You are young, You are Beautiful, Enjoy!

Note: This article had been originally posted by myself on the Voice of Youth in french. This post is just a translation of the original article that you can find here.

Hello, my name is Boulama Kandine. I am Nigerien and I am 20 years old.

I am the founder of Otimbi Labs, a research & development and IT services company based in Niamey, Niger.

Having been introduced to the world of entrepreneurship since my high school years, and notably thanks to the Start-up weekend organized in Niamey in 2014, which allowed me to meet many people, I became passionate about it and this “boost” allowed me to have the necessary experience to get into my own adventure.

In short, a truce of worldliness, I will not tell you all my life, but rather what I have learned from my experiences and the mistakes I have made.

This article joins the one I wrote a few months ago about the success, available here (There is no miracle recipe) [1].

1. You are young, you are beautiful, enjoy!

My physics teacher in high school used to say and repeat “You are young, you are beautiful, enjoy!

Indeed, you have time, you have energy, you are intelligent; In short, you have everything you need to get started!

The world belongs to youth, you are the leaders of tomorrow. If you have an idea, or even better, ideas, get started!

In addition, as young entrepreneurs you will often be brought to be the youngest in a given environment, whether at conferences, meetings, or even within your own company. You must, in these situations, put your young age aside, and put everyone on an equal footing. Be prepared to learn from others, and also share your knowledge… Keep in mind that age is only a number.

photo-nic.co.uk nic

2. Prepare yourself to fail (lamentably)

I always say that the ability of individuals to cope with failures is proportional to the scale of their future success.

Before launching Otimbi Labs, I tried several adventures including Projeus (an exhibition platform for creators), which did not work at all, projects like this, I tried up to four.

Without wanting to be defeatist, most start-ups do not grow up, and put the key under the door. However, this eventuality should not be confused with “failure”. Every time you start a business, you gain a new set of experiences, extend your skill set and learn valuable lessons for your future businesses.

In case your company does not take off, and you will eventually get out of it anyway; Keep in mind what you have done well and not so well done (this is the most important) and also, remember what you have learned and consider what you plan to do next time. An entrepreneur never stops at a business, chances are you’ll want to start another adventure in your lifetime; When you do, you will be a wiser person (and a company) and ready to face new challenges. There is always another opportunity! You have not failed; You’ve made progress.


3. Do not be lazy, get to work and be patient.

Before seeing the result in all things, it takes work. It hurts me to see how many startups will not even live up to getting funding.

Let’s face it, if you do not work to defend your idea with others (including investors and potential customers), no one will do it for you and no one will believe in your project. The truth is that your business or idea will not provide any funding until you have proven to investors that your business model is working and that you have the ability to work hard.

This takes a long time to speed up the growth of your business and have a business generating healthy cash flow.

4. Start now!

Nothing constrains the execution of projects more than the fact of thinking too much. But keep in mind that you are young, and that you must make mistakes to learn.

I learned to code at 14 years old [2]. And a year later I was doing small online services (free first) history to forge a small reputation, and gain experience. This allowed me to have an address book that helped propel the company I launched four years later.

Aim to start your business when you are about 20 years or younger, you have a maximum of time to make the necessary mistakes that will help you forge a mind and a personality.


Niklas Tidbury

5. Be humble

Smart entrepreneurs excel in asking for help from others. They operate their networks for advice, work, presentations, recommendations and free capital. They have the talent to make people believe in their vision and to help them without payment.

This is being humble. Many people are willing to help young people in their first business, if only it is requested. Arrogance and a know-how approach are damaging attitudes when trying to get out of business.

Thank you for taking the time to read this little post, which, I think you will have enlightened on these points!

I am willing to interact with you on my social networks, including Twitter (@boulama_k), ask me questions and go farther than this article.

[1] https://medium.com/@boulama/il-ny-a-pas-de-recette-miracle-69422c642aa

[2] https://baiwa.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/boulama-kandine-un-geek-ne/