My personal experiences influence my lifestyle blogging…Ezimora
Vera Nonye Ezimora is a lifestyle blogger, Content curator and storyteller. She is a Russian-born Nigerian based in America. Her versatility and objectivity in her blogs gives an insight of how she lives on a daily basis. She started blogging in 2006, writing on a lot of social issues and personal life experiences. Verastic.com has, over the years, become a tool to air her vision and daily views about life in general. She visited Nigeria recently after 16 years and had a chat with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, when she shares her passion for lifestyle blogging and motherhood.
Tell us about starting Verastic…
I started blogging for fun, but it has become a business today. Verastic is a brand that is there to represent truth in reality, just as it is. I started blogging in January 2006; so this year makes it 10 years. I have been blogging non-stop, but I only started monetising the work two years ago.
I studied Psychology at the University of Roland in the USA.
Tell us about your childhood…
My childhood was pretty interesting. I was born in Russia. My parents were in school of medicine in Russia, when I was born. I lived in Russia for the first four years of my life and Russian was the only language I could speak. And then we returned to Jos and I had to learn English very quickly, because kids in school did not understand me and I didn’t understand them either.
Now, I don’t speak the language anymore, because I was trying to learn English so fast in Nigeria and I’m also not great in Igbo language. So, I lived in Jos for 11 years before I moved to the US, where I spent most of my life.
What makes you to stand out?
Firstly, I think nobody else can be you, you can only be yourself, and really, there can’t be two of anybody. What makes me stand out is the fact that I am completely honest. If it’s something you think I can’t be completely honest about, I don’t just blog about it. If am going to write about it, then I would tell you exactly how I feel, even if it’s not a popular opinion. Even if my opinion were not the popular one, I would still say what I want to say.
However, there’s no one else like me; I’m a Russian-born Nigerian (Igbo) girl, who lived in Northern Nigeria and has now spent most of her life in the States. I’m also an Igbo girl married to a Yoruba man. On a local, national, international, and personal scale, I bring a unique perspective.
Tell us why you focused on lifestyle blogging?
When I started blogging, blogs like mine were just known as personal blogs. As blogging has evolved and become more lucrative, we are now ‘officially’ called Lifestyle.
What impact do you intend to make with your blog?
At the very least, I’d like to make someone’s day. I want people to leave my blog feeling better than when they came on.
Living in America and coming to Nigeria, what differences have you seen, as it relates to running a blog?
Blogging, while I was in Nigeria, was a little difficult for me. For starters, my schedule was very tight. I was always going in and out of the hotel. But even when I finally had the time, the Internet wouldn’t let me be great. Because of this, I did not blog as much as usual, and I did not attempt to upload a video. That being said, it would truly be an honour for me to blog long term in Nigeria.
You are into brand reviewing and consulting. Can you tell us a little about it?
Blogging is a business and more people are in the market, but a lot of people are still confused about what to do and how to start it. I help figure out what you want to do, what you want the site to look like, what you want people to see and what you want people to think of, when they are on your blog.
What new plans do you have in store for your readers?
Well, in the 10 years I have been blogging, this is the first time that I’m going to be officially meeting readers, even though I run into them, but this is the first time I will actually want to meet them; I want to have an event. We are just working round the details, and once we do that, it’ll be good. That’s one thing I have in mind, to host small events because the readers are everything.
I have bad days and I would read a comment that would just make me laugh or an email of someone encouraging me. “Hey you are doing a great job”. Those things are priceless, so I would like to do more of that. I would like to do more giveaways, collaborate more in Nigeria, and get my readers more involved in enhancing their lives.
Have you come to stay? If not, why?
I have not come to stay yet. And the reason is simple: In order for me to stay in Nigeria, I have to be able to make enough money to support the lifestyle that I’m used to. For example, I’m a full-time blogger, who makes money by working with brands. If I can do the same thing consistently in Nigeria, I’ll be moving back home right now.
Having blogged for a decade, do you any regrets, rewards?
My number one reward is that I’m blessed to stay home and raise my child and work at the same time – without having to run to an office every morning. I have also been able to do so many things because of my blog (like go to the White House, be paid to attend events, work with big brands, such as Toyota, Comcast, Kia, and many more). I only regret not treating my blog like a business sooner.
How do you joggle being a mother and a wife and still blog?
I don’t sleep at nights (laughs). It’s only when my daughter is asleep that I try to work, because sometimes by the time she falls asleep, I too am tired and fall asleep. My mum is here and helps me a lot because it’s just the two of us at home.
Time management is a real challenge for me because my whole 24 hours, I spend feeding the baby, washing her clothes, and I turn on the computer and I don’t have much times doing things. Since I came to Nigeria, I have had just three posts, which is very unusual.
The blogging industry is getting saturated; do you think it’s a challenge to your brand?
Not at all, because every blog has its target readers. So, the people, who read my blog, know what they are getting, they know what they are coming for. I don’t feel like the other blogs affect me or that mine affects them. Everyone is just on his or her own lane.
What lessons have you learnt from blogging?
The industry is young, even though I have been blogging for 10 years. It’s best to be yourself, it’s tempting to say someone is popular and you want to be like him or her. Stay true to yourself; don’t jump into things because people are doing it. Don’t try to change your content. Networking is important.
What advice do you have for start-up bloggers?
Just start and as you go along, you can decide to change. You may not know everything you need to know until you start. No matter how many researches you do or courses you take, you may never know everything you need to know about blogging before you blog.
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