#NairaLife: This Gen Z Knows How to Use Her Network to Increase Her Income

June 20, 2022

Every week, Zikoko seeks to understand how people move the Naira in and out of their lives. Some stories will be struggle-ish, others will be bougie. All the time, it’ll be revealing.


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The content writer on this week’s NairaLife made ₦65k monthly at her first job in 2020. Two jobs later, she’s on $2,500. How? She has a solid network and knows how to use it.

What’s your earliest memory of money?

Nothing stands out as a memory until my dad started battling prostate cancer. Before that, we were comfortable. Not rich, just comfortable. If I told my dad I wanted an iPad, I’d have to wait months before I got it, but I’d still get it. 

I just know we were okay until I turned 13 in 2014. 

That’s when cancer showed up?

Yes. My dad was diagnosed, and we had to spend money to take care of him. Some of his tests cost around ₦500k, and my mum had to cover it all.  The first time I saw him at the hospital, I cried.  

It got to a point where we couldn’t even afford to hospitalise him so we brought him home. My older brother would bathe him then change his clothes and the pipe he used to ease himself. 

The first time his illness would’ve affected my life was in my first semester in uni. I met my mum about pausing my education so my siblings could finish theirs. 

Ah, so you’re the first born 

No, I’m the fourth born and I have a younger brother. 

So why…

My older siblings were either in their final or penultimate years, so it made sense for them to finish before I started. 

My mum didn’t agree sha. Whatever she and my older siblings did for us to survive during that period, I don’t know till today, but I appreciate it. 

Even after he died in 2019, we still had to spend money to transport ourselves and his body down to our hometown for the funeral. Crazy times. 

I’m so sorry for your loss

Thank you. My mum struggled to pay my school fees and buy books. Thankfully, my dad’s friend helped us through the first few years after he died. Whenever school resumed, he’d send me ₦100k, then I got ₦50k on a monthly basis during the semester. He even got me my first laptop.

Later that year, I met a friend who wouldn’t stop trying to get me into tech. He’s a programmer, so at first, he tried to make me learn coding, but I just wasn’t getting it no matter how hard I tried.

Did you stop trying?

Yes o. Sometime in 2019, I attended an event he was speaking at, and a tech founder I’d always admired from afar was there. I introduced myself to him afterwards. Over time, we built a mentor-mentee relationship. He saved me from the illusion that being in tech means you have to know how to code. 

How?

He explained to me that there are a lot of jobs in tech that don’t involve writing code. An example was content writing, and that’s what I decided to do.

Were you already a writer?

Not professionally, no. But I knew I could be because I used to write random essays in secondary school. To add to that, my mentor showed me a few online courses on content writing to sharpen my technical skills.

In early 2020, I saw a link on my friend’s WhatsApp status. It was a job vacancy for a content writer at some US-Nigerian startup. At first, I didn’t want to apply, but that friend put pressure on me. I got the job. 

Let me guess, plenty dollars?

Haha, nope. ₦65k. 

But it was good money for a broke student. I was elated. 

Let me give you some context. In my university, the government owes lecturers money so some of them make us buy textbooks and “course materials” as part of our coursework. Even if you pass your tests and exams, if you don’t buy their textbooks or materials, they’ll fail you. So the extra money was useful to pay for those things and just basically survive. 

After almost a year, the company crashed, or in their own words, “couldn’t afford to pay us anymore”, so they let us all go. Just like that, I was in the streets again. 

For how long?

Almost a year. Thankfully, things were beginning to stabilise for my mum, so she could comfortably provide for my little brother and me. 

In August 2021, I applied for a tech company’s ambassador programme hiring people to intern for a month. I got in and worked there for that month. It was a content writer role. The pay was ₦50k. 

After that, I was on the streets of unemployment once again, but not for long. 

New job?

Yep. I’d made acquaintances with founders through my network of friends in the tech space, so I reached out to one of them asking for a job. I still had to go through the interview process with HR, but I got a three-month contract as a content writer. The pay? ₦200k per month. 

Baller

LMAO. For the first time, I could pay for books, save and still go out with my friends. I was definitely a baller. Apart from the money though, it turned out to be a valuable experience because it was at that company I first wrote about crypto, which would turn out to be important for my next job. 

How did you get it? 

Remember my mentor friend? Well, I’d made friends with his friend who organised an event I was at and knew that I was good at content writing. When I told him I was back on the streets in January 2022, he kept sending me job links. At first, none of them worked out, but one day, I got an email from the co-founder of my current company saying they saw my profile and would like to see if I was a good fit for their company. 

After the interviews came weeks of silence. I even started applying for other jobs. Eventually, they reached out and asked how much I wanted to be paid. 

How much did you say?

₦850k. Their response was that I should come back with a “round figure”. 

I was so confused. I went to meet the person who referred me to explain what that meant. And all he said was that I should aim higher. Before I could even do that, they sent me an offer. Do you know how much it was?

How much? 

$2,500. For a content writer role. And they were like, “Would that be cool?”

How much is that in naira?

It depends on the monthly rates, but the lowest it’s ever been is ₦1.5m. When I sent my mum the offer letter, she called and started singing and dancing.

You’re killing me. Congrats!

Thanks! I’ve been here for three months, and see, having that much money is overwhelming. I can buy whatever. I’ve bought a Mac and an iPhone 13 Pro. 

What are your finances currently like?

I’m learning to save and invest a lot. So I currently have a total of ₦2m in naira savings, and ₦4m in crypto. I earn in USDT, which is crypto, so I just save there. Even though I can afford it from my salary, I’m also currently saving towards renting my own apartment. It’ll cost ₦2m and I’ve saved ₦1.2m so far.

So what do you spend your money on monthly?

I just leave the rest in crypto where I get paid. 

Why do you spend so much on transportation?

Cabs. I work from workstations or cafes every day because if I work from home, I’d just sleep or gist with my brother all day. I live far from everywhere else and there’s almost always traffic, so cabs are bloody expensive. 

Is there something you want right now but can’t afford?

I’m currently saving up for a trip to South Korea and a BTS concert. I’m the biggest K-pop and BTS fan you’ll ever meet. BTS released an album this month, and I spent about ₦70k on a preorder of the standard and compact set. I also bought for five of my friends. Yes, I’m that big a fan. 

How would you rate your happiness? The scale is 1-10

Please give me a 10. I can literally afford anything I want.


Need to send or receive money fast? Let’s help you send and receive money internationally on the go. Use Afriex


25-year-old Douglas Kendyson has been running Selar since 2016 as founder/CEO. Selar is a store builder that helps you monetise your knowledge via digital products. By the end of 2021, Selar paid > ₦1BN to African creators, and keeps working to grow Africa’s creator economy.

This Friday, Douglas will be speaking alongside other cool people on TechCabal Live about how African creators can earn more.

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