Name: Otatade Okojie
Organisation: Author, influencer, Model, entrepreneur founder of Lunchbox Millionaire and Hotbox Platform
Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell (Crazy clothes vintage store that provided their fashion) Prince Charles (commissioned for photography of him and mosaic scheme), Fa Cup, Red Pr Firm, Desmond Tutu foundation, and a string of investors.
Media consultant with Roar Media ( BBC,ITV,Channel 4, Sky, Radio, Magazine) We connect I am an Experienced Chief Executive Officer, digital marketer and creative, working with various different brands and business elites. Recently asked to submit my business to the Prime minister and his business advisor, with a blog (redebonyhotspot) that has over 370,000 hits and in talks with investors of turning it into an App.
I have worked with one of the producers of Good morning Britain and was asked to be a digital advisor for the Financial times. Navigating in a bustling market full of insight and dynamic ideas. I have a demonstrated history of working in the publishing industry. Skilled in Photography, Copywriting, Advertising, Proofreading, and Celebrity Event Management.
A Strong media and communication professional with a Combined honours degree in journalism and sociology a btec in media production, focused in Journalism and sociology,a masters in filmaking from University of East London and a masters in international business at the university of Anglia Ruskin.
Represented by Agent Fox, and currently working with a list of contributors for the Redebonyhotspot blog and Redebony network that include columnist from Vogue Japan,
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Otatade's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Dealing with the envy of others who made assumptions or stereotypes about me when trying to build myself up and trying to become. I suffer with the invisible illness. Epilepsy Grand mal seizures, people often assume that when someone has a disability your supposed to wear a wheelchair on your head, no. Your not.
As an entrepreneur who battled with the challenge of dealing with Epileptic Grand mal seizures, and some mental health challenges like depression, and the panic attacks that came with Epilepsy , it was hard work to build yourself up and stay believing in yourself, believing in your dream and your potential when you battle with the side effects of the epilepsy medications, the underlying challenges that come with it, but also you as an individual, your overwhelming need to be more to do more to become more.
To believe that you are so much more and to have so much vision. To see the potential of something small and how you can make it big. One of my challenges was consistently trying to keep the believe that i could do something spectacular, and i did. I developed an interactive network with my blog following. 2 million plus followers on Google plus, 13000 brands, 5000 plus investors, and 22,000 followers on instagram.
Ive had incredible support from my family, my siblings, my mother who supports me everyday.had always wanted to go into enterprise, it stemmed from a hunger to model my father Amen Iseghohi Okojie a former diplomat part of the peace council in Africa who recently passed away My sister Irenosen Okojie MBE exceptionally supportive and encouraging the vice president of the Royal Society of Literature and a journalist for the Guardian, My brother Iredia Okojie who works in Wealth management in HSBC dealing with Investors and their Portfolios, My Brother Amen Iseghohi the Founder of Amenzone the multi million pound health and fitness company that deals with celebrities like Drake, and leading entrepreneurs, also working with kids and star athletes, Baseball, football, Hockey.
Amen also runs the This by Amen foundation, a motivational speaking foundation, he has franchises worldwide. My Mentors included John David the founder of Amnick who deals with Mayors, Politicians, and Prime Ministers all over the world. Paul Lawrence an investment Banker. Originally Tony Cairney the head of the London Metropolitan Police Force who was a mentor i had allocated to me on a disability program from my time at university as a student.
Keith Fraser The current head of the Birmingham Police force and The London Metropolitan Police Force who is also the Chairman of The Youth Justice Board at Number 10 Downing Street, and finally Paul Jolley Who runs Blighty a renewables company in China.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Its been a hunger in me. When i first left university i wrote a post in a blog i had started, a post about how hard it was to get employment for graduates at the time. I remember many of my friends were talking about moving back to Africa or to their international countries because they were finding it really hard to get work in what they trained in, and others had told them it was a nightmare.
I wrote a post about it on my blog. I had always been entrepreneurial, at the time i was studying journalism and sociology. When i left university i had started to give out my business cards because i wanted to start a photography company and look for work. At the time my dad had been in the country and he had been encouraging me and my sister to start this photography and video company together, but id really gotten swept up in the excitement.
