Let’s talk about your Bankable Skills.

IMG-20150713-WA0001After a killer breakfast in the busy corner of Seminyak, Bali (seriously, the place is called Corner House because, well, it’s around the corner), I’m faced with a life-changing crossroad – do I nap, work, or write something? After (pretend) working for like 3 hours, I decided to shift place and shift gears. I moved upstairs and do this writing shit.

One (coaching) question I recently liked to ask aspiring entrepreneurs or wantrepreneurs is:

What are your bankable skills?

You’ll be surprised an accounting graduate I asked said he has no bankable skills, and I’m like, “Hey, I pay my book keeper money every month to do my accounts, and I think there are lots of lazyass people like me who would pay other (qualified) people to do their books.”

Ok, maybe a definition is in order. Deciding to break it down to you in the most maverick-style way.

Bankable Skills – Things other people would pay you to do lor

“But what if book keeping is not something I’m passionate about?”

Firstly, genius, passion is over-rated lar. You know why? Cos sometimes passion don’t put food on the table and feed the kids. Skills do.

Secondly, I’m not asking you to become the happiest, most passionate gazillionaire with your bankable skills. I mean, you want if you can, but bankable skills are meant to just help you cover your Baseline Income. <there would be a link here when I decide to write a post of how you can categorise your ventures in the most realistic and productive way, while still enjoying your entrepreneurial A.D.D.> Basically, Baseline Income is what feeds you and keeps you from getting desperate for money. If your monthly expenses is RMZZ, your Baseline Income should be RM (ZZ x 1.3). It’s good to have that 30% for savings, emergencies, investments, guilt trip etc.

So you see Mr. Accounting Grad, if your Baseline Income is RM3,000 per month, then put your skills to work and earn that RM3,000. You can do what your friends are all doing, which is to work for the Big 4, but why not become a micro-preneur, freelancer, or plainly your own boss?

Here’s what can possibly happen:

  1. The Wake-up Call: You realised you are good at selling your skills are can make 3X more than your Baseline Income. Time to start a little company, hire 1 or 2 of your friends and get them to do the work while you go out and do more business development. Here’s the secret: your friends are willing to work for you cos you are willing to do something they are not – selling. And seriously, don’t lar pay them peanuts. They are your friends, mind you!
  2. The Freedom: Say scenario ONE happens, and you nett RM3,000 after paying everyone, and BOOYAH! Guess what? You just bought yourself freedom! Your next question is what you wanna do with that freedom. You can always go back and grow that business you initially weren’t passionate about but you’re good at (that’s called proficiency, dude, or if you’re shameless like my friend Anthony, it’s your god-given power!), or you can now start ventures that may not make money for some time, but you know can cash in big in months or years to come. Because you’re not worried about monthly income already, time to make your passion happen!
  3. The Hug You Never Got:You get good at your bankable skills. Your fees increase. Your clients get more and more. Those are good justifications (pat-in-the-back) you need to feel more confident about yourself and dare to do bigger stuff in life! Confidence leads to Charisma, and that’s the best currency you wanna have in a bar full of hot girls. ;p
  4. The Chill You: You are happy! No longer do you need to work for your boss that don’t rub you the right way (seriously, your boss is not a hooker so of coz he don’t know how to rub you right), travel to the office in a super ulu (rural) place (hint: Cheras), or force to like your colleagues’ ridiculous cat pictures on FB. You’re your own man now, and I don’t know whether you realise it yet, you are in charge of your destiny. It’s like giving a big “FUCK UP Gandalf” when he asked you to fight through hordes of critters, risk being raped by ring-fixated ex-hobbits or that weirdo Samwise Gamgee that’s always trying to touch you, lose a finger or two over a BBQ pit the size of a volcano… just beause you don’t feel like it.Side note: Hey, he’s fucking Gandalf the Grey-then-White okay and he can probably go you-shall-not-pass-balrog you, and they are gonna do 3 books+movies about you, so think of the glory and go on that ring quest.

Oh yeah, a little disclaimer. Sleeping, to a certain degree, is not a bankable skill. Well, unless you want to pimp yourself out, writing a book on sleeping habits of sugar-high millennials (in this case writing is your bankable skill) or run a mattress reviewing blog, I would say better get real lar.

So take some time off this weekend from your PS4, another empty-handed trip to the mall you been to last weekend or baking another batch of cookies that will turn into rock sugar, and ask yourself, what are your bankable skills, what did you spend your life learning so far, what can you do better on a shitty day that your friends can’t do any day. Ask friends and family members, what are you (damn) good at doing, what would they pay you to do, which subject’s homework would your friend’s copy all the time.

Ciao! Time to go kai kai and see what they sell on the streets of Seminyak!


Co-Founder of KICKSTART by night, Talent Development Consultant, organising workshops and conferences by day, and full-time single dad in between, Maverick is pretty much a renegade. An ex-monk who's always first to ask "why not?", Mav enjoys hacking the way things are done, and pretty much happy with the success rate of 50% (coz sometimes mom is right after all...). When it comes to business, give him a million bucks and he'll most probably get a new set of gadgets, drive home an Audi R8 and reload his Starbucks card. But give him little to nothing, and see how he starts switching on the little brain-matter between his ears. Challenge ACCEPTED!


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