Last Updated on 2 March 2021 by Gertrude
Many people in Kenya don’t know about the sleepless nights when running a business.
You cry more than you pose for the camera in a yacht with beautiful lasses and sipping champagne while overlooking the ocean from your seafront property.
You whine, sometimes you give up. You go broke because you use all the savings, the one you kept for that nice house, is gone and this is the last drop of the money.
CRB is calling because you own lots of people. You wallow in debt and sometimes develop bad behaviour of running away from your creditors.
You pray every single day to God, because you suddenly realised the existence of God, to help you because you’re on the brink of breaking.
You feel like the rich are pretentious but secretly yearn for the riches they have because you feel you deserve it.
You thought your idea was great and awesome and people would pay top dollar for it.
You are now thinking you must have kept your 9-5 or 8-5 job and shouldn’t have quit your job as you did.
You look back and cry every single time and ask yourself what would have happened if … such is the grim existence of a businessman.
After you make it, you wonder what will I do to make my business leave a legacy or am I going to fizzle out into oblivion?. Will I go into hunger and debt again?
You ask yourself before and after operating your businesses. You don’t have to fret after reading this piece.
It’s a wake-up call to weed out the non-entrepreneurs and stick with the ones who were meant to be true businessmen.
Businesses have waves like the valley. You dig and dig and dig until the valley gets water. Don’t expect to keep digging though.
God helps the hardworking people that trust in Him. You have to believe in something when building your business, something bigger than you.
If an entrepreneur says they smile all the way to the bank and they didn’t cry or give up, they’re either lying or aren’t entrepreneurs.
11 Dark Truths About Entrepreneurship in Kenya
Dark truths about entrepreneurship include the following:
1. You need more than a great idea. You need great stamina (work effort perseverance)
You have a great idea. That’s a good thing. But do you have the stamina needed for running a business? The stamina is patience.
Do you have the patience needed to wait out no matter the hurdles getting in your way?
Or will you throw in the towel and close the doors?
Will you stop believing in your awesome idea after you see nothing coming your way, the success you expected.
Or will you sit on your idea until it hatches? You need patience like that of the eagle sitting on the egg not knowing if an eaglet will come or not for 32 days.
That’s what you need.
Your success won’t happen overnight like that of the eagle because you have the best idea, you may have to wait a year or more to realise your dreams.
You don’t need patience only but the effort (the work, work, work) Rihanna and Beyonce talk about in their songs.
You have to put in the effort every single day or remain consistent in your delivery of product or service in order for you to see the success.
I remember what Stephen King said, he waited out and suddenly he became a rich horror author.
He waited for 20 years to achieve the level of success beyond our/his eyes.
If you wait out, put in the effort, you keep getting better and better.
Don’t get scared of the tears and the years of toil, you get compensated for every single thing that you went through.
I also believe when you get blessed like that ensure you pay forth to help develop other upcoming talents because you know struggle.
2. Not making money right away
I remember me moving from office to office applying for a job. It was harrowing.
Until I discovered the online working world.
I knew I could share my ideas with the world but I discovered that my plan needed to have details. I didn’t have details, I had the idea. And for years I made no money.
It was borrowing and borrowing and telling others that this idea would work. Some believed me others didn’t.
Thus the journey of entrepreneurship.
People will begin to doubt you and your idea, you will doubt and sometimes give up the idea.
You started the business to make money, right?
How then can you not make money?
It takes a toll on a number of people, not making because being in debt or borrowing others to make ends meet isn’t what you envisioned.
3. Don’t give up and keep moving.
This is when you awaken your desire and tell yourself, why did I start on this project?
Was it for me or to help millions of others?
Because entrepreneurs don’t change one life but billions of lives every day with their ideas.
When your desire awakens more than you feel defeated, you are on your way to make it.
Your desire to see you succeed and your idea taking root keeps you going.
It’s simply tiring to wake up every day to work on one single idea until you see its fruition.
You feel tired as if you have neglected yourself. Don’t neglect yourself just because you are running a business.
You must have a morning and an evening routine. Don’t focus on a perfect morning and neglect your evening.
You need to unwind to give yourself space for facing the next day. Fatigue comes from procrastination and impatience.
Be patient with strong knowing that what you are working on will soonest pay for itself.
Always take a break from work, go on vacations, you don’t have to travel overseas, it can be around your county or Kenya, we have a lot to explore.
You don’t have to take a month-long vacation, it can be a week or a day away from your home or office.
That rejuvenates you making you come back with new ideas.
