What Young Adults Should Know Before Learning an Online Skill

 I decided to learn an online skill in 2020 before gaining admission to the university to find something to finance some schooling expenses.

Well, if I am honest with you, that was not the only reason; I also needed something to finance my mundane desires on campus. (lol, please don’t judge me; I was still young).

A typical Nigerian parent is focused on providing your basic needs, and anything besides that is considered miscellaneous, so I needed something that would not make me go broke in school.

I was initially working in a school as a teacher and earning something nice, but I knew the income would be short-lived when I got to school.

Therefore, I decided to invest a part of my salary in learning an online skill. In this blog post, I will share what a teenager should know before learning an online skill.

I will also expose the popular myths and false information flying around Nigeria’s digital space.


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I decided to specify the region because we have unique opportunities and challenges, but this information can still be applied to a broader populace. 

Note:┬áThe blog post will use the terms online skill and online business interchangeably. I mean a skill that is learned to make money from it online. Without much talk, let’s get right into it.

Have a source of income

Most teenagers do not have the opportunity to have a fat capital that they could invest into learning an online skill; that is why I advise that you have something you are doing that is fetching you money.

You will need money to finance your expenses during the learning period before you start making money from it.

For instance, I collected my first check from blogging after a year and six months, and during this time frame, I was spending money.

At that time, the salary from my teaching profession was what I was using to finance my blog.

Learn a Skill That Aligns With Your Passion:

Some argue that you don’t need passion or interest in something before venturing into it.

They believe that success only requires effort and the necessary resources. 

However, selecting an online skill related to your talent, passion, or interest provides sustenance.

Your passion will sustain you during challenging times and make you last longer than your peers.

I had a tech friend who wouldn’t stop designing different demo websites even when he wasn’t getting gigs on Fiverr or Upwork for over a year.

He might complain today, but a few days later, he will show me the fantastic demo website he had just created or the new certificate he received online for learning something new in his niche.

He kept working and learning in the face of disappointment because he had a passion for his chosen skill.

Whether coding, SEO optimization, website designing, vlogging, etc., your interest ensures sustained motivation throughout the learning journey.

3. Online Skill is not Get Rich Quick Scheme

I know you must have come across some thumbnails on YouTube, blogs, ads, etc with thumbnails like this; “How To Make 50 dollars Daily By Sending Emails”, “5 Passive Incomes Ideas To Earn $100 Every Hour”.

Well, as attractive as it sounds, it is unrealistic and false. In 2019, I followed these channels and blogs for months, and I could tell many of them were false. (No one is ready to give you an easy paycheck).

I want to make you understand something in the following few paragraphs.

Firstly, do you have a friend who is a vlogger, blogger, or content creator? Well, if you don’t, I have a sister who is a vlogger and a friend in my department who creates content on Instagram.

The point I am trying to make here is that a lot of effort is put into creating just one content.

Now, come to think of it, why is the vlogger preaching the “50 dollars every hour” going through the stress of making videos when he can constantly make this money from the comfort of his home? (easy-peasy the same way he is telling you).

In addition, valuable content takes weeks to make (even an established channel with a team), but it is a usual trend for this channel to release content almost daily. This is because making content like this with little or no value is easy.

Ok, please don’t take my word for it; compare channels like Brian Dean, Neil Patel, Mrwhosetheboss, Mrbeast, etc., with those channels to see who creates more content in a month.

You will realize that these channels ( the latter) have more content in a month than this channel (the former), which even has a team working for them.

These channels are selling the idea you already have in your head. Most people wish to quit their 9-5 work and wake up every day to the sound of an alert of USD in their Paypal without doing little or no work (this dream is inflated, right? Well, that is why the thumbnails have exaggerated titles).

Imagine I have a thumbnail on my blog heading “How to Make 5$ daily after 12 months of Learning”. How many views do you think I will have?

The absolute truth is that learning an online skill is not a get-rich-quick scheme; it requires effort, time, and resources, but it is worth it.

4. Have a Mentor:

As a teenager, it is valuable to have a mentor if you want to learn an online skill. The mentor can give you valuable insights and understanding that he/she has acquired over the years in that niche.

If you have one you can communicate with; it can create a supportive relationship where you can draw motivation and stay accountable for your progress.

You can also learn from their mistakes, which can help you anticipate and avoid similar pitfalls.

Don’t forget you are just a teenager with little resources and might be unable to bounce back easily if you hit a major setback

5. Don’t set a deadline:

When I started learning my online skill, I had it in mind that I would already be making a certain amount of money after some months, and I was so pumped to make this a reality.

But you know the famous saying that posits that if life can be reduced to the equation 1+1=2, life would be much easier? Despite the necessary effort, things were not working well to my expectations.

When I got close to the deadline I set for myself, I felt anxious and demotivated.

I already set a deadline because I have been consuming false content online. I thought the fact that I went to an academy to learn this skill, my breakthrough, should even be easier.

I wouldn’t advise any teenager wanting to learn an online skill to set deadlines like me and focus more on the process.

One of the pieces of advice my mentor gave me that sticks to date with me is that “to make exploit in any niche, be extra-ordinarily good in solving your audience problems.”

6. Take some days off

This might be unconventional advice, but taking some days off from work is beneficial.

This keeps your mind refreshed and lets new ideas flow in, or you might even detect mistakes you are making by the time you get back to work.

Do you know what was on the tombstone of one of the best-selling authors, Charles Bukowski? The epitaph reads “Don’t Try”.

Sometimes, trying too much can be chaotic, and taking a rest and trying less for some short period is what one needs to get clarity or new ideas.

Prolonged cognitive effort, such as using the brain for an extended period, can lead to reduced focus and diminished performance.

7. Join your community

Initially, I never saw the reason to join a community ( Facebook groups, X spaces, Whatsapp groups) of content writers like me.

But when I joined one, I benefitted immensely by tapping knowledge from different experts in that niche. I met youngsters like me facing similar challenges, and we were able to discuss solutions.

I even got some paid courses for free in a group I joined last year on Facebook.

It is crucial that you join a community of people in your niche, as it can be a positive and fulfilling experience as you set out to learn an online skill.

I will love to end the blog post with one of the pieces of advice from Tilman Fertitta in his book Shut Up and Listen, “There is a paddle coming for you”. In essence, you should never be too relaxed when you are doing well for yourself with your online skills.

So, you have to anticipate and plan for the bad days because a single trend or update in your niche can affect your business boom.

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