A month after two hours of free coaching from me a client messaged me to say she’d saved MWK200,000 (£200/$260) - having previously struggled to reach the end of the month cash positive - and she’d completed a long list of things I'd suggested she do to push her business forward; fabulous news given only a month had passed since we sat down. This is what happened:
On 24 July 2016 I was invited to speak at Blantyre’s Pitch Night in Malawi.
It was a fun filled event. There were three speakers including my sister, Yolanda who pitched her Montessori nursery.
I pitched wealth building using 10 principles we should all ideally follow to ultimately enable retirement – a much more pertinent issue in Malawi where there are no state pension plans.
At the end of my talk I offered a maximum of three people two hours of one-on-one coaching with me for MWK250,000 (£250/$350) and being the charitable person I am, I offered the same session for free to one lucky winner. To win all you had to do is email me 250 words explaining why you deserved a free session.
After that talk I was engulfed by people asking questions; I had one university kid practically attached to my butt for 10 minutes asking me tonnes of questions regarding what he needed to write to get the free session. He said he’d be sure to get his piece in as soon as possible.
No one took up my paid offer although one lady intimated she might. I wasn’t in the least bit surprised – self-development is not a huge thing in Malawi - If you don’t get a degree or a certificate at the end of it, most people tend not to be interested.
Two days later, I checked my email and only two pitches for a free session had arrived – nothing from the enthusiastic university kid, go figure. Both were good but one was definitely better.
I didn’t know much about the person I chose but I had a good feeling – okay, I’ll admit…I’d slapped her ass at pitch night thinking she was one of my friends from high school only to find she wasn’t. That incident, in the end, worked to her advantage because I felt a little bit guilty.
Anyway, long story short: I went through her personal and financial life. Two hours together passed in a flash.
I discovered she was naturally very ambitious and motivated, in fact, her parents were well-to-do but she was keen to make her own mark on the world. She was open and receptive to the things I shared. She was humble and extremely likeable; we got on well, I was super impressed with the things she was already achieving in her life at such a young age.
She took my free advice and ran with it leading to the above results.
Now, this is a simple example, I have a more extreme one:
In 2011/12 one of my friends paid £10,000 ($16,000 at the time) for a property investment course. In the 3 years after that he accumulated £3million in property including a portfolio of 10 houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and four buy-to-lets.
Interestingly he spent most of his savings to do the course but he was convinced he’d get the money back. He went to one of those 2-day marketing events where they share just enough knowledge to make you want to do the full course.
To grow his portfolio he used other people’s money: He’d team up with someone that had lots of money but very little time, do all the work and they’d share 50-50 in the equity.
Now, I’m not saying go out and spend £10,000 on a property course. In fact, I am personally not interested in HMO investing but I love the way this guy looked at the cost as an investment and focused on the return.
Not all expenditure is an investment. Thoroughly research your idea before spending that kind of money – if there is a money back guarantee take note of when it expires and how it works.
If opportunities to invest in something come your way, don’t just buy the product then forget about it, so many people do this. You need to take action. The key is to give the investment 100% - learn everything you can, take the suggested action and you’ll should hopefully get your investment back.
Unfortunately, the exact people who need this advice are precisely the ones that don’t use it. Those already on a positive trajectory are the ones following this advice.
If you've had a horrible or a fantastic investment experience, please share it with a comment.
Heather on Wealth
I enjoy helping people think through their personal finances and blog about that here. Join my personal finance community at The Money Spot™.