Related: Self-Care for Businessmen in Kenya
Perfect Morning Routine in Kenya
What’s a Night Routine? (Entrepreneurs Night Time in Kenya)
5. Burnout /stress
Burnout, like fatigue, happens when you postpone some areas of your business like research or delegation of duties.
I know a lot of business owners fear to market their business ideas.
You must face every aspect of your business with an appreciation, not apprehension.
The more you face your businesses like a conqueror, the better you feel and you won’t suffer from burnout.
Always take a break from your desk and connect with others or things you love. Life cannot be all about your business.
6. Juggling – you wear too many hats
Stop doing everything at the same time.
You aren’t a robot. Even robots need to recharge the same way computers need to get charged or rebooted.
You need to delegate duties which you don’t enjoy doing – those which overwhelm you.
This doesn’t mean you must eliminate yourself from the daily running of your business.
Recognise you have one body, head and two hands for a reason.
Hire help from Upwork, like a virtual assistant or a bookkeeper to help you file taxes or the daily running of your business, including social media marketing.
Related: How to Hire Help Online as a Kenyan Entrepreneur
7. Personal life misses
How will you run a business when you miss your personal life?.
I remember working 20 hours/day with less sleep just to make writing money. I worked these hours in the mandazi and pillow business.
The only time I have for myself was when I am travelling.
That’s the wrong way of looking at a business. A business must not take away time from your personal time.
You must make time for yourself in order to run a healthy business. Pursue a hobby that turns attention away from your business.
8. Fearful you won’t make a profit / discouraged
Business owners begin their business with the notion that they won’t make money because the idea they thought unique is oversaturated.
Start your business with the right mindset that you will make profits.
Research your mindset before beginning a business.
Don’t begin a business with a scarcity mentality that stops you from investing or taking risks in your business.
In business, nothing happens as you thought it out or planned.
That’s why you must adopt a mindset of moving away from or abandoning your plan.
You must be willing to take risks and enjoy what your customers or the feedback your customers give you.
9. You will make painful haunting decisions
In this life, in business, sometimes you must make decisions which you either regret or learn from.
You must forgive yourself and move on. It’s hard to look back and fathom your stupidity, don’t. Those decisions you made were for the best.
For example, if you decided to move away from the toxic environment because it affected your business.
You did it for the best and nothing can turn the clock. Forgive yourself and ask, what or how can I make this situation better?
10. It takes years to be successful
Yes, a business isn’t about overnight success.
Success, in this case, meaning money and profits.
Or how do you define success?
For me, success is when I own anything I want but with self-control, making an enormous change in my society and changing the mindset of not one but a million.
Don’t confine yourself to the definition of success as you see from shows like Rich Wives Franchise, Bling Empire or Crazy Rich Asians.
Wait out, be patience; define success in your terms.
11. Getting cheated/conned
When I started working online, I got conned many times I lost count.
I gave free samples but never got paid.
At the time, there weren’t many blogs so it was easy to track where my blog posts went to.
It was painful yet a learning curve. When beginning a business, You risk getting conned or losing money.
Will you stop because you lost?
Not take your time and know that those lessons were for the best. Painful lessons.
Change, raise your hands if you love changes even in your personal life.
I applaud you. Some changes are uncomfortable, others are to move you from one level to another.
If you cannot accept change, then, you aren’t making any progress or you risk stagnating or becoming stale.
I remember the days when Yahoo was the search engine of choice for many. They refused to change with the times.
Be open to change so you can move to another level.
Comfort zones are comfortable for a reason. But comfortable won’t get you to where you want to go. You must feel uneasy to grow.
Related: How to Move From Your Comfort Zone (Kick in the Butt) as a Kenyan Entrepreneur
Do you want to be an entrepreneur in Kenya?
Did you believe it’d be easy because you were going to work from home?
The only difference between working from home/running an online business, and in an office setting is the use of the internet.
The other aspects of running a business: marketing, branding, brand building, sales, social media advertisement, customer service, website design, logo design remains the same.
The mentality of a businessman/woman doesn’t change because they operate their business online.
You have to constantly work on your mindset to navigate the hardships of running a business.
Entrepreneurs have a yearning to change the world and they work their best to change the world to what they believe it must be.
They face the curveballs thrown against them but endure because they know the reward for the tears will be greater.
The Universe/God, I prefer God. God rewards your efforts if done with the intention to serve a greater purpose.
You cannot give up, simply accept change as part of the entrepreneurship process.
Are you an entrepreneur or would-be entrepreneur in Kenya?
What advise would you give the unemployed Kenyan youth looking to start a business offline or online?