What you should be doing with your life from 20
Some time back I was speaking to a young software development student from Makerere. His dream is to start the next biggest software company in East Africa. He said he needed mentorship and guidance from me, something I agreed to. This young boy’s ambition and go getter attitude reminded me of my younger self at that stage of life.
What would you have loved to do differently if you had the chance to go back in time!? He asked. If I had the chance to turn back the hands of time I would have started my business way earlier. I would have started at campus. Like I have always said to the campus students I have gotten the chance to speak to, there's no business incubation environment one will ever get like campus. You have free access to all the reading and research material you need for your venture. Access to lecturers and professors who become paid for consultants as soon as you walk out of that university gate, access to a potential market of over 30k people all within the same area. When you leave campus every one disappears and you can't see even a quarter of your former classmates regularly like you did at campus.
Most importantly you have all the freedom to take the risk you want, get your fingers burned, fail as many times while picking the lessons and growing. The older you grow, the smaller your risk window becomes thinner as you get more responsibilities (family) and have more to loose if things go wrong. That's how people get trapped in employment and give up on doing the things they wanted to do with their life.
At 20 it's OK to risks, burn your fingers but most importantly learn as much as you can. If you are to go into employment make sure it’s an environment that gives you the opportunity to learn. A start up company would be ideal as there's a lot of building to do and most times you will find yourself doing more than 3 things in one go. Working for a big company my be financially rewarding but there's not so much to learn as your part of a big machine. At that age it's about LEARNING then removing the L later to EARN.
At 25 follow a good boss. At this age make sure your working for a boss who is willing to teach and mentor you, passing on all the skills and knowledge they have.
At 30 start something. With all the things you have learned in 10 years it shouldn't be hard to get started. You won't be so clueless about what to do. Doing what you know increases your chances of succeeding so your chances are better.
At 40 start consolidating what you have built. Quit trying to venture into new territory and stick to your lane. Don't invest in totally new areas you don't understand, there’s little or no time to learn new things plus learning new things isn't so easy at this stage in life. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, stick to your lane old dog hehehehe.
At 50 start preparing the generation after you to take over. You’re coming to the evening of your life and unless you want to be buried with your business when you die, start preparing the next generation to take over from you.
At 60, go spend some time on the beach in the Bahamas, travel and spend time with your grand children. Relieve yourself from the day to day running of the company and get more time to yourself. Spend time with the people you love and watch the youngsters take the company to new heights in a new era.
That's what I would say to any youngster trying to figure out their path in life.