What does it mean to be a man? Surely, it’s not one thing. It’s a series of little moments that add up. Man Like is a weekly Zikoko series documenting these moments to see how it adds up. It’s a series for men by men, talking about men’s issues. We try to understand what it means to “be a man” from the perspective of the subject of the week.
Today’s Man Like is Fisayo Fosudo, a Youtuber, finance enthusiast and tech reviewer. He talks about how reading helped him navigate life, his discouraging early days as a tech reviewer and finally breaking out to become one of Nigeria’s most viewed YouTuber.
What was growing up like for you?
It was all right. My parents ensured we were taken care of even when they were going through unemployment, changing jobs or schooling.
My father is a lecturer but had to take a job as a photographer at some point. It’s funny how my grandfather was a photographer, my father had to take up photography and I’m now a vlogger. Runs in the family, I guess.
What’s your relationship with your father like?
I grew up with a strict father. In 2013, in my second year, my exam script somehow went missing, so I failed the course. My dad was so mad at me, he locked me up in the library of the school where he lectures from morning till evening. He did this every day for the whole break. I hated it at the time, but I ended up having a 4.9 GPA the following semester, so I guess it paid off. Now, we’re close friends. We talk about everything.
At what point did you realise “I have to crack this life thing by myself?”
Fortunately for me, I started reading early. I come from a family of readers, but the person who really got me into reading was my uncle. I looked up to him for everything, I think he’s the coolest person ever. He read all the time, drew art really well and was really into buying gadgets. He gave me a flash drive with tons of books and told me to read as many as I could. He would always tell me that whatever I do, I should never be idle. I should always be getting value from something. Is what I’m doing right now good for my goals? What can I consume right now that would add value to me? Books, tutorials, seminars — anything that adds value to me, I consume voraciously.
Reading motivational and self-help books made me realise that I could build wealth for myself. If these authors could be multimillionaires and have business empires, why couldn’t I? That’s when I woke up from my slumber. I was 19. Reading a lot of books helped me navigate life because I was able to apply the experiences and lessons from the books. I’m glad he made me read.
Which book has been the most impactful to you?
Mastery by Robert Greene. It teaches a lot about being deliberate about work and letting it speak for you. I’ve read it more than seven times. I should read it again. It helped me get my first job straight out of uni.
How did that happen?
I had designed the flyers and banners for a finance career fair that was happening in the school. On a whim, I decided to go, even though I was more interested in graphic design than in finance, the core area of the career fair. Long story short, some attendees from Price Waterhouse Coopers were impressed with the work I did and my involvement in the career fair that they recommended me for a job with a newly-established startup, Max.ng. That’s how I got hired straight out of school by the best bosses ever.
You sound like a real fanboy.
They were great employers and they saved my ass once. In 2015, I ordered video equipment worth $5k. I had saved for an entire year to get the money. The Nigerian Customs seized it and demanded that I paid $1k within a short period or else I would lose my gadgets. There was no way I could have come up with the money in the time they gave me, so I approached my bosses to ask for three months’ salary advance to cover the fees. My bosses thought that wasn’t fair and instead dashed me half of the money to help release my gadgets.
How did the tech reviewing start?
With the gear I bought, I started making tech review videos on YouTube in 2016. It was such a long and arduous journey. Someone once told me that I was wasting my time because there were more popular tech reviewers like Marques Brownlee
After spending so much on filming equipment and uploading many videos, I wasn’t getting views. I started thinking that person was right. Maybe I really couldn’t do it. But I pressed on.
And then what changed?
Slowly, I gained more subscribers. It took me four years to reach 100,000 subscribers. But I’ve gained another 94,000 subscribers since January 2021. I came up with the plan for Finance Fridays, a weekly segment where I break down difficult financial topics and concepts easily enough for the average Joe to understand. The growth of my channel has been near unbelievable, and I wish I could see the face of the person who told me I’d never become a successful Youtuber. I’m glad I didn’t listen to them.
What’s been the biggest challenge growing your channel?
Omo, it’s NEPA o. Having to constantly deal with power interruptions and my neighbours running their generators makes recording frustrating. Fortunately, I’ve just moved to somewhere with regular electricity, so I’m looking forward to that not being a challenge anymore. It still blows my mind that an Ajegunle boy is now making moves in Lekki.
Do you have long-term goals, both for yourself and your channel?
For my channel, I’d like to produce even more content. To learn even more. My Finance Friday series forces me to read wide and deep about various topics in order to write solid scripts for my videos. I’m passionate about making people more knowledgeable about their finances.
What’s the hardest thing about being a Youtuber?
Consistency. It’s taken five years to get here. Imagine if I had quit last year. There’s nothing more important than being consistent in your chosen field.
Interesting. What’s the best thing you’ve learned since starting Finance Fridays?
The power of savings. There was a year where I saved 70% of all the income I received in that year. In hindsight, that might have been overzealous because I was always broke and couldn’t afford the things I needed. But at the end of that year, I had a lot of money. I balled like mad. From my savings, I travelled to Dubai, bought everything on my Amazon wishlist and still had a healthy account balance. I’m a big believer in the power of savings.
Big baller. Tell me something random about you.
I’m a huge fan of music. I spend a lot of my money on paying for music production apps. In secondary school, I was part of a music group called the Candyboys. We performed M.I’s Anoti and our own song which we wrote.
Maybe you would have won a Grammy by now if you had continued down that line.
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