#LLAInterview – ”God gives everyone a specific assignment and knowing it and focusing on that is the best key to a fulfilled life.” Yetty Williams
If you haven’t heard of Lagos Mums, we wonder where you’ve been! It was such a joy for us to speak to the brain behind Lagos Mums, Yetty Williams. In our interview with her, she shared her journey so far as the Founder of LagosMums and how she has been able to help disseminate needful information on parenting and create an amazing community for Nigerian Mums.
You are the Founder of Lagos.Mums; tell us a little bit about who Yetty Williams is and what she does?
Yetty Williams is a mother of two wonderful children, aged 10 and 8 who inspire me to be the best mother that i can be. I started LagosMums after I had my second child and I was always looking for information on parenting. Many of the resources I would find were based out of the US/UK at the time and that was when i had the idea for a community for mothers based here in Nigeria. I thought it would be great to create a community and one stop location for mums and parents looking for locally relevant information, advice, products and services. When i started LagosMums six years ago, Instagram didn’t exist, Facebook was relatively new and so much in the social media space was just starting up. Since then I have taught myself to understand the power of social media and this is a major tool in being a parent in today’s tech world. Parents see nothing wrong with googling a question that relates to parenting or even send a DM to a fellow mum on Instagram to get an answer to a pressing question.
I love the idea of Lagos Mums; when and why did you start it?
I started LagosMums in 2011 as an online community for mums, the goal being to be a one stop destination for parenting and motherhood questions. We share relevant information like how to find the right school, family friendly events happening in the city etc. As the platform has continued to grow with now over 50,000 followers and subscribers we are able to offer a platform that connects businesses to the niche audience of mothers. We also deal with the real issue of work life balance for working mums and mumpreneurs. So LagosMums was started to be a destination for mums to support each other and it has continued to grow.
Amazing! So what were you doing before starting up Lagos Mums?
Prior to starting LagosMums my experience spans financial services, real estate and consulting before my foray into the content creation, digital media space. My first job after graduating from University was at Bloomberg Financial Markets in the US. My husband and I relocated to Nigeria about 11 years ago and my first job in Nigeria was with Shell, after this I transferred to real estate where i was an Investment VP and asset manager respectively. Following this to accommodate my desire to be a hands on mum and have time for my young children I started taking on consulting roles which gave me more flexibility to have times for the family while still working in the professional field.
Who’s your target audience, and how has the response to the platform been?
My primary target audience are mums, majority of my audience are working mums with young children who primarily live in Lagos. Our services has increased to include their families because we share information now that is beneficial for the whole family. The response has been amazing because LagosMums fills a need – mums thrive on recommendations from a trusted source as there is so much noise out there today. We are able to offer useful trusted information and when we recommend products and services we try to ensure that it is truly beneficial for our audience.
Starting up Lagos Mums; did you feel any fear or anxiety; and how did you overcome it?
So when i started LagosMums it was simply an idea i had, I have a motto that says “Ask what is the worst that will happen?You never know if there is a Yes waiting for you unless you ask” So when i had the idea of a platform for mums here in Lagos, I registered the domain name, got a developer and got going. I did not have any fear as it was something i started while i was a stay at home mum with the idea to have it as a side community for mums to ask questions and get answers. At the time i started it, LagosMums was the first of such blog targeted at mums. I am generally a flexible person, i love to learn and stretch myself and as a result that is why LagosMums is still here today. I adapt to change and find new ways to truly provide value to my audience – it has morphed from just an idea to a social enterprise that is a useful resource for mums and their families. What I have also found is that provision follows obedience, God truly opens doors of opportunity when you obey and follow his leading.
Do you think that mothers these days have a harder time trying to balance their personal and professional lives?
It is definitely harder to balance personal and professional lives today, the demands are all around. Women nowadays are also earners and work, whether in a 9 to 5 or as an entrepreneur (or mumpreneur). The need to find a balance is real especially when you add the unique hustle of being a mum in Lagos! Everything from traffic, to school runs, to social events to the pressure of living in the city.
