Here we got to speak to author, coach and entrepreneur Leonard Sekyonda about his career to date and his advice to entrepreneurs and business owners:
Can you tell us a little bit more about your career journey to date?
I had quite a difficult upbringing that was fraught with many challenges. Unfortunately my dad passed away when I was very young and so I was brought up on a low-income South London council estate with my sister by my resilient mother. When I was growing up I struggled at school and college despite my best efforts, which led me to think maybe I wasn’t cut out to achieve my dreams. After dropping out of college, I started working in property before taking the leap into entrepreneurship.
I am really passionate about providing support to aspiring entrepreneurs and noticed a gap in the market. I went on to Co-found Tech startup MYCOMEUP in early 2009, to provide the audience with motivational articles and the MYCOMEUP (words of wisdom) videos which have now garnered over 33 million views on YouTube. In addition, MYCOMEUP WORLD is a social network that matches freelancers, entrepreneurs and creatives and provides internships. I am very proud that the network now has over 200,000 global users.
I am lucky to have travelled the world, released a best-selling book, Be Your Own Hero Again, and I am in the process of creating a new program called “The Sales Agency Accelerator”.
What has been your biggest challenge in your career?
I took quite a big risk in setting-up my first international business. This business centered around flying to South Asia (Philippines) and recruiting nurses to the UK. I can remember exactly how nervous I felt getting onto that plane and travelling to the Philippines to present the courses I had available for filipino nurses to come and study in the UK. A lot of the websites I looked at talked about the dangers of travelling there, but I was welcomed graciously, found myself having lunch with mayors and officials and managed to get 30 nurses to sign up to my courses after the first presentation – all at only 20 years old!
What has been your proudest moment?
My proudest moment was definitely releasing my debut book “Become Your Own Hero Again: The Goalsetting Guide to Unlocking you”. I can still remember how it felt to hold the copies for the first time and it was even featured on the Instagram pages of Arsenal football players Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alex Lacazette.
What is your life motto?
I think my life motto would be “Just Start”. We can spend so long planning and thinking about what we want to do rather than actually going ahead and doing it. The best way to learn how you need to change your approach is to just start and adjust when you’re presented with new information. You will never know what you can achieve until you start.
What are three pieces of advice you would give to readers in these uncertain times?
- Follow your gut – Things at the moment definitely feel very scary and outside of our control. But if you think you can see an opportunity that hasn’t been spotted by others, go for it. Sometimes you might have to go it alone to make it work, but you definitely have the power within you to make it happen.
- Setbacks are feedback – 2020 has definitely tested the resilience of us all in different ways! The most positive way to reframe these setbacks and challenges is to consider it feedback and redirection. If you have hit a roadblock, change direction because it is definitely not a sign to give up, especially when so many of these challenges are completely outside of our control. Perhaps think about how technology can enable you to still deliver your business or service, or reach out to your network for support.
- Congratulate yourself – Positivity is key to getting through any challenge, and this year is no exception. Congratulate yourself for what you are managing to achieve in the face of uncertainty, even if that is just getting out of bed in the morning. Many people are doing amazing things; pivoting their businesses, taking care of others or doing work in their community. This needs to be celebrated and provides great motivation to keep going.
More information can be found at https://www.leonardsekyonda.com/