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Monday, December 4, 2023

How to become a millionaire by Yaya Sillah

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By Dr Cherno Omar Barry,
President of Writers Association of The Gambia

In this competitive world, entrepreneurship is the only solution to the problem of wealth creation. The advent of the internet makes it possible for an ordinary person living in a remote corner of Africa to exchange goods and services with someone living on the hilltops of the Himalayas. Becoming a millionaire is no longer a dream for the few but a possibility for many. To achieve that quickly, | lay out the foundations for aspiring millionaires in seven simple steps.

Each step along the way, you will encounter multiple ideas which will enhance your emotional intelligence, accompanied by a compelling vision for capacity building. With such powerful knowledge, it is no longer a matter of if you become rich, but when. It entirely depends on how fast you act on your ideas. Kindly remember that millionaires are just ordinary people like you. All that it takes to become one is passion and dedication.


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Inspire other people 

In the final dialogue, I would like to explore the role of culture in wealth creation. You may remember that in the 1950s, when people from South Asia, i.e. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, began mass immigration to the West, especially the UK. Initially, they were settled under the cheap labour scheme. Gradually they have integrated certain aspects of Western cultures with theirs. For instance, South Asians love cooking and eating at home like Africans.

Also, Asian people love cooking spicy food, whereas the strong smell of such food bothered their Western neighbours. Eventually, Asians started eating out in restaurants, like their European hosts, to improve community cohesion. Eating out began to appear as the new norm for Asians, inspiring hundreds of Asians to create restaurants and hotels.

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Furthermore, they have consolidated Asian culture in many ways and created community centres across the continent. These include mosques, schools, corner shops, and small factories. The peaceful coexistence resulting from community cohesion has enabled people to happily live side by side as one people and one community. Hence it has created a thriving environment for business and a friendly atmosphere for families, in stark contrast to other communities. People from Africa and the Caribbean have tried the same approach, but due to cultural hindrances, it didn’t work out well compared to South Asians. Still, West Africans like me love cooking and eating at home.

And in our culture, I would rather visit my extended family and close friends at their homes than meet them in a restaurant or community centre, even though our neighbours would often complain about the noise coming from the houses as a result of our visitors, particularly during the night. Nonetheless, such a habit is widespread among Africans in the West, and it continues to be the norm for most African living elsewhere. Unfortunately, it has stagnated the option of creating small businesses and building community centres. Hence, Africans living in the West are not hugely inspired to make restaurants or hotels because they assume they won’t be attractive to people.  Though we have a strong community presence in the West, like Asians, our community atmosphere is not equal to theirs. Consequently, business opportunities are missed, and our potential for commerce and trade is quite limited.

I recall that in the early 2000s, there were only three options to wire money from the UK to the Gambia. And they are as follows: you must look for a trustworthy person, who can carry the cash from the UK to the Gambia, or you must use international money transfer services such as Western Union and Moneygram, or you must risk sending the money through the post. However, due to a lack of immigration status, most people were extremely reluctant to use international money transfer services because often they would ask for proof of ID. Also, some people lost money through the postal system, and the only preferable option was to look for a trustworthy person to carry the cash to The Gambia. Eventually, some Gambians realised there was a huge potential for a money transfer business in Europe. Mr Cessay created Bayba Financial Services Gambia to help facilitate remittance from the UK to the Gambia.  Later down the line, Approve Services Ltd. joined the market, and then Immedi8 Finance and Yayeh Instant Service Ltd., to name a few.

And now, money transfer services are a booming business for Africans living in the diaspora. I brought this to your attention so you can see what inspired migrants in the West, who started wealth creation almost from nothing. Still, there are lots of opportunities where you can hurry up and tap into those markets and then make millions almost instantly: property, food importation, the entertainment industry, etc.

Say you are interested in an entertainment business. First start your hobby with a monthly entertainment program, maybe in a small hall and then gradually you can expand accordingly to a bigger arena. Eventually, you can buy your gallery for entertainment.  I remember a few years back, I tried to rent a hall for religious gatherings, but I had to postpone the event twice due to a lack of availability at the community hall. Thus I resorted to paying a fortune to rent a private hall. Private hall owners are making good money: every weekend, they are hosting multiple events, one after the other.

A recent study suggested that 16% of property owners in OECD countries owned one or more investment properties, implying that a whopping 84% of all property owners in the developed world have only one property.  It unmasks a goldmine with huge potential in the property business. Can you imagine what would happen if a young person like you ventured into the property business, like how certain individuals managed to grab the money transfer business quickly when the opportunity first surfaced? By now, most people bidding for council houses would have owned their properties, and those privately renting could easily have access to a mortgage. You only need to start with one property to accumulate millions in a few years.

The food business is another opportunity which is hidden in plain sight. Every weekend a birthday celebration in a family is guaranteed. Still, usually, people prefer to host this at home and cause a loud noise in the neighbourhood and risk provoking their neighbours. A smart guy like you should start organising people’s birthdays in public places such as restaurants or hotels. You can even share the videos on social media to attract many followers. Then eventually, you can create your restaurant where weekly family gatherings can occur. A magnificent project like that would not only make you richer but also serve as a cornerstone to break the cultural circle of eating at home and encourage people to eat out more often. And it will further persuade individuals to conduct meetings outside, rather than allowing frequent noise at home, to improve social cohesion.

I used to wonder why every mosque I attended for my daily prayers in London would usually be filled with the local worshippers. I later observed that people from South Asian communities typically prefer to conduct their meetings outside the family home. In contrast, community centres such as mosques and restaurants are the perfect places to meet guests. Consequently, most Asians in Europe are profoundly attracted to mosques for religious purposes and socialising with one another, which has strengthened the community spirit among people of different casts and created a thriving and friendly business environment.

