When trying to make your way in the world as an emerging entrepreneur, do not think of yourself as the next Bill Gates- or even the next Richard Branson. Be true to yourself and pay attention to your own opinions and values because one of the greatest advantages is your capacity to see things from a fresh perspective, unhindered by past failures or notions about what is possible. However that does not mean you don’t look to others for ideas, these are the words of one of the best writers and entrepreneurs in the world who inspires me so much, Richard Branson.
Am busy pondering on his words and relieving them in my mind as I stare at my half painted nails, which are somehow chipped and look horrendous, and no I do not bite my nails, it’s the laundry that keeps me far from the doors of the salon, for a fresh cut out manicure. I try as much as possible to hide them while the handsome gentleman sited across me orders some grilled chicken salad for me, yes finally I got to familiarize myself with all this different trends of salads that everyone who is used to ‘Java’ like restaurants orders for. It’s nothing fancy, a couple of lettuce and three tomatoes thrown here and there on the plate, and well flowed chicken to entice the saliva. So if you are not well oriented to such meals or rather the big terms used on the menu’s, not to worry, if you let your words slide like me, just tell the waiter to give you salad that has chicken or something, if you are a vegetarian, simply ask for the best type of salad they offer to their customers, and don’t put a look of uncertainty, act like someone who has no time to go through the menu, it works at times for me. Now you know. Anyway so am staring at him, as he waits patiently for the waiter to bring our meals.
The whole point of the lunch date was to seek advice about a work related issue that can break or make my career. I love it when he listens to me, looks at me deep in the eyes, with a lot of concern as I bubble about my former work place, how I am in a dilemma of either going back there, or stay at home and continue selling the sugarcane that my father grows just outside our gate, and keeps watering it everyday, trust me its nothing big, in fact if people from Mumias would travel to our humble home in Kasarani, they would easily sue my father for growing sugarcane without the proper tending that it needs, don’t ask me what that is, but I know how father grows sugarcane is not the way its supposed to be, but hey it gives me a couple of shillings to buy credit for the borrowed Orange, modem so that I can not be left out on this whole social media biashara. So I keep telling my date how I would rather stay at home, sell sugarcane and write (for a blog that does not bring me any income) than go back to work,do something that has no relevance with what i want to be,get a couple of shillings, so that I can move out of my fathers house and go live where every young ‘Nairobian’ runs to live in, South C, Nairobi West and those with extra bucks in their pockets, Westlands. No, I would rather stay at home, continue nurturing this talent that I believe will take me some where some day and sustain me till my death. I know what you are thinking, many young people are looking for jobs, yet here I am being called for a job, but with all the naivety and arrogance I prefer to be a stuck up youth with blind priorities. Yes I thought so too, but that’s why I was having this date, to get a perspective from someone who is making it big, and someone who is also an entrepreneur (I hear they know best about hustling, and can give the best advice when it comes to career and business issues!)
I talk so much that even when the meal is brought, I feel like my appetite is gone, see most talkers like me, who seek advice have already made up their minds about what to do with their lives, we just need a second opinion, but at the end of the day we still flow with our guts, I bet many writers are like that. So maybe I want to be an entrepreneur, I tell him, he looks at me with a raised eyebrow, and asks the question that was music to my ears, ‘What do you really want to do with your life?’ See I love talking about myself and given the chance, my, oh my, I never stop to bubble. I want to be a writer; I want to do it until I can not do it anymore, which means until my death. Being the gentleman he is, he sits calmly and listens to my unending words, I know in his mind he was like ‘How does she have so many words?’ I could see his eyes wander down my neck, and end up somewhere just above my cleavage and that’s when I knew that he had drifted completely. So I switched the topic, but at the end of the day, after the date I had already made up my mind, without any advice but awesome company to listen to what I had to say, without judging me. But he believes in me, and that is exactly what I wanted.
Who doesn’t want to be an entrepreneur? Have that corner office in a tall building surrounded with a leafy environment. Have sickeningly cute golden colored tables, a luncheon with special signs of well dressed shelves indicating well deep arranged newspapers and magazines, well decorated corridors and receptions that convulse you with a grin of greed ‘I want this!’ . Meetings held on your terms and schedules, or better yet online meetings that you can have at the comfort of your bed? Who doesn’t? I want to have this, but what we lack are ideas on how to start. I am not writing on how to make it as an entrepreneur, hell if I knew how to I would sell all my fathers sugarcane, or better yet look for someone in Mumias to help me start up a small scale vegetation of the cane, and with that money start a small time writing business, so no am also burying myself in Richard Branson’s books so that I can learn and continue to motivate myself that I can do it.
A friend of mine from Yale really inspires me, he is only 23, I have seen him grow from primary to high school here in Kenya, and landed an ivy league university, finished his undergraduate and now establishing a solar company in Zambia. I keep telling him that he will be among the next Richard Bransons’, so young, so motivated, moving from one African country to another, trying to sieve opportunities on how to better the lives of Africans, and at the same time make a life for himself that will sustain him for the many years that God wants him to live on this earth. It was no easy road for him, he had to quit jobs and just know what is best for him, I know not everyone’s luck is the same, and maybe my 26 year old ass has a long way to go before making it big. Writers such as Jackson Biko and Charles Onyango inspire me, maybe am weird but every time I read their literature, talk to them, chat with them and share ideas I feel like am almost there, yet the bridge to my glory seems to have one of those elves with green tights, fish like green tops with no hems,and pointy hats that are falling on the left side of their heads, where I have to give a password, and cross to the other side of the bridge- to meet my success.
Kenya has potential, I just have to know where am going wrong and if my naive nature will soon fade away, but I still trust my guts, am taking a risk, lets hope it pays off soon, in the mean time, I think I will continue selling my fathers sugarcane while I keep my pen and pink book close to me, and write away my ideas. In the gathering dawn of my future and what I want, it all seems less sightless than contemplative, but I will rock on…Richard Branson quotes yet again ‘Calculate the risks and take them, Believe in yourself, chase your dreams and goals, have no regrets, be bold and keep your word’ Maybe I should throw this book in my laundry basket, or maybe not, funny how writing gives me so much satisfaction that no money would, but we still need money huh? Am yet to get a job as a writer,and maybe someday be an entrepreneur… *sigh* My Dilemma