Having a formal education is a prerequisite for getting knowledge and building skills for a future job, however, there are lots of essential life skills I had to learn outside school.
Don’t get me wrong, I learned an enormous amount in school, right from my primary education, but real life is just different and I list 5 skills that I didn’t learn in school.
How to fail well
The education system does not reward students having failures and learning from failures. As students, we were expected to get straight A’s and chastised for getting C’s or D’s.
I remember back in primary school, where we had this weekly classification of students into different rows based on performance. The worst students used to end up in row D and everybody shamed them, while the best were in row A.
The truth is that the real world (career or business) is different and if someone is going to do something great or audacious, it is pertinent for failure to occur. Therefore, it is important to learn how to fail and struggle well. A scientific research I read some time ago, recommended parents to allow their wards learn to start failing from an early age so as to help them build up the emotional agility to properly embrace failure later in life when the inevitable occurs.
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Ray Dalio, in his principles book, has a very good formula anyone can use:
Failure = Success
What he means is that the biggest issue most people have is that they have not made the connection to understand that failure is the same thing as success. So the right approach to take now in life is to view failures as puzzles that if solved, will give you gems that can become principles which will help you make a better decision or do a better job next time.
How to sell
We weren’t taught explicitly how to sell in school except you enrolled for a sales course. However, the ability to sell is a core skill that would serve you, whether as an employee or entrepreneur.
Most people have a big misconception about sales and confuse it with marketing; they think in terms of, “Oh… I have to go door to door in the sun or rain to convince customers about buying a product.” That thinking is wrong because we are all salesmen and women. If you think critically, you sell something every day; you just don’t know it.
A prospective job seeker has to prepare for an interview and sell himself before he gets a job. For example, understanding the values of the company you are interviewing at and stating how it’s in sync with your personal values to the panel is a way of selling yourself.
Employees at a job have to understand that the yearly appraisal is not the time to show your contributions to the company. Blowing your own horn is something you do daily. It could be your thoroughness, attention to detail, quality of your presentation, dressing, help for other departments, and innovative ideas for the company.
Prospective business owners are more likely to be involved in sales compared to employees. For a business owner, sales may be a broad thing and not just selling products to individual customers. It can mean marketing, communicating, recruiting, raising money and also inspiring people. Depending on the type of business, all of these things would have to be done at the same time.
For example, writing (copywriting) is a skill that can be learned easily compared to one-on-one selling or raising money, so you should understand your nature and commit effort and resources to learn what you can or outsourcing what you cannot do.
No lecturer taught me in school that my network will be tied to my net worth, it was after school that I realized the importance of networking and building relationships to enable me to move ahead in my career.
Networking is the act of establishing and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships that will be valuable in the short or long term.
Networking will help you develop and improve your skills, be abreast of industry trends, keep tabs on the job market, meet with mentors, partners, clients and help you gain access to the necessary resources to foster your career development.
Simple tools to increase productivity
The world seems to move so fast and everyone is faced with a myriad of challenges, but we are also bogged down by these things because we don’t seem to complete some of the targets we set for ourselves.
We have so many emails to attend to, social media is a continuous distraction, we are in the middle of so many books, and are not as fit as we think we should be. These are just a few of the little things that bother us, but for every problem there is a solution or hack to help.
Having tools to improve your productivity is a crucial skill to help you achieve better whether in your personal life, work or business.
A few examples to help boost productivity:
- Start your day by writing down your intentions. Tim Ferriss recommends the 5-minute journal. Just a few minutes each morning can save you hours of wasting time or scattering your effort each day. Sort out what truly matters each morning.
- Keep healthy snacks at your office to stay energized for a productive day.
- Wear headphones – Wearing headphones can help prevent distractions and unnecessary questions from people who think you are listening to music when you aren’t. Even if they ask you, they would have to weigh their questions carefully before asking.
- Read in the morning – Even if it’s for 15 minutes. It helps sharpen the mind and set it right for the rest of the day. Listening to quality podcasts also helps.
- Use pocket app to save articles, research, videos for later. There is a lot of information out there which cannot be digested in a short time. You can save information somewhere for future reference.
There are hundreds of productivity tools covering different facets that I cannot cover here, but the idea I’m trying to convey is that there are some issues you are facing that have faster routes to their solutions.
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School did not teach me what to say when I was negotiating for a salary and other benefits, but I had to. Negotiation is something we do all the time, be it in our personal or professional lives.
It could be negotiating between two different companies for a job, promotion, severance package, million naira deals for yourself or company, etc.
Real negotiation always produces a win-win situation for yourself and the other party and not war or a zero-sum game.
We started PiggyVest to digitize ‘wooden box’ saving method – Odunayo Eweniyi, Co-Founder
Inspired by the local wooden box piggy bank, the idea for PiggyVest was birthed.
The Financial Service sector has rapidly evolved in the last decade; with several viable startups springing up with innovations, most people never thought was possible. One of the notable startups, currently redefining the FinTech industry is PiggyVest.
PiggyVest is the first online ‘savings and investment’ app in West Africa, with one mission to give everyone the power to better manage and grow their own finance.