To make money fast, you have to know the game very well. It’s similar to playing football and military combat. One way to make money instantly is to deviate from popular culture and create a new one. The ideas that make millions today wouldn’t yield anything fruitful tomorrow, and it’s not wise to venture into a business already saturated in the market. Moreover, businesses like second-hand shipping clothes from Europe to Africa or buying clothes from Africa and selling to Europe are extremely competitive businesses: you are going to be lucky to make millions from that.

Additionally, working for the public sector from 9-5 will only be enough to pay your bills. If you consider becoming a politician without a good reason, just a mere hope to enrich yourself, you need to think twice because those days are truly numbered. Public scrutiny concerning your privacy would drive you mad. As a politician, the moment you enter the public space, it’s precisely on that day that you have signed away your privacy and that of your family to the public domain. People ridicule politicians and worship millionaires.

Poverty is no longer a barrier to preventing someone from reaching their goal, but a lack of motivation hinders success. Most people reckon that experiencing poverty will usually make you wiser and more disciplined. It gives people millions of reasons to dream big and achieve more. It has vindicated the theory, suggesting that anyone can become rich if they put their mind to it. In that regard, I would emphasise again that trusting yourself too much is a sign of arrogance. No matter how clever you are, sometimes it will be others who discover your potential on your behalf. For instance, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was sitting on oil wells for centuries without ever knowing that such wealth was beneath them. Instead, in 1937 it was Americans who helped them to discover the treasure trove. Every individual is guilty of that.  Whether it’s an entire nation or an individual, we all have potential beneath us. It is just a matter of time to discover it. You are equipped with an intellect which is the biggest gift from God, but how to utilise it? That is the question. The following may help you:

Do not confine learning only to classrooms: you should participate in online and offline courses. With a clear goal in mind, you can switch from one course to another with one objective only. Otherwise, you will find it harder to focus on your business. But the most challenging aspect of all this is the transitional period between being a student in entrepreneurship or moving from one discipline to another field and converting information from a theory into action. Trust me; it’s not as easy as it sounds.  It is like transferring a thought from the brain to your fingertips, and then into writing words, and then into a book. It is much harder than most people can imagine. You cannot do it alone. You will need the intervention of other people along the way. I would repeat that whatever you have learnt initially is only a theory, and to convert that theory into action is the real challenge, and you will need people with a wealth of experience. Failure to do so will mean you risk missing opportunities, jumping from one business to another like a Zebra Copy Investor.

As a business person, you are not only managing goods and services, but also you are managing people in a competitive environment where sanity is crucial. You are making a profit at other people’s expense, and equally, your failure will put fortunes in their pocket too. Consensus between you and other people often helps to ease the tension. Nonetheless, do not neglect your responsibility and do not compromise discipline in the workplace. In the post-modern society, managing people and controlling the information flow is the most difficult aspect of running a company.

Usually, what people do in front of you and what they can do behind you are quite different. You should always be at the head of the game. Hence if you can inspire people through efficient communication methods, or your reliable reputation with credibility, then you are on the right path. Yet to achieve this, occasionally, you might have to resort to using fear and intimidation or use a soft power strategy such as generosity with magnanimity. At the same time, diplomacy with eloquence works better for many. Perhaps the latter is more preferable for entrepreneurs.  Above all, human affairs are not written in stone; thus, do what works better for you, accumulate millions and use what you think is appropriate to protect your wealth.

As we approach the end, let’s quickly recap what I have discussed so far. We started the journey with the power of HOW and I said that your life will improve only when you have integrated the power of HOW into your daily vocabulary. I encourage you to abandon WHY’s attitude, which can only lead to anger and frustration. When you have mastered this, it’s time to start developing the habits of rich people. Such practices allow you to be creative and productive. It will give you the ‘freedom pass’ you need to reach your destiny. There is no point in attempting this without discipline. Discipline with obedience would help you to grow from strength to strength financially. Never neglect your online presence: be active online always.

When discipline is incorporated into your character, you will only be able to invest your money wisely and get rich instantly. However, getting rich and staying rich will be harder if you cannot manage your emotions properly. Being a millionaire is useless if you cannot influence people and be a leader. Don’t just be a leader in name only but strive to be a servant of the people. And finally, inspire people to get rich.

Take note of these seven codes: The power of HOW, the culture of rich people, the virtue of discipline, how to invest your money wisely, manage your emotions properly, be a leader, not a follower, and inspire people to get rich.

These are the secrets to instant success. Hurry to activate your lion instincts and become a millionaire quickly.


Alahaji Yaya Sillah, also known as Yaya—Patchari, was born in Jarra Sutukung Sillah Kunda in the LRR region of The Gambia. He is married with children. Born into a family of religious Muslim conservatives, his views are more liberal and moderate due to much time spent travelling the world. He has completed courses in Creative.

Writing in New Zealand and Australia.

His area of expertise is sociology and spiritual counselling. Through his counselling service, he has inspired many people to become successful in their own right. His first book, published in 2014, was “Marriage and Society’, centred mainly on the essence of marriage and the importance of education. Later that same year, he established his own charity, the Back to School Foundation, which aims to promote education and research in Africa. In 2019 he founded Suba Kunda Publishing to promote African literature in the diaspora.

His philosophy about knowledge is simple: a museum is where you learn the past, a school is where you learn the present, and a library is where you learn the future. His hobbies are praying, reading, writing, research, and travelling. This is his fifth book.

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