“I saved enough money to travel out of the country for the first time” – Dodo Babs

Doyin Babatolu, popurlaly known as Dodo Babs is a fitness enthusiast and artist based in Ibadan, Nigeria. We caught up with her, and she gave us an insight on her life, future plans and finances. Enjoy!

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Dodo Babs, I’m a 23-year-old artist and fitness enthusiast. I was born in Ilorin, Kwara state but I left when I was three months old. I’ve lived in Ibadan for most of my life. I come from a mixed ethnic background; my mother is Igbo and my father is Yoruba. My family is a closely knitted one, we are all on a first-name basis (laughs). I studied Biomedical Engineering at the University of Ilorin, although I haven’t graduated yet because of the ASUU strike. It’s ironic because the reason I attended the University of Ilorin was the fact that they never use to partake in the nationwide ASUU strikes.  I’m looking forward to defending my final project.

What motivated you to get into fitness?

Genuinely, I don’t have any sad backstory as to what made me start taking my fitness seriously. I honestly just woke up one morning and said to myself “I have done 500 skips in a day. In two weeks, I’m going to be slimmer than Naomi Campbell”. It was a running joke on Twitter at the time (laughs). Luckily for me, I’m the kind of person that sets her mind to something and does the extreme the most to meet the goals I set.

That’s impressive! Were you brought up that way or it is just a personal thing for you?

My dad is an extremely disciplined person, so that rubbed off on me from a very young age, especially when it came to my grades. Aside from being a determined person, I feel good when I set goals and smash them. My fitness journey wasn’t an easy one but it was easier because I’m disciplined. Although I experienced fatphobia, just like most fat people, it didn’t motivate me to lose weight.

So it’s safe to say that you are your own inspiration…

Absolutely! I don’t strive to be inspired by anyone or look like anyone. I am my own body goals. (laughs )I know what I want my body to look like and I’m working towards it.

How has the journey been so far? 

Hmmm…. There is a lot when it comes to this question. What people don’t know is that any fitness journey is both mental and physical. When I started working out, I could do 100 skips. Now, I can comfortably do 1000 skips. Milestones like this keep me going. But to be honest, right now I’m not as motivated as I was when I first began my fitness journey. I’m taking things easy on myself because it has been a complete lifestyle change. When I first started, I was glad to see the daily progress that I made. I also loved seeing the changes in members of my workout group.

Tell us about the workout group.

I have never been asked about it so it feels great to talk about it. I documented my journey from day one on Instagram. My followers literally saw me shrink on camera. When I started doing 350 skips a day, I posted a six-week before and after picture. Before I knew it, my DMs got flooded with questions about weight loss tips and whatnot. Several people were like “tell us what you’re doing”. So I put up a poll on my Instagram asking my followers if I can set up an accountability group. My followers and I eventually settled for members paying to secure their membership. Two days after, I drafted out what the group would be like in terms of the food timetable, workout routines, and everything in between. I had over 1500 responses, but I only had spaces for a few. At a point, I had 60-70 members per group but now, I keep the cap at 25. They pay N7500 each for a two-week duration. There are options for a three-month or a year subscription. 

What’s your basis for selection?

It’s on a first come first serve basis, although there are health, age, and gender considerations. I have a male group but I generally have more female clients than male clients.

That must have been cool money for you at the time…

Oh yes. I’m not the wealthiest person but having the money makes it shocking, but fulfilling, especially because I didn’t start with the intention of making money.

Can you remember what you spent money on with the cash you got from the accountability group?

I had 12 members in my very first group. They paid about N4000 each and I remember buying sharwama first, then saving the rest of the money. The remaining was spent on hotels, clothes, and gifts for family members. However, I make sure I give myself a treat. For example, I’m obsessed with luxury hotels – I genuinely enjoy spending money on them. I go to hotels just for the experience, and to sleep too, even though I end up calling my friends because I get bored. I was also able to fly myself out of the country for the very first time this year. I went to Ghana and had a good time.

That sounds like a lot of fun…

Oh yes, it was fun! I don’t regret any part of it, however, I wish I had invested or traded some part of the money but I didn’t really understand how it worked at that time, especially with crypto. Right now, my best friend is learning a lot about it now so I’m just waiting for her to get through with it so she can teach me everything she has learned.  I’m hoping to fully understand it soon, especially the NFT space.

Can you tell us about your art career as an artist?

It started with me having straight hands and loving patterns. I have always been a fan of textile designs, I did a lot of repeat patterns in high school, but it is not like I took it seriously. But during my gap year, I used art to occupy myself. I do professional Mandala andZentangle. It takes hours to do and I charge a lot for it. My first ever client was Chuka Obi. He gave me up to six figures for one of my art pieces. That was the first time I ever received that kind of lump sum. Because my art takes a lot of time, I do it based on commission only because I don’t have that much free time to start working on art pieces. It’s a passion I enjoy, and I don’t always want to do it.

We agree! After all, it’s not every single passion or hobby you have to monetize, sometimes you just have to enjoy it…

Oh my goodness! Thank you for that! If you know many people that have told me to do more with my art so I could get more money. People who have heard me sing have told me to monetize it, but I’m not just interested. It’s not everything I can do I want to make money off. I don’t even think it’s healthy.

So we’re guessing you will expand your fitness brand once you’re finally done with school?

Absolutely! I’ve grown to become passionate about it so I want to make it part of my lifestyle.

Do you have any major financial plans?

I want to move to Lagos and afford my own apartment, even though I have heard that real estate in Lagos is hell. I also want to be able to buy a luxury car. I also want to invest in crypto, buy land, and make major investments. I’m probably going to get into brand ambassadorship/influencer bag. I know it’s going to be a lot of work but I’m ready for that.

Finally, do you have any financial regret?

Hmmm…I don’t think I have any, but borrowing someone money I knew I couldn’t do without is probably a financial decision I regret.

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