Academia, Hustle & Overcoming Struggles
In our last episode, we ventured across the pond and landed ourselves in the UK. We welcomed Benjamin Dennehy to the show - a world-renowned salesman; so much so that they call him The UK’s Most-Hated Sales Trainer. If you didn't get a chance to check out our episode with Benjamin, you certainly should. We discussed everything from growing up poor, to the life of sales, and we ultimately realized that there are sometimes many journies you have to take in order to discover your passion in life. Circle back and listen to Story 21: You've Got A Week And Then You're Out.
This week we had another exciting conversation! For our guest on The Chirp, we welcomed a man whose name is so nice you have to say it twice, Ngalinda Ngalinda. Born in Africa, raised in Ireland, and now a local of Dubai, Ngalinda is a self-made businessman who epitomizes the image of a hard worker. In this episode, we talked about all things resilience, dreaming big, and using your mind to help you get ahead in life. It was an inspiring conversation filled with many great tidbits of advice and wisdom - enjoy!
This Episode In A Nutshell
Progress is something we all look to continually achieve in life. From getting better at a sport to learning a brand new skill, every day we are constantly trying to be better people and do grander things in our lives to make it worth living. Making progress in anything isn't easy, oftentimes it takes resilience, a little ingenuity, and ultimately the drive to overcome many struggles. Our guest this week, Ngalinda Ngalinda is no stranger to overcoming the struggles it takes in order to be successful. A Dubai-based businessman, Ngalinda walks us through the lessons he's learned in life from his early years in Africa, his coming of age time in Ireland, and his time in academia honing his skills in the world of computer science and sales. Struggling is a natural part of life, so listen closely as Ngalinda reminds us that overcoming struggle is only the path forward to truly reaching success.
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Audio Transcript of Story 22: Remember To Struggle
Hello everyone welcome back to another episode of The Chirp. This is a podcast where we hear stories about money and loans affecting our relationships and how our personal finance shapes how we live our lives.
I have a very interesting guest for you today. His name is Ngalinda Ngalinda, the man so nice they named him twice. Born in Tanzania 31 years ago, he moved to Ireland when he was 6 years old and right into my neighborhood in Dublin where we became friends.
From playing soccer together on the streets, I’ve watched him grow through school and college, to having a short acting/comedy career where he appeared on an Irish dating show, probably a story for another day, to creating his own marketing agency, Successful Media, over the last few years and now living in Dubai working on another project as well, where he dialed in from for our conversation.
Ngalinda has a great story from living modestly in Dublin City to now operating two companies that are growing. I’ve always admired him for his character and sense of humor and now for his entrepreneurial endeavors. It’s not easy coming to a new city so young and competing for opportunity and trying to succeed financially. I hope you all enjoy his story. Let’s go!
Ngalinda it's so wonderful to have you on The Chirp. It's great to see you again. How are things?
Good good good. Good to see you again, Cameron. All good!
It's been a minute since I’ve seen you, so I think it was a couple of years now since I've seen you last.
Ngalinda I've known you for a long, long time. I was quite keen to get you on The Chirp, ever since I started the podcast to be honest, because I think you have a really interesting story, not because of the amount of success you're having at the moment, but your road to get where you are today. I just think it's fascinating.
So to our listeners who wouldn't know you as well as I do, can you give us a little bit of an idea of who you are and your professional journey thus far as well.
Awesome. So thanks for that introduction. Cameron, so as you know, I know we’ve known each other since childhood and it's great to see your journey too. You're always doing different things and you're pushing and that's fantastic.
So for those of you who don't know me, my name is Ngalinda. I have the same first and second name, funny enough. And I'm originally from Tanzania, east Africa. I grew up in Ireland from the age of six. I'm now 31 years old. And recently in the last two years I’ve moved over to Dubai simply because, as you know, I dunno what time you're watching this or listening to this podcast, but, you know, we've had the toughest years in the last two years with the COVID restrictions and having started my own business, like about some 10 years ago now.