For a company started by six young graduates, their success story is truly inspirational
Today, Nairametrics profiles one of the brains behind this ethical startup company – Odunayo Eweniyi
Born in Oyo state, the 27-year-old Odunayo spent her early years invested in reading books. She excelled with ease in all subjects at her primary and secondary schools. A feat not surprising, as she is daughter to two professor parents.
Odunayo recalls that even though she wished to study Medicine and Surgery, she did not consider herself empathetic enough to thrive in the profession. She went on to study Computer Engineering at the prestigious Covenant University, graduating top of her class in 2013.
Finding her Co-Founders
As an undergraduate, Odunayo had already taken an interest to Coding and Artificial Intelligence, and expected to take further studies in it. However, this did not happen immediately, as she started with job-hunting after graduation.
“The first thing that happened to me was that I went for a job interview, and I was asked to quote a salary and I did. When the offer would come back, the salary they offered was 80% lower than what I expected, so I rejected it,” she recalled.
Subsequently, she teamed up with a couple of friends from her university days, and they came up with the idea of PushCV. Recounting the decision to team up with them, Odunayo says,
“We all were amazing engineers in school, Somto once built a miniature airplane, so I was pretty confident that a joint venture with them would produce amazing results.”
The other team members were already working on a discount card startup called Parolz, and she joined them to work on this for some months, while simultaneously still jobhunting with Oluwafemi, and Somto was working on something called CV Flash, to help people who couldn’t write CVs properly or did so with terrible English.
Odunayo became a Co-founder at CVFlash, helping to write the CVs for clients. She was also writing for TechCabal, Zikoko, and later worked as Editor of TechPoint Africa. All of the income from these jobs kept her going, and was also being channeled into getting the startup off the ground.
Soon enough, PushCV came to the forefront of their interests, when clients started requesting that they help them ‘push’ their CVs to employers. The friends decided to collapse Parolz, and concentrate their energies on the startup raving with the most attention from users.
To differentiate PushCV from others, they started pre-screening candidates, so that only the best candidates would be sent to employers. Their activities attracted attention, and by August 2014, they got their first investment from Olumide Soyombo’s Leadpath Nigeria – an office space in Yaba, and a cheque for $25,000.
How Piggybank was conceived
By the end of December 2015, the team came across a tweet from a lady, about how she had saved N365,000 by putting N1000 in a wooden piggy bank daily. They decided then, that finding a way to digitize the concept would help salary earners save towards their financial goals.
They launched Piggybank.ng on 7th of January 2016, as a ‘savings-only’ platform, and the fully tested version was ready for public use by April 2016. Gradually, the brand grew by user-recommendations and testimonials. These free adverts were a testament to the team, that they were helping with a real need in our society.
Three years later, in April 2019, they rebranded to PiggyVest, and started offering direct investment opportunities to users, allowing them to combine ‘discipline plus flexibility to grow their savings and investments.’
Users can now use the Quarterly savings options, save towards financial targets or lock funds away. They can also take advantage of investment opportunities on the platform. The company currently serves 350,000 users, helping them save and invest “a combine billions of Naira every month, that they would probably be tempted to badly spend.”
Not a roller-coaster experience
About her several experiences as co-founder, Odunayo said;
“The journey was full of self-doubt, and it took a toll on my self-esteem. The first thing I learnt was that I had to be adaptable, people don’t give you money then use your own. For the first two years of running the company, I had to work a side job, with the entire proceeds invested into running the start-up.”
The team was made up of six-persons at start-up, although only three people are listed as Co-Founders – Odunayo Eweniyi, Joshua Chibueze, and Somto Ifezue. Each person on the team had their specialty and strength, so it was easy to assign responsibilities. There was no accountant in the team, so they managed their finances themselves, noting that there were months, when they could not even pay themselves.
Further education, honours and recognitions
Odunayo got certified in Full Stack Web Development (Computer Software Engineering) in 2018, as well as an online certification from the Harvard Business School. Odunayo is also CISCO certified. The Oyo-born tech founder says that she has intentions of furthering her education. According to her LinkedIn profile, she is currently undergoing a Master degree in Finance (banking) at the SOAS University of London
“I draw inspiration from my family. They believe in me so much, that it is hard for me not to believe in myself.” she said in an interview.
In 2019, Odunayo Eweniyi was named one of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 – Technology, and one of 30 Quartz Africa Innovators. In the same year, she was named SME Entrepreneur of the Year– West Africa, by The Asian Banker’s Wealth and Society, and is listed on Forbes Africa list of 20 New Wealth Creators in Africa 2019.
She sits on boards like the Advisory board of TrainFuture in Switzerland, the Gender Lens Acceleration Best Practices Initiative – a collaborative effort of Village Capital US, and the International Finance Corporation’s, Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (IFC-WeFi).
The path to becoming a Chocolate giant is not ‘chocolatey’ – Femi Oyedipe, Loshes Chocolate
From trying out different ventures, Femi Oyedipe has found her success in chocolate making.
In Nigeria, starting and running a business – any business, is no walk in the park, as countless entrepreneurs have failed repeatedly. Hence, starting and successfully scaling a business, is a feather only few can lay claim to.
