What is your background, briefly?
I was born and raised in London. At the age of 17 I dropped out of high school and began working at a local estate agency. Sales came naturally, but had my sights set on a bigger challenge.
Through chatting to an intern working at my estate agency, I learned of an interesting opportunity in the Philippines, scouting local nurses to fill vacant positions in the UK. I decided to take the leap at travel to the Philippines to start up a nurse recruitment company, but after a government change in hiring practices the opportunity was cut short and I was forced to move back London.
I always had a clear goal to work for myself and I began working on my next business concept and idea. A chance introduction to Deji Okunade (MCU blog) through a mutual friend became the start of my journey into the Tech Industry, and we set about expanding what was simply a blog into MYCOMEUP WORLD, an online networking community for creatives, entrepreneurs and talents.
What led you to what you are doing now?
While running my business in the Philippines, I lacked many of the practical business skills that I might have been developed had I continued into higher education. However, one of the tools I used to get me through the day-to-day challenges of foreign business was self-help books. I found that by reading self-development books I developed a more spiritual confidence, and I began sharing some of the tips and thoughts online. Writing a blog was initially just something I was doing as an escape from the pressures of doing business in a foreign country, but I quickly realised there was strong demand from other likeminded young people who seemed to liked this self-help information. This led me to putting self-help at the forefront of MYCOMEUP.com in its early stages, and it is still one of the most popular aspects of the site today.
Give us the 1 minute pitch for MyComeUp World:
The explosive growth of digital technology and social media over the past decade has created a breed of new millennials who approach life and business in a very different way. The first generation to grow up with the world literally at their fingertips are fast becoming a breed of disruptive entrepreneurs, with a global outlook and the kind of adaptable, resilient mentality required to succeed in a fast- paced, volatile world. MyComeUp World brings together these new millennials to connect, collaborate and inspire success.
How do your users use the site?
We have created a platform that enables creatives, talents and entrepreneurs to connect and collaborate in a way that allows them to thrive, not only in business, but also personally. It provides a unique combination of practical business resources, inspirational self-development advice and genuine human interaction in order to enable user to achieve success together.
Every user has the ability to set up a personal profile and share their story, and it is interesting to see how young entrepreneurs are much more willing to put themselves forward as a human face of their company, rather than hiding behind a brand. Our members also get the benefit of access our “MCU HELP” feature which provides free start-up resources and templates, equipping our users with the tools that they may have lacked in order to start bringing their ideas to reality.
There's Beauty In The Stuggle? pic.twitter.com/gG1acd6Etp
— Leonard Sekyonda (@leonardsekyonda) February 1, 2017
Are there any characteristics or common challenges that your users typically share?
I am often amazed by how many great ideas our users have. We’ve had a big increase in the number of users aged between 16 and 24, and one of the most common challenges they struggle with is a lack emotional support or confidence to pursue their ideas.
One of the things I do on a daily bases is talk to users in the chat room and just encourage many of them to just start. Procrastination is a big issue, so a few little words of encouragement seem to go a long way. When you’re starting out in business the number of tasks to do can be overwhelming, but every journey starts with a single step, so it is great to see so many people using our start-up resources and templates to get things moving.
You have users from across the world – do you notice any differences in attitudes in different countries?
Our user base is very diverse. Interestingly, the biggest increase in self-help article views has been from the UK and Ireland, which might suggest young people here aren’t getting the support in that area form the education system. Previously, self-help content was much more in demand from our US audience, but it seems young people here are increasingly aware of the importance of emotional resilience and how self-help tools can help them to thrive in all areas of life.
Smile Through Adversity.. It Will Only Last A Second ? ?? MYCOMEUP WORLD pic.twitter.com/vJPX7xaYK0
— Leonard Sekyonda (@leonardsekyonda) January 31, 2017
Do you think that the mindset required for success has changed?
I feel Millennials are really changing the way things are done. It is amazing that a 17 year old can start a sneaker company and start making good revenues, taking payments by PayPal but having no business registered. The world has always been full of bright people with big ideas, but it is now easier than ever for the new generation of entrepreneurs to use the technology they already have to make those ideas happen. That knowledge is definitely creating a “can do” mindset, and that can only be a good thing for the wider economy in the long run.
What we are simply doing at MYCOMEUP World is creating a platform to support that success. Our users not only network amongst each other, but also use our site to create a real infrastructure for their business.
What unexpected lessons have you learned from your users?
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is how important the team behind a business is. Entrepreneurs often fall into the trap of trying to do everything by themselves, but it is important to benefit from the skills and experience of others. I have certainly started to listen to the ideas and input of others much more as I realised that collective ideas can be a lot more powerful than individual ones.