I’m going through so much, being a business owner, keeping the business going, having staff depend on you for their livelihoods and their families. You're trying to push for business no matter what you do, nothing is happening because it's just the way the world is. And it's happening to everyone.
To the point that it's gives you anxiety, all sorts of mental issues. So you end up looking for other avenues and other locations. How can we change our environment to suit us while we can? So, the last two years I came up here, but ultimately I've started a business.
10 years ago, the reasons behind starting the business, I didn't intend for it to be something more than it is. It's more about just being able to have a job at the time and then that evolved. So now I own a marketing agency and I have another project on the side as well. So that's the gist of it all, you know.
I suppose, can you take me back? You're in Dubai at the moment, can you take me back before to a time when things maybe weren't as rosy as they are now. I know the two of us growing up in Dublin city, we both lived individually in small apartments and things like that.
Money wasn't as available and at the ready as it would be now. What started your journey to owning your own business and having these side projects, what was the inspiration to start your own business and get off the ground in that way?
Yeah, that's a good question, Cameron, another great question. What was the inspiration based on why do we do what we do? Why we are where we are. So ultimately to be quite frank since being a child, like since I was young, I've always wanted to do something… when I watched James Bond, I saw James Bond and I was like, I wanna be like him!
He gets all the girls. He has the fancy cars. He has an amazing life. I just thought, “That was amazing”. And I remember being in Tanzania at six years old, It's crazy how you can still remember that time between four and six in your childhood. Something can happen and no matter what, you'll be able to recall that memory and put yourself back in that position as if it literally just happened.
But if you asked me what I had yesterday or asked yourself what you had yesterday for food, you can’t remember, right? Yeah. So when I was six years old on the plane to come to Ireland, and initially my mom came to Ireland to study, right?
So my dad was in Germany doing a PhD in mathematics, little brain box there, we’re not all like that! So he was looking for a way for my mom to go to Europe to find a better life type-of-thing. And the opportunity came, the Celtic Tiger back in the day, Ireland was starting to boom.
And it's a small country. So, you know, there's less violence. It's a great place to raise a family. So mom came to study and while she was studying, sure enough, we were young, me and my sister. So we came to visit to see how life was and just to see our mom really. The moment we landed. My dad the other day actually told me, “Ngalinda, when you landed in Europe back when you were six years old, the first thing you said when you called on the phone to talk to me was, “I am not going back! This is it. I am not leaving!”’
Meaning life was just amazing. And I remember being at the airport and seeing these businessmen, as we're getting on a flight, we're going an economy. And, you know, when you're a child, you're curious, you're asking questions, we're with our uncle and we're asking, “How come they're going in a separate line?”
And then inside the plane, the front end of the plane was covered and blocked off the back end. We couldn't see what was going on and you can just smell better food. This guy had a suit on. And I was like, okay so if you have a suit and you put a tie on and you work in an office, you get a different life.
That's what I thought, you know, like when you're a kid you don't understand. As opposed to my mother, she doesn't wear a suit and she doesn't put on a tie, and I'm thinking, okay, so if you do that, you get a better life type of thing.
So when I came to Ireland, I remember just that experience on the flight and then just seeing life, the way it is. And I thought to myself, Oh my God. I wanna be like that. I wanna be the kind of person who can get on a flight and just have what I want without knowing what I didn't know at the time.
So my inspiration has always been like getting to that next level type of thing. And usually, cause I didn't have a blueprint. I don’t know about you, Cameron, that if your parents are millionaires or billionaires…
Yeah, me too. Right. So look, we're getting the training from our parents that they got, and it's not their fault or anything like that, but they're giving you the best of what they can give you in terms of wisdom.
But you gotta realize that the information and the source are two different things and both are needed to give you the right path, you know, so someone can tell you one thing, which is good and it helps you, but it's actually not helping you. It's killing you off because they don't know the truth behind it and what you really need in order to get to break through that barrier, to get to the next level.