I started giving out business cards for this, and i also had a skill independent hair braiding. Id started this trend on the gumtree platform of providing mobile hair braiding services. Id offer mobile hair braiding and say i would braid the clients hair, any and every location in London, because i had a freedom pass i didnt have topay for transport. Id braid my hair in a particular way, distinct of which i was known for,i called them dragon braids , and i was known for just approaching people in person in marketplaces and offering them a service, outside the hair salons, or on the high street, church or at university.
Id engage them about their hair, and talk to them about a price, usually undercut the haidressers , and give myself the title of braid technician. Then id place an add in Gumtree with a really sexy headline offering to visit them, save them transport money, allow them comfort in their own space and away from the gossip of the hairdressers, and they could save money on food.
For about a year or two whilst i was on the gumtree platform my services were known for this, and then other people began to offer their mobile services. I started my Camera business with my sister we both had a passion for writing and books, id always wanted to write, id worked in journalism,id gotten gigs in journalism by approaching the editors directly and just pitching my services face to face, i used to get jobs by approaching companies directly and giving my cv, and visiting publishing houses after sending my drafts to them visiting the publishing houses face to face some of them trying to interact with them in person to get a meeting to look at my manuscript, or to engage them for potential for work.
Something had happened which triggered not just an insane anger ,but a hunger in me. I was brutally attacked by someone close to me, someone i cared about, whoid loved , and who id almost seen as another part of me, had physically attacked me in the street. I dont think it was the brutality, i was someone who fought bullies at school and was always ready to defend myself against anyone in a fight, people knew i was not someone that would just roll over.
It was the feeling of betrayal and believing that that at the time that was someone who had seen me as someone they valued. I felt completely devastated, and traumatised at the time. Severely depressed, and dealing with years of in and out counselling for PTSD , I started my obsession with both developing my camera company and my blog. My family were encouraging me to get out there, make friends.
I would try and get work, apply for jobs, sometimes feel awkward when being in the setting, or not last because of challenges i had. So i began networking to build up my confidence. Networking and building up my social skills i wanted to be outgoing the way i used to, have insight, be knowleageable about business, engage with different types of people in different spaces. Id go to Chelsea , Mayfair, all sorts of places in London. Despite experiencing challenges like depression, and ptsd , i was still commissioned for my photography of Prince Charles, The Fa Cup, worked with Red Pr Company.
I began to develop a keen obsession with my blog. Iknew about people who were making millions just from a blog, it was a new thing in America, i was excited by it. i Was blown away. Most nights when id go to bed falling asleep reading Robert Kiyosaki Books, The Richest Man in Babylon, Anthony Robbins, reading Audio Books, attending Webinars, Seminars, Podcast, watching Youtube videos. reading about people like Problogger, Shu Money , all these other exciting entrepreneurs.
I set a small challenge for myself. I wanted to see if i could show people how they could monetise through a blog without putting much money down to start with, ultimately i succeeded.
My blog which i started with on blogger http://redebonyhotspot.blogspot.com Grew to have 2 million plus followers on google plus, i got an agent for my book Lunchbox Millionaire, I am now a model represented by an agency, i am an influencer,i have my own radio show on East London radio, and have signed a contract for my own show on Voice America, I have just signed a contract for a new publishing deal, I have 13,000 interactive connections linked to the top leading brands, some include Oprah Winfreys Television director, T Harveker the founder of Millionaire Mind, another one of my mentors was Sunil Patel who did an event Previously with Gary Vaynerchuk who i recently pitched to and got invited to his linkedin 360 platform by him.
I recently interviewed Nicklas Eckeroth the Global Vice President of Burberry and worked as a consultant briefly helping the producer of Good Morning Britain. https://youtu.be/lpysFN5_tOE
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My days are structured mostly around me being on the ne. I take an hour to go for my walks, but what i do like is combining my work on my phone and on my laptop, most of the time my mobile phone acts as a laptop soi can be flexible and my days can be more fluid. Everything on the laptop is often on the phone, the phone is the computer. And this allows me to move in different spaces without feeling like i have to carry a huge or large heavy object. Also i feel there is more of a stress and there is an ease placed when i use the phone rather than the laptop.
