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When to turn down more money


Three years ago, I learned one of my most important lessons: health and happiness. We’ve had more than 30 weeks of this column, and nearly all of them have touched on the money, the money and the money.

Many of the responses I get come from young entrepreneurs asking me where they can get capital or how they can grow their small businesses. I know and remember this stage of business very well.

I had nothing but a vision to focus on. I wanted nothing to stand in my way; I was either going to succeed or succeed. Failure wasn’t an option.

However, in the midst of all this, I neglected one very important aspect: my health.

Sometime in 2015, I fainted in one of my River Road offices. And when I say one of my offices, it means I had achieved what many entrepreneurs dream of in their 20s: I had multiple offices, staff on salary and I was a Chinese economy.

Moving too fast

However, many of my colleagues were worried that I was a workaholic, but I felt that that’s what gave me my drive.

Additionally, my business vision was still at the conception stage, so I thought my hours were justified. However, I moved too fast and needed a break.

In fact, it was the first thing the doctor said after I was taken to hospital – I needed to take a break, I needed rest.

Trying to balance my music and my business was overwhelming. But the doctor wasn’t listening to any excuses.

“Respect your body,” he told me. As entrepreneurs stuck in the grind of making our businesses work out, we often forget that we need a break. However, when the mind and body are well rested, then you’re bound to register better performance, and in turn, get better results.

Anyway, I took a week off to laze around, which rejuvenated me. After that ordeal, I changed my lifestyle and working patterns. Let me walk you through what I do.

I have a weekly newspaper column, I sit in board meetings for Kaka Empire twice a week, I run side businesses, I write concepts and scripts for companies and products, I pitch ideas to companies, I design and countercheck progress with Kaka Klothing, I travel out of Nairobi for music gigs, I distribute sanitary towels through my sanitary bank campaign, I have an acting role in the drama series Vioja Mahakamani, I’m a judge on the Blaze BYOB TV show, I mentor students at Zetech University where I used to lecture, I have studio time to record new music, I shoot music videos, and I spend quality time with my family and friends.

Most people ask me how I manage all these commitments. It’s simple, really: plan, but most importantly, rest.

Saying ‘no’

I came from the ghetto, and at no point did I imagine I would be turning down money. But I have learned that money isn’t any good if you can’t dedicate your time and potential to something you value.

I’m very particular about the brand engagements that I have. They have to resonate with what I stand for.

Further, to manage my time, I made a timetable for myself. Mondays are my resting days, Tuesdays and Thursdays are for meetings, Wednesdays are dedicated to checking on Kaka Empire’s progress and my personal businesses, while most Fridays and Saturdays I’m out of the city for concerts.

Sundays are for family, and my wife has been very vocal about this and strict on ensuring that I rest, which means making small concessions like switching off my phone.

One of the advantages I have, and that all entrepreneurs share, is that we can take breaks when we decide to.

Life-changing move

Since I made this timetable. I’ve managed to achieve a lot with great efficiency.

Remember that the lesson isn’t in doing a lot at one go, but in biting off only what you can chew. That timetable changed my life, but as the saying goes, all work without play makes King a dull boy.

So despite my busy schedule, I make sure I’m having fun.

I’ve been able to travel to countries that I’d previously only heard about at the World Cup. I’ve traveled to France for the food, Jamaica for the culture, Seychelles for the beach, South Africa for the history, the US for California’s hip-hop scene, and many more places.

I’m planning to travel to 90 more countries. The good thing with all the travel companies we have in the market is that competition has forced them to come up with easier ways to pay for travel.

There are installment packages and timed payments, so there’s really no excuse to not reward yourself for your hard work. Laugh, love, make money, travel and enjoy yourself while at it.

The writer is an award-winning artist and entrepreneur.

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