In 2014 I decided to self employ. I had a safe job with an NGO that paid me reasonably well But in my heart I knew there was more to my destiny than just sitting behind a desk and going to CSO meetings every other week. I began to look to so called online/work from home opportunities. Not for me was multi level marketing (no shade, it’s just not my forte) I learnt to and traded forex online, made some money lost some. I registered on People per hour and freelancer and got some jobs but mostly didn’t because frankly my geolocation and the color of my skin, no matter how much I was smiling in the picture seemed to say I’m incompetent and should accept the lowest amount a buyer of my services could offer. Sad right? No. I realized that if I put up a white person’s picture on my profile I’d get the jobs and I did. While that was a practical lesson in racism and colorism I figured there is an opportunity in that But that’s a topic for another day.
By Kelvin Mutize
In the meantime I met some interesting people who changed how I view the job/ entrepreneurship spectrum and these I’d like to share with you.
One was Alie. She was 16 years old and sold social media followers for 6 Pounds for every 3000. At the end of the year she was featured as having made a cool million after taxes. And she could have too. Anyone who understands SEO and the current human condition that’s all about traffic, views and followers will see how that was possible. Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood were of course her biggest clients.
Rule number 1: age has nothing to do with it. An open mind does.
Rule number 2: the human condition is an opportunity.
The second one was Irfan. He is based in Kenya and he is black. Then he was 19 years old. The model of Irfan’s business was that he had a Facebook store, a page on facebook. The initial base of followers for this page was bought from someone like Alie above. Truth is, people follow where others follow.
This is rule number 3. Anyway, Understand this: as big an enterprise that Irfan’s Facebook store was, it was run by just two people; Him and I. I did customer service and procurement From, you guessed it, China. While he was the boss and basically told me the vision of his business and how he wanted things done. Further understand this: Irfan and I would work from bed. Just wifi and a laptop and good old skype and email. That means there were no overheads to the business like rent etc Also, truth be told, there was no capital investment into the business as we required deposit when a client placed an order. The deposit would not only buy for the intended client but for other clients too.
Rule number 4: you don’t have to have it to sell it. And that’s why drop shipping is such a cool way to make money.
The third and fourth persons were alike. Both had e-commerce sites and they also had one thing in common: They outsourced all their services and paid for that service instead of employing somebody full time. So instead of employing an admin/ secretary who gets paid 900$ at the end of the month ( and truly speaking *some* admins are paid to spend time on the phone and increase the overhead) they simply outsourced for a specific service. Like data entry or accounting, customer service, research etc and paid for that specific one.
Rule number 5: Ladies and gentleman outsourcing is the future. It costs less by slashing overhead and increasing profitability and quality (but of course with regards quality output, it depends on your industry)
I hope someone has picked up a few things that they can practically adopt in their business today and not only that, I hope somebody was jolted to the reality of the fact that some jobs SHALL be obsolete in a couple of years and we should start preparing for that eventuality.
Until next time.
This article was first published on www.yalicreatives.com