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Business, Creatives

Henry Keculah

If you trust the process, you can accomplish anything. That’s the takeaway from today’s episode and our featured guest Henry Keculah.

Henry  is the founder and CEO of 4.0 Growth Productivity Accountability (4.0 GPA).

Henry is a first-generation American, who's parents immigrated to the U.S from Liberia.  Henry mom was unfamiliar with the college readiness process which prevented Henry from taking advantage of opportunities that could have provided him with full rides.

Thankfully, Henry was able to turn things around after failing six classes. He ended up graduating from high school with a 2.5 GPA and gaining admissions to top public University of Texas in the state of Texas which isn’t usual. As you’ll hear in just a moment, he  was winning scholarships in high school with a 2.3 GPA.

In our conversation, Henry reflects on the problem he saw other students facing and how he launched a company of his own with $500 and very little business knowledge and how things are paying off today.

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Connect with Henry:

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A few of the questions I asked Henry:

  • How old were you when your family migrated?
  • What were the biggest challenges you and your family faced as a young migrant in the United States?
  • Was the GPA a result of you not applying yourself, or was this a factor of your home life and the things happening outside of the classroom?
  • So you’ve only got very very limited cash on hand and little experience. What was the first step that got the ball rolling for you/your business?
  • What was one of your biggest mistakes in this entrepreneurial journey, and what did you learn from it?
  • What’s your advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs punching that clock right now on their 9-5, but have a similar reality of little experience and upfront capital?
  • What are some of the secrets you’re able to share with some of our parents that can them get their kids into college on a free ride?

Key Points from Henry:

  • When my family first migrated to the United States from Liberia, I was four years old. Because of my strong accent, some teachers claimed they could not understand me when I spoke, and I was put into Special Education.
  • A number of factors contributed to my low GPA in high school: my mom was evicted and we had no place to stay; I was working 3 jobs at the age of 16; and I didn't know how to study and prepare for classes properly.
  • I was always motivated and determined. Being on the Speech and Debate Team changed my life
  • As a kid, I always wanted to be a politician. I grew up observing the likes of Bob Dole and Bill Clinton and taking note of the 1992 election.
  • I noticed the following problem: 1. Students from a low-income background, where their parents did not go to college, did not understand how to prepare for college. 2. These students were also not aware of their purpose – what to do in life or their calling. 3. A lot of these students were being incarcerated, ended up working at a job they did not like, had trouble applying for college, and as a result did not go to college. I felt we needed to find a solution to that problem immediately.
  • I was able to implement some systems successfully for myself, so I could apply the same without having a venture capitalist's investment.
  • My friend and college roommate passed away a couple years ago, and this made me realize that life is so short, I cannot waste time.
  • I had to implement and shoot my shot. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, then at least I know I tried.
  • I did not believe in marketing but when you are profitable in business you should invest a percentage in marketing – to increase, grow and scale the business
  • Initially, I was neglecting the marketing aspects because I did not want to attain more customers without understanding the processes of my services and make mistakes.
  • Having started to create marketing plans and invest in marketing my services, I'm seeing it pay off in dividends
  • My advice to others who may be in a state of paralysis and not wanting to take a step because of excuses: 1. Buy a notebook and write down 3 entrepreneurs that you admire and want to emulate, and reach out to them. 2. Go to work at least 45 minutes and work on your business plan.
  • Work on your business during your lunch breaks
  • Key components of your business plan should include: What is your niche? What problem are you going to solve? WHat is going to make you different? How will you target your clients?
  • For those looking for a scholarship, Henry says: ” Analyze the scholarship you're seeking and look at the probability of the award”
  • Be open and don't be afraid to tell your story and share your adversity. This is another key to being successful in getting a scholarship
  • The value of your story is sharing the challenges you've faced, the things that make you unique, and what your perspective is.
  • Looking for a scholarship? Hit the “Submit” button and just apply.
  • 92% of goals that are set, are not accomplished. Set achievable goals.

One Action To Blaze Your Trail:

Make a list of daily and weekly goals that you would like to accomplish and post it where you can see it, and create an action plan for how you will achieve these goals. Set a date for each of the items on your action plan, and work your action plan each day.

Find one week out of your schedule and go to a school to speak to the students. It makes a difference for students to see someone that looks like themselves and it helps them know that they can be successful.

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