Growing up as a child it never occurred to me that I would a business owner. I knew when I grew up I would be a lawyer. It was so clear in my mind that one day when I was young, my dad told me he wanted me to become a CEO, I cried not only because I did not know who a CEO is, but also because I was convinced I would be a lawyer. As I grew up I realized I definitely would not become a lawyer when I dropped History as a subject. It did not make sense to me why I need to read so much history let alone keep up with past law suits and their judgments. My journey of confusion began here, at this point I did not know what I wanted to be in future. When I finished high school I began my accounting classes just to keep me busy as I wait to join campus to pursue Economics. I settled on business courses because in this country you have a higher chance of getting a job if you do a business course or so I thought.
My accounting classes were somehow different than any other classes I had attended or was attending. I enjoyed being in class and going to school on Sunday afternoons to study. Anyone who has sat for KASNEB exams will know they are not the friendliest exams. I had to repeat a unit not once but twice, combining Economics exams with CPA simultaneously proved to not be as easy as I thought. By 3rd year I managed to finish my accounting course. I was so used to being busy that when I finished the accounting course work I thought I should look for a part time job. I applied for internships in almost every institution or corporate but I did not receive a call from any of them. I have never understood why. Looking for a job in Kenya in most institutions it’s whom you know, more than it is about papers. The place I got an internship was because a friend of mine introduced me to someone who offered me an internship position.
The company was an IT firm dealing with software and ERPs and as misplaced as that sound I was so desperate that I could have worked anywhere as long as it would give me experience. Fortunately one of the software that the company dealt with was an accounting software which I loved and enjoyed dealing with. But that was not the only thing I loved about working in that company. It’s here where my entrepreneurship journey would start, something that I would learn later. In this company I learnt how to meet clients, how to pitch, how to negotiate, how to deal with various clients, how to deal with employees, how to structure a company. Anything that involves running a company I learnt from observation. However, I was so underutilized in the company. I knew I was not going to be in the company for long, I wanted more than just sitting pretty in board rooms and meetings. I resigned and went back to job hunting but like before I did not manage to get a job anywhere. If you got a job by simply sending a resume, consider yourself blessed. Job seeking is not for the faint hearted.
There I was depressed with papers and nowhere to work. I was so desperate and confused that anywhere I got a chance I tried. I worked in a marketing firm, worked as a radio presenter with no pay but none of those jobs were permanent and some were without pay. One day though as I sat in my small bedsitter wondering what my life would become I got a call from a client who wanted part time accounting services. I jumped at the idea. I started the job earning KS 7,000 a month. I took that job as my internship and applied all the skills I had learnt in the consulting firm. I was supposed to work three days but I worked every single day of the week including Sunday after church. After one month I was supposed to submit a monthly report. What I did not know is that the company was owned by four directors who had their individual businesses. When they saw the report they were so impressed that three of them gave me work in their businesses and there I was with four clients within a month. That is how my entrepreneurship journey began.
This being my third year in business I have learnt so much about being a young entrepreneur, I am not where I want to be but I am definitely not where I started. I am currently an employer and a consultant for some of the most successful business men in the country.
This small write up is to encourage someone who owns a small business or is starting up to not give up. For those at home with papers to be willing to start small. I will be sharing the lessons I have learnt in my journey that will hopefully help someone starting out to fasten their entrepreneurship journey by avoiding mistakes that I may have done or I have seen. Having studied some of the most successful businesses I will also share business practices that differentiates successful businesses from those that fail or stagnate in the weeks to come.