So me going through that experience. Thinking, oh my God. I'm young. I can achieve this. This is amazing watching. Do you remember Richie Rich?
Yeah. Did you have the tape?
I think so. I, I don't, I was more of a Home Alone guy!
I loved Home Alone as well. I dunno if you've seen the meme there about how the Dad could afford to have such a house with eight kids or something.
Worst dad in the world as well. He didn't even care when he came home. He said, “Ah, Kevin, how you doing? How you doing?”
Even you as well, Cameron, you guys in Europe, you are not at a struggle in the first world countries, you're in a thriving scenario, right?
The natural form of humans, they say, is to thrive. So when you're a coming from a household, such what you're coming from. What happens in the third-world countries, you know Maslow's, hierarchy of needs? You find that in a third-world country, they're surviving every day, they're surviving!
So my father would always tell me at a young age, whenever he came to visit, which was every so often in a year. But as he left, he would always say at the airport, I never forget, he would shake my hand or gimme a hug and say, “Remember, struggle!” So his way of struggling, he meant work. Work hard, work hard!
Whereas in Europe, you know, you have higher chances of succeeding, obviously because of the resources and whatnot, the environment, but more-so your thinking, your mindset, you are not coming from an area of, I may fail. If I do something you're coming from an area of, if I fail, I fail, I still eat tomorrow.
This is more like, if I succeed, it's gonna be 100X my life today. Whereas in Africa you are told that if you start your own business, there's nothing magical around that. Like you gotta create your own job or you are screwed. Whereas in Europe, the business is praised, whereas in Africa it's seen as actually lower than getting a job.
Like if you have a job in the government, you are perceived as much greater than if you have your own business where it's quite the reverse in Europe. So my whole point is in Africa, you're struggling, you're in a struggle mindset.
Whereas Cameron could do the same thing as me and you could do the same thing with the same circumstances, but you will go a lot further than I would because I have this limiting belief. I have these limiting beliefs. I'm telling myself I can't.
So my momentum is less than yours and my feelings are doing things to just get by. Whereas you're really going for it. If you're gonna go for it, you're gonna go for it. I'll spend one Euro where you'll spend a hundred Euro at something like advertising, you know, stuff like that.
So going through what I've gone through, and then going into the workforce, I remember that's where everything changed. I had an internship. I've never had a full-time job. I used to always have little sales jobs, mainly to learn about sales because I come from an academic background and in a third-world country, you have two things to survive, hope and education.
That's where you find most people from lower work, lower-income families in specifically in third-world countries. Their only way of success they believe is either hope, meaning they get education and then they get a high-paying job. Or if not, education.
That's one part of success or hope, meaning they're gonna be religious and pray and somehow miraculously something will happen. So, coming from an academic background, my father taught us that you gotta study, study, study! Although he went quite a different way to that himself, he did well in his own way.
So me going into the workforce while I was studying for my degree, I was doing a computer science degree. When I went to study, I would always get these part-time jobs because I wanted to learn sales.
In computer science, it's a science degree. You're becoming a scientist, nothing about business. It's all about theory, you know, algorithms. And I majored in the area of artificial intelligence. Nothing got to do with how to actually transact with another human, how to communicate with another human, how to understand what a human is thinking about.
So therefore you can influence their motives to get them to purchase or take action on something. So, I always was interested in that. My friends would laugh at me and say, “Ngalinda, why don't you get a part-time job in a computer shop?” Meanwhile, I'm getting a job in… I dunno if you remember this store called Best Menswear?
Yes I do! I bought a couple of suits from there. It was somewhat affordable.
Yeah, I couldn't even afford a proper suit, but yeah they were good suits! So my point there was I'd work in there just to learn sales.
And I didn't understand what I was doing all the time. I'm doing certain things to learn things that would help me in a later stage in life. And when I did that internship, I couldn't believe I got in. I was actually getting interviews. There were a hundred and something people in my class and only about maybe give or take 20% will get internships.
