Last month, I attended the funeral ceremony of a business mogul that we all looked up to in our village. Here was a man who literally rose from grass to grace owing to his zeal, resilience and a no-nonsense attitude towards hard work. Njogu for that was his name never received any formal education.

He was a just street smart guy who had done everything to be who he was.

Since he did not attend school, he could not have learnt his entrepreneurial skills through reading some fancy books such as Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki or The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason.

In fact, he ran away from his home after his father gave him a dog’s beating for refusing to attend school. And so he escaped to the city where he was nothing but a street urchin. It is there that he built himself doing all sorts of odd jobs to eke his living.

Ironically, at his time of death, Njogu was a founder of many private schools and always gave youths a talk on the benefits of schooling.

On coming back to the village, he was a moneyed man who employed lots of youths into his many businesses. The entire society looked up to him for his determination and business intelligence. He was also a philanthropist and donated lots of his money to noble causes and charity.

Just before he was hospitalized with a terminal illness, I had the joy of sharing with him a glass of wine in between a hearty conversation on how he was able to rise from the rags. These are lessons that I learnt from Njogu:

  • Start saving early

Njogu started saving and investing his money early on in life. This way, he was able to grow his money over a long time.

“The one mistake that I see most employed people making is waiting to earn hefty salaries so that they can start saving and investing their money. It does not work that way. You just have to start early and trust the process,” Njogu told me.

  • Being rich does not come from earning a hefty six figure salary.

No, it comes from saving the little you have and seeing it accumulate to handsome figures that can do so much for you. With a few adjustments to your spending habits, you can save money and take control of your budget.

The key is finding ways in which you are willing to cut back on things like food costs or entertainment expenses so that the savings account grows more rapidly than it would otherwise.

You might think that it’s too difficult or take a really long time, but if you follow these three easy steps then what used to seem impossible will become possible with just one step at a time.

Ready? Let me show how this works for someone who saves $10 monthly:

Step 1: Save 10 times as much money – so now we’re looking at an extra $100. Step 2: Invest the savings in small projects such as on best penny stocks that will bring in some extra cash no matter how little it might seem. Step 3: Grow your investments to something big

  • Have multiple streams of income

Even the most stable businesses can fall overnight. Do not therefore trust that government salary you get as your only source of income. You need to think of side hustles that you could start and increase your income.

The good thing with this is that if one of the income sources fail, you always have a safety net to fall back to. You will therefore never go back to poverty.

Njogu had investments in stock, agriculture, entertainment joints, eateries, transport sector and the real estate industry. When punitive measures were put on entertainment joints and he had to close most of his bars, Njogu still had other sources of income that he depended on.

  • Set Smart goals

Njogu told me that I really need to make some SMART goals about my money. He was sad that most University gradutes as they land their first jobs do not know what they are going to do with it. And so they spend most of the cash on booze, trips and sports betting.

Later on in life, they find out that they are retiring from their respective job places with little or nothing to show for the many years that they spent slaving and working for their bosses.