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How I built a career in the digital media space successfully

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  • Anthony Irari is the Team lead for East Africa at Opera News, a product of Opera Software and a news and video aggregator in Africa, spanning over 10 African countries

I have managed to build a career out of digital media and news. A few years ago, role models were either TV and radio personalities or newspaper columnists. Very few people knew and appreciated digital media and news. Not anymore. I feel honoured that I have been at the centre stage of building some of the most successful digital newsrooms in the country from scratch. And these newsrooms have become household names in the news ecosystem.

You will be left behind if you don’t master the art of focusing on the next big thing. The world has become extremely dynamic. There is no room anymore to settle and be comfortable. I’m particularly inspired by the Netflix and Box Office story where the CEO of Netflix went and pitched the idea of his company (it was in the initial stages at the time) to the then CEO of Box Office. He laughed him off and called him stupid, insisting that the only thing he needed was to acquire more stores where people could let out movies. Big mistake. He failed to see where the world was going. He was blinded by the money his company was making and assumed the status quo. It didn’t take long before Box Office died. Seek new solutions and better ways of doing things.

I used to save money but I would never invest. I was not open to the idea of investing my savings. I am turning 30 this year, and I can now see all the investment opportunities I missed. I particularly remember with nostalgia when my friend, one of the co-founders of Pesa Bazaar, mentioned to me the idea of Cryptocurrencies a few years back. He had just come from the UK where he had been working in the financial sector. I downplayed it as it looked far-fetched. Looking back, I would have ripped big with the recent upsurge of Bitcoin.

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I follow the 50, 30, 20 rule when it comes to money. 50 percent of your income should be geared towards settling your bills, 30 percent for enjoyment and the things you love while 20 per cent should be set aside for a rainy day. Financial experts advocate that you always have an emergency fund to keep you afloat for at least six months in case you lose your income. This is not very practical in Africa but the message is clear; always save something for a rainy day.

Never attempt to start a business if you’ve just lost a job. Consolidate your savings, cutting down on your spending, and looking for another job. When back on your feet, start building your business on the side. Leave your job when there is beyond reasonable doubt that your side business is fully stable.

Always strive to be the person who shows up. That person who is reliable and can be counted on. This includes showing up for clients, networking events, and even showing up for your family and friends. The value of being reliable is immeasurable. Still, put yourself first in everything!

By nationmedia.com

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