My Pivot Journal is a Ventures Africa weekly series documenting people’s career transitions from one industry to another, especially to tech.

Oluwagbemisola Ayinde is a compassionate and resolute individual. She chose to pursue her childhood dream of studying genetics after observing her autistic cousin encountering social difficulties. While using poetry to raise awareness for people with autism, she serendipitously discovered her calling in content writing and digital marketing. Here is Ayinde’s pivot journal.

How it started

I pursued my passion for genetics after witnessing the challenges faced by my autistic cousin during my childhood. This experience ignited my desire to understand the genetic factors behind autism and explore ways to help individuals like him. I studied Cell Biology and Genetics at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, driven by the urge to unravel the mysteries of this condition and find effective ways to manage it.

Studying genetics was no easy feat, yet I found immense satisfaction in the pursuit. My determination was fueled by a profound curiosity to comprehend the underlying reasons behind my cousin’s condition and to uncover effective ways to support him. Despite the challenges, my passion for understanding the complexities of genetics kept me motivated, propelling me forward in my educational journey.

During my university days, I channelled my enthusiasm into writing heartfelt poems to raise awareness about autism. I shared these poems on social media, aiming to foster understanding and acceptance. To my surprise, my writing resonated with many, leading to requests to write lyrics for songs, messages to brands, social media captions, broadcasting messages and proposals for events. Eager to contribute positively, I embraced these opportunities.  And I got paid for it.

Epiphany

While I was deeply involved in genetics and my desire to help people with autism, an unexpected shift occurred in my career. Even though I was primarily focused on my scientific studies and saw writing as a side job, things took a different turn during my National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) assignment in 2019.

On my first day in a Molecular Biology Lab, I faced doubts due to my small stature, making me feel disheartened. However, I was eventually allowed to work, as long as I avoided heavy lifting. With my colleagues frequently out in the field, I had a lot of free time in the lab. During this downtime, I started searching for remote work on LinkedIn.

After sending out applications, I landed a content writing job with an international company. This marked the beginning of my unexpected journey into the world of content writing in the digital marketing space.

Oluwagbemisola Ayinde, Marketing Associate at BillBoxx.
Oluwagbemisola Ayinde, Marketing Associate at BillBoxx.

Transition

Having ample time on my hands made it relatively easy for me to juggle my two jobs. In my role as a Content Marketing Intern, I was tasked with producing two articles per day. Initially, this proved challenging because I was accustomed to writing short-form articles, whereas the job required long-form content. Despite the initial struggle, I managed to adapt. This internship lasted for a month before I secured another opportunity—an international 4-month internship as a Digital Marketing Intern. Concurrently, I was also handling social media content projects for several small brands.

Following my NYSC experience, I decided to concentrate on content creation as my primary focus. As I applied for positions in the digital marketing field, I realized that I lacked some of the essential qualifications listed in the job requirements. To bridge this gap, I turned to online courses. Twitter became a valuable resource; I followed accounts like “Omo Alhaji,” which provided industry updates. The account holder not only assigned weekly tasks but also offered free courses for our professional development. Additionally, I was fortunate to find a personal mentor who guided me in the realm of digital marketing.

In my quest for knowledge, I enrolled in various online courses, such as “Digital Marketing Masterclass- 24 Marketing Courses in 1” by Phil Ebiner and Diego Davila, “SEO Training for Beginners,” and “Basic to Advanced Content Writing: Become a content writer,” among others. Furthermore, I participated in Side Hustle training and joined the Cybersafe Foundation Digi Girls cohort.

How it’s going

I am currently employed as a Marketing Associate at  BillBoxx, a B2B fintech startup that specializes in providing billing-to-payments software. Our platform assists businesses in managing their finances effectively by offering digitized invoices, automated reminders, and invoice financing, ensuring they are paid promptly and maintain a positive cash flow.

My role as a Marketing Associate at BillBoxx encompasses various responsibilities. It is very dynamic. I oversee the company’s social media presence, draft emails to clients to help enhance their brand growth, and create articles, blogs, and newsletters. Transitioning into the realm of digital marketing within a fintech company has been an enlightening experience. During my initial days at work, I tackled tasks step by step. However, my approach has evolved since then. I have developed the capacity to handle multiple tasks simultaneously and collaborate closely with my colleagues to maintain a seamless workflow.

For instance, I collaborate with the design and engineering teams to ensure the content I post on the website aligns seamlessly with their designs and the overall appearance of the website. This experience has prompted me to unlearn and relearn various aspects of marketing, allowing me to grow and adapt in this ever-changing industry.

Career hack

Never stop learning. Keep learning and growing. Take courses, internships, and attend workshops. Read relevant books. Also, build a strong professional network. It would become a valuable asset throughout your career.  Connecting with people in your field helps you stay updated with industry trends and fosters career growth.

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