If you base your life on the celebrities you follow, you are making a big mistake - Ike Nathaniel



Nathaniel Ike, UBA and Itel Ambassador and 2018 Osun Campus King (culture and tourism) shares his thoughts on our life interview series.



NNI: Can we meet you?

Guest: I'm Nathaniel Ike, a graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University. I'm a brand influencer and  entrepreneur who has tried luck in many enterprises before now - from photography, graphics and web design and sale of customized necklaces (jewelries). I never had the intention of being an influencer from the start. My business (photography) led me to being an influencer.

NNI: How did Social Media Influencing begin for you?

Guest: Photography was a hobby for me. At the time, my outlet was Agozyke Photo world, but it is now rebranded as Da Fotographie world. It was while I was looking for customers and promoters for my business that I started the "influencing thing" I did it mainly to grow my business. When I founded OAU Trends, it wasn't for the whole community at first, but for my business. When it became something that people started to reckon with, I had no choice than to make it more open to the community.

oau trends Nathaniel Ike on Neloc News


NNI: How has the entrepreneurship journey been for you so far?

Guest: The entrepreneurship journey hasn't been easy. Starting up a business and familiarizing myself with the new environment (school) then gave me lots of concerns. I worked under someone while in Port Harcourt before I gained admission. I got all exposures there. I started OAU Trends to support my business before it eventually grew even beyond my expectations. Thinking of how to satisfy customers could also prove difficult. I did bespoke necklace business in 200 level in school  just to make as a side hustle. And It hasn't been easy, but with hard work and diligence, God has been faithful.






NNI: In managing multiple businesses while as a student, how did you manage your time and balance academics and extra curricular activities?

Guest: Joggling businesses with school work was really tasking. Sometimes I would have tests the next morning and still run deliveries during the day. I had to make up for it by reading overnight while I satisfy my customers. I'm not an outdoor person- most people don't know though. I stay indoors most times, so I barely engage in extra curricular activities.

NNI: What is your worst business experience?

Guest: My worst business experience was in 100 level. I tried to train some persons in photography and spent a lot to make the training a success- publicity (printed handbills and all) and even rented a projector. Sadly only 2 people showed up and I made a huge loss. It was a really devastating experience, though that didn't stop me from moving ahead.

NNI: You are a brand ambassador to major companies, how have you managed influence?

Guest: I have been and I currently am a brand ambassador to many companies, mostly within Osun State. I don't see it as a big deal. Anyone can do it. I see it as you trying to network and get opportunities for yourself and future. Also in the past,  I've trained people on the tips that  could help them in becoming brand ambassadors for any company around. Infact, I am currently writing a book on that which will be published soon. It's a work in progress. I don't think being a brand ambassador is made for some particular set of individuals. It's just about you being qualified - an expertise in a field, online presence and the readiness to serve. Of course, while working with brands,  people will  want to relate with you and you'd make a lot of friends. I just see it as everyone trying to help themselves.

Read: OAU Final Year Student sentenced to Jail for Cybercrime

 


NNI: On Youth Development and growth in Nigeria, do you think we are making progress?

Guest: I feel we are not making progress at all. Most youths today have a poor mentality about life, seeing the fact that you drive a car or spend money lavishly as success. This is why most youths are desperate to make money at all costs and some eventually go into horrible and dubious things.
Nathaniel Ike and The Nathaniel Ike Foundation Project

It is heartbreaking that an individual who spent 4-5 years in school and earned a degree- B.sc or B.A goes back home only to be employed by those who didn't go to school. This is mainly because most youths lack skills, they have this fantasy of a job awaiting them meanwhile we all know there are no jobs anywhere in the country. 
I see the need to making provision for the youths to learn one or two skills, it would really help them. The essence of going to school is to get learned and being skillful and being learned gives you an edge over others. Karl Marx said practice without theory is blind and theory without practice is barren. The Nigerian educational system is mainly theoretical I must say.