First of all smaller gadget
Less space between the keys
I have a portable fan which relaxes me,so when im out and about , i dont feel like my brain is going to overheat i dont feel over whelmed by what im trying to do.
If you have challenges like mine these things help The sound of the fan, its coolness helps ease The Sound of water in the Background This helps People can use their Ipads, But i love using my phone, its very unusual, but everybody has the thing that they do.
I use both phone and computer. I carry the charger with me everywhere, and usually make sure i have a port where i can charge it and make sure i have the same apps. I get up from about 7 am in the morning, as soon as im up, im working on my content, my social media, or engaging in emails.
Working on ideas or developing concepts. I have been offered match funding for Lunchbox but still looking for an investor to partner for the funding for the development on the channel and the Hotbox Project.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Its alright to feel like your not Good enough sometimes. Your allowed to have human emotions, your allowed to have those days of up and down, dont be tricked by other peoples toxic delusions or fiction of what a leader should be, the delusion that they should be strong all the time,put on a show, put on the greatest act.
I think many of the real leaders out there are not being called leaders, their not being celebrated , their not seen as that. Because with leadership theres a shiny image attached to it, a persona, a becoming, but maybe its the small acts, the little things that people don't see that can be defined as leadership, Qualities that others take for granted. Things that people have mistaken in their communities, Simple but genuine acts of Kindness and qualities that are strengths, and in the times that were in, its so easy to become other, because life will kick it out of you, life will beat it out of you.
Someone's strength in comforting you in a quiet moment as your trying to build yourself up, because i used to say this all the time, and my family used to say this to me. The person your talking to , you don't know who their trying to be, you don't know who one day they could try to become.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Robert Kiyosakis Rich dad poor dad my dad used to tell us about it in prayer meetings, i loved it because in prayer meetings thats when Dad would get really entrepreneurial and insightful. He would talk so much about vision, it was The Richest man in Babylon and Robert Kiyosakis Rich dad poor dad, then i became obsessed with the alchemist by Paulo Coelho a book about dreams, about a young Shepherd boy accomplishing dreams, and then from a young age i began to gorge on self development books , and books on enterprise, wealth, some business books, and some books on marketing. I would read them in print and on audible, sometimes on kindle. And often obsessively.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Just Go for it, at least fail, Go with the Mentors, let people talk, let them laugh, read the books, attend the seminars, do the courses, Talk to the people. Just fail, its alright to fail. Its alright to fail, and then to pick yourself back up, and to look at your notes, to talk to your family, to talk to those who support you and not everybody will. Not everybody will be on your side. That will hurt like hell.
People who you thought would show support will show unsupport, Sometimes you will expect community support and backing and be disappointed by what your shown, its alright when people show you who they are, and its a self you don't want to see at that time. Most dreams will not be instantaneous, it wont be like in a movie, you wont be having instant dollars rolling out of your pocket, there will be times you will be very frustrated with yourself and with others around you.
If its something that is passionate, personal to you, this journey of enterprise, it may not be something that will just be over there. There's my dream, there's the ambition, here's my feeling. Go for it, and have support. Dont be the one to kick yourself when you get down,but do hold yourself to account.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
I loved working online with my interns to try and develop the Hotbox community, which i am still working on independently, i loved pitching Lunchbox Millionaire to the community of investors the 3 different times i pitched. I loved the challenge and the confidence i gained from doing my presentations with my team of investment bankers when we'd use the classrooms at university of East London as we had no office space yet i was brainstorming with some of the best.
I loved going back and forth with one of my key members Faraz Fooker who is also an investment banker on my team for lunchbox he developed a lot of the software for the banks around London and currently owns a football team in Spain, he has a brilliant brilliant mind and to share ideas with him and the two of us develop and expand The Lunchbox concept together, he is a very close friend and it was such a pleasure to work with him and Paul Lawrence