We graduated over eighty university age students from our campus edition course last week and used the opportunity to invite other students across universities. There were couple of really good speakers on the day and gave invaluable lessons that I want to share. Most of the speakers myself included were older so it turned out to be our message to those younger than us. Pointing out our mistakes, lessons and recognising the environment young people are going through today. I have combined key points and themed this article as advice to our younger selves as it is a combination of various people’s thoughts on that day. There’s a lot of talk these days about young people, millennials, youth etc. Companies targeting this age group as they are the majority. This particular article is directed at those in university or maybe a couple of years out of university but that’s not to say that the principles do not apply in different forms across the board. Here was our advice to our university selves.
- Time is your biggest resource (Click to Tweet this thought). We had a speaker who started working when she was 17 and that’s why she said she has always handled money. There was also a student who was graduating from our Campus Edition class and he had read five books in the first quarter of the year that had empowered him with skills. Not digital books on the phone but traditional hard copy books. There’s someone I met who learnt to make bracelets through YouTube. He earns his money from there. The biggest advantage you have when young is time. You can take risks. What are you doing when you are not in class? How will use of that time help you when applying for a job or starting a business? Too many people are wasting this time and the world has enough ways for you to waste time. One person, as I’ve illustrated used time on the internet to learn a skill and generate income. What do you spend your time doing on the internet? You can lose money and earn it back but you can never earn back the time.
- What’s cool is not always valuable. There’s a difference. Young people are prone to be and do what is cool. And in today’s world they are inundated with the evolving standards of what is cool through social media so they are always feeling that they fall short. Social pressure to conform to what people have and are doing is at an all-time high. We have people who may even be older who do not know themselves because they have conformed to the standards of coolness and being accepted by others. Take a moment or two or three or twenty and really find out what has value to you (Click to Tweet this thought). A certain phone may be cool now but travelling to a new place or taking a course may be more valuable to you. A cool phone today is cool for a short period and then the standards of coolness will change as new versions come out. However experiences of travel or skills gained from a course stay with you always.
- The company you keep. All the speakers at the event brought this out. I wrote an article a while ago on the poverty support group. You need to be around people who are going where you are going. Your squad (young people lingo for social circle) needs to have the same values. There are people who hold you back, distract you because of their own fears about what will happen to them if you actually succeed. The company you keep will dictate the conversations you have. Those conversations will become what you see. What you see is what you will do. If you talk negativity i.e. how bad things are, what the government is or is not doing, how bad the economy is, what so and so did to get money, how there are no jobs or opportunities etc., that’s what you will see. There’s really no room to notice that the glass is half full if you have filled your head with that noise. What you want to happen in your life, how you think, talk and act must speak the same language. Ditch the poverty support squad (Click to Tweet this thought). There’s a young lady whose squad sponsored her into the class. Now that’s a wealth creation squad.
- Obviously there are more people who are coming out of university than there are jobs available. So the fact that we need a lot more entrepreneurs out there creating jobs, is not a nice to have, it’s a must have. There are problems that need solutions. We will solve these problems by either starting businesses that offer the solution or we can go into existing organisations and be problem solvers. To be an entrepreneur prepare to fail. I don’t know where we learnt to look at failure as bad when it is a very necessary part of life. It’s how we learn and when you are young you have time to fail, get up, try again, fail again, try again until you get it right. It is still done but different and harder when you add spouses, children, parents depending on you to the picture. Fail fast and fail forward.
- Start saving now and save whatever you can. One hundred bob a day is Kshs 36, 500 a year. That’s all it takes to get some businesses started. Even 10 million shilling is two thousand seven hundred shillings a day and even much less if you make your money earn interest. Every million is a consequence of a series of actions (Click to Tweet this thought). Save from your allowance. When you start working make sure you save 30% to 40% immediately. Live on the rest. It will help you a lot along the way. If more of us had done this we would be a lot wealthier.
Centonomy offers a program for young people on Money and Entrepreneurship. For details email Waceke on email@example.com and/or Facebook Centonomy/Centonomy Campus Edition/ or Tweet @Centonomy or Instagram @centonomyig