Most folks want one thing: To be themselves. Full-time. We don’t want to pretend. To act. To wear a suit when we prefer jeans. To wear jeans when we prefer a suit. To work for a bank rather than explore Africa.
To explore Africa rather than work for a bank. To go to a desk job every morning rather than go to the beach with a surfboard. To sell insurance rather than write a book. To be different at home and work.
Sometimes circumstances mean you don’t have a choice. After love, money is what makes the world go round and round. We all need money, so we all have to put on our masks every morning and go to work.
That’s the price you must pay for freedom. That’s life. That’s also why you should be an entrepreneur. At least then you can have the freedom to be yourself.
When you work for yourself it doesn’t matter which meetings you get invited to, whether your boss sees you at your desk late at night, whether you reply to emails at 2am, whether you wear a suit.
There’s no metric of success other than cashflow. You are in control of your destiny. In fact, the more ‘you’ you are, the more likely you’ll find success. People love authenticity.
If you wear baggies to get attention, you’ll go nowhere. Wear baggies because that’s what you were born to do, and people will be attracted to you. If people are attracted to you, they’ll buy from you.
If people buy from you, you can generate cash. If you can generate more cash than you spend, you can be a successful entrepreneur. The first step to being a successful entrepreneur is to be you.
How to pursue your dream without passion
“How do I pursue my dream if I’m not passionate about my ambition or idea?” — Raymond Moyo
Dreams are different to passions. A dream is like a vision: A picture of the future that you can’t shake from your head. Passion is like coffee or surfing. Something you love doing every day.
It’s not impossible that you can turn a passion into a living, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to make a lot of money doing something other people love doing. You have to do something other people don’t love doing. The money is where there’s less competition.
To start a business, you don’t need a passion for it. You just need the ambition to achieve financial freedom, and the willingness to do whatever it takes to get there.
If you’re lucky enough to have a dream, to have a picture in your head that you can’t shake, then you should chase it.
“How do I find an idea worth chasing?”— Mark Reynolds
Read, travel, talk to people, hang out in communities where there are problems. The opportunities for African entrepreneurs don’t come from solving first world problems, and competing head-on with Silicon Valley.
Our opportunities come from tackling problems that don’t exist in America. If you want to be a tech entrepreneur in South Africa, then you should be spending time trying to understand the challenges in low-income communities.
It doesn’t have to be an original idea. In fact, original ideas are mostly terrible. The reason no one is doing it is not because no one has tried. It’s because it was so hard that they all failed. The originality of your idea is less important that the uniqueness of your ability to execute the idea.
You need experience. You need knowledge. You need a network. That’s your edge. Build your edge while you search for an idea. Sometimes the best way to find an idea is to find a partner.
“How do I find a partner?” — Lebohang Modise
You find a partner the same way you find a spouse. Spend time with the right kind of people. Hang out in the right kind of places. Reputable places. Churches are better than bars. Put yourself out there. Tell your friends, your family that you’re ‘single’ and keen.
Make it easy for people to find you. When opportunity comes knocking, make sure it can find your door.