Making money as a millennial: tips from two industry experts

Expert tips on growing your wealth and starting your own business.
Expert tips on growing your wealth and starting your own business.
Image: Vasin Leenanuruksa/123RF

The world can be a scary place and while millennials often receive a bad rap, being called lazy, in search of instant gratification and reckless with their money, the demand of the fourth industrial revolution and a changing world often weigh most heavy on them. The opportunities before us are vast but how do we maximise them?

Mutsa Chironga, Managing Executive of Consumer Banking at Nedbank, says young people are increasingly struggling with the transition of entering the real working world, asking questions such as “What am I going to do in the future?” and “How can I meet my full potential?”

When the world becomes a little too scary, it helps to look to those who have made it for inspiration. We spoke to two industry insiders to get their tips on creating your own wealth and succeeding at entrepreneurship.

Samke Mhlongo is the Founder and Chief Executive of The Next Chapter Wealth Partners. As an international wealth coach, she made the list of Top 100 Most Influential Persons of African Descent for 2018, Entrepreneur Magazine named her as one of 50 Black African Women Entrepreneurs to Watch 2018 and she’s a Brand SA “Play Your Part” Ambassador in the field of Entrepreneurship.

Mhlongo says the formal education system teaches you how to be an employee, not an employer. She encourages young people to turn themselves into their most valuable asset:

“It’s easy to tell someone to follow their passion but practically when they don’t have money it becomes a challenge. You have to know who you are to know what you’re bringing to the table. Following your passion and taking that chance and jumping I do encourage, however, do not forget the fundamentals. It needs to be coupled with having done a risk analysis, having a plan B and then saying, “If I am the asset, what is it that I possess that I can sell far and wide for at profit as a means of creating wealth and creating financial security?” The easiest way – especially if you’re still employed or even a student – is to start it off as a side hustle. Test out who would want to buy your product. Go and pitch to organisations. My entrepreneurial journey started on social media and the more followers and clients I got via social media, the more the corporations backed me to get access to these followers. You have to pilot it; you have to test out your idea and the only way to get better at doing is to do. I would just say start – start on social media, start with a small group, give your product for free. I started off by giving my financial advice and education for free until people started paying for it. It’s about the MVP – minimum viable product – what’s the smallest place and the easiest way to start and then growing from there.”

Rivo Mhlari is an entrepreneur, businessman, innovator and the co-founder of Rikatec and SkyData Africa. He was listed on Forbes Africa’s 30 under 30 list for 2018 and on the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans in Business and Entrepreneurship in 2018.

As a successful businessman, Mhlari shared three tips for inspiring entrepreneurs:

“Firstly, you need to back yourself. If you don’t back yourself you can’t expect anyone to back you. The second form of advice is to just start. People say no, I don’t have access to funding; I don’t have all these things. Just starting is moving your idea from your brain to a piece of paper. Once your idea is on a piece of paper you’re able to share it with somebody. If it’s on a piece of paper you can put your idea on Twitter; you can e-mail it to 100, 000 people. Thirdly, once you’ve started and you’ve got your funding and you’ve opened your company, an entrepreneurship journey is the most selfless journey that anyone can take because as an entrepreneur you always come last. If you have people that work for you, they need to get paid first before you can get paid – that’s how you create a sustainable business. So put your employees or your staff first so that they are able to put you first – so that they want to come to work because they know you have their best interest at heart. I think that’s how I’ve survived so far.”

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