NNI: The Social Media has great influence on youths- positive and negative. How do you think one can make good use of Social Media?

Guest: I think social media has both positive and negative influence on youths, but it depends on what you as a person wants. We watch the lifestyle of some celebrities and try to emulate them. I see social media as an entirely different world that is vague and fake. If you base your life on the celebrities you follow or are fond of , then you are  making a big mistake.

Everyone tries to look like a god and look perfect on social media. We need to understand that most of the things we see on social media are not real but exaggerated, everything is for the gram like they usually say and everyone wants to shine.

On the positive side, a lot of opportunities are on social media but it would be open to you only if you are looking for them. Most of the deals I got are from social media. For example, I applied for the UBA ambassadorship via social media. You need to figure out what you want. Who you follow also matters. Things on social media aren't really the way we take them to be and trying to emulate them could mislead you. Another benefit of social media is that it gives you opportunity to showcase your talent and business for free, I mean it's a platform for the talented ones to showcase their talents and also they can build a fan base from there as well.




NNI: You run a Non- Governmental Organisation. How do you give back to the society?
Nathaniel, giving back to society

Guest: The aim of my NGO (Nathaniel Ike Foundation) is to reach out to the youths. This is in line with goals 1, 4, 8 and 9 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS), we aim to empower generations professionally and skillfully, thereby becoming valuable wherever they find themselves. Our core concern is for those who are in school. The fact that you are in school means you should be better than those who didn't go to school because of the privilege you have. But the reverse is the case most times. Someone out of school is in business and making money while the other in school is just learning. While it's good to learn, the need for skillfulness in this age cannot be over emphasized. That is one of the key areas my NGO aims to address. We wish to bring up an initiative that will provide for experts in various fields to come and train students in various tertiary institutions for free. Fields like tailoring, web designing, photography and so on. But we obviously can't do this alone. We need funds and support I must say to make this a reality. A lot of people have interests in a lot of things but they feel school is holding them down. But there should be need for them to know that with time management and determination they can train and equip themselves to be exemplary in any  field of interest  they like. Also, most of us (Youths) don't know what we want. We jump around, trying different things and not mastering any. Don't get me wrong, it is possible to love a lot of things and do all these things at once. But most of us only jump around doing these different things because we see some of our mates doing them and making it, not because we really love what we are doing. How about we start doing things because we love them and be masters in whatever we choose to do? In summary I wish to support youths in tertiary institutions to achieve their dreams in the vocational aspect as well as educational.


NNI: Do you see yourself as a celebrity or an influencer?

Guest: Haba! I have never seen myself as a celebrity. I see myself as an influencer instead. I influence people to be better - entrepreneurs especially by connecting them with the right customers. It is not proper to live on mere hypes.. just get results and help others get theirs.
And as an influencer, my vision is to help entrepreneurs  & business owners (both young  and old) boost their sales by getting lead engagements and connecting them to potential customers.



NNI: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Guest: In the next 5 years, I hope to have made impact on a lot of people with my NGO. I hope to have been successful by then- being successful to me isn't measured by what you have in your bank account, but how much impacts that are being made. Very importantly, I want to see myself settling down, that is setting up my family and also go into real estate management. That's one field I'd like to explore but I'm still looking forward to that.



NNI: What is your advice to fellow young individuals?

Guest: My advice to the young ones is to be positive in whatsoever you want to do. Never compare yourself with anyone.  Do what's right  to you without concern for criticisms, they are actually bound to come because if no one is talking about you then you are nobody.  Don't let SETBACK let you down. SETBACK is just a preparation for a COMEBACK.
We all are bound to face challenges at one point in time - definitely it's just a process and it cannot remain for too long. Very importantly, don't follow the crowd, be outstanding and have a creative mind. Make decisions that would affect you positively.  Be a positive influence. If you're a tailor, be unique learn more and more and bring up new designs. Be creative and innovative in your ways, don't just follow trends.


NNI: Thank you very much for your time.
Guest: Thank you very much.

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