Make A Million Out of Macedonia: Great Ideas Bring About Astronomical Earnings
With an application created in the comfort of your home and then sold for one cent to a 100 million people you can make EUR 1 million. The idea does not need to be extraordinary, it just needs to be original and useful. This is just one way of putting a creative idea to work and making money.
Thanks to global interconnectedness, the market is unlimited. Instead of your target market being just Macedonia, it can be the whole world, where there are millions of target consumers. It might seem impossible but earning millions can be accomplished.
Macedonian economic and business consultant Zoran Vitanov points out that the future of business is in networking and interconnectedness. He says that people in Macedonia have stopped believing in themselves and in their capacity to earn money.
Vitanov used to be a MP, but he quit politics because, as he says, it did not fulfill him. At present, Vitanov works on providing progress in the field of entrepreneurship.
In an interview for Telegraf.mk Vitanov answered a few questions.
T: How can a young person earn money in Macedonia? What should he invest in if he has startup capital?
"First I would strike 'Macedonia' out of the equation. Since nowadays people are connected and over a billion people own a smart phone, which means that the whole world is our market. More than a billion people use Facebook daily. All those people make up our market. Why should I only limit myself to Macedonia? I can log onto Facebook and create a group through which I can sell, let's say, coffee mugs and I can create a well developed distribution network for selling them as AliExpress does.
Did AliExpress limit itself to its Asian market only? Is Facebook's target market limited to the UK and America only? No, their founders had a global vision. Those businesses started small but developed on a global level."
T: Still, isn't attaining a job the point?
"The world economy is changed to such extent that it seems employment is not even an issue, the word employment is rarely used. It all comes down to entrepreneurs today. First you should assess your skills and see what makes you different from other people and what could bring in money for you.
Currently, the tech world is developing at high speed, and what does China do? It replaces people with software, applications and robots. A large number of people are left without a job and this reduces the value of the work force. If today I am working at a Skopje cafe for EUR 300, someone who lost his job can come in and offer his services to the owner for EUR 200. If I am not willing to lose my job then I would willingly offer to work for EUR 199, since I am disposable.
Macedonian youths should not think in terms of how much they have or what the situation in Macedonia is, they should think in terms of what makes them unique and indispensable.
That is why as a group of enthusiasts, including myself, we established a non-governmental organization aimed at training entrepreneurs. We have trained people from Germany, Jamaica, Chile, etc. But, unfortunately Macedonians are not that interested."
T: Why is there no interest in Macedonians?
People here are trained into thinking that someone else should solve the problem. They are trained that the Government, mayor, parents, friends, cousins should solve the problem. And if not, they have the right to hold a grudge. They have a wrong mindset, thinking that they are incapable and since they are incapable someone else should solve their problem, which is sad.
What has contributed to this situation is unclear, it might have been socialism, the state, the environment, it does not matter. There are training programs and methods which are productive and it is high time we invest in knowledge. We have been operating for 10 years and we have trained thousands of people from all over the world. In November, there will be a training project for people from 11 EU states. The program is completely financed by Brussels, but the tutors are from Macedonia. Isn't it sad that no one is taking advantage of these tutors in Macedonia, but they are in high demand in the Netherlands and all over the world. This means that we are not ready to recognize that if we believe it and invest in learning that we will make it.
I ask the following questions: Do you want to be successful? Macedonians always say yes, so do westerners. But when you ask do you expect to be successful? Macedonians say no, westerners say yes.
Macedonians have lost faith in themselves. Since they do not believe, they expect the Government, or someone else, I don't know who, to come help them get a job. They complain, but remain in the same situation."
T: What are your concrete activities?
"Our main goal is networking. Robert Kiyosaki, a world renowned consultant, has said- The richest people in the world build networks; everyone else is trained to look for work. Networking is important, you should build your own network. The 19th century was the age of capital and industry, the 20th - of information, the 21st century will be the age of networking.
T: You said that Macedonia is not a target market...
"Yes, it is a very small market. Macedonia represents just a little piece of, let's say, a world metropolis. The market will not bring about profit, but stagnation only.
People should not be thinking about surviving, but achieving instead.
Name one Macedonian who is successful according to world criteria. If you want to change the world then you need to think big and discard small goals."
T: But we cannot exclude everything, we are being referred to institutions, company establishment is needed, or NGO organizations...
"Who says that the establishment of a company is required? Didn't we say that the word employment is rarely used in the West? Networking can be quite informal. Disintermediation or crowd sourcing - are revolutionary movements in which millions of people are participating in. People who are not even looking for work, who do not own a company.
Have you heard of Uber?It is a taxi service by people who are not even taxi drivers. Uber is the biggest taxi company that does not own a single vehicle, but it makes the largest profit from its services.
AliExpress has no warehouses, yet it is the most successful trading company since it serves as an agent between the buyer and seller while it takes commission for doing so."
T: The number of people with masters degrees and PhDs is on the rise in Macedonia. How is that impacting education?
The global education system is realized in such a way that it produces workers, not entrepreneurs. In Macedonia, at the start of the 20th century, 92 percent of the people worked for themselves, mostly in agriculture, but for themselves, while 8 percent worked for someone else. We are like slaves, we do not use our brain. We want someone else to tell us what to do. The poor man does manual labor, and the rich man uses his head.
I was mistakenly taught to work for free so I avoid being idle. Actually, you should have a set plan before you start working. Entrepreneurs have a vision and action plan. Employees do what they are told all week while waiting for the weekend, thus they derail from their success path. What can you expect from such a person? He will do what any Government orders. He is not incompetent, but it is in the interest of authorities to convince him he is. This is a system. We have a lot of people here that have graduated and for lack of a better choice they decide to earn their masters. It's a goal in itself.
Knowledge is an instrument, not a goal. I would like to gain skills that will take me to where I want to go. I should know where I'm going. That is why we have people with PhDs who are welfare cases. Those people are incompetent because they relied on the education system.
If I want to be a good entrepreneur, I will look up to Richard Branson or Bill Gates. If you want to be the a good waiter or chef, you can learn from Redzepi from Denmark.
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