Meet our first #Under30entrepreneur for the year 2023, and our fifth in this inspiring series.
Olayinka T.Hannah, who loves to be called Thiana, is a 22-year-old LinkedIn expert, who has learnt to make lemonade of the lemons life throws at her. Her determination, as a Gen Z, to create a name for herself on a platform that even the older generation is reluctant to exploit, should inspire you.
PT: Thiana, you are so open about your past on social media, about having to fend for yourself at a very young age. You dropped out of school in 2020. How did your parents’ divorce affect you? Especially your education?
Thiana: Though I was born in Lagos State, I am an Indigene of Kwara State. My father was a soldier and my mother was and is still a businesswoman.
As a result of my parent’s divorce, I had to change schools frequently due to financial constraints. And was raised by my mum, alone.
I finished secondary school year 2015 and gained admission into Kwara State College of Health Technology, Offa in 2018. I dropped out in 2020, just before COVID hit.
PT: How did you become a LinkedIn Tutor? When and how did you get the passion to pursue this?
Thiana: Becoming a LinkedIn Tutor was something I stumbled on while brushing up on my writing skills.
After dropping out of school, I moved to Lagos to pursue journalism because, when I was in school, I worked as a co-anchor at a radio station. So, it was a path I really love because I think I’m a born speaker.
On getting to Lagos, I couldn’t afford the fee, so I had to find a job to save up. This job was at a solar company and I was an intern. The salary was just 15k but how do I survive with that? So I evaluated my skills and discovered I was good at writing and I was told that I could earn well as a writer.
The obstacle was I needed to brush it up to earn. I couldn’t afford to pay anyone to teach me. I consumed every free resource I could lay my hands on and I was writing on Facebook, but I felt lost in the crowd and that was how I found LinkedIn.
I started writing on LinkedIn in January 2021 and in April 2021; I got a writing job. Seven months down the line, I had over 5000 audiences and got my first award.
Many people started asking me to teach them how LinkedIn works and I decided to have a class. 30 people signed, and I said to myself, “I can actually make this something I do consistently, and earn from it,” and here we are.
PT: That is great to know, and you have really come a long way. Were your family members in support of your decision?
Thiana: Family members weren’t really aware of what I was doing because I stay alone, and I barely ask for advice because I have this hyper-independence trait because of shouldering responsibilities at an early age.
PT: So, Thiana, how would you say the journey has been?
Thiana: Well, I currently have 17,000 followers on LinkedIn. I have spoken at various tertiary institutions, invited to events and got social capital.
It has been exciting, challenging, and uncertain, but I love what I do.
PT: Considering the fact that you are pretty young, do you think this has been a minus in your dealings with the varying people you have worked with?
Thiana: I worked with a client recently and while we were on a discovery call, she told me she graduated from medical school in the year 2000 and I will be 23 by June.
When she told me, we both laughed for over two minutes. Most of the time, I work with older people who want to set up their LinkedIn profile and they are always shocked when I tell them my age. It’s a privilege to be this young and self-aware, I think.
PT: Do you think most Nigerians understand your job description? Can you highlight some things you do, so people can have a clearer perspective of who a LinkedIn Tutor is?
Thiana: Many people don’t. In fact, some people ask how I survive doing this because they think I don’t earn enough from this, but this pays my bills. But that’s by the way.
I’m a LinkedIn Tutor and what I do as a tutor is teach how to optimise your LinkedIn Profile, and grow your LinkedIn from scratch to become an authority.
As a LinkedIn influencer, I help brands create awareness for their products, service, and campaigns using my platform and good content writing skills.
PT: Do you think Nigerians take their presence on LinkedIn seriously or know how important it is to have a presence there?
Thiana: No! Every time you hear them say “That place is too serious”.
“Everyone is always posting an achievement or the other, or about a new job,” some even say “it’s for those doing 9 to 5 or have a PhD.”
Well, I don’t fall into that category. I’m a dropout, and I don’t do 9 to 5, so what does that say?
PT: So, how do you think we, as Nigerians, can improve on this? What do people stand to gain by taking the platform seriously?
Thiana: LinkedIn has given me access to people I won’t meet on a normal day. LinkedIn gave me a voice, it gave me a strong network; it gave me jobs; it gave me a steady source of income, too.
If you are reading this and you care about how people perceive you online, then you should take your LinkedIn presence seriously.
PT: Can you speak on the other things you do, apart from tutoring?
Thiana: Actually, all I do is connected to LinkedIn.
I’m a LinkedIn Influencer, a Content writer, a public speaker and a Gen-Z. Does that count too?
PT: Of course. How do you manage public engagements, tutoring, volunteering, and so on? How do you strike a balance with your time?
Thiana: I plan. I learn to say no and focus my energy on what matters, gives me joy, and will yield significant results, and this applies to all areas of my life.
PT: What advice do you have for young people who seek to be tutors and budding entrepreneurs?
Thiana: If you want to be someone who teaches people, either through gained knowledge and/or experience or maybe as an entrepreneur, play the long-term game. It pays! Be a person of integrity and value.
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Talk your talk! Have values that guide you in and outside your career path. Invest in learning more, as learning never stops!
PT: Being an entrepreneur in a unique field, and not the regular buying and selling, what have the challenges been? How have you been able to tackle them?
Thiana: I’m not teaching people how to make money directly and that, I must tell you, is hard! Because everyone now wants to make money but building your online presence or personal brand fetches money in the long run, but it takes time! A long time, but it pays!
I tell people every time, “I’m not teaching you how to make money, but I’m teaching you how to create a brand that would pay you for life and it’s the truth.”
I don’t really have challenges, because when I want something I go for it! Ain’t nothing stopping me.
PT: How do you keep up to date in your field?
Thiana: I earn online so I’m always online, I follow trending industry news, I read, and I also collaborate.
PT: Where do you hope to be in five years?
Thiana: I want to be in the media. I love presenting and public speaking. It’s something I think I’m made for.
In the next five years, I would be a well-known brand that preaches – ‘you can always choose how your life turns out.’
PT: If you were to get a grant, what will you invest it in?
Thiana: I would invest it in education, and my personal development! Because I’m my own greatest investment.
PT: After such a demanding schedule, how do you relax? What’s your hobby?
Thiana: I see movies and eat Ofada. You can call me a movie freak.
PT: Thank you for sharing what you do with us.
Thiana: Thank you too.
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