• The rate of unemployment across the world and even worse in Africa is bursting at the seams. The meager numbers of those employed have to endure poor job quality, leaving them desperate.

    Earlier in 2016, International Labour Organization (ILO) warned that “Africa is still facing tremendous challenges in terms of job creation and sustainability.”

    During this year’s Africa Transformation Forum in Kigali (March 2016), Kelvin Balogun President of Coca-Cola, Central, East and West Africa noted with concern that almost half of the 10 million graduates coming out of the universities in Africa yearly do not get jobs.

    He recommended a partnership between private sector and the government to address the situation. While this is a brilliant strategy, it will take some time to have it up and running. On the other hand, young people can transform their lives, by using their extra time to do part time chores.

    Many young people have realized the potential of taking on part-time jobs. These jobs can range from farming, selling, marketing, tutoring as well as working on an assorted set of online jobs. Although these jobs are not full-time, they may potentially provide many opportunities, not only for the individuals but other young people in the society, if well nurtured.

    So, what can a part-timer do to make the most of any opportunity? Here is how to do it:

    Build your business brand

    Any company is known for their product or service. As an upcoming business person, building your brand will not only make you stand out, but also establish you as a reliable business.

    To build your brand, you need to consider how you present your product to your clients. This means creating a sound brand name, design, and marketing strategy.

    It is not enough to create a brand alone. Also, invest time to re-invent yourself as a businessperson; after all, you represent your brand.

    In this day and age where clients can be reached through social media, it makes sense for an upcoming business owner to identify relevant platforms to engage his clients. Ensure that your online presence is both sincere and professional. Let the social media outlets represent your identity and that of your brand. You should also keep abreast with information about your industry on a regular basis.

    Networking

    Networking is the grease to your wheels. It will propel you to connect with the right people. To prepare for a great networking experience, acquire informative business cards. While it is not enough to just hand out your cards, it’s a starting point. More importantly, however, is keeping the connections alive.

    Social media like LinkedIn where many professionals converge is one good way to connect with and hopefully meet new mentors. Every time you update your online platform with something you wrote or an interesting link, reach out to people that may find it relevant. This way, you remind your contacts that you still exist and can rely on you for information.

    Sign up for lectures, workshops, festivals, meetings and even webinars. This is how you grow your network for future collaborations.

    While pursuing your networking goal, never exude desperation. Although looking for something beneficial, approach them in a way that you will still retain your respect and good relationships. Always be generous with information and support others whenever possible and the reciprocal will happen.

    Acquire relevant skills

    To go to the next level, you need the relevant skills or knowledge on what you are doing. Enroll for a course or training workshops. This will boost your CV and most importantly, help you to take your part time business to the next level.

    In your quest to acquire relevant skills, look out for online tutorials on areas that you want to improve on. You may also consider pursuing certification programs at local learning institutions and read informative blogs and materials online.

    Values such as positive thinking, confidence, self-worth and being respectful to others will guide your journey in becoming a successful business owner.

    Lastly, reach out to people in the line of your career and request them to mentor you. These people will support and guide you to become a better a person.

    Once you have a brand working for you, acquired the relevant skills and experience, and have the right connections, what else do you need? Just take the next step to launch your business and take a leap of faith.


    This article is influenced by my personal experiences as a freelance journalist for the past two years. Image credit: OLX