Joy Ofodu: From full-time Meta employee to full-time content creator

May 13, 2024
Emmy Liederman
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Since the pandemic, there seems to be a cultural shift in how the world views the overall idea of the full-time job. For many, there were water cooler chats, post-work team-building activities, meetings that really could have been an email, and many minutes spent commuting to and from the office. Now, time is more valuable than ever, and the desire to have a work-life balance, flexibility in schedule and environment, and the space to pursue creative passion projects outside of work is becoming more and more palatable.

To put it plainly—folx is tired of being tired.

This is why in the past two years, more people have been quitting their full-time jobs to pursue entrepreneurship or redefine their career paths. It’s called The Great Resignation babes, and all the hottest content creators and influencers are doing it—including none other than Joy Ofodu, a full-time content creator, comedian, and actor.

Back in October, Joy announced that she decided to quit her job at Instagram as an Integrated Marketing Manager to pursue content creation full-time. I recently spoke with the media personality to learn more about her journey to entrepreneurship and what led her to close this chapter of her career.

Why Joy Left Instagram

Joy began building her career at Instagram in 2017, where she started as a Teen Community Intern on the Consumer Marketing Team. Like many millennials navigating their careers around this time, the idea of working at a cool company, especially in the tech industry, felt like the perfect career opportunity, and for Joy, it was.

In a video published on her YouTube channel, Joy shared, “this was my dream job. You could be yourself [at Meta], and you could wear whatever and eat whatever [you wanted]. If you remember that movie with Owen Wilson—The Internship—it was a lot like that.”

In her role, Joy worked first-hand on driving users to utilize Instagram Stories, developed brand and outreach strategies for Instagram partners and community members, and managed millions in marketing budgets with Instagram’s agency partners. Her job also led her to opportunities like interviewing the most fabulous member of the Wade family—Zaya Wade—and hosting sessions at Instagram’s internal Black Creator Day

She’s an icon, legend, and thee moment.

While growing in her professional career, she was also pursuing passion projects in her free time: photography, blogging, video creation, and developing a podcast show that combined two of her favorite topics—comedy and dating. As she dove more into these projects, she had a lot of support from her friends and a growing community of fans that wanted to see more of her voice, face, and presence in the media. However, Joy, who is of Nigerian descent, was dealing with cultural expectations from her family, which became a challenge.

“Nigerians are some of the funniest people on the planet. However, there is a culture around being Nigerian-American that restricts how you behave in public, especially when it comes to dating conversations; we’re not encouraged to speak about our love life. As a woman, you’re not meant to be this public character that is speaking about her pursuit of partnership, so there was a bit of tension to break through within my family to be a creator,” she shared.

Eventually, Joy realized that her life was hers to live. She wanted to take herself less seriously and focus on pursuing the projects that brought her happiness. Ultimately, like the G.O.A.T, Serena Williams, Joy evolved from her job and decided to focus more on bringing her vision for her personal brand to fruition. There wasn’t any dramatic reason why Joy decided to leave Instagram. She just wanted to have more time to produce her show.

“I needed to be able to produce something bigger and more involved than what my free time allowed me to produce. I had been sitting with [the idea] since November of last year. I sent pitches, wrote episodes, and I was thinking through the brand and the colors. It had been sitting on my heart and spirit [for so long]. I knew that if I left Meta, it would enable me [more time] to study voice acting, produce my podcast, and be more active on YouTube. I could have done all this while I was at Meta, but I wouldn’t have had a personal life. I wasn’t willing to compromise, so I left Instagram to fully lean into my talent, which is making people laugh in a way that inspires them to heal,” says Joy.

While the door remains open at Meta for Joy, the content creator is moving forward with entrepreneurship in mind. Joy is in her “me season” (shoutout to Issa Rae) and establishing her personal brand while doing it.

Finding Joy In Being Joy and Bringing Joy

Little known fact—the goal of building Joy's brand was part of her destiny all along. Joy grew up as the funny kid in her community and loved talking and making people laugh. While that didn’t always resonate with her teachers, she finds pride in knowing that it propelled her into who she is today.

