#CreatorStories: From Uber Driver to One of the Biggest Travel YouTubers in Africa: Tayo Aina’s Story

#CreatorStories showcases the honest personal experiences of digital creators who monetize their knowledge of a skill and sell it on Selar. We share these stories every week to inspire you to create and sell a product out of your wealth of knowledge and be a part of the digital creator economy.

This week, we turn the lights on Tayo Aina, a popular travel YouTuber, who went from being a salesman and Uber driver to building a successful business around video making and storytelling. 

Everyone would like to get to know Tayo Aina.

Can we meet Tayo Aina?

Tayo Aina is an independent Youtuber, Entrepreneur, Filmmaker, and Storyteller creating lifestyle, travel, business, and real estate content that showcases the beauty of Africa and shares the stories of African businesses and brands.

What was your career journey like before becoming a travel vlogger? 

Youtube was something I just stumbled into. After I graduated from University, I worked at one job for 3 months. It was a multi-cycle store. I worked as a salesman and also doubled as a web developer. I was the handy guy there who could do stuff. When I left, I joined Uber and became an Uber driver in Lagos for 7 months.

As I went around dropping people off at places, I realized that there was nobody capturing and showcasing these places online and I was used to watching a lot of Youtube videos back then.

So I decided to start it. I started by taking pictures, then moved on to shoot videos. I didn’t have a plan to make it my full-time career, it just became it gradually. I stumbled into it and found that I loved it. So I continued. That was how I started. 

So can we say you stumbled into success?

I don’t know if people stumble to success shaa (laughs). But I just fell into creating videos and saw that I loved doing it. I’ve been into multiple businesses since primary school. In primary 2 I used to sell sweets to my classmates. In secondary school, I used to sell PlayStation games, and in university, I used to sell phones. I also ran a restaurant in University that failed after one year (lol). So I knew that whatever I ended up doing wouldn’t be like the regular 9-5. I tried it and realized that it wasn’t what I wanted.  

What inspired you to get into the creator economy by becoming a vlogger? 

For me, life is a constant journey of evolution. I started out taking pictures of all the buildings in Lagos, from there to making my first video, and from there to covering some top events. YouTube wasn’t what I focused on. I first started making videos for other people because I needed money to survive. From there I realized that I wanted to make something that was my own. I got tired of making videos for clients and they’d want to change the song or something else. Also, I didn’t see myself doing it long-term because I didn’t see it as scalable. 

In July 2019, I decided to focus on making videos for YouTube. I had already saved up some money from all the work I had already done making videos for people. So I went head-on into YouTube. I started out just making videos of places and things I found fascinating in Lagos. I loved real estate and it was something I found Interesting, so I made lots of videos around it too.  

One of the first videos I did that blew up was on Eko Atlantic. I got access to Eko Atlantic, did a video on it, and it went viral. J.cole came to Nigeria. I’m a big fan of J.Cole, I found a way to get into the venue and I shot a video about the event. The video blew up and I had over 1 million views. That was when I started seeing the potential of YouTube videos. At the time, I was also watching videos from Americans and Canadians on YouTube showcasing their country and decided to start with Nigeria. 

I started from Lagos and went to other states. I traveled across Nigeria, shot videos, and showcased places. The more I did that, the more I realized that nobody had done that. Majority of the information about Nigeria has always been negative stuff. I saw comments from people in the diaspora who were surprised to see that part of Nigeria. 

From there, I expanded to Africa. I went to neighboring countries like Ghana, Benin republic, East Africa, and South Africa. The only place I’ve not been to yet is North Africa. But I’ve been to most of the popular countries in Africa. 

What’s behind the brand name “Rediscover Africa”? 

That name just came in early this year. It came like a mission. I’m somebody who always has a “why/purpose” for everything I do. One of the purposes of my channel was to showcase Africa in a good light by telling people stories and showing places. Eventually, I searched for a name, and what resonated the most with me was “rediscovery”. Mostly because Africa is already there, my channel’s aim is to rediscover it. That means, showcasing Africa in the best light possible. That’s how the name came about. 

What does storytelling mean to you? 

Storytelling is projecting how you see the world from your perspective. It’s reshaping people’s perceptions of things. When I started making these videos, I realized that storytelling is very powerful. On a closer look, every brand is telling a story. It’s the story they share that is engraved in the minds of people.

Storytelling can be multiple things. It’s shaping people’s conception of a place, thing, or idea. It’s selling an idea to the world.  For me, the idea I’m trying to sell is that there’s a lot more going on in Africa at the moment. Moving forward, the stories might change. They may evolve into something else. But the main point is that Africa can be greater than it is. And the way people see it needs to change. 