You have to qualify first year, have to get accepted, and then go for the first interview, second interview. And there was quite a lot of us, the majority of people you end up just taking a semester off. My point is I wasn't expecting to get it, I was the worst in the class.
I would put in so much work cause I'm trying to struggle to survive, to get the grades I need. I hated that course. I did it because my parents told me that's the future, blah, blah, blah. That's where the money is and it's important, you know, but I hated it.
So I'm competing with people who are the top players in that course, were getting the best grades, were those who weren't even trying. They were thriving! Because that's what they did. They were curious about how computers work, and how AI works. So they're making games and bots and applications prior to even the teachers giving us the assignments.
They can't wait for the weekend. They're excited to go home and say, “Ngalinda, come join us. Me and the boys, we're gonna go home together”. And I'm thinking, “Oh great. I'm let me go buy some drinks”.
They're like, “Yeah, bring some beers and let's code!” I'm like, “No, no, what, what, what is this?!” So they can't even talk to other people, let alone the opposite sex, but they were techy, and computer science-driven. And I saw the opportunity.
So you've moved from Tanzania to Ireland. You're living here, you've grown up here. We both grew up in the same neighborhood. You're finished college. You're starting your internship. What were you doing for money?
Obviously, we all survived as we could when we were college students. But you know, going into your internship, how were you surviving?
So doing an internship was only like six months. So what I was doing outside of that to generate revenue, and again, going back, I know I keep saying this…
I wasn't technically a business person growing up. I just did stuff without knowing. So I looked at the Internet. I was obsessed with the Internet. I wanted to know what I can do and not understand how big it is and how wide you can receive and reach people. I used to have apps.
At one stage I learned from a friend of mine who would normally hang out during the summer. He was saying to me, “I'm busy because I'm making websites”. And I was like, “What do you mean making websites?” So he said, “I'm making websites for people and they give me money.”
He charged 10% of what other companies were gonna charge them. So if a company was gonna charge ¢50K for a simple application, he could do it in his bedroom for only ¢5k. The company's gonna go with him if they're stuck on budgets. So it was an easy deal for him.
So he'd post online on the likes of Gumtree or any of these websites where there are people in his niche who are there looking for the service, he'd drop his prices and get business in. So I observed and learned to see what he was doing, learned the business aspect. Then I started to make websites!
I started exchanging my time with websites, right? I'd go off and find people who are looking for websites. I'd knock on different doors after college. I'd go around to all the stores, start having conversations with business owners, asking them. And that led to like building these apps where I was connecting essentially a payment process with their website.
And then ultimately that evolved to me having my own app that they can plug and play. But then I realized I need more funding to get that off the ground. I wish I continued with that, because that would've went far. I didn't understand what I was doing at the time and I was thinking too small, but I made websites.
Then I had apps at the same time. Cause if you can make a website, you can pretty much make an app today. It's so simple, but I realized you can get paid in two ways. Either (A) you sell the app or (B) you rent space on the app, meaning you can rent space in terms of advertising.
So I started getting 10 Euro a week or a month to 100 Euro, then it scaled up to even, I think, four, 3K to 4K per month. I had one app and then I realized, oh, this app is getting me more. So I duplicated the same app. I did it multiple times for different brands. So I had one where I realized after going on a trip to Tanzania that a lot of people love music, but they couldn't get all the sources of information about that one artist on one app, so I went on the Google store.
I realized that these artists didn't have apps. So I knew if I contacted them directly, it would take a long time to get approval because they have managers and management. So I just said, “Screw it I'll just make my own app and just put Cameron's picture on it and all your content”.
So therefore you go to the one app, get everything you need about Cameron and even chat with other fans of Cameron. And then at the same time, I'm showing ads so it's free for you. It's a win-win. I started doing that and I did it for political parties. I did it for a lot of things. I had like hundreds of apps. Not hundreds I had about like 20, but they had hundreds and thousands of downloads organically because they already had traffic.
