Follow your passion. In it lies your success, most times: Interview with Suraj Oyewale, Founder of JarusHub
31 year-old Suraj Oyewale is a remarkable young man whose story will inspire you to follow your passion and do work that matters. He shares with YinkaBrand how he got started with Jarushub, his inspiration and his plan for Jarushub in 2014.
Thanks for joining us Under35CEO today. We’re so excited to have to here. Could you please tell us about yourself and what you do?
I am Suraj Oyewale, popularly known as Jarus in Nigeria’s Social Media space. I am a chartered accountant and a blogger. I am the CEO of Goldman Jarus Limited, which is the umbrella platform for all my concerns, including Jarushub Career Portal.
What inspired you to start your career and mentorship blog, Jarushub.com?
I was inspired by the appreciation people give to my opinions on career and mentorship issues in the career section of Nairaland.com, Nigeria’s most popular forum, where I had been an active member since 2007. I was encouraged by the respect my views there commanded, so I decided to float my own portal where I will be sharing career information. Remember, not being the owner of Nairaland, I don’t have full control, hence the need to have my fully controlled platform. Even before Nairaland, I had actually enjoyed sharing information and experience with younger ones, far back my secondary school days.
You graduated with a 1st class degree in Economics. Tell us about some of your achievements and childhood days.
I grew up in a semi-urban community called Offa, in Kwara state. I never spent 5 consecutive days outside of the town until I gained admission into Obafemi Awolowo University at 19. So I had very limited physical exposure growing up. But I was fortunate to have a couple of exposed people around me to guide me. There was a brother, Akeem Oyewale, and a friend, Michael Taiwo, that actually guided me, the former in my career, the latter in my academics. I was able to make a First Class in the university. I consider that an achievement. To God be the glory, I have completed my country-home in my state. That’s another achievement I’m proud of.
You run Jarushub.com [which you update on a daily basis] and have an 8-5 job and some other collaborative projects. Tell us how you’re able to do all these and do them well?
It’s about time management, although I must admit it’s not easy. I am an accountant in an oil and gas company, and I must deliver on my employment contract. So I ensure I face my 8-5 job within the contractual hours. Thankfully, in the oil and gas sector, unlike in banks and other sectors, 5pm closing time is respected, so I still have a couple of hours left in the day to attend to other concerns. Sometimes, I stay awake till late in the night to write articles. I also spend my weekends engaging in private activities like meetings on the collaborative projects you mentioned. But I think passion is they key driving force. When you have passion for something, it becomes easy for you.
What’s your vision for Jarushub?
My aim is to make Jarushub Africa’s number one career and mentorship portal. Already, within 8 months of starting the portal, we were nominated among the Top 5 career blogs in Nigeria, and Top 10 blogs in Nigeria by Nigerians in the just concluded Nigeria Blogs Awards 2013 sponsored by Fidelity Bank and a couple of other credible organizations. So I am very positive that in no time, we will reach there.
Would you say Jarushub is a money making blog?
I don’t make money from Jarushub yet. As an accountant, I know there is what is called “gestation period” in any project. I am spending now. I have spent no less than N70,000 (442.330000 US dollars) on Jarushub portal, and N200,000 (1263.800000 US dollars) to organize the last offline career conference which was free for participants. I am not in a hurry to make money from the portal, because I believe when you pursue your passion diligently with the aim of helping others, money will surely come one day. Seun of Nairaland now makes more than N2million (12638 US dollars) per month from his online forum, by my guestimation, he did not start in a day. So I am not in a hurry to recoup my investment.
You have a passion for social entrepreneurship. How do you think social entrepreneurs can change the world?
As a social entrepreneur, I don’t look at my projects from profit and loss angle only, I look at the benefit to the society. I’m happy my activities have been impactful to the society and the feedback is soothing. This model is gaining momentum in Nigeria and I think it is a good trend. I believe the world will be better for it if this model is sustained.
What are your recommendations for making a blog that matters?
Blog on a niche you have passion for. I can blog on political and football issues as well, but I decided to opt for career and mentorship because I know I can never run out of ideas in that niche. So I advise bloggers to blog on an area they have passion for. Entertainment is the fad today, as I see every Haruna, Alabi and Adaobi opening celebrity gossip blogs. I hold that there are many under-blogged niches Nigerians are not exploring. But like I mentioned earlier, you cannot blog on a theme you don’t have passion for. From my experience, having credible people associate with your blog is another strategy in making a blog that matters. I think that has been helpful to me too. Of course, it needs no telling again that originality is the king. 90% of content on Jarushub are original (either from me or my contributors). It is only once in a while that we republish interesting articles we see from elsewhere.
What inspires you to do what you do everyday?
Passion. I am passionate about all I do. So it is difficult to gas out. I wake up everyday wanting to make impression, always having ideas I want to put across.
What were the biggest obstacles, problems, you had in getting started in your blogging business?
Time. Sometimes, I spend 2 hours writing a standard article. Sometimes I deny myself sleep to ensure I write. But now I have great guys that also write for me, so when I don’t write, I have other contributors that will send articles to me. I also have challenges with network, internet access. I have switched from two networks, to no avail. Poor internet service from providers can be frustrating.
How do define success?
To me, success is about satisfying your creator and positively impacting on people.
What do you think about Under35CEO.co?
You guys are doing a fantastic job, showcasing the efforts of other young professionals. I was really impressed when I visited your website.
What are we expecting from you in the 2014?
We plan to open our physical office early next year. By the end of January by God’s grace Jarushub will also be bringing on board its first employee, contributing its quota to mopping unemployment from the land, in addition to valuable information we provide on our portal. Our offline conferences will also be taking a new, bigger dimension. I also plan to float Jarus Executive Car Hire Services in the coming year.
Follow your passion. In it lies your success, most times.
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