Let’s talk about the “Work-life-balance” debate – do you believe that there’s such a thing? And if yes, what are the practical ways to navigate it?
I believe that balance can occur when 1. you decide what balance looks like for you, don’t put your ladder against someone else’s wall and 2. Embrace the notion of sacrifice because for every yes you say, become comfortable saying no to something else. Life is in seasons, the demands of young children is different from when they get older so adjust as needed. You need a support system and you are not superwoman so get help and the right kind of help. Also get rid of guilt – too many women let guilt rob them of their joy – just do the best you can do at every given moment in time.
What are some of the initiatives Lagos Mums has developed to further support the community?
Apart from the core of being an online resource, LagosMums holds regular parenting and networking events where mums get to meet other parents and experts. We also offer relaxation events, like a mums day out which was well attended few months ago encouraging mums to take time out for themselves. We like to run regular giveaways, product reviews and discounts on products and services mums and their families use. Lastly we provide coaching for mums who need work life balance or who are entrepreneurs and need help with their business.
There are quite a number of “Mum” online platforms now; what differentiates you from the rest?
The market is huge and we all offer something slightly different, our messages and focus areas are also slightly different. Every platform has its own specific focus, message and tone, I believe the market if large enough and the more support systems we have in place for mothers the better. One of the things that makes LagosMums different is that we help mums on the whole journey, so not just about the pregnancy stage but what happens when the child starts school, navigating the various influence of the 21st century and strategies as children grow up. We also speak to the mother as an individual – you can only be the best mum possible when you know who you are and are thriving as an individual.
Some say the advent of social media has somehow made parenting even more challenging; what are your thoughts on that?
I agree that the influence of social media has added to the challenges of parenting today. Children are introduced to technology very early nowadays and parents have to carefully monitor screen time, online safety, digital footprints and more. It is so critical that children are protected when using social media, they need to know what is appropriate online and what is not. Parents need to have real conversations with their children about their use of social media, monitor them and ensure they are only getting on social media when they are mature and old enough to use it.
If you weren’t doing Lagos Mums, what would you be doing?
I have found so many areas to myself that i didn’t know i had prior to starting LagosMums. For one I love digital media and the power of using this medium to share your message. I also never thought i had marketing skills or was a creative person before now! Now i am quite enjoy storytelling and exploring media and technology in different ways. This is a long way to say I am not sure I can imagine not doing LagosMums – i love to communicate and to help mothers on the parenting journey. One thing i also do outside of LagosMums is offer consulting services – so I would be a consultant.
How do you unwind, and where are some of your favorite vacay spots?
Unwinding includes listening to music, going for a massage, hanging out with my children and spouse (with no technology) and travelling! I always love going to the US and visiting different states.
Name 3 women who inspire you?
My daughter asked me the other day to mention one person I would love to meet as a birthday present and I said Oprah! So this is a shoutout just in case anyone knows Oprah or she reads this 🙂 So Oprah definitely inspires me – her story of overcoming challenges to building the empire she has today.
Another woman who inspires me is the Proverbs 31 woman! So this is the woman who was referred to in Proverbs 31:10-31. As I always tell my children the bible is not a story book or make believe it is real – so I look up to that woman because for me she represents a woman truly living an abundant life, she just had every area covered – her business, home, marriage, finances so for me it means it is possible.
Lastly my mother and the way she raised me to be confident as a young girl, the way a child is raised when young plays such a huge role in the future. I didn’t see being a girl as a limitation in anyway. I really believe that it is critical for mothers, parents to spend quality time with young children during their formative years.
If you could, what would you say to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to be flexible, to enjoy every season of life. To know that it is important to know who she is because no material goods can give you true joy. If she does get married and become a mother these are great but realize that a husband does not complete you, nor do children complete you – while these are fantastic blessings in your life no one except God can complete you. Also to learn to forgive herself and to surround herself with good people who want the best for her in all that she does. It is important to stay focused and not ignore the things that you are passionate about or that are your unique gifts or talent. God gives everyone a specific assignment and knowing it and focusing on that is the best key to a fulfilled life.
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