Her passion made her $8k. But that wasn’t even the plan

How crypto turned a pastime into a venture, then into a job.

Into the Cryptoverse is a weekly Breach series that documents the stories of everyday people as they navigate the cryptoverse.

Could you tell me when your crypto journey started?

It was 2019 and I noticed that Ethereum was popping up in a lot of conversations online. However, I didn’t understand the hype. I thought it was a scam that wouldn’t stand the test of time. It didn’t help that people constantly came online to complain whenever there was a crypto market crash. It got a little overwhelming, and I was convinced that I could do without it.

I’m guessing you changed your stance at some point.

Yes. A year later my partner started trading crypto. Because of him, I learned a little bit about crypto concepts and use cases, especially around global and borderless payments. As such, I was convinced that crypto wasn’t a scam. However, I didn’t take to it fully until 2021.

What happened in 2021?

I caught the NFT bug. Let me give some context: I started illustrating random things on my iPhone as a coping mechanism during the lockdown in 2020. It turned out that I loved it, so I stuck with it. At the time, however, I had no intention to monetise my work.

I started to see the possibilities in May 2021. My sister, a photographer, minted and listed one of her photographs on an NFT marketplace for 0.55 eth (~$1560), and it got sold in little time. I found this exciting and confusing.

Haha. Why?

I’m not sure. But I was like, “how are you selling a photograph for this much money?” Anyway, I asked her about it and she broke it down to me. On my own part, I went down a rabbit hole and watched a ton of YouTube videos about NFTs and I also turned to Clubhouse rooms to listen to people in the space talk about NFTs. My goal was to learn a lot from just listening and asking questions — and I did a lot of that.

Great. What happened next?

Later in May of 2021, I felt like I was ready to mint one of my illustrations. I titled it “Afro Divinity”, and it’s pretty much my interpretation of the beauty of black women.

The first step was deciding which marketplace option was the best one for me. I went for OpenSea.

Why?

OpenSea has a lazy minting feature. This means that I only have to pay upfront gas fees for the first NFT I mint and list on the platform. For subsequent projects, the gas fees are charged and paid for after the sale of the NFT. That was very useful for me.

I see. Fair enough.

I watched and followed a step-by-step guide on how to mint an NFT on YouTube. At the end of it, my first NFT was on the marketplace with a price tag of 0.5 eth (~$1500).

Now, I didn’t prepare for the wait that followed. Nothing happened in the first week, and I was beginning to wonder if the price I set was too high. Luckily, I didn’t have to worry for much longer — a collector bought it on the eighth day.

I wonder what that felt like.

I’m not sure how to describe it. I mean, I was incredibly happy at that moment. That said, I also knew that I couldn’t live in the moment forever. I was like “okay, I’ve made money from my art for the first time. What’s next?”

Luckily, I had some answers.

Oh yeah?

In the eight days it took to sell my first NFT, I realised how much work it takes to make money as an artist in the NFT space. For starters, I constantly have to talk about my work and seek new ways to market myself. Beyond that, I also have to support other artists — that’s why it’s called a community.

I hear you.

Following this realisation, I became very active in the space, joined more conversations and connected with more people. I reasoned that all of this needed to be a part of my process before I minted another NFT. I finally felt like I had gotten there in August 2021when I decided to mint the next project.

Tell me about it.

It’s a collection titled “Sisi Eko.” Originally, there were 10 items in the collection. When the collection sold out in record time, I started adding more items to it. At the moment, there are 22 NFTs in the collection and the price of each item is between 0.05 eth (~$150) and 0.07 eth (~$200). The collection sold out in January 2022.

Sweet.

However, I took a break from minting to focus on something else after the first batch of this collection went up though.

What was that?

Developing my skills in community management in the hopes of getting a community manager job in a web3 company. I realised that as much as NFTs were a good way to make money, I couldn’t rely on them as a steady source of income — at least not at that time. I wasn’t drawing full-time, and I had school to worry about as well. It wouldn’t hurt to explore another option.

How did that go?

In September 2021, a community I belong to — Black NFT Art — was looking for moderators to help them host some Clubhouse rooms for a two-week event. I applied for the role, and I got it. By the end of the event, they’d discovered how good I was and retained me.

This energy. Hook it.

It gets better. I threw myself into the work and made sure to talk about the job every chance I could. Naturally, people started to notice me more in the NFT community. Before the end of 2021, a couple of people reached out to ask if I would be interested in working with them. I rejected most of the offers.

Why?

I was not convinced about the projects. I didn’t want to be a part of a rug pull or anything that could hurt the community. Fast forward to January 2022, someone I worked with sometime last year referred me to Glow Labs, another Web3 company. We had a couple of conversations and I got the job.

A lot happened has happened between 2021 and now, hasn’t it?

I agree it has. I didn’t imagine I would make money from my art until last year. Between then and now, I’ve made more than 3 eth in NFT sales. That’s at least $8k. That was not my plan when I started illustrating in 2020.

Also, I work in Web3, which happened because I became interested in NFTs. Sometimes, it feels like everything happened too fast. But I don’t hate it.

Haha. Fair enough. Speaking of NFTs, do you still create and mint your work?

I create something new almost every day. I’m big on exploring different art forms, so this is very critical. In February, I dropped my most recent NFT collections on OpenSea, and there will be more.

I should add that my activities in the NFT community are not limited to minting NFTs or my community management job.

Tell me more.

At the beginning of the year, my sister and I started a small community — Non-Fungible Fridays. The plan is to figure out how to onboard more people into the Web 3 space and also make it a platform for other creators to share their work. It’s fulfilling, and I enjoy it.

I’ll bet you do. Sounds like you’re fully into this, so what’s your favourite thing about the NFT space?

It has to be all the potential it has and how we haven’t discovered everything yet. What that tells me is that everyone in the NFT community at the moment came in very early. The way I see it, the early believers will get the most out of the movement in a few years when NFTs blow up. I find this very exciting.

Makes sense. Before you go, I’d like to know if you ever wonder what the past year and the present would look like for you if you hadn’t discovered NFTs?

Surviving. I’ll be surviving.

Haha. I’ll take that. Looking forward to when your next collection drops.

If you’re interested in talking about your crypto journey, click this link.

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