Creator Spotlight is a weekly series celebrating young Nigerians in the creative industry doing unique things. Everyone has a story, and Zikoko wants to tell it.

Hi. I’m Hamda.

I’m 25, IJN. COVID stole two years of my life, so that may or may not be my actual age. I’m very crafty and hands-on. If I were a cartoon character, I’d be Bob the Builder. I illustrate, create videos, write and make outfits. I just like making shit. I think the content I create is vibes. I play a lot. I don’t take life too seriously, and I think it translates into my content. It gives off “joy”. 

You have the prettiest name. Is there a story there?

This name thing! I was named after my paternal grandmother. She’s late now, and I genuinely liked her. She was so full of life. The kind of grandma who went to parties every weekend. My government name is Oladoyin Hamdallah Odukoya. I started using Hamdallah in uni because I’ve always liked my middle name, but Nigerians always mispronounce and misspell it, so I shortened it to Hamda.

Oh, I can definitely relate to that. When did you officially begin your content creator journey?

In 2021. For me it was two things: I wanted to go out more, and I wanted to document my journey. I’d heard people say I would do well as a creator because of my personality. Plus, I used to work in an agency, and the influencers’ rate cards used to wow me. I couldn’t wrap my head around how posting one video got them one million naira. So, I sat down one day and just decided I’m going to be a creator.

You’re so real for that. Do you remember your first project?

My first collaboration project was for a hair brand. They shared a promo package with me, and I’ll always remember it fondly because I felt recognised. I did an unboxing video instead of a ‘get ready with me’ and found an engaging way to tell the story.

Does what you do tie in with what you studied in school?

Nope. My parents paid school fees for me to study architecture o! I even did a masters. Last month, my uncle still called me to explain why architecture is the truth and the light, but I know I can never return to it. I quit my architecture job in 2019 because that thing was sucking my blood. I’d gotten to the point where I was dreading going to work every day. It was just depressing. I sha took a risk and quit, but the plan was to find another Architecture job. A number of interviews later, lockdown happened, and I was stuck at home. I was applying for jobs remotely, learning new architecture software — and scrolling aimlessly through social media like the rest of us. 

I found content marketing by mistake. I saw one ad for digital marketing course on Instagram. I found it interesting, and it sounded like something I could do, so I applied. That was the start of my content journey.

Why did you limit “The Lagos Tourist” to Lagos?

Omo, I’ve always been within or around Lagos. I was born in Mowe, Ogun state, but my primary school was in Lagos. We used to wake up at 4:30 a.m., and my mum would drive my siblings and I to Lagos from 6:00 everyday. Lagos is home in a way. All my friends are in Lagos. I did my NYSC in Lagos. Lagos is in my blood. 

I love Lagos, but omo, this city needs help. How did you catch the traveling bug?

If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “Omo, get inside,” that was me. I think it’s one of the major reasons I’m an explorer as an adult. How did I start travelling? Depression, bro. 2019 to 2020 was the most mentally draining period of my life. I just knew I needed to get outside more. It started from taking morning and evening walks, and I saw how that uplifted my mood. 

I wanted to travel, but Nigeria and sapa did not allow me to be great. So, I decided to explore locally, and I began to go to different places once or twice weekly. It was generally feel-good, and it helped with my state of mind. 

What are some of the best projects you’ve worked on?

The most exciting one so far was my first trip. I think I’m very sentimental about it because it was a reassurance that my community actually sees me, the way they showed up for me. We went to Omu Resort, and it was the first time I organised an event, so I kept stressing over the tiny details. But it turned out well, and I used it as a template for future trips.

Has it been smooth sailing ever since?

 I still struggle with taking risks. For every major risk I’ve taken, there was some external push. It shocks me how much people believe in my skills sometimes. 

What’s the most and least you’ve charged to create content?

The least I’ve gotten paid for content was ₦30k. The most I’ve charged was  ₦1m.

How do you price these things?

I have a rate card that states the cost of each content format — reels, feed post, story and in-person appearance. In the end, it all boils down to negotiation between me, my manager and the client. We agree on the content type and projected timelines. I always require creative freedom because I work best when my mind is free. We send an invoice, and alert ma wole.

Have you ever regretted taking a bet on yourself with content creation? 

I never really regret anything because I tend to do things with my chest. I have a coconut head, and it comes with the package. I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made because I make more money as a content creator than from my 9-5. But I still feel like I’m just starting out. I have some structure, with two managers — a talent manager who helps with daily content and client negotiations, and an events manager who plans my trips and experiences. 

Initially, I would create content blindly, but I’m finally hacking the monetisation aspect of it and how to leverage communities. I’ve not neared my peak yet.

Why is it important for you to be managed by two people?

I used to have one manager to manage me and the event side of things. But I realised how hard it was to balance. She was really great on the client management side, but the events kept suffering.

And although I’m not a fulltime creator yet, I work like one. So the pressure was a lot. I was burning out quickly, and it was telling on my work across board. 

I had to hire the events manager. Now, I handle creating the actual content — scripting, shooting, video editing. One manager helps with contract negotiation, responding to mails and generally getting brands to approach “The Lagos Tourist” brand. And the other does things like location scouting and vendor management. Sometimes, we’re intertwined. Everybody chips in on content and gives feedback.

How do you stay so relatable?

I think I’ve hacked Nigerian storytelling. We like drama, we like gist — this helps me craft my scripts properly. I’m also always on social media, so I know what’s trending in the country. It’s basically just staying abreast with cultural trends and telling that story with my brand voice.

Any longterm projects we should expect?

Yes! Just know it involves plenty of group travels. I also want to delve into podcasting, but I can’t tell you much about it now because it’s still in the development phase.

What’s something you’d have done differently now that you know better?

Three things. First, I would’ve put out content on TikTok and YouTube from day one. My Instagram page growth has been amazing, but I know if I’d just repurposed the content for TikTok and YouTube shorts, I would’ve grown my page across board. Doing it now feels like a chore. Na every time my manager dey drag me.

Another thing is, I would’ve reached out for more collaborations when I first started. I’m a generally shy person even though nobody ever believes me when I say so. It was only when other creators started reaching out for collabs that I realised the importance of it. I’m still a shy girl, but I’ve been accepting more invitations and intentionally asking people whose content I resonate with for potential collabs.

The third thing I would’ve done differently is charge enough from the start. If I had been communicating with other creators, I could’ve asked them what they charged at what point. In the creator economy, nobody really knows what anybody else charges, and when you first start out, you’re never sure if you’re overcharging or undercharging. So, yeah, I definitely would’ve asked fellow creators more questions. 

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Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.