“I always got in trouble as a kid for talking in class, and now I’m a professional talker. I just needed an outlet. Being funny is something I took as a compliment of my personality, not as much a viable business skill. However, performing in corporate and academic spaces can ensure likability or safety because you can take on the role of being humorous relief which keeps you from needing to reveal yourself, getting into conflict, and can ease tension in rooms. So, humor unknowingly became somewhat of a mechanism for me to [thrive] in these environments,” says Joy.

Now Joy has reclaimed her humorous side and created a space of her own to entertain and discuss the topics that she feels most passionate about, openly and unapologetically. This outlet comes in the form of a media company—Joy Ofodu, LLC—in which she is the owner and Chief Creative Officer.

Yes, she named her company after herself, and honestly, I love it for her. Truly iconic behavior. 

Operating under her LLC, Joy offers inclusive entertainment and media services for brands that need exciting and engaging content. So far, she has partnered with brands like HBO Max, Adult Swim, Netflix, and Mented Cosmetics.

Often, when brands or companies build out their marketing strategy, there are specific goals that ladder up to even more specific KPIs. In the world of social media and influencing, those could be engagements (followers, shares, comments, etc.) or reach. However, Joy has her own idea for how she measures success.

“Laughter is my KPI,” says Joy.

Leading with authenticity and a genuine desire to do work that makes people feel good, Joy is redefining what it means to be an entrepreneur in her own right and paving the way for other creators who want to go down a similar path. For those individuals, she has a lot of advice to offer.

From The Desk Of The Creator

From The Desk of the Creator is an ongoing series in my interviews that includes direct insights from creators on how brands, influencers, and creators can work better together.

  1. What advice do you have for other content creators or influencers?

  • “You can have a support system in your friends and family, but they don’t necessarily need to be your customer or target audience.”
  • “Consistency will win over creativity. If you don't have an active or consistent platform, start now and keep going. It took two years of posting short-form videos weekly online for my platform to be monetizable enough to survive.
  • “Maintain a media-rich portfolio on your personal website.”
  • “SEO optimization matters more than your current follower count.”
  • “Establish professional correspondence with an email signature, templates, legally-vetted documents, a profile photo, etc.”
  • “Separate your creator business from your personal assets to get paid and retain the wealth. Consult a CPA or financial advisor.”

  1. How can brands or companies foster an environment that gives space for employees who are creators to pursue their passion projects?

“What was cool about how Instagram facilitated my growth as a creator was that where it made sense, they would invite me to co-house events and put me on panels. People in the Communications department asked for my feedback as a creator, which made me feel valued. That’s not going to be the case at every company, but when it’s possible, pull your creators in. You will retain your employees longer if you can find meaningful integrations for their creative projects in your corporate efforts. Being at Instagram enhanced my knowledge base as a creator.”

  1. What advice do you have for brands or companies that want to create space for creators to pursue their passion projects?

“Make sure the line of distinction between what is competitive and what is not very clear. For example, if you work for Dunkin’ Donuts, you know that you can’t do [a brand campaign] for Krispy Kreme. However, for a tech company like Google or Microsoft, that owns so many properties and brands, it can be tricky.”

What’s Next For Joy And Where To Find Her

With multiple titles under her belt—chief creative officer, comedian, actor, creator, podcaster, Youtuber, and photographer—Joy is truly a Renaissance woman, capable of anything and everything she sets her sights on. 

Recently, she launched her show, Dating Unsettled, which is available on all podcast platforms, and is now focusing her energy on nurturing the show’s audience and the team behind it. She continues to publish original, comedic video content on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. And soon, she'll begin publishing on Fanbase, a Black-owned platform that allows creators to monetize their content through a subscription format. Last but not least, she’s lending her voice acting talents to ASALI: Power of The Pollinators, an animated short film produced by Viola Davis.

If you’re saying to yourself, “girl, I’m not reading all that,” just know Ms. Joy Ofodu is booked and busy and has no plans to stop. Focused on her mission of making people laugh, we can expect Joy to bring literal joy to the world as she carves her path in the creator economy.

Click the links below to follow Joy and see more of her content.

@joyofodu on Instagram

@joyofodu on TikTok

@joyofodu on YouTube

@joyofodu on Twitter

Joy Ofodu on LinkedIn

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