For those of you that do not know, Founders Connect
is a series that spotlights innovative founders and key operators in the tech ecosystem in Africa. The mission is to document the history of Africa’s startup evolution, the key players, their journeys, the obstacles they overcame, and the lessons they learnt along the way; and, in so doing, inspire the next generation of African founders and operators.
I published the first video in Nov 2020; since then have shot over 55 interviews and published 40. I have learned many lessons between scheduling these interviews, shooting, editing and sharing with the world. The video
and this issue of #WeStayLearning highlight 8 of the many lessons.
1. The Starting is the Hardest Part.
The first time I thought of starting a Youtube channel, I very quickly dismissed it because I didn’t think I had a voice people would listen to, and I didn’t think I had the equipment that would be good enough to do it. It eventually took me almost three years to finally shoot my first YouTube video. But you see, once I started, it became easier—the same thing with Founders Connect. I was very reluctant to do the first interview, but after doing it, I reached out to the second person, the third and then the fortieth. So it becomes a lot easier. Starting anything is always the most challenging part. Remember last week’s issue?
It is not the work that is hard; it is starting.
2. Don’t Wait For Motivation/Inspiration.
Starting is one thing; continuing is a different ballgame, and continuation should not always depend on inspiration. Half of the work is showing up to do the work. And when you do it, ideas flow, and it becomes much easier. You can’t wait until you feel inspired. I learn this every day.
3. Don’t Shy Away From Opportunities.
It is essential to know when to say no, and not feel bad about it. That’s a life skill! However, I also believe you should explore the opportunities that come your way. Don’t just say No because you’re scared. Say no, because you don’t have the capacity for it; it is not the right opportunity for you or the right people for you. Say no when it doesn’t match your values, vision or mission. Say no when it doesn’t tick your boxes. But you can’t know it doesn’t tick these boxes if you don’t explore the opportunities.
So please don’t shy away from opportunities, don’t be blind to them. Explore them. It is good to say no, but weigh your options, and if possible, take it for a test drive. I say this because that’s how Founders Connect started. When Atsu reached out to me and said, “Hey, do you want to interview me?” I was reluctant. And then I thought about it, tried it, and looked at how far we have come! Founders Connect didn’t have a name until that first video, and there was no direction until after the first ten videos. With time, the dream becomes clearer and bigger.
4. Consistency is Half the work.
There’s no other way to say it. Some people get lucky. They do one thing, and it goes viral. But for most people, you have to do the work. And even people that go viral need to continue doing the work; otherwise, they’d lose traction eventually.
Consistency is half the work. The other half is in quality, positioning, marketing, luck etc.
5. Ask. | Shoot Your Shot.
Shoot your shot. The worst that you will get is a no
. When I started, most of the people I interviewed were people I had relationships with. But after the first seven videos, most of the interviews have resulted from me reaching out. I don’t care if we have never spoken to each other or if you have never heard of me before; if I find your story inspiring, exciting or both, I will reach out; and that’s how I have gotten 80% of the guest on the show, - by asking.
In a previous newsletter,
I said that it doesn’t change anything about your current situation when you get a No, but a yes can change everything. For example, if I reach out to someone I want to interview and get a No, it doesn’t change anything about my situation. However, if I get a yes, that could be the content that goes viral, the work that changes my life, or the connection I need to move to the next level. So that 1% possibility is enough motivation to keep asking, keep shooting shots and trying.
6. It Gets Easier With Time.
Repetition yields results. I used to have a list of questions to ask before I interviewed people. Now I know the Founders Connect format in the back of my mind, and I can recognise when there is something in what a Founder says that can lead to more questions. It has gotten easier, and I have gotten more comfortable doing it. And now I’m thinking; I’d like to have a TV show because I can do it! And the only reason I believe I will be a great host is because of repetition. It gets easier with time. The more you repeat, the more results you get. Practice makes perfect. Practice yields mastery, and mastery is efficiency
. That’s another newsletter you should read.
7. You’re Only As Good As Your Team.
You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with. I am blessed with having amazing people working with me and around me - from the video editing to the logistics and marketing, etc. Because there are times when I’m so overwhelmed with every other work that I do, and I don’t have time for YouTube and watching videos and editing, and I know that I have people there to help me.
Aside from work, your friends, family, and lovers who are there to support you and say you can keep going, you’re doing great is so important. Words of encouragement matter. So as much as you can, when you’re doing projects, surround yourself with the right people.
8. Everyone has a story.
Everyone has a story. Even people that don’t think they have a story do. We all come from somewhere, and that is a story. And we are currently on a current path in our lives, and that is a story. And many people have dreams and goals on what they want to build, and that’s a story—the before, the now and the after.
Nobody’s story is better than any other’s. Everybody’s story is unique, and each story has a different perspective. Even when people talk about the same subject, they talk about it differently. For example, on Founders Connect social media handles, we have a series called FoundersConnectOn
, and we explore different topics, like Hiring, Focus, Marketing, Failure, and more. These videos are like 2-5 minutes of different founders sharing their perspectives on specific things. It could be the same topic, but what everybody says is different.
As a person, you want to leverage your unique narrative because it will be the reason why people will listen to you or read your content. So what you want to do is leverage what makes you unique and special. So that’s what I’m going to keep doing: remain as authentic as I am.
Learn in more detail here