An Open Letter to Young Entrepreneurs By Pascal Okeke

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digital

Dear Entrepreneurs,

I choose to address you this way because I want to talk to you. My name is Pascal Okeke, I am a fullstack software developer, Hustlepreneur and entrepreneur from SouthEast NG.

I am a Startup Coach/Advisor as well as run the largest and most active Startup/entrepreneurship Community in Nigeria.

I did my schooling from the prestigious Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka as a Computer Science Major after dropping out of med School. Don’t ask me about my grade because trust me, I don’t even know.

I am writing this long letter to you for a special reason. This is to help you as well as all budding entrepreneurs all over the world.

If there is an Oscar award for failure, it will go to Mr. Pascal Okeke, because I have failed thousands of times from several Businesses. I hold a Phd in failure in business and personal front. Some of my Village people now refer to me as a professor of Failure. But then, I have reached a stage where nothing can hurt me.

When I look back I feel like laughing for many blunders I committed in my life, sometimes I feel I was the most foolish and unlucky person from Nigeria. As a person who has failed in many fronts, I want to mentor entrepreneurs from all over the world. Now I know how a business and person can fail. From thousands of small I big failures and humiliation I faced over the years, I have become an expert in handling stress, failure, loss of love, treachery etc. Age at this point is both baseless and not a criteria for judgement.

I have taken up a massive mission this year alone to help and reach out to over 1,000 000 entrepreneurs all over the world to become successful in business and handle failure in multiple fronts. My foolishness of the past can be an eye-opener for budding entrepreneurs anywhere in the world.

The foolishness I committed, nobody must commit, the pits in which I fell, no one must fall. This is the reason; I want to advise you. This is my 20th year in business (I know you may be wondering, How old is he?) But then, all my knowledge is practical and life taught me a brutal lesson via failures.

Join me as I List and explain some key things that will help make you a super Entrepreneur.

~ Knowledge is more important than money.

Do not start any business with half knowledge. It can fail anytime. For example, if you are a web designer and want to start a web designing company, I suggest you need to have at least 5 years working experience in the same and must have worked in at least 2–3 companies in Nigeria or abroad.

You must know the a to z of web design, latest trends and technology. If your knowledge is weak, learn more and update knowledge every day. Do not start the business depending on money and marketing skills, even if all your employees run away, you must be able to handle the company technically, success lies in your knowledge more than capital.

~ Do not start a business without a mentor.

Many startup companies fail all over the world not because of lack of capital, but lack of knowledge. Do not start a business without a mentor. After 5 years of working in web design companies, you finally decided to start a web design company. Always keep at least 2 mentors with you, who have several years experience in web design and try to employ them part time or full time. Take their advise seriously in business. When you have 2 mentors with you with more than 20 years of experience (lols) and your five year experience, in effect your company has 45 years of experience and this is the biggest capital of any company.

~ Try to keep away friends and relatives from your business.

When you start a business, do not expect any business from friends or relatives. When you become successful, you will have more enemies. Do not reveal your business secrets and plans to anyone except your co-founder and not even to your wife. Too many opinions can spoil you. When in doubt, consult your mentors and take professional advice.

~ Never expose your weakness or tell your problems to everyone.

As an entrepreneur, you will face problems in business and personal life every day. Sometimes you may face severe financial loss or lose of focus. Never let the world know your problems, people will laugh at you. Try to manage the situation and take help from someone very close to you. One of my friend one day came and revealed a terrible secret, he was HIV positive. His family kicked him out of the home and he had nowhere to go.

I helped him to get a decent accommodation and a job as well as connected him more to God and now he is leading a happy life. No one knows about his illness except me. Imagine what would have happened , if he had exposed himself.

~ Never start a business alone, you need a Co-Founder

In business, never try to manage everything alone, I suggest you need to have a co-founder. Always expect the worst situation and make plans in advance, how to handle crisis. Horrible things in business happen unexpectedly all of a sudden and you must be prepared for a rainy day. A good co-founder is one who is ready to stand with you and work with you in any horrible situation. Fortunately I have a strong co-founder who stood with me always and that is the reason, why I could handle failure many times. Now I am partially successful — financially.

~ Learn every day.

If you are in business, you must learn every day. Make notes on latest trends and technology in your field, attend Meetups, seminars, conferences, Business Hours, fairs and meet experts from your business and learn as much as possible on emerging trends in your business. Sometimes you need to unlearn and re-learn to stay competent in the market. Any company that will not change with times will collapse.

Nokia and Kodak, once the giants in their own fields literally vanished from the market because these companies never changed with times. They failed to adopt to latest technology and market trends and refused to re-invent themselves. This can happen to you also, as an entrepreneur. So always be ready to learn, unlearn and accept changes and challenges in business every day. Remember, a lightning can strike you anytime, so be prepared.

~ Learn from Failed people, not from anywhere.

Most entrepreneurs look at always successful people in their field, I suggest the reverse. Learn from the failures of people in your business area. This will help you to avoid pitfalls and problems in future. Meet as many people as possible in your field of business and try to understand how and what they do. To learn new skills, you must be willing to work for free. Knowledge is more important than money.

~ Unknown people will boost your Business.

In the initial days of your business, sometimes your own family may look down upon you; your friends may run away from you and may not give any business help. All the successful business you will make initially from unknown people. Once you become successful, and then throw a party, everyone except your unknown clients who made you rich will be present praising your achievement. You will suddenly see, the whole world wants to be your friend.

~ Do not Expose your wealth and trust beautiful women.

Never expose your bank balance to anyone. People will try to exploit you, your friends and relatives will try to take money from you, if you refuse, they will become enemy in future, so be careful.

