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The art of being self-made: How to turn what you have into greatness

Let Rick Ross tell it and he’ll probably say that you have the capability to build an entire empire from the ground solely by yourself.

While ambitious, I think it’s best we start off dispelling this notion: In reality, no one is self-made. At least not in that sense. No matter who you are or what you’ve accomplished, there was definitely assistance in one form or another.

However, the message the Miami rapper who’s MMG label released the compilation album Self Made back in 2011 is trying to get across in my opinion, is not so much that you can do it all alone but that you have more than you think to start.

A lot of times we let the excuses of a lack of resources, the hardship of a come-up or not knowing where to start as a reason for not being where we want or even making the first step to pursuing a dream. When the truth is, all we need is purpose and action.

Being self-made is not about boasting how far you can go with as little help as possible. Self-made is about being a self-starter and finding solutions to excuses.

The speed of information, internet, social media and the other countless digital advancements of this millennium, have transformed what would have to be considered high-tech must-haves in the past into everyday services today.

When we stop looking for handouts and try and make it happen with what’s around us, not only with others flock to help, but that’s when you’ll truly be self-made.

The kids get it

At first, I was against the proliferation of tablets touch screen and portable devices.

Not that I didn’t appreciate the services they provided — I own many a touch screens — but, like an old-head, I was afraid kids wouldn’t know how to chase bees around or lick the nectar our of honeysuckle flowers with their eyes glued to screens and all.

Boy, was I wrong. The kids get it.

When you look at internet sensations like Fat Boy SSE who now has mainstream sponsorship or Emmanuel Hudson who landed a spot on MTV’s Wildin Out or that girl with the make-up tutorial getting loot off YouTube videos, you’ll see very quickly that the tools to do big things are readily assessable to us all.

There are photographers, videographers, comedians, rappers — you name it — who all started off using their iPhones or what they could afford and began making content from the comfort of their homes.

Many of which who have made bigger names for themselves because of it. 7k to 10k viewers, RTs and engagements mean something and they’re definitely metrics you can leverage. It’s all about starting.

Build it and they will come

Yemi Alade is a 29-year-old Nigerian Afropop phenom, a Forbes 2018 30 Under 30 honoree, was voted Best Female Artist at the 2016 MTV African Music Awards, and last album, Mama Africa, peaked at No. 1 on Africa’s iTunes chart.

Although making music since 2009, Alade didn’t get a record deal until her second single, “Johnny,” reached a record 89 million YouTube views.

Translation: if you build it, they will come.

Alade didn’t wait for a record deal to release music and put music on YouTube. It’s after she took the initiative to call herself a music artist and conduct herself as one did she see results as well as a major deal to follow.

When talking to Forbes she spoke a little about what it means to be self-made. In an interview he said,

“Being self-made is a belief that you can turn everything you have into something better and greater for yourself. Sometimes, all that you have is nothing, so you have to change that by having a vision for what you want for yourself and turn that vision into your reality.”

Act; take a leap of faith; do. It’s when we let our desires lead that we land where we’ve always wanted to go.


Purpose is the only thing that matters when it comes to “making yourself.” It’s the secret ingredient, it’s the direct pathway to success and it’s all the keys wrapped in one.

If more of us simply followed the purpose we feel instilled in us and let our ambitions be our ‘yes man,’ we’d be surprised at what we’d pursue.

Everyone who is self-made acted on what they felt was right. It may not have initially worked and there may have been bumps in the road along the way, but by way of trusting what they knew they wanted, they ended up figuring it out.

There is more than enough in front of you today, right now, to be in the pursuit of greatness. It’s just up to you to decide if you want it or not.