I am inspired to see young Nigerians that are exceptionally doing well in business, those who have decided to own a place and make their mark in the evolving world of Technology. We were privileged to have a one- on -one with the young, vibrant and enthusiastic CEO of one of the leading digital Agencies in Lagos, Charles Dairo.
9to5.com.ng: A brief profile of who Charles Dairo is, what was growing up like?
Charles Dairo is the Founder and CEO of CKDIGITAL, a digital agency founded in Lagos Nigeria, helping businesses increase their sales and overall value through digital marketing, website design, branding, and training. He is also the founder of CKDIGITAL Academy, providing professional training in Digital Marketing and Web Development.
I was born in Germany, and spent 4 years there before my mum came back to Nigeria with my twin sister and I. I grew up moving from home to home, following a divorce by my parents and I spent the latter part of my youth in a big family of 9 kids. It was pretty interesting. Never a dull moment.
Growing up, I loved computers and always wanted to do something along that line.
9to5.com.ng: Did your course of study influence your career path in any way…
Oh yes it did. I loved computers and so, when it was time to choose a course of study, I naturally chose Computer Science. In fact, what I’m doing was inspired by a course I took in final-year – Web Design & Data Security.
9to5: When was CKDIGITAL established and what was it like setting up a digital agency in Nigeria
I started CKDIGITAL in 2011. Honestly, I didn’t plan right away to set up a ‘digital agency’. The business started as a ‘side hustle’. I simply wanted to make some money on the side with my skills in Web Design. Little by little, as people saw the quality of my work, demand for my services increased, and this forced us to increase our capacity.
Also, as a result of our mission to help businesses succeed, we had to find other ways to help asides website design, so we began offering digital marketing, branding and training services.
9to5: What has been the challenging aspect of managing CKDIGITAL and your learnings
Over the years, I have faced different challenges such as working with team members, managing finances, dealing with difficult clients, keeping the business efficient and profitable, and building a sustainable structure. These challenges have helped me become a better person and entrepreneur. Most times, the solution is in getting the right information, and in actually implementing what you’ve learned.
9to5: Let us talk company culture, do you believe that every business needs to define its culture and what is your company’s culture like?
Yes, I do believe that every business needs to define its culture. At CKDIGITAL, we are very intentional about culture. As a business, different people will come to join you, having different experiences and behavior. Being intentional about culture helps ensure that the experience working in and with your company remains the same, irrespective of the individual behavior of those working there.
At CKDIGITAL, our culture is defined by our core values: Teamwork, Action, Knowledge, Excellence, Service, Truth, Love, and Celebration. These aren’t merely words to us. They define how we behave, how we hire, keep and promote people.
Most noticeable is our culture of celebration and fun. On social media, people know us as the fun agency that is always celebrating. We celebrate our team members’ birthdays, we celebrate client’s website launch with a cake, we celebrate anniversaries. We have Pizza Friday, we have Fun Friday, and other fun activities.
In terms of our commitment to Knowledge, we have in-house training every two weeks where team members present and train others on something useful. We also have K-Day, where everyone learns at least one new thing and sends a report to me directly.
These are a few of the ways we intentionally shape and preserve the culture at CKDIGITAL.
9to5: We are in the digital age, what career path will lead one into working in a digital agency like yours, just for those who are thinking of working as web developers but are not so sure if their course of study will impact their decision…
The most common path that leads to working as a web developer is Computer Science. However, the beautiful thing about the tech industry is that you can switch from any background to a career in digital if you have a passion for it, and are willing to be trained. Also, digital agencies offer other opportunities for those that aren’t web developers, such as digital marketing, graphics, account and project management, finance, sales, and more.
9to5: How has it been leading a company as a young CEO, in terms of your relationship with your team and customers?
Most people are usually pleasantly surprised that the CEO of CKDIGITAL is a young man. From our work, and activity online, or when we discuss over the phone, they usually imagine someone much older. I’m already used to it.
In terms of my relationship with my team, being young is definitely an advantage. I am able to relate with team members’ goals, and understand how they think. I have also had to grow personally to be able to mentor them and help them have the right attitude and mindset concerning work and life in general.
9to5: I see you have a big vision for CKDIGITAL, mind sharing a few with us
I do have a big vision for CKDIGITAL. Our vision is the fire burning in our hearts that keeps us going. I’ll gladly share a few:
Our vision is to be the world’s biggest digital agency. We work with clients all over the world, and provide jobs for thousands of people. We will be a massively successful business and one of the best places to work. Our vision is that as a company, we will make the world a better place in every way we can.
9to5: Final word for young and aspiring entrepreneurs…
Think big, start small, and grow fast. Entrepreneurship is hard, and can be frustrating and lonely. It’s important you do what you love. Seek knowledge. Keep and maintain the right relationships. Be positive. Keep going, and never give up. Enjoy your journey.
I look forward to your success stories.