After you become successful after years of hard work, you suddenly see a changed world. All of sudden people are interested in you, everyone wants to be your friend, your name sells. Lot of beautiful women will start chasing you.

They are not looking at your beauty but your contacts and money. No beautiful women will ever chase a dude who is broke. If you have a loyal girlfriend, who stands with you at the time of crisis, you are lucky. Learn to keep away poisonous people from your life.

Remember the Biblical champions and how women dealt severely with them. Also never trust men.

READ ALSO: Which common habit is the biggest waste of time? by Pascal Okeke

~ What to do in Crisis?

If you are facing crisis, trust your mother, trust your God and kneel down and pray. Take a break from business, go for trekking, refresh yourself, Keep praying –if you believe in God. Miracles can happen in your life.

~ Always aim high and think Big

Even if you are big zero today in business, never stop dreaming. Low aim is a crime, learn to dream big. Always make big plans and try to dream big and execute your plans. Believe strongly you can do it and God will help you realize your dreams. Every success starts with a big dream. People may laugh at you, but never mind. Make a massive plan for your business and try to implement the same.

~ Stay simple and humble when success comes to you.

Now after years of struggle, you became a massive success in business. Suddenly you became an important person, people who once ran away from you will start chasing you. This is going to be a new phase in your life. Never trust people who praise you too much all of a sudden. Stay simple and humble. Never rest after your first success, keep working hard, keep a low profile. If you fail after attaining big success, more people are waiting to crush you under their feet, just remember that.

~ Keep genuine friendship.

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey, I faced many challenges. Now also I am not fully successful as per my plan, I am only 10% success according to me. I have to cross 90% more but then, I have few friends who are not just business and intellectually sound but also buches of Solutions.

~ There is no shortcut to success except hard work

If you are in business, failure is bound to happen when you grow, no matter how well you plan. So be prepared to face failure with grace, a person who never failed never tried anything new and he is the biggest fool in this world. In the initial days of your business you need to work more physically and as you mature in business, you need to work more with your mind than body. Managing and keeping people along with you is the biggest achievement of any entrepreneur. If you can manage people, nothing is impossible in this world.

~ True Leadership — the gateway to success.

LEADERS of tomorrow are those people who empower others and create more leaders. If you are leader, you will create more leaders and empower them, this is how top leaders of business and political parties work. If you think I lied, Ask #JagabanTinubu.

In business, if you want massive success, you need to have leadership qualities. You need to have multiple skills both technical and people management as well as in marketing. Simple followers can never become business leaders. So never become a follower , be a leader.

~ Write down — the worst that can happen to you.

Have you ever written the worst situation you can face? If not, just write it down after thinking for some time. Keep reading the same occasionally. This can help you in making better plans for your business and execute the same. If you have not faced huge crisis in life, you will never grow big. Life of Mr.ELON MUSK, co-founder of Paypal, Tesla motors and SpaceX is the biggest example. Your biggest education is not what you learn from books in schools and colleges, but from real life. Aka — #Street

~ Strive for excellence — Money will chase you.

In any field, if you want to reach the very top, strive for excellence. Never settle with the ordinary. If you are developer, try to become the best in the world. Your name will sell, when you deliver quality product or service. Good brands sell by word of mouth and they need little marketing. Rolls Royce car and Bill Gates are the best examples.

~ Make Crazy plans and think out of the Box

If people are not laughing at your ideas, you are not a good entrepreneur. Try to do things that nobody has done. Try to implement new ideas in your field. If you fail, you learn. If successful, you can make a fortune. In any business, sometimes commonsense is more important than knowledge.

~ Do not start a business without Market survey/Validation and expert Opinion.

Now you have a crazy idea, you are excited and want to implement the same. Don’t get excited too much. Do a market survey and find out if your product or service has a demand in the market. If your country or proposed business area has no demand for a particular product or service, do not launch that business there. Try the same idea somewhere else. Never try to sell ice cubes to an Eskimo.

~ Your biggest asset is loyal people, not money.

The biggest asset of an entrepreneur is loyal people, not money. If you can nurture loyal business partners, friends and clients on long term, you will become successful. Gaining loyalty of people is not easy in this ruthless world of treachery and manipulation.

~ Change your Mindset

You were an employee till today, once you launch your own company you are an entrepreneur. Now you need to change your mindset from employee to employer, from follower to leader, if you do not change your mindset, success will not touch you.

You must control anger and willing to sacrifice your freedom and comforts from a secure job, you must take risks, you must build large team, manage them, you must market, raise funds and chase your dreams and goals day and night.

An entrepreneur must always stay alert and hungry for more. You need to innovate and create market, stay ahead of competition. You need to develop a vision and stay focused. Even in times of severe crisis, never think of quitting or committing suicide. Life is a challenge, accept it.

~ What must be an entrepreneur’s attitude towards Life?

[ If no one can do it, I can do it, If No one will do it, I will do it.]

This one sentence is more powerful that any motivational book.

Final Word:

While living, identify the purpose of your life and existence. You are not supposed to work every day, pay bills and die one day. Work towards a targeted goal everyday and work with a vision and mission in life, chase quality, then money and fame will chase you.

Remain humble in the event of success and fight hard when you face failure. I am your brother and friend, I am a PhD holder in Business Failure, I have mastered the art of selling, I am a digital native, I can help you with mentorship and coaching and help put back your feet on Track. Till we connect, You are Amazing.

~ Regards
Dr. Pascal Okeke PhD,
Chief Executive Hustler
ANS, Nigeria.