This month marks 1 year since I started doing business and it’s been one interesting rollercoaster ride!
I thought that when I started out doing business i’d get young entrepreneurs sharing their business journeys... you know, those stories from people who’re still making it and not from those who seem to have already made it! I remember having this conversation with Koki Oyuke, a fellow entrepreneur, and to be honest, we couldn’t get (published) information from young entrepreneurs and their growth journeys. That’s actually the main reason why i’ve decided to share my one year business experience. I desire that this post will serve as a source of encouragement to those who want to start doing business and don’t know where to start or those who’ve just started business and need encouragement.
I don’t think the year (2017) started out with the desire to go into business. I’d just come out of a bad employment experience and the last thing on my mind was to go back to employment or do digital marketing as a profession. I’d thought of going back to full time photography, but that didn’t work out. In hind sight, I can say that my employment experience and the 1 year break after employment served to fortify my character and prepare me for business. I initially didn’t see my circumstances at the time from that perspective and I felt a bit stranded but I’m glad I had a year of rest to figure myself out. I’m even more grateful that I had a very supportive spouse through this transition period.
I think a subset of people look at business men/women and wonder how they got to where they are at or how they managed to initially sustain themselves during the transition period before profits started checking in. I am saying this because I kept on receiving questions as to how I started business and what I was hoping to get out of it, with concerned looks on their faces. I should mention that I’d just gotten married and had resigned from my place of employment, so basically, we were living on one person’s income. I think a few of those people thought that doing business was a fling and that I’d eventually go back to employment after business failed. I don’t blame them. I think how we do business in Kenya encourages the prevalence of such mindsets. We (my spouse and I) entered into business together and we knew what we were getting ourselves into and what kind of sacrifices we’d have to make to ensure that the business grew to a place where it would grow and thrive beyond us. Basically, We started out with a vision of the end in mind.
One of the ways in which some entrepreneurs in Kenya fail in business is that we do business based on what other people are doing without doing any market research or figuring out what we’re passionate about. Business can be fun but at the same time, it can also get monotonous and without passion, you can soon be demotivated. I used to do photography during the weekends as a hobby and I invested in a really good camera, but I realized that I did it for profit because most of my friends at the time were photographers. Now the market is flooded with photographers of all kind and I’ve got a camera that luckily I still use for business.
My current industry is also flooded with bakers who are really doing amazing things! I actually got into the industry because I enjoy cooking and baking.
I randomly go into the kitchen and find something weird, crazy, new or fun to make with what I’ve got in the house. The first thing I think about when I’m bored isn’t what I can do but what I can cook or bake. One of the reasons why my passion eventually became a business is because I wondered why I had to pay so much money for food that didn’t meet my curlinary preferences (I’m very picky and I’ve got a very sensitive stomach) or why I’d have to travel to particular countries to enjoy certain pastries or food. I stared out with making cookies as I couldn’t get the kind of ginger and coconut cookies I enjoy. I posted pictures on my Facebook timeline and people started making orders. I got my first cake request and the icing was pathetic! Thank God for supportive friends who gave very honest and constructive feedback! My icing and cake Décor has greatly improved since then.
Over time i’ve ended up making the famous Australian Pavlova, the tasty Mediterranean Shakshuka, made French Macaron and recently prepared octopus the Greek way. Who says I have to go to these places to enjoy their curlinary delights!
Business has been good. I can’t complain. I’ve experienced so much favour this past year through the good, the bad and the meh moments. Having a good support system has also pulled me through those ‘not so interesting’ moments when I asked myself whether I was really cut out for business. To be honest, my number one supporter has been my husband... he knew when I needed my behind kicked and when I needed a bit of love to pull me through.
This month marks the begging of my second year in business. I’m prepared to learn, make mistakes, push myself and create new milestones in life and in business.
My take home this past year has been to not despise humble beginnings. They open doors to greater things!
Cheers to many more years in business and thank you all for your support!