“You just have to find that thing that's special about you that distinguishes you from all the others, and through true talent, hard work, and passion, anything can happen”. Dr. Dre
I am always so inspired by the talent in Lesotho - from musicians, poets, artists, fashion designers, entrepreneurs and professionals. More inspiring is seeing more young people embracing their God given talents and collaborating to showcase what they have. Look at the collaboration between The Fabricera, Bonono Merchants and Nobodies Clothing with their inspiring #KASTOPONG campaign (read about it on www.lestimes.com/local-designers-in-collaboration), truly inspiring work. Let’s not forget local musicians such as Mookho Moqali, Leomile, and JC Crew to name a few. We also have Basotho doing amazing work in the corporate space and in academia. This is a country that has talent in abundance!
Following a recent conversation with a close friend, the question that comes to my mind since is “how can more of us monetize our God given talents?
I have been speaking in public from as early as 1998 when I was in Grade 4 and this is a talent I’ve nurtured over the last 20 years. I am still not as perfect as I would like to, but I’ve gained experience from the many stages and platforms I had the privilege to speak on and I have done so free of charge. My commitment to developing the skill still continues, where I constantly seek opportunities to learn and improve as a speaker. Till this day I still prepare, practice and practice some more before stepping onto any stage and have been doing so free of charge.
After the conversation with my close friend, my entire paradigm shifted to – how can I monetize my God given talent? How do I ask for payment for delivering a service I have become so good at?
The idea of asking for payment was a bit uncomfortable at first and mainly because I had feelings of inadequacy- was I good enough or was I still a work in progress? The war happening in my mind was intense and painful. I watched quietly as the two voices in my head tore each other apart. The second issue was the possibility of having the opportunity cancelled now that I was asking for payment. I love to be on stage with a microphone in my hand, sharing my story and engaging with the audience. Would I survive not having this opportunity again?
It was until recently, when I was invited to speak at an event that I boldly asked for payment. I was scared, VERY SCARED! I prepared an invoice, provided my banking details and held on tight for the response. To my surprise, the event organizer was more than happy to pay and processed the payment a week before I was to speak.
Inspired by this, I shared my story with another friend who was looking for opportunities to make extra income. She was looking for opportunities that were farfetched, when she had a gold mine right in front of her. She enjoys making “motoho” and is good at it. Her “motoho” is really delicious! I asked her why she isn’t selling her “motoho” and today she is delivering to her colleagues, friends and new clients.
How many other young people in Lesotho have hobbies that could generate them income? How many other talents do Basotho have that can be monetized to provide some income?
I’ve met young professionals that love developing websites for fun, people who can play musical instruments exceptionally well. I’ve met young people who enjoy teaching mathematics and science and who are doing it for free. I know of Basotho who have editing skills that can convert a terrible article to a master piece and who are not monetizing this skill. I challenge all young Basotho to intentionally seek opportunities to monetize their hobbies. I challenge all young people to work hard, to use their hobbies to make a meaningful contribution and to be brave enough to ask for payment.
Like Dr. Dre, I believe that through talent, hard work and passion, we our hobbies can be our sources of income.