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Higgo's story on... focus and championing the underdogs

“I fell in love with investing when I was just twelve years old.  I told my dad I wanted to buy a gold coin because I wanted my investment to grow.  He then introduced me to the stock market and I was captured by the concept of ‘employing your money’, essentially getting your money to work for you.” 

From his growing interest in the art of investing, Higgo later began investing for his parents and siblings whilst still in the early days of high school.  He later went on to share his investment knowledge with friends on a WhatsApp group which unbeknown to him was his first initial concept for his business today: a community based financial education platform serving as the ultimate financial companion, from education to execution. Today he has over 80,000 community members having built up trust and engagement. 

Having users is important, but paying users is what transforms a passion project into a real business.  Higgo had invested a lot of attention, effort and time into content that was met with a responsive and engaged community but he needed to revisit his commercial model.  He went forth to build out various products that would monetize the business and learnt a key lesson in his business journey: the importance of focus.  Once focus became clear, so did the business goals and plans on how they would approach scaling the business. Higgo reminds us of the impact focus can have on a business and how lack thereof can really stunt potential business growth. 

“We ran various experiments trying to monetise what we had built but we were losing focus.  That was a mistake.  After asking ourselves some hard questions, the answers all pointed toward one thing, financial planning.  It then became very clear what problem we were solving, how we were to address it, and importantly how to commercialise it.”

Higgo likens the entrepreneurial journey to that of an early journey in his life when he climbed Mount Everest base camp at the age of fourteen.  Although extremely challenging, he developed the aptitude to just push through it and he applies this to business too.  He acknowledges that the early days of entrepreneurship are met with a lot of naivety where bright eyed and bushy tailed it always seems easier than it actually will turn out to be.  Initial ideas do not always work the way we anticipate, or we may not make money we initially envisioned, but he advises that this is when we need to adapt instead of giving up. 

“Sometimes I wonder why am I doing this, why am I putting myself through this when I could get a job with a bigger salary and have a more simplistic life.  But I do this for myself, to finish what I have started, to accomplish what I set out to do.  Walking away and giving up is just not an option.  I also feel a sense of responsibility to my shareholders who believed in me. I want to give them my best in return for what they have given me.”

Higgo agrees that financial runway remains a key challenge for many Founders as making money from day one is seldom the case, and staying alive is a daily fight with the exercise of raising funds being an entire challenge in itself.  Despite limited funding, his young age, lack of experience, and being a first time Founder working against him for investment, nothing stopped Higgo from steaming ahead relentlessly building a following both with users and with partners to build something worth taking note of.  He found mentors along the way who tracked his journey, giving them living proof of growth, dedication and aptitude for bringing something unique and much needed to market.  From there investment found Higgo, showing us that proving what we are capable of becomes our means to getting noticed - we all have to start somewhere.  The mentors that Higgo has built up over the years have become investors in his business today, bringing a whole new perspective to the value of mentors in our business journey. 

Higgo’s business vision remains unchanged: to become the ultimate personal finance companion.  For him, mentorship comes full swing in his personal projection for the future where he aspires to provide the much needed mentorship for the next wave of entrepreneurs. 

“Continue doing what you are doing, growing traction and partnerships.  Do not give up with mentors, update them on your progress so that they can see your follow through on your promises.  A mentor will only give back what you yourself can put in. ”

On reflection, Higgo shares advice he wishes he had earlier on in the journey: start off simple.  It is tempting to add more and more features, products, ideas and so on but simplifying brings focus and focus brings us to the point where we can find one thing and do it exceptionally well.  Second to that, is the consideration to bring in co-founders to break the loneliness as well as extend the skill set required for a well rounded business.  Furthermore, when we ask entrepreneurs how things are going, the answer is most often, ‘busy, but good’.  His final piece of advice is to put one’s pride aside despite how worthy it may seem to appear successful early on.  Yes it can be motivational, but to learn and gain support we need to be a little more authentic and real.

“When we are really honest, more good comes out of that so-called weakness than when we try to be falsely strong.  It’s human nature to support the underdog over the successful opponent.  We don't want the obvious ones to succeed, we want to help those who actually need our help to succeed.  As soon as you think you have ‘arrived’ it becomes much more difficult.” 

Thank you Higgo for reminding us to champion the underdogs! 

“Solving niche challenges Founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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