“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
– Mark Twain
Mistake Number #1
For decades, our youth have been feeding on the wrong kind of information and listening to the wrong people.
For example, our youth are still listening to the same, old, tired mantra:
“Go to school, study very hard my son or my daughter and pass with high grades (preferably an A), in order to get a job in a large organization and retire on a pension for the rest of your life”.
Our institutions and our society are still preparing our youth for jobs that do not exist.
Ironically, A-students are working for C-students across many verticals, and the courses they undertake at colleges or universities, are already obsolete by the time they graduate.
And since it takes about a decade for universities to change their curriculum, the industry is always ahead of the academic world by about a decade. Therefore, our youth must still undergo re-training, even after getting that coveted job.
Furthermore, the jobs are increasingly becoming scarce and highly competitive, as organizations shift their operations into automation mode to save costs and time. Many organizations are deploying robots in assembly lines to automate jobs that were previously done by humans.
The few who manage to get jobs, must toil for years before they get a promotion and a salary raise, because they’ve signed a binding contract to work loyally for years before they get that coveted promotion, and for the rest of their mortal lives in order to get a pension so that they retire when they’re old.
Mistake Number #2
This pushes our youth into a state of desperation and the unlikely career of entrepreneurship as the second option, but since they have no formal education in entrepreneurship, they are failing miserably and blaming the system or the government for not providing enough jobs.
Then our young entrepreneurs make the second greatest mistake. They get into entrepreneurship without even bothering to educate themselves in entrepreneurship. This leads to one failure after another, desperation, disappointment and depression resulting not only in business failure but also failure in life as well.
Mistake Number #3
The third and biggest mistake is that our young entrepreneurs finally give up and go back into employment after failing a few times in business instead of persevering and waiting for their reward which is just around the corner.
They fail to realize that jobs are created by entrepreneurs just like them, who persevered for years to pursue a dream of controlling their lives and enjoying financial freedom, instead of working all their lives in a despicable 9 to 5 grind to make somebody else rich.
They fail to realize that the less entrepreneurs we have, the fewer the jobs available, and the less the employment opportunities.
They fail to realize that there are far more entrepreneurship opportunities than there are jobs.
They fail to realize that when they get a job, they’re actually trading their precious time with the monthly paycheck they get from the employer, thereby robbing themselves of the many hours they would have used to invest in themselves, their families and their community.
Mistake Number #4
And since they’ve already experienced one failure after another before, our young entrepreneurs continue on their losing streak.
There’s a Bible quote that goes like this: “And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.'”
This quote means that once you’ve tasted the freedom of an entrepreneur, it’s difficult to give your full attention, time and focus to the aggressive requirements of a 9 to 5 job. Humans have a unique sense known as instinct.
Once you’ve failed once in entrepreneurship and want to go back to employment, employers have this skeptical tendency to smell you out of a crowd of job hunters.
This is where our young people are tempted to lie, but the sniffing instinct of a potential employer will read you from a mile away. The trick here is to stick to the truth and also give the exact reasons why you failed in business and why you now want to go back to employment.
Most young people don’t know what to do at this stage, therefore they naturally lie, and when they finally get a regret they fail to understand why they didn’t get the job.
Mistake Number #5
Finally, our young entrepreneurs are back in business, which is a good move, but by this time they’ve lost taste and dear time.
Then they make the mistake every entrepreneur makes. They fall for the shiny object syndrome (SOS) – a disease of distraction, that affects all beginning entrepreneurs.
They fail to realize that they are unique in their own abilities, and go into one business opportunity after another, and whatever is pushed on them by greedy, unscrupulous, businessmen and women and friends, who are salivating for their raw flesh.
They continue on their losing streak because they never stop and unlearn everything they know, still believing that they can proudly use the knowledge they learned in college in entrepreneurship and succeed.
Honestly, many young entrepreneurs have failed simply because they ignored old wisdom and this single reason – the pride of earning a prestigious degree, certificate or piece of paper from 4 – 5 years of institutional learning, drawn from an outdated 19th century education system.
Mistake Number #6
Our young entrepreneurs fail to listen to all the advice they hear from veterans who have already charted the territory, failed many times and succeed.
Through no fault of their own, they decide to apply in business, the doctrine they’ve been taught in school: “Failure is unacceptable.”
They fail to understand the success formula: Failure + Failure = Success.
Driven by fear of failure, and (by extension), fear of success, and having been conditioned by failure through many streaks of failure, they make the ultimate mistake many entrepreneurs make:
“They fail to take another risk.”
Mistake Number #7
By this time our the young entrepreneurs are completely confused, and will not hear any wisdom from the orient.
Age-old wisdom stored in classic books like “Think and Grow Rich”, “How To Win Friends and Influence People”, “The Art of War”, and “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, don’t make sense any more, therefore they discard them as mere trash.
As a result, our young entrepreneurs end up not believing in themselves and fail to build the important qualities of patience, persistence, discipline and focus.
It’s no wonder, therefore that our industries are littered with high-school, college and university drop-outs who never wasted time to decide to go into entrepreneurship.
These are examples of high school or college dropouts who wasted no time getting a job and instead went to build multi-billion dollar empires.
They include big names in the corporate world like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, Jack Ma, Jan Koun and Richard Branson.
Why did they become so successful?
They discovered an opportunity and got into it without wavering and losing focus amid many failures and disappointments. They discovered the 8 P’s of entrepreneurial success:
They found something worth living and dying for. They discovered a way to make a difference in other people’s lives.
They had passion – the energy that drives us even when nobody pays us for our efforts.
They never gave up even when they didn’t see results. Most of the time, results don’t appear in relation to the efforts we put into achieving your desired goals. The good thing is; something is happening beneath the surface and you need to keep doing your best in order to see your desired goal.
They took action and kept working. We have all heard the saying, “if at first you don’t succeed; keep trying”, again and again. Constant practice helps teach us how to do it better. Make sure you keep going whether there are results or not.
There’s saying, that; “patience is the key”. Often when people don’t affirm our actions, or fail to recognize and appreciate our efforts, it isn’t because we are failures. It could be because they don’t understand or know how best to react to our failures.
People are the new currency. Involve people, especially those around you, because ultimately they’re your customers. Seek their opinion, listen and soldier on knowing that no man has succeeded by becoming an island.
This is the ability to see an opportunity where others don’t. Bata Shoe Company is the best example in this regard. Bata shops can be found all over Africa, even in the most remote parts. The story behind it is that by the end of the 19th century, Africa was opening up its market. This history is repeating itself in Africa. In a continent that’s largely underdeveloped the opportunities are so immense that even Bill Gates was heard quoting recently at the annual Nelson Mandela Day; “Demographically, Africa is the world’s youngest continent, and its youth can be the source of special dynamism”.
Even if you don’t believe in God, at least believe that you derive your energies from a higher power. Involve God in your endeavors and in everything you do by seeking His guidance, provision, wisdom and the grace to keep going on.
Skeptics will always argue; “Oooh! entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone”.
My response is that this is “nonsense”.
Anyone, including young people can become a successful entrepreneur if they apply their mind to it, change their mindset and take time to develop themselves through reading books, discipline, passion, patience, focus and persistence.