Words alone and actions alone – after promising you a millennial inspirations free blog – Here’s an inspirational paragraph about the path I went through to success. Yeah, it’s not that kind of blog, but these pieces of information will help you understand and to process my insights and claims over the upcoming blog posts. I grew up in a low income city. Money was not in abundance but I did enjoy from the qualities of my parent’s values which makes me believe that I received a good education. One thing was missing for sure – aspiration to excellence. My parents enjoyed watching me exploring the world through my many hobbies, but never pushed me nor expected me for greatness. I’ve always saw my parents as a simple couple, which chose to live a modest lifestyle. (My expended family lives in bigger cities, with much higher financial and academic achievements). On top of that, I wasn’t really interested in studying, and found myself at the age of 18 with no formal high school education diplomas. Important to mark – This wasn’t a rare view at my school, as most of my friends were in my position and were not able to finish high school. You could say, that my friends were not really favored by my parents, as they exposed me to some unwanted activities at a very young age. But those friends thought me a lot, and gave me many tools that were handy at different paths in my way to my first million dollars. Ironically, they were the ones who aspire me to success, and it was in ways which they don’t teach you in college (Which is extremely important as well). The main lessons I’ve learnt from my childhood friends were as follows:
- Sometimes, you need to be rude
- Cash is king – Money is a good thing and you can publicly speak about it, you always need to aspire for more, and the most important thing – valuation is cool but what matters is your bank account/liquid assets.
- Avoid taxes – While tax evasion is always a bad idea, you need to do your best to legally avoid from paying taxes. There are great consultants out there that will help you do that. Would be nice if once you’re rich, you will donate to different causes though.
- Money equals freedom
- Money equals independence
- Money equals power
My childhood friends and I, never came from rich families, but we always had cash in our pockets, and while it’s source was not always pure, it was always from true entrepreneurship. They used to open a lemonade stand at the local festival, buying and selling second hand cell phones for a profit or dealing with pot in a high demand market (The neighborhood). Always thinking about destroying out competition, increasing margins and building a sufficient reputation that will get clients to come back for more.
After finishing my mandatory national service doing basically nothing, I went abroad to Europe and I was working as a salesman at different shopping malls. This was a great lesson in aggressive sales. After a year or so, it was enough for me – I went back home and started working in a losing metal manufacture, earning minimum wage while getting up at 5 AM every day – I hated it.
At that time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, and a close person had introduced me to the concept of Pre Academic school – A 1 year, full time and intensive program which replaces high school diploma. I looked it up and decided to enroll, knowing that I have one major strength – When I want something, I am chasing it like a hungry Pittbul. Up until then, I’ve used this quality of mine in order to pursue my hobby’s goals. But here I was, working like a mad man in order to be able to get accepted to a university. Long story short – After the hardest year of my life, I was able to finish this year with distinctions. Not because I was so smart, but because I was laser focused. I was able to pretty much get accepted to any major I liked on all major universities, and I ended up taking Economics as my major under a special elite academic program. It Is now a good time to reflect about myself, as objectively as possible. I am not a stupid person, but my IQ is not extremely high, and my talents are not exceptional. I have specific values and world views that are a bit different than most of the people I know, and it enables me to stand out in business for instance. The way you view the world, may have more impact on your success than your intelligence or skills you were born with. As I promised to keep this blog BS free, I must admit that intelligence, talent, and academic capabilities does have huge impact on your success, but in many cases the more you have those, the less likely that you will take risks or be in a position where you are questioning the conservative methods to success in life. It is important to mention that I am not in favor of risk of any kind, or you may call me a risk hater, but I am aware that sometimes you must risk yourself a bit in order to achieve what most people can’t.
Let’s move on with my story – My college years were great, but I sucked academically. I am really not proud of it, but my grades were much lower than the average in my class. I couldn’t care much about the classes, as my head was bothered about money making. But I was looking at it, from an elite and academic point of view, as I remind you that I was studying in a fancy academic program, and I did enjoy the social benefits it provided me, such as mingling with the government ministers’ kids. This was a mistake, as it made me forgot about the basic rules my childhood friends thought me. I was building my first venture, which was really bad from a profit making point of view, but it enabled me to expand my network in some industries which than looked to me appealing. A venture which looked nice on my CV, but was never supposed to generate real profits for me. I’ve tried, and for some extent succeeded, to scream success, and put a business man mask the short way. I was a victim of the millenial Start Up fashion mentality, where too many people, are thinking too big and are desperate to inspire, without any background or talent that justify it.
I can say one thing about it though – this business is 6 years old, and it still runs and sustain itself with full time employees, so I am guessing it is not a total failure, but I have not made a dime out of it, and today I am not part of it anymore. There is no problem with people who wants to inspire and to change the world, but it is just not my style, and it is not this blog’s style. I don’t care whether your business cleans the water of Nigerian kids through innovative technology, or whether it sells cheeseburgers, I only care whether this business creates cash flow, or/and value. Generating profits is not an act which needs to inspire or fix the world’s problem – it just needs to generate profits. Profits and value are the only things that matter in a business, anything else should support that. Therefore, I would suggest you to be focused on value creation and profits as well. When you will be in a position where you acquired significant wealth, I would encourage you to donate to charity and to do good. But if you are in that position already, this blog is probably useless for you anyway.
Today, I am 29 years old. I have $550K laying on my regular bank account (Just took our first major dividend) , another $100K in the capital markets, I have a substantial equity at a pretty successful company which I don’t really know It’s value but I am pretty sure that it is worth more than $350K. I don’t have any real estate assets on my name, no car, and I don’t really know how to invest my money. I just got married, and my wife is pretty modest, so we’re not spending a lot of money on things we don’t need. It is not part of any anti-consuming philosophy – We do like to eat in good restaurants and go abroad for vacations, but other than that, we’re not really into expensive cloths, brands and night life. My salary covers our life style + increasing my stock holdings a bit, but most of my savings are coming from dividends which we take from time to time.
As I am aware that I should invest my money and get some yield on it, I might share in future blog posts about the investment decisions I’ve made, but the point is that I am an entrepreneur with some success at a young age, but I have no experience yet as an investor.