29 August 2014


The other day a friend and I had an interesting conversation. He owns a movie store. It was a Sunday afternoon and I found him there sited, bored. I challenged him to a game of scrabble and with progression of the game a conversation started. He was telling me about this friend he has. The friend is son to a renowned businessman who doubles as a pastor (lol). Now, they graduated at the same time from campus, but the friend works at a national corporation, in a line he did not even study at school, just because his father “knew people in high places”. He goes on to explain that the girlfriend to the guy also works in a renowned company even though she is yet to graduate…talk of being born with a silver spoon in the mouth; literally. The girlfriend, tuseme ni kuangukia tu hehehe *evil grin*.

As the conversation went on, he went on to let me know how the friend would not survive if he lost the job he is at. I went on to ask him why he is not looking for formal employment and he said, “Those formally employed wait for 30 days to get an average of income 60,000 (most earn less than this actually). I make that in two weeks…tell me how I would change what I have now for what you have. I asked him how he got there and he tells me of how he started selling seedlings with a savings worth 2,000 (I will post about this next month).

This reminded me of a quote by one great man, one George Herbert; “Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along”. See, most of us fresh graduates have become experts at job hunting, but have no jobs. We thus end up frustrated and we give up in life, well, it is not all over. Remember that entrepreneurship unit you were taught at school? You would be surprised at how easy it is to start a business for yourself. I looked around and saw some of the simplest jobs Kenyan entrepreneurs have created for themselves, with very little (some close to zero) capital.

Fresh Farm produce sale.

Now, how many times have you walked around town or your estate, especially in the evenings, and met vehicles parked at the road side, boots open with fresh farm produce being sold. Well, if you ask any of those who do this, the business has challenges but the rewards are sweet. But I don’t have land to farm in; you may say….well, just start with the paper bags and empty mikebes you have at home. The soil is free, buy a few seedlings and be patient enough to wait for them to grow. Or better yet, become a middle man or offer to be someone’s (a farmer) seller with commission to what you make. All you need is a small fee for the county council officers.

Roadside kiosks.

See those people who sell chapatis and smokies, chips, boiled eggs, samosas and roasted maize or corn on the cob by the road; ask them how much they make and you will know why they can never go for formal employment. I once watched a story of one Wacuka from Centonomy (watch it here), who started by selling chapos at their estate gate, but is now supplying tea to a Equity Bank Westlands, and makes more than you think. Even the famous Kemboi started by making tiny steps. Patience is key.

Movie shops

Well, well, well, you have to love Kenyans for their love of relaxing and winding. You also have to thank God for our love of movies, series and documentaries. You can be sure that if you open a movie shop either in town or that neighborhood, you will never lack customers/clients. This one though, requires some capital because of rent and all, but trust you me, the net gain is more.


This is one of the biggest business ideas I have ever thought of. Did you know you can turn your hobby into a business? Or even better a company? With very little start up finances? Be it writing, photography, reading, and singing, talking, baking, cooking or walking. Sure, you will need something small to give it a push, a few courses here and there then you become an expert.

Someone once said that for you to become an expert at anything, you have to spend at least ten thousand hours doing it to become perfect. Ten thousand you ask? Yes. Most of us young people do something for a few hours, or even days then we start saying we have given up or think we are perfect. Ask good instrumentalists how long they had to practice to get where they have been. As that chef how many recipes they had to burn so as to become perfect. Ask that cobbler how many shoes they had to mend to become successful. Ask that speed skater (*blush* :-) ;-)) how many miles they had to cover or how many injuries they had to get so as to skate for ten thousand meters in twenty minutes without getting tired. Then ask yourself; how many hours have you done to give up? 

George Eliot once said that “It is never too late to be what you might have been”. 

Take charge, start today.



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