People start businesses for different reasons, but the most common of all is to gain financial freedom and autonomy. With more than 53% of the youth in Kenya falling under the unemployment range it can get confusing on what exactly is the key to success.
It is true that entrepreneurship is the most promising way to attain that autonomy. That is why these six motivational tips will help if you are thinking of starting a business in 2019.
1. Success is not innate
You do not have to be born a certain way to become successful. No man is born great. Greatness is cultivated and fostered with the right tools and exposure. What would you say if someone asked you why you were born? This question also translates to finding your purpose. The start of figuring out the answer is being self-aware and knowing your personality, and what suits you. Successful entrepreneurs meet their nature with their ventures. There is just nothing innate about it.
“Great men are not born great, they grow great.” – Mario Puzo, The Godfather.
2. Certain traits make an entrepreneur
Contrary to popular belief, there is no set of traits that make an entrepreneur. Introverts can be just as successful entrepreneurs as extroverts can. Name any personality you could think of and you would be able to find a successful entrepreneur. However, bravery, tenacity and a passion for what you do will set you apart. On top of this, develop a core skill which all entrepreneurs have, influencing others.
3. There are two sides to a coin
It is only natural to equate wealth with happiness. In addition to what the media sells, it is almost futile to argue against this belief. This has borne an oversimplification that starting a business equates to wealth and hence happiness. We have seen testimonials across social media, on YouTube of people sharing stories of how they quit their jobs to become full-time influencers and entrepreneurs.
However, they do not tell us that fulfilment, wealth and happiness has nothing to do with starting a business. You could make money from working in a company you love, utilizing your skills on building assets, and investing hence growing your wealth. On the other hand, you could start with a YouTube channel because that is your passion or sell eggs, as Eric Kinoti did, then later sit atop five power companies, generating a net worth of over Ksh. 150 million in a year.
4. Pitch that good idea
Ask anyone what they need to start a business and they will mention, a good idea and capital. However, difficult problems require creative solutions and even with great ideas most people are faced with difficulty when it comes to convincing people of how great an idea is. One of the core influencing skill any entrepreneur needs more than technical skills we learn at school/university is the ability to pitch that good idea.
“A lot of people like to fool you and say that you’re not smart if you never went to college, but common sense rules over everything. That’s what I learned from selling crack.” Snoop Dogg
5. Going back to work is not a sign of failure
I met a friend at an entrepreneurship summit and she told me about how she started her business of teaching foreign languages in different schools. It was a venture that had always interested her.
As an entrepreneur, she hoped for financial security, freedom and less stress from the fact that she called all the shots and there was no boss to limit her. Upon calculating her budget, she found out that returns on investment were less and worse, was the fatigue and no assurance of an income at the end of the month.
She had the fear of letting go of her business which had taken her four years to build. Until she finally came to peace with the reassurance that it was okay to go back to an office job and just earn a salary if this would mean getting the time to focus on other things. This is just an example of an experience that clearly shows that going back to work is also okay. It is not a one size fits all kind of venture.
6. It is good, but not mandatory to start young
Starting a business and becoming successful is not limited to age. Location and exposure matters. According to the United Nations, a youth is someone between the age of 15 and 24. In Kenya, a youth falls into the bracket of age 18 and 35. Take a look at the percentage making the youth in Kenya (75%) as compared to the global percentage of youth (14.1%).
This disparity illuminates on how long it takes for a young entrepreneur in Kenya, to reach the level of exposure and skill as someone in the US. It also means that there is higher competition for opportunities, facilities, resources and youth-related services.
Based on the above information and entrepreneurship rooting from the availability of skill, knowledge, personal development and culture, it would only render age as a factor in entrepreneurship, a myth, as getting rained on makes you taller.