Those who know me know how busy I can get. For instance, in the last three days, I have launched a poetry event dubbed ‘Maneno’, which meant getting home at around 3am; the following day, I had to memorise a script for a new series that features Serah Teshna, and again wrapped up at 3am; I got up at 6am the third day to get to the airport in time, landed in Mombasa and then checked into a hotel in Kilifi.
In short, I slept a total of 11 hours over these three days.
As much as I talk to you each week through this column and share the tips that helped me build my brand, I sometimes push the envelope too far.
Sometimes it is the drive, and other times it’s the opportunity.
I had a conversation with a friend recently and he asked me if working hard is the ultimate secret to success.
But when I thought about it, I realised it isn’t – it’s just an ingredient.
You need a number of elements to come together, and then they’ll automatically attract success.
Our conversation got me thinking. What did I do that turned me into the person I am today? The main dilemma we had with this friend is that he was having what we dubbed ‘delayed success’.
But before you start getting stressed about the money in your account or the car brand you’re driving, keep in mind that success is relative.
We came up with a few points on why success isn’t coming as fast as my friend would like, and this is based on personal stories I feel many of us can identify with.
Don’t get me wrong; my friend is a creative guy, and by that I mean he has these futuristic ideas that might eventually change the world. However, this has turned into a problem over the years.
He reminds me of the younger me. I had all these great business ideas, but since I was in an ‘unsure’ state, I wanted all of them to work.
I ended up trying them all, and by the time I realised that I was wasting time, two years had passed and I hadn’t accomplished anything tangible.
I regrouped. The trouble is that most young entrepreneurs are ambitious but give up easily. I had got to a point where I was so frustrated and broke that I updated my CV and sent it out. However, every time I pressed the ‘send’ button, I felt like I was running away from my destiny.
I remember feeling really low that whole week when I was looking for a job.
I got a call that Friday, and was asked if I was willing to come work under probation, and then they would do a review after two months.
I agreed. I even shaved and bought a few ‘presentable’ outfits. However, the night before I was due to report to my new job, I changed my mind.
I knew and felt that my destiny was more than just seating behind a desk and reporting to a boss. I decided to work harder and smarter.
A few months later, I had set up a shop at Imenti House, I had a branding office along River Road and I launched my music career along with a clothing line.
We give up too easily. There’s a difference between closing because you’ve tried all avenues and closing because you’ve seen a sign of failure.
The other issue I had, and which I noticed earlier than my friend did, was around money.
What helped me is that I got involved with the family budget even before I had strong businesses.
In high school, I sold mandazis and T-shirts, and used some of the money I made to help my mother pay my fees.
After I finished school, I pledged to help with the bills at home. This gave me early knowledge of budgeting and setting spending priorities.
I’m sure you’ve had times when you had money but after a few days you can’t tell where it went. What most young people are doing is spending more than they make.
This often means you’ll never know how your business is doing. In my years of entrepreneurship, I’ve learnt that no matter how small a business is, the level of respect you should have for its accounts should be similar to what you’d have if it were a multinational corporation. DJ Loop taught me that.
Always invest in what made you money in the first place, and then save, take a risk on an opportunity and, once in a while, reward yourself.
You need to know when to move on to a new venture. Whenever one of my businesses is stable, I take the ‘experimental’ budget and try out a new venture.
By the time you’re establishing a new route though, the initial business should be in an automatic gear.
Businesses are selfish, they want you all to themselves. If you can’t afford to give them attention, then you will not see the results you project. That’s why having a great idea doesn’t equal success.
The writer is an award-winning artiste and entrepreneur.
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