What challenges have you experienced being a travel vlogger?

There are so many challenges. Being a Nigerian is a challenge on its own (laughs). Traveling across Africa with our green passport is a challenge. Whenever I travel I always experience the Nigerian stigma, where authorities question your travel intentions, try to deny your visa, and lots more.

Another one would probably be that it’s very expensive to travel across Africa. In Europe, you can get flights across Europe for like $50 or less. In Nigeria, to go from Lagos to Abuja is like 60,000 Naira, and the return ticket is over 100,000 Naira. Now going from Lagos to somewhere like Ghana, you’d spend between 250,000 to 300,000 Naira which is very ridiculous because it’s just a one-hour flight.

There’s also the part where I’m being discriminated against for being a Nigerian, especially in countries like Kenya, some places in South Africa, Ethiopia, etc.

How have you navigated these challenges?

There’s no way to navigate it, oh (lol). I just pray and hope everything goes well. More so, when you’ve been in a situation multiple times, you just stay calm and hope everything goes away because you’re in another country. So nobody is going to save you. I also believe that traveling is problem-solving. So you have to find a way to solve the problem on the spot. 

What’s the average amount you make from the creator economy, being a vlogger? 

When it comes to my income, it fluctuates. I make money from Adsense, sponsorships, making videos from people, etc. As you grow bigger, you make more money from sponsorships than Adsense because Adsense is dependent on your views. Sponsorships are also dependent on your views but companies will pay you more money than what a video will probably make. Let’s say you make a video with about 300,000 views. A company will be willing to pay you between $4000 – $5000 for sponsorship on that video but on YouTube, it can make between $800-$1000. So it varies and you can earn anywhere from $2000 – $10,000 a month. It can go over that too.

Do you have any digital products on sale?

Yes, I have my Youtube course on sale. It’s on Selar currently. I even need to promote it more. 

Read more stories from your favorite Creators!

What inspired you to create a digital product?

I created one because I’m a business person (laughs) so I like to diversify my income. I like to make money work for me while sleeping and being able to create videos and have them make money for you while sleeping, introduced me to the whole creator economy where you don’t have to make a new product every single time.

So digital products are the next step for me in terms of making products. Aside from wanting to teach people what I know from Youtube, I want to make money. I know that If I can package what I’ve learned from Youtube over the past 4 years into a digital product, a lot of people who want to learn the same thing in a shorter period of time would want to buy it.

So the idea behind it was another source of income, creating a product that brings value to other people, and also teaching the next generation of YouTubers how to make money and grow a business on YouTube. 

When did you earn your first money (commission) from vlogging?

I collected my money from YouTube in 2020 after making videos for over a year and a half. I was seeing the money there but it’s different when you touch it. It felt like magic (laughs). It even took a long time before I made money off it. Activating your YouTube monetization account in Nigeria takes a long time due to the delay with the available services in Nigeria that processes a PIN YouTube sends to you. So when I got the money it motivated me to do more. 

What’s your sales strategy for selling your digital product?

I don’t have a sales strategy yet. That’s part of the things I plan to do soon. I realized that just making a product alone doesn’t sell it. You need to market it. Marketing is a huge part of the success of any digital product. I’m currently in the space where I’m trying to figure it out and work with someone who has knowledge about that to help market the product to as many people as possible. 

What advice would you give to digital creators in Africa who are inspired by you?

Hustlee!!! (laughs). Just be a hustler. It’s hard. It’s very hard. You can’t even do YouTube for money. I didn’t start out wanting to make money from YouTube. I fell in love with making videos first. When you fall in love with making videos, it’s easy for you to keep going even when it’s hard and you’re not making any money yet. I just started out from where I was. I didn’t even have a long-term vision. I just started and saw that people loved it. So fall in love with whatever you’re doing before thinking about making money from it. If you fall in love with it, it’s easier to keep going when it’s difficult. 

Do you have any final words for your audience? 

Omo, it’s not easy, oh. Be ready for it (lol). At the end of the day, it’s fulfilling. Because then you have the freedom to do anything, work from anywhere and earn money.  

If you want to make money work for you even while sleeping, create a digital product and sell it on Selar.

We have all the tools you need to help you make massive sales from digital products. Here’s how to get started.

  • Sign up on Selar.
  • Set up your online store and bank details.
  • Upload your product.
  • Share store link with customers and start selling.