Co-founder and CEO of Loshes Chocolate, Femi Oyedipe, was a guest on the Nairametrics Business Half Hour, where she shared her start-up story and succeeding in a field where she was entirely self-taught.
The graduate of Biochemistry from the premiere University of Ibadan, recalls that her decision to start producing chocolates locally meant that her office became her classroom. Her words described the satisfaction she has derived from this chosen path.
“The fun of trying out new recipes, making mistakes, learning and unlearning till you understand the best recipes is a huge reward,” she said.
The decision to start
Entrepreneurship is innate for her, since she always gravitated towards it. However, taking it as a full-time venture definitely seemed less attractive. So, she tried out other options, things she could do alongside a day job. She had a brief stint as a make-up artist, and then another in trading Ankara fabrics, before becoming a cake-maker.
It was while making cakes, Femi picked interest in chocolates. As a caterer, she would use them in some cakes, sometimes breaking or melting ready-made chocolates.
“It did not make sense to me that we still had to import almost all the chocolates on the store shelf, even when we had cocoa locally available,” she recalled.
However, she was still hesitant to take the bull by the horn, until 2015.
“I had my eye on a job I was going to start when I came back from the U.S in 2015, and it was supposed to take me on a totally different career path. When it didn’t come through, I was upset and disappointed. It was in the midst of this disappointment, that the inspiration to make chocolates came.”
It dawned on her that the major ingredient for chocolates – cocoa, was locally available in large quantities, and decided to challenge the norm of importing chocolates for consumption. From her house, in that same year, she started Loshes Chocolate. The single-origin, bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Nigeria.
Capital is key to any start-up venture, and it was no different for Loshes Chocolate. Femi pooled resources with her husband, and started by sourcing cocoa from local farmers, then processing it into chocolate for direct consumption, and for use by caterers and confectioners.
“The drive was ensuring that we retain the natural flavors and health benefits of cocoa, as against the usual mass-produced chocolates which have lots of additives. People are becoming more conscious of eating healthy foods, and we try to meet that need while producing chocolates that are still yummy,” she said.
Being domiciled in one of the largest cocoa-producing countries, availability of the major ingredient had taken care of a lot of problems except for electricity – a possible deal-breaker.
“It takes about 36 to 48 hours to grind the cocoa beans into powder, and you can imagine how much power that consumes,”
“We needed some machines to get started and could not lay hands on them at the time, so my husband being an engineer helped to fabricate some of them. We got some parts from local markets in Lagos state, like Orile and put them together to make the machines we needed,” she explained.
Femi understood early on that, variety is the spice of life, so She spent time trying out new recipes, with family members and friends also serving as ‘guinea pigs’ for each new recipe. This served as a great source of feedback.
Later on, they needed to get the specialized machinery, and Femi recalled how fluctuations in Foreign Exchange, and the availability of manpower to maintain and service the machines posed a serious challenge.
Yet, she remains graceful in her advice to would-be entrepreneurs. “Just start where you can. In there, is where the innovation lies, because you do not have access to so much, and the business environment in Nigeria is not easy for SMEs. Instead of turning your back, you stay and become creative,”
With so many milestones attained, the company is not resting on its laurels. Loshes Chocolates still serves the local market at the moment, but there are plans to raise funds, scale-up, and start exporting. Femi is optimistic in the possibilities that abounds for her company, as is evident from her mantra, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Elon Musk now the third-richest person in the world
Musk has seen a meteoric rise in his wealth, with his net worth growing by $87.8 billion this year.
The recent surge in many leading U.S technology stocks have unsurprisingly created wealth for their founders, investors and stock traders.
What we know: Elon Musk just surpassed the co-founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg to become the third richest person in the world. Shares of Tesla Inc. continued its unrelenting surge after the recent stock split of Tesla stocks. Musk is now estimated to be worth about $115.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Musk is the present chief executive officer of Tesla, a maker of electric vehicles.
The Palo Alto, California-based company sells sedans, sport utility vehicles, and is the state’s largest automotive employer. He’s also CEO of Space Exploration Technologies, a rocket manufacturer tapped by NASA to resupply the space station.
Musk, 49, has seen a meteoric rise in his wealth, with his net worth growing by $87.8 billion this year as Tesla shares surged almost 500%.
Also helpful: an audacious pay package – the largest corporate pay deal ever struck between a chief executive officer and a board of directors – that could yield him more than $50 billion if all goals are met.
On Monday, Nairametrics reported how Tesla’s share price rose to almost $500 following a 5-for-1 split. Nearly 70 million shares had changed hands as at then, two-thirds of the daily average over the past year.
Tesla’s $464 billion market value now exceeds that of retail behemoth Walmart Inc., the largest company in the U.S. by revenue.
Recall Nairametrics, about two weeks ago highlighted major reasons why Nairametrics believed the stock was a strong buy and could surpass the present most valuable listed technology company.
Tesla was founded in 2003 by a group of engineers who wanted to prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric – that electric vehicles can be better, quicker, and more fun to drive than gasoline cars.
Today, Tesla builds not only all-electric vehicles but also infinitely scalable clean energy generation and storage products. Tesla believes the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better.