My Pivot Journal is a Ventures Africa weekly series documenting people’s career transitions from one industry to another, especially to tech.
The first time I came across Peace Itimi’s content, I was scrolling through my YouTube feed seeking a new dopamine buzz. And while I enjoyed spending 20 minutes learning about the Tech Nation Visa, it was also interesting to see how diverse her career path is. Itimi is not only a YouTube creator but one of Nigeria’s leading growth marketers. What’s her story?
How it started
Itimi grew up in Benin City, Edo state, and studied medical biochemistry at Delta State University. But medicine – her initial dream – was not the only interest she spent time on. “I started blogging with my phone,” she said. “It was just a simple WordPress blog where I wrote a lot of random stuff. Sometimes, I even wrote one-liners and published.”
Itimi didn’t think anyone was reading her blog. But she attended an event where she met an old friend that commended her work. “He thought I was a techie because of my writings and introduced me to his friend (Alex), who was a Google Student Ambassador.” They encouraged Itimi to apply to become an ambassador, and she did.
After becoming an ambassador, Itimi learnt about digital marketing during one of their summits. She took those lessons back to her school and started teaching other students. After school, she launched a digital marketing agency with a friend, Joyce Imiegha, in 2016. “We started going to Lagos often for any tech event we heard about. We would give people our business cards and brochures and network with as many people as possible.”
She moved to Lagos in February 2017 to begin her national service year at a digital marketing agency, Webcoupers, where she officially launched her career. In 2018, she joined Wild Fusion, another digital marketing agency, where she trained people on digital marketing, branding, Google Ads, and SEO. “Abas (the CEO) asked me if I would do digital marketing or train for free. I told him I could not do digital marketing for free, but I’d train for free any day. He was trying to find out where my passion was.” She, in that same year, also trained on digital skills on behalf of Facebook (Facebook for creators program), Google (Digital Skills via Haptics) Orange Academy, and the British Council (led by WDC). “Training at Wild Fusion was one of the most pivotal parts of my journey. There was no aspect of digital marketing I did not train people on, and I did it for people at different career levels. And because I had to teach people, I had to get in-depth knowledge.“
By 2019, Itimi was at a peak in her career as a digital marketing trainer. “I was working practically every day of the week. Between Monday to Friday, I was at work, and on weekends I was training for Orange Academy or travelling somewhere to work for Facebook, Google or some other company.” She was passionate about training and was excited to do it full-time. But that fire she was igniting soon led to a burnout. “After a while, I realised I was drained because I use a lot of energy when engaging people. Often, I’d need to take a step back after sessions to catch my breath. So even though I loved what I was doing, I knew I could not keep doing it every day. Besides, I’m an introvert, so sometimes, I may not want to talk to anyone. But I can’t do that as a trainer,” Itimi said. “I don’t want to wake up one day and hate being a teacher just because I’m exhausted.” It was time for her to try something else.
Itimi did not want to fall back on running ad campaigns as an agency. Instead, she decided to serve one “client” long-term. “I wanted to try out a new side to see how it’d be to do all the things I was teaching full-time for only one person.” So in 2019, she entered the Nigerian tech ecosystem after landing a role as the Head of Marketing at fintech company, Korapay. “Someone referred me to them, and they reached out to me for an interview,” she said. “They hired me on the spot.” However, Itimi soon realised that the playbook wasn’t the same with tech startups. “I didn’t understand startups and the technicality of growth and experiments.”
Itimi started reading and taking online courses on growth marketing and growth hacking. “It was a new experience. At a point, I had to learn data analytics to understand our data and form strategies with it.” According to her, there “weren’t many growth people” she could turn to while learning. So she turned to the internet to find her mentors. “After leaving Korapay, I worked at Seedstars, where I met Satwik and learnt from him. But aside from Satwik, there weren’t many growth people I knew. So I learned by making mistakes, watching every video from Sean Ellis and Seth Godin on the internet and reading their books. I also listen to Sean Ellis’ podcast and read his content when he writes something.” But it’s also notable that Itimi wasn’t new to growing through online courses. “When I started digital marketing, courses on Hubspot Academy helped me a lot. It was my favourite place.”
However, Itimi still had one more card up her sleeve – content creation. She had seen how a simple blog changed her career path permanently and wanted to explore that line. “Two people told me in passing that people would listen to me talk if I created a YouTube channel,” she said. The problem, ironically, was finding what she would talk about. “I had YouTube in mind for a while but didn’t know what to make it about. I’m not a very interesting person, so I did not think I could be a lifestyle Vlogger or any of those things.” After creating her YouTube channel, she decided to start on familiar grounds by sharing her knowledge on it. “I started training on marketing and sharing life lessons I was learning.” Eighteen months later, she started bringing other professionals to her channel, such as Blessing Abeng, David Adeleke and Benjamin Dada. Then Atsu Davoh, founder of Bitsika, reached out to her for an interview. “I was surprised because that’s not what I was doing. But I thought about it and realised it was worth a shot.” That became the first episode of a YouTube series called Founders Connect, where she interviews startup founders from across Africa.
How it’s going
Itimi now lives in London, working remotely as Head of Growth for Stax, an offline fintech app. However, although her career as a growth marketer has been impressive, she’s not yet content. “I’m looking at pivoting to product management,” she said. “I just haven’t figured out how to do it yet. I’ve realised that I can’t lead growth effectively without yet. I’ve realised that I can’t lead growth effectively without diving deeply into product. Sometimes when looking at data or speaking with users, I find a problem and just know that marketing can’t solve it, but product can”.” Itimi now collaborates more with the product team and is finding new ways to express her ‘product’ side. “These days, when I think of a feature or experiment, I might start writing on Notion, scope out what it’d look like and maybe check out other apps for something we can use as inspiration. It may not be perfect or nearly as in-depth as a product manager would do, but I’m now more convinced I can work in that field.”
Meanwhile, her teaching flair hasn’t withered. It only became more passive after she started creating courses on Udemy. “I no longer have to worry about travelling to hold training programs. My online courses now reach places I have never been to. That experiment was very successful.”
Her YouTube audience has grown to over 25,000 subscribers. On Founders Connect, she has hosted some of Africa’s most famous tech startup founders, including Ezra Olubi (Paystack), Nadaya Enegesi (Eden Life), Njoku Emmanuel (Lazerpay), and many others.
“Say yes to opportunities. Learn fast. And always think about results, not efforts.”