While the term “talent management” might not resonate with the average Nigerian, the business of managing media personalities and music artistes has grown steadily in the past decade. When I ask Victoria Nkong to give me a lay-man’s perception of talent management, she first gives me popular misconstrued notions. “… taking calls and bookings of a client, and managing their schedules” are what most people say if asked about talent management she says. However, she gives a me a simplified but accurate description as to what it is; “Talent management is managing business development and branding for clients, and making him/her earn a living from their talent.”
The business of managing talents is not new to Victoria, as she is the founder and CEO of Qtaby Events, a company involved in a number of businesses, ranging from Artistes Booking Management to Human Resource Consultation. On the motivation to start Qtaby, she mentions that she previously worked as the personal assistant to the KORA movie awards president. While she was there, she was trained in events production where she worked with a lot of national and international talents. After she left the job, she was continually approached for her services and boom! Qtaby was born. In the eleven years it has been running, they have worked with notable music artistes like Akon, P-square, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, and Shaggy albeit indirectly, and are currently managing Toofan from Togo, Harrysong, and Orezi.
On the changes that need to happen in the industry, she mentions that appreciation for the craft is very important and cannot be overemphasized, so clients need to know that. Clients most of the time turn to their friends and family when looking for managers, but she thinks this is dangerous to the client and the client’s brand. Clients as well as managers need to realize that talent management and brand development are professional careers that require expertise, quality, and meticulousness.
“Talent managers are as professional as bankers, lawyers, and doctors.”
She admonishes potential clients to choose their managers like they would any other professional.
“Choose managers based on years of experience, professionalism, and what they are bringing to the table,”
she says. She also advises for transparency between clients and their managers, especially in the age of technology and social media. On positive changes that have occurred in the industry, she acknowledges that the rapid advancement of science and technology has made it tremendously easy for communication and business between client and managers to be easier and faster.
She tells me that the percentage split between manager and client is one thing that turns a lot of people off from talent management. But they need to realize that hiring managers is a necessity that cannot and should not be overlooked. To prevent messy falling outs between managers and clients, Ms. Nkong says it’s proactive for both parties to do some research about each other before entering a business relationship. If something feels amiss, then it’s an indication that it probably won’t be best to enter a business relationship with the person.
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When asked about challenges faced in the industry, she mentioned competition as a top issue, but she looks at it as a motivation to always bring out her A game. Another challenge she mentioned is lack of finances, as managing talents might sometimes mean having to use your personal resources. When asked if there were things she wishes she had done differently, Victoria says she had no regrets. She sees her mistakes as a learning process to perfecting her craft in the industry and she would do it all over again if she was given a second chance.
“Learn how to manage yourself first.”
I ask her for tips to upcoming talent managers and people who plan to venture into this business. She sums it up to one sentence; “Learn how to manage yourself first.” She gets inspiration from all entrepreneurs working tirelessly to grow their business and women all over the world who are doing their part to make an impact in the world.
The talent management industry in Nigeria is one to look out for with the growing rate of music artistes and media personalities in Nigeria. Qtaby together with other talent management companies, will continue to grow the industry and seek for innovative ideas for continuous development.