Photos courtesy of Bamidele Onibalusi
You're pooped. After a brutal day at work, you can't wait to vegetate on your couch, catching up on your favorite show on Netflix. You get home, turn on the light switch, and--surprise!--no power. You grunt in frustration surrounded by darkness. Unless you encounter such rare moments, you hardly take the time to think of how much everything you need and do depends on electricity. But have you thought of the people out there for whom electricity, a computer and a reliable internet connection are still a luxury these days?
Bamidele Onibalusi is one of them. Six years ago, he was a 16 year-old Nigerian kid who wanted to make money online. To get access to a computer and internet, he partnered with a café owner. After months of trying, with no palpable results, he looked for other ways to make his dream come true. Diving into freelance writing and blogging was a happy accident.
He knew from early on that he wanted to be his own boss. "Bill Gates' mindset inspired me, and Steve Pavlina's work gave me the kick to get started," says Onibalusi or Oni, as he is known in the blogosphere.
In his first eight months of blogging, he published no less than 270 guest posts on sites like Business Insider, ReadWriteWeb, Problogger and DailyBlogTips.com, proving his credibility as a writer and becoming a respected voice in the digital space.
He authored hundreds of articles that are chock full of resources for people who want to make a living writing. The first one, "30 Websites that Pay You to Contribute an Article, Instantly" has garnered him 200,000 views in the past four years. The next one after that, "45+ Websites that will Pay You to Write," earned him 100,000 views, in almost the same amount of time.
No wonder people began noticing him. Oni's crisp and concise writing style, combined with his ability to get as many eyeballs as possible on his valuable and informative content, was something any organization would need to grow an online audience. The requests to write for different business blogs started rolling in. And so did the cash.
But what mattered most to him was to prove he can punctually deliver value every time, and leverage the brand and platform of other successful bloggers to grow his online business.
At some point, Oni managed to grow his blog by 200 percent in search traffic in six months, by publishing 30 guests posts in only one week on smaller blogs: "This link building strategy would neither be as effective nor recommended these days, when Google has become so much stricter," explains the pro blogger.
Two years into his fruitful blogging career and feeling too complacent, he needed to challenge himself. He started a new blog from scratch in a different niche, using a pseudonym, and turned it into a money-making machine that would generate at least four figures in freelance income in 3 - 6 months. He reached his goal in two months.
By the age of 18 he'd already become one of Nigeria's top bloggers.
What's so fascinating about Oni is that he comes across as an old soul at such a young age, even though he's to humble to admit: "I wouldn't really say I'm wise if you ask me - I've made a lot of mistakes I didn't have to, and I've had to accept I was wrong about things I was certain was right over the years. I'm of the Christian faith, though, so I believe in, and attribute, all my good qualities to God. I don't rule out the significance of putting in the effort required to learn and act before succeeding in the name of faith, but I believe I won't be where I am today without God."
After establishing himself as a successful freelance writer and blogger, Oni rebranded his blog, originally called youngprepro.com, which technically stood for Young Upcoming Professional. That's how writersincharge.com was born, with the sole mission of helping writers to take charge of their careers and be in a position of power in front of their clients.
With the wind in his blog's sails, he turned to offline business opportunities as well, given their predictability and scalability. In his opinion, offline business success does not require as much mental energy as an online business. He also believes in diversification and not putting all eggs into one basket. That's why, in 2014, he took a break from his online endeavors to start a commercial fish farm on a 1-acre piece of land. "Any offline business that would require my presence and wouldn't give me 100% return, I would not invest in it," points out the 22 year-old entrepreneur.
So, he rolled up his sleeves and learned the ins and outs of catfish farming, a business that provides another great source of income. It's enough to listen to him to understand how passionate he is about it, and how big his ambitions are: "Every afternoon after I write, I love to go feed the fishes and spend a few hours there. I just love the process. My goal now is to be the biggest fish farmer in Nigeria, possibly in Africa," reveals Oni.
His success came at a price though. Oni is a recovering ulcer patient. Despite his health issues, he's a glass-half-full type of person, always positive and optimistic. But when he goes for something, he goes at the expense of ignoring everything around, sometimes even food and a social life.
At the beginning of this year, Oni returned to the online world, where he had been missed, while sharing his time between his blog and his now smoothly-running fish farm. His comeback post is yet another goldmine for his fellow writers - "110 Websites that Pay You to Contribute an Article, Instantly." It took him a week to write it, working 6-8 hours a day.
As he's focusing on growing his blog with quality rather than quantity, he is mindful about the long time effect each of his guests post has. "I would still occasionally guest post on highly authoritative websites, while publishing substantial resource posts and definitive guides on my blog," adds Oni.
The man who used to write 10 hours a day for a month, followed by an entire week of spending 25 hours in a row watching movies, writes now every day. A much welcomed habit took the place of the erratic days from the past. It's something he recommends to every writer out there--consistency: "If you write consistently every day, you get better results."
Bamidele Onibalusi proves himself to be a man committed to helping others, but also an entrepreneur invested in his own growth and happiness: "Setting goals, being involved in things and achieving success is currently what makes me happiest; whenever I start a project and succeed at it, my happiness knows no bounds. While this might appear to result in sadness if I fail, it doesn't. Really. However, I also try my very best to ensure I do not fail. I believe once I have a family of my own - wife, kids - my greatest source of happiness will be them. For now, however, it is trying to do things and succeeding at those things."
An old soul to the core.
For more about Bamidele Onibalusi, visit his website.
For more from Anca Dumitru, click here.
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