So that's where I learned a bit about marketing. So they already had traffic. People are looking for them. Then I started just getting accumulated. But what I was thinking, my thinking was always small. I would do certain things and not be able to see the big picture. I just see it as it is instead of thinking, “Oh my God. If I duplicate this or make a portfolio, I could sell this later at an X multiple or I can continue to grow that and increase revenue”.
So I would just look at it and think, I'm never gonna get to that level, although I didn't even have a vision of getting to that level. Cause I didn't know what that level was.
So there are a couple of challenges there, but ultimately I used the Internet, I leveraged the computer and a phone to get going websites. Then I had app store paying me monthly. So I've never struggled for money. Not that I would have a lot of it, but it will always be something I can use. That's coming in to pay for the Netflix or to pay for the bill at home or to pay for this or that.
That's the goal. The goal is not to accumulate a lot because that's useless. Money sitting there without being used is dead money. Dead money is useless. Look at inflation. Look at today. The Euro has plummeted, right? So the point is that it needs to be in circulation. Like your money should be having one Euro, $1, one pound should be having another Euro.
Another dollar, another pound should be having three babies!
It's so great to hear because obviously coming from Tanzania and what you were mentioning about not having a limited mindset, maybe not having the best success trajectory that someone that was born in Ireland might have, but to hear your outlook and your business and how you made money as well is fascinating that you were never actually that poor when you went out on your own and you always grafted.
I suppose as an entrepreneur and as a business founder, what advice would you give to other people that are starting off and don't have an awful lot of money, and don’t want to live frugally?
How did you do it? And what advice would you give?
Right. Good question. First and foremost, I would not be where I am if it wasn't for the sales training I had. You can get it anywhere online right now. You can go work for someone part-time in a sales environment to learn about sales. You can practice.
It's better when you get in there. Cause no matter how many books you read, if you don't practice it, nothing will happen. If you call yourself an entrepreneur, you're definitely gonna be a failure. Cause if you look...like if you call yourself a startup, "I'm a startup, look at me, I'm a starting something" . Like, the world doesn't need something new. There's so many things out there that are broken. The world needs innovation. That thinking of, "I'm a startup, I'm going to start something new, I'm going to change the world". Right? Firstly, change yourself first before trying to change the world.
And the reality here is that most people think the opposite. They think “Oh I'm gonna be like Elon Musk”. Elon Musk wasn't always like the way he is today. He was born just like you were; like a little baby, clueless, no domain knowledge. He had to accumulate a skill that was solving a big problem.
And you don’t necessarily have to solve a big problem. Just accumulate a skill that's in demand. Learn how to monetize and get better at that and stick to it. And then from there you will evolve and learn. I've been able to sell what I'm doing to someone. I'm getting a transaction. Oh my God. Now I'm getting these euros coming in.
Because it's not guaranteed every day in business. I gotta learn how now to put money away. So the first goal, like Grant Cardon. A great guy, you should definitely follow him whether you like him or not. There's a lot of knowledge you learn from that guy. He talks about the three rules of money learning.
The first goal is learning how to get money and that's the easiest thing, how to accumulate money. The second goal is learning how to keep money, right? And the hardest thing is how to, grow that money. So that comes naturally the goal isn't for you to think that far ahead first, the first goal is to have a vision of what you want, where you wanna go so that you know where you are going.
So you know where you're going, but the most important thing you can do 90% of your time is selling. If you're getting started today. Your goals are completely low to where they need to be to achieve that goal. So if you have a goal of getting something, you gotta think 10 times that cause at least if you fail at the top, guess what will happen?
You land among the stars. If you shoot for the moon, you land among the stars, meaning whatever goal you've set right now, if you don't 10 X that, I promise you, and send me an email or something if you do get this result and I will pay you money because you will a hundred percent not get it, especially at the start, because there are a lot of things in your way.
There's a lot of turbulence that you're gonna come across. There's life there's then the business. And then there are environments, like Corona. Maybe in the future, we’ll have another disease. Maybe government issues, another war. There are so many things you cannot predict. Therefore you gotta do 10 X your actions.
So if you're getting started today, remove that “I'm an entrepreneur”, because that's just saying I'm a failure, right? you don't know what you're doing. Be a person who's not after money. Money is a byproduct. Be a person who's after solving problems, find out what the problem is that your people have.
Get to understand them so well, their terminology, how they speak, understand what their real issue is. Therefore then you are able to put a proposition together to solving that issue better than the guy beside you next door. But honestly, you gotta get in sales. You have to be a sales machine.
If you're not, you are missing out, you are going nowhere.
Fantastic, Ngalonda, this is very inspiring stuff. It's great to hear you on a roll as well. Cuz obviously I've known you over 20 years and to see how far you've come and dialing in from Dubai, it's all very impressive.
I'm so happy for you. If people want to find Ngalinda, what’s the best way to get in contact with you to use your services or just maybe to follow you on LinkedIn? How do we get you?
Awesome. Thank you so much, Cameron. So yeah, you can follow me on Instagram. Just type in N G A L I N D A. You can type that in on Instagram. Facebook you'll find me there. I've also written a book recently there, my first book called Social Media Selling Secrets. I actually used one of Cameron's services for that! So yeah, you can find it there, the podcast or the MP3 I've recorded that.
I’m on YouTube as well. I'm trying to get the YouTube side going as I keep pushing everything else. Also, just because I'm in Dubai now, no matter how many years you're going at it, you could always go to zero.
So when Cameron says, “Oh, you’re in Dubai, this and that”, don't think, “Oh man this is gonna take me a lot of time to get there”. No, you can instantly achieve what I've achieved in 10, even three months if you have the right information and reach the right kinds of people.
So feel free to connect with me if you need any help with getting leads or growing your business, or even starting your business. We have some programs out there as well. And if it can't help you I'll point you in the right direction. My goal is to help a billion people in this world. If I can change the lives of a billion people and charge a Euro for every person, guess how much I'll make without taxes?
You'll be loaded!
Fantastic. Ngalinda. Listen, thank you so much for coming on The Chirp. I'll leave it there. I know you're a busy man, so thank you so much again.
Thank you. Cameron. Appreciate it. Thank you everyone for listening!
Ngalinda came to Ireland just before our economic boom, aptly named the ‘Celtic Tiger’, and there were lots of jobs and money in Ireland around the time we were teenagers. Right up to 2008. However, it was interesting to hear Ngalinda talk about his limiting mindset stemming from his African upbringing.
Also interesting to hear him talk about the two things that keep people motivated in Tanzania and greater Africa; hope and education. It’s clear that Ngalinda opted for both when he moved to Ireland.
On a podcast where we often hear stories about our guests asking for help when it comes to money, Ngalinda showed self-reliance by grinding and hustling to make sure that his revenue stream was always flowing. While he sort of slated his computer science degree, one can’t help but notice that it was these skills he acquired that kept him afloat in his early professional days by building websites and apps for clients.
Ngalinda’s secret sauce to ensuring that his personal finance doesn’t suffer is his ability to sell. It’s clear that that's where his passion lies. He has a huge drive when it comes to business and I really felt his energy when he talked about how important it is for individuals, for entrepreneurs, anyone who needs to earn money for a living, to become good at sales. Ngalinda owes his ongoing financial success to still getting on the phone first thing in the morning right through to the end of the day.
Hope you enjoyed hearing about Ngalinda’s journey and be sure to check him out on Linkedin, and on Youtube. That’s all for this episode. Be sure to get in contact if you have some awesome stories to tell. We’ll be back in August for another episode. Until then, stay safe and stay healthy. Take care!