A lot of people are offended when one of the first questions you ask them is, “so, what do you do?”. I’m guilty of this, but let me explain. I think what you do to earn money makes up a large part of who you are, no doubt, after all, you spend 8 hours or more per day doing it. So, me asking “so, what do you do” isn’t me trying to pry, it’s me trying to understand what you’re like as a person.
After giving it some thought, I realize that I don’t ask “so, what do you do for a living?” because, I never really think about it that way, I never really think that some people work for a living, because I don’t and I tend to (mistakenly) think that way about others, too. But the reality is that many people work to live and nothing else. They don’t work because they’re passionate about what they’re doing, they do it to literally just pay the bills. In regards to this I think you have 3 sets of people. People who work to pay the bills and because opportunities are scarce, people who work because they have no idea what they want to do with their life and people who work because they are passionate about what they do. The first set, I think, generally lives from paycheck to paycheck, the second doesn’t necessarily struggle, but aren’t sure what they want to do with their life, but know that they have to to maintain a certain lifestyle. These people are either not content with what they do or are indifferent. The last set are doing what they love; sometimes they make a lot of money, sometimes they don’t, but what’s most important to them is that they’re doing what they love and they’re not just doing it to live.
I think I fall in the last set. I eat, sleep and dream entrepreneurship; that’s what I’m passionate about; I’m doing what I love and it has never felt like work, ever. The idea of an enterprise and starting with just an idea and turning it into a big, profitable entity excites me. That’s one of the reasons I wake up each morning excited about life. That is why I can’t write about becoming 24 without talking about what I do. In my 2012, “on becoming 22” blog post I wrote: I think a large part of being an entrepreneur is having confidence. You have to to envision it before you say it (out loud or type it) and you have to believe it before you do it. Two years later and I still believe that to be true. Entrepreneurship can be such a lonely journey, lonely because regardless of how much advice you get, ultimately the decision lies with you; if you think about that too much it can be terrifying. I read a blog post a few months ago titled “Disappearing into the Fire” by Jerry Colonna. I encourage all budding and current entrepreneurs to read that. So, 2014? Wow, what a year! I’m not even sure where to start, but let’s go!
- Selected by the Inter-American Development Bank as one of ten innovators in Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Celebrated 5 years in a relationship with my beautiful girlfriend, Francine Derby.
- I travelled to six countries [Brazil, France, Switzerland, Panama, The USA (Washington, D.C.), and Trinidad & Tobago] and they were all amazing and life-changing experiences.
- Partnership with Grace Kennedy’s First Global Bank for an exciting initiative (Flipped Classroom Project)
- Partnership with Versan Educational Services [SAT Prep]
- EduFocal expansion to Trinidad and Tobago
- EduFocal partners with the Jamaican Government to place the service on close to 1000 tablet computers for students
- Curatorship for the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Kingston Hub
- Second annual EduFocal Awards successfully staged
It’s been a whirlwind of a year with a lot of emotional highs and lows, both personally and professionally, but at no point did I ever feel defeated. Goal setting is important to me and that helped me to measure whether or not I was making progress on a goal. It also allowed me to adjust my strategy and expectations when I wasn’t getting the kind of results that I wanted. I say “kind of results” and not results because rarely do things go the way you plan. Things generally either work out better than you thought they would or not the way you expected them to be, but nothing beats a plan.
As I close out the year I reflect on the things that I’ve achieved, the things that I can do better and the things I plan to achieve. I’m very excited about 2015 and the things that are in store for me. Here’s to 2015!
P.S I want to thank local, regional, international media and others for following our journey. Here are some of the many stories throughout the year:
Young entrepreneurs take to the web to boost development by the UK Guardian
Young Innovator Educating The Nation’s Youth Online by the Jamaica Gleaner
Swaby’s EduFocal On A Roll Internationally by the Jamaica Gleaner
Gordon Swaby ON ANOTHER LEVEL by the Jamaica Gleaner
EduFocal Does It by the Jamaica Gleaner
EduFocal to help T&T’s CSEC, SEA students by the Trinidad Express
Jamaican innovator to bring Edufocal to T&T by the Trinidad Guardian
EduFocal awards top GSAT, CSEC students by the Jamaica Observer