WE ALL NEED A HELPING HAND
By Rose Odengo
23 OCTOBER 2017
I have mentioned several times on this blog that I never really envisioned myself as an entrepreneur. I knew employment was for a short duration, and after that, I would build a career independently –this mostly meant consultancy.
I knew I enjoyed working independently. When I kicked off as an independent journalist in 2011, it was exciting; traveling and meeting new people and submitting news articles to different international media houses. But the novelty of it soon wore off and the enthusiasm died.
The long hours of travel, the emotional drain from the desperation I witnessed, in the lives of the people I interviewed, was too much to bear. This would be the first of many times it would happen. I volunteered for organizations; working in Public Relations, something I didn’t enjoy but took on as a challenge to learn. I read books, organized press conferences, and helped build perceptions of brands. Soon it got boring and I walked away.
As I figured out the next way forward, I started to write flash fiction. It was a daily exercise; I would wake up, turn on my laptop and spend the next twenty minutes creating a flash fiction piece. Flash fiction is an extremely short fiction story of only a few hundred words. I realized I had an overly active imagination and enjoyed whipping up random