UYD: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your passions?
Alexander Shapiro: My name is Alexander Shapiro, I am 23 years old and was born in Johannesburg , South Africa. The simplest way to explain myself is that i’m always doing something different, challenging the norms of society. I pride myself in being a social entrepreneur. I also used to be a Freestyle BMX Pro and I rode for amazing companies.
I love people, I love public speaking and being able to empower and equip others to achieve greater heights. I love pushing my boundaries and bring others along.
My biggest passion in life is to become a billionaire worth $42bil by the age of 40years so that I can build and fund schools dedicated to leadership and wealth education. I personally believe teaching the masses to fish is not enough, but teaching them how to have all they want and doing it ethically will move this world in the right direction.
As far as day to day passions, I enjoy reading, socializing, exercising and most definitely meeting someone new every day. There is a lot more but that is for another time.
UYD: You touched on it a bit, what about social enterprise intrigues you?
AS: I am fascinated by the idea of being able to change people’s lives. I love the way you can have a huge global impact that not only will help people in less privileged areas, but the world.
Life changing and here you can help equip people to achieve or be part of something amazing and difference making. Zig Ziglar once said “ help enough people get what they want and you will have everything you want.” And in this world, technology has given us the chance to impact people’s lives faster.
Social enterprise / Social entrepreneurship is an amazing trend and it brings purpose back into people’s lives. That’s what everyone is really here for – right? Purpose! Industry and wealth are just tools.
UYD: Walk me through your entrepreneurship journey.
AS: Mmm, it has definitely been a journey. Let’s see, my walk starts off when I was about 9 years old. I opened up a little store outside of my father’s optometric practice and sold sweets and shined shoes. I remember hounding one man for weeks who walked past and eventually he become the best paying client. I was hooked on the idea of owning my own life at a very young age.
One thing that I was very blessed to have, though at the time, I didn’t believe so, was that my parents were extremely successful network marketers. I got to meet some incredibly wealthy men and women including one of the greatest network marketers who actually helped 20 people become multimillionaires, Dexter Yager.
Meeting these successful men, like Dexter Yager, gave me an education that filled my biggest craving- and that was to set a new path and lead and teach others to lead.
It also kept the thought in the back of my mind that there really are other ways to create wealth and purpose in life. Without realizing it my mind-set was different from other kids as I read and understood things differently which played in my favour as I went from shy to learning how to be extroverted and create a following at school and always be moving forward. I also grew disillusioned with conventional schooling, most wealthy men I met in networking and other industries had no actual education. This was a good and a bad thing for me to see. I couldn’t be in the general schooling system, because I wanted to be a millionaire and decided, after consulting my family, that I would leave school early and start a path of entrepreneurial education. I was 17.
I started with an electrical engineering course at an FET College but, due to political issues in South Africa, I did not fit the profile of passing and this still didn’t fit the path I wanted.
I then chose construction as I could see money in building large housing developments. I worked for a company for 3 years and climbed from the bottom to being directly under the owner ( he was training me to take over) I learned and studied everything from civil engineering to financial processes through the internet, books and practical experience and being mentored. This helped the company I was working for to expand to almost triple its original size. Though, with my desire to push further I wanted commercial and Civil projects and because of my education in leadership and leverage I wanted a massive company like Murray & Roberts or Group5. I decided to leave and started my own company.
The company was successful and we grew from strength to strength but in South Africa being young is very difficult in business as they have a very old school mentality and I believe in progression.
I become tired and dissatisfied with the way normal business is done and also I had lost my purpose. In 2013, I started searching for something else, something more.
I wanted to be a professional BMX rider and achieved this with 2 different teams. However the ultimate goal of being a fully paid rider eluded me as construction took up most of my time. Due to various professional jealousies I had to relinquish my dream for the time being. Also, the time constraints of my businesses added to my not fully achieving my dream in this area. I am still passionate about helping younger riders, I am just doing it through other avenues currently.
In June 2013 my mother asked me to go to a meeting with her as she felt slightly light headed. What I didn’t expect was the world I was being introduced to. I say introduced because I had forgotten what networking was like. I sat there that night in a room with people who had heart, people who had vision and most of all, I found people, my age, with purpose and an uncommon freedom that I was longing for.
So, I started researching this industry and after 6 months and shutting down all my other businesses, I decided to become a professional networker and became part of a team that is leading a social entrepreneurship movement called Mission 5 Million. I found that this industry is disruptive and as an entrepreneur who enjoys leading a new path- I fell in love and, mostly, I found a way that- not only could I succeed; but I could bring others with me, without screwing anyone over.
Best of all, because of all the personal development and leadership coaching, it has led me to start doing a business with social impact and helped me find my purpose vz. Educating the world in ways of creating wealth and growing into a better person. Allowing a global issue to be fixed and indirectly fixing other challenges. I am almost 24 years old now and my journey is just beginning and the best part is the world is changing-one person at a time.
I live by the statement now,” You’re going to work for an income, why not make it residual from the start.”
Apart from my networking business, I help youth with mind coaching and entrepreneurship training, public speaking and a few other ventures that are currently in start-up phase. The world literally has become my oyster and I get to help people make it theirs. I have set a personal goal of helping 12 people become financially free before the age of 30 and the most incredible part is-it is happening every day with or without me.
Where am I in my journey? I am a social entrepreneur. I am helping to make a difference in the world- one day, one person at a time simultaneously helping a child each time to be fed nutrition, not calories.
UYD: If you could solve a world problem what would it be?
AS: I am currently doing that now helping fight malnutrition with M5M
Teaching free enterprise and entrepreneurship thought patterns and assisting in changing the world economically
For me this is a daily goal and my focus. I wake up each day excited to achieve and be a difference maker.
UYD: What advice would you give the youth out there looking to blaze their own path?
AS: I would say five things
- Be who you are meant to be, be bold, be the visionary.
- Read, read, read : apply , apply, apply.
- Find mentors who will enable you to achieve what you want in life.
- Look at what you’re doing now and, if you don’t have a mental picture of you doing what you’re doing in 10 years, find your picture.
- Lastly, look at what society sees as normal and go the other way, every successful person did that .
UYD: Now at UYD, we are always looking to find out different ways people use their difference to make a difference. How do you use your difference to make a difference?
AS: I use my ability to see alternative patterns and my ability to inspire people, to make that mental shift in their lives and see that life is not a set way of doing things. Normal is what you choose and accept it to be.
UYD: Tell me about what culture is like where you’re from?
AS: One thing a lot of people don’t know is that we have a very diverse culture in South Africa. South Africa has 11 ethnic groups excluding the foreign ones .
UYD: What’s a stereotype that isn’t true about your country?
AS: We really do not live with lions and in small huts. (Though we do have places where people still do, excluding the lion part.) We have homes, cars and consumerism like most other countries. No grass huts and loin cloths for the majority.
UYD: Where can we find out more about you?
AS: You can always find me on twitter I love being in contact with people.