, where throughout my lifetime, I am going to create a lot of things and there are going to be a lot of masterpieces. This means that what I am working on today must not necessarily be a masterpiece because if I have to wait for it to be, I might not create anything. So, I started thinking this, “what I am working on right now is not my masterpiece, the one for tomorrow will be”. That keeps me on my toes. I stopped worrying when I realized that the videos, I don’t consider are the ones that do best.
YellowLyfe Mag: When do you think it is the right time to stop when something isn’t going right?
Diimeji: The right time to stop is relative to every single person. However, when you realize that the goals you are trying to achieve no longer align with the life you are living now, I think that is a good place to cap it. For instance, I ventured into furniture making for a while. I created some great minimalist designs and contracted a carpenter to produce them. I wanted to have an open room where people could examine them and order. I couldn’t have the open room immediately because I had to write an exam which lasted for 3 weeks. After my exams, I started seeing my designs everywhere. The carpenter had produced and was already selling them. So, my designs were no longer innovative. I couldn’t have the open room anymore, so I learnt from my mistakes and moved on. Imagine if I had pushed further and said, “I think it can still grow”, I would have wasted more money producing more products that were no longer new to the market. So, when you can physically see that there is no progress in it or if it no longer aligns with the life that you currently live or where your life is heading, it might be a good time to take a pause.
YellowLyfe Mag: should we expect from you in the future?
Diimeji: There are a lot of things. I’m currently building a community for creators, it’s a fund, a venture capitalist for creators who intend to make a living, impact and grow professionally in the creator economy but don’t have the resources to start. So basically, what we do is to empower them. So that’s like one of the things in the works for me.
YellowLyfe Mag: What are some of your favourite quotes?
Diimeji: So, I keep a folder of quotes, so I will just read the first three. One says, “A truly wise person knows that communicating complex thoughts in simpler forms is the highest level of discipline”, “We overvalue things we don’t have and undervalue things we do”, and “The thing with being creative is not only about showing up, but also more about allowing your emotions to surface through what you create and show”, “Be the creator you wish would inspire you”.