COVID19 LOCKDOWN: Personal Development Opportunities and How to Bounce Back Bigger and Better

Abubaker Matanda
Abubaker Matanda

Personal Development Opportunities in the lockdown by Abubaker Matanda – Part 3.

I wondered how I can be productive in this lock down. A number of ideas flushed through my mind. Three were so striking that I decided to take them on. Let’s look at the second.


Back to the fundamentals.

The greatest book I ever read on finances is “The Richest Man in Babylon.”

That book summarises the discipline of money. In fact after reading it, I felt like all the others are mere explanations of or deeper dives into its Wealth Principles.

Among the common sense I learnt from the book was:

1. You want money.
2. That money is in someone’s pocket or bank account.
3. How do you move that money from their pocket to yours without scamming or stealing it?

4. Simple: You have to sell them something. A product (good or service). Therefore, so long as you don’t have any product on the market, unless you steal, beg, inherit or win a lottery, there is no chance your financial woes will change.

In this part of the world, if you are like me, you are not likely to inherit a fortune or win a lottery. You also have some pride and values that bar you from scamming, stealing or even begging. There is therefore almost only one sure way out, selling something.

Obviously, I do not like my financial position. I cannot divulge more details but my account and wallet are my witnesses.

I therefore badly want to make more money, even during this quarantine, and prepare to even make more after. So here is what I’m doing that you could do. Remember we said you have to sell either a good or a service.

1. I realised almost all the money I ever made was from selling services i.e. providing legal solutions, lecturing, doing research, and offering trainings. This means that to make more, I either have to seek more clients, or raise my value. I decided to do 30% of the former, and 70% of the latter which I will talk about more.

If you are a service provider especially for personal services, you can use this period to raise your expertise. For example read as many books as possible in your area of expertise. Like for a lawyer; this is the time to read all the judgments in your area of interest, bench mark on the leaders of your market, read the books in your niche. Resources allowing, listen to podcasts and watch youtube videos on your area of expertise, understand the history, and fundamentals of your area. How can you be a teacher who does not know the history of education, and possibly the future or the fundamentals of your subject? All this literature exists and the world is yours to conquer.

So whether it is deepening your knowledge in your field or learning a new skill say a new language or a hand skill, go baby, goo! By the time we come out, you should either be more knowledgeable and skilled in your area, or have a new skill to sell.

Hint: I have a friend making a fortune from making school sweaters. She says the demand in schools is so high, they are limited by hands and time.

Of course if you are already top notch, this is the time to write a publication in your field or set up innovative ways of unveiling yourself to the world. You can for example set up a you tube channel, website or podcast.

2. Seeing that I do not have any goods on the market 🙄. I decided I must leave the lockdown with one. Yes, I want to bore you with that too. We must have a good on the market. I remember my father used to challenge me while in Secondary School. He would ask, “what kind of person are you who does not have even an egg in the world?” He would beckon me to save part of my pocket money and at least buy a chicken. So I ask you, “What kind of person are you who does not have even a chicken or company share (asset) in the world?

Now I know this can be frustrating talk. Personally I had reached a level where I would say, I’m incapable of doing business.” “See, I tried many times and failed, and my family has a negligible number of business people”, I reasoned

This has changed. I now realise this was just a handicap I visited on myself. Almost everyone in my family is a business person actually. Business is not only opening a supermarket or having a shop in Kikuubo. Business is acquiring something, then selling it at a higher price for profit. This can be because some value has been added like turning wheat floor and eggs into a rolex, or because it has been moved closer for a convenience, say moving a bunch of matooke from Mbarara to Kampala, or because it has been multiplied like selling eggs from a chicken etc. So all of us can do business.

Let me tell you a childhood model from Bududa.

With Ushs. 300/=, I bought sugar canes which I lined up outside my grandfathers compound. I got 3 canes each at Ushs.100 and sold them at Ushs.200 raising Ushs.600 with an 100% profit of Ushs.300. I repeated the cycle until I raised Ushs.2000 in profit at what point my grandfather closed my business. He argued I was becoming money minded rather than focusing on school, and wondered what they were not offering me. (African parents we need to talk).

The money I had raised was however, enough to buy a chicken. I bought one and that is how far I went. I don’t remember what happened to my chicken. I was probably convinced to have it slaughtered for an aunt visiting from Kampala.

There are other colleagues who prospered on. They would raise the chicken until they have like 10 or 15 and buy a goat, then raise 3 or 5 goats and get a calf onwards. I have an uncle who followed the same system, then eventually sold the cows, came to Kampala and did business for a little while, the proceeds of which he used to go to Sweden for kyeyo and well, the rest like they say is history.

So that is business. Growing a garden of watermelons and selling them two months later is business. Buying a car or house or land and selling it at a profit is business. Running a business consultancy is business. Laying bricks and selling them is business. Getting a sack of charcoal and breaking it into smaller mounds to sell at a profit is business. Knocking on people’s gates and offering to sell to them eggs is business. We can all be business people.

• So what can you sell? I don’t know, find out.
• Where can you get capital to start? I don’t know, find out.
• But you do not have money to buy data and books to grow in knowledge! Sorry! Find a way.
• But this quarantine and lockdown is so stressful that you cannot think about, let alone act on serious things! Ok.

To the above, Shakespeare says,

“Some people are born great, others achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them” Take your position!

The Baganda improve it to say,

“Obulangira bw’omunaku kukola” loosely meaning the “The royalty of a pauper is in working.”

The fact is I do not have straight answers to the challenges listed, but I know that for many of us, if not most, the only way is through.

Please go make some ka-money, some how!

The photo attached is over 7 years old, and the kamoney was not mine. As you can see I was sweating 😂

Right now much as I’m not poor, I’m as broke as you are or even more. So don’t start!

Thank you.

Also Read: Covid19-lockdown personal development opportunities and how to bounce back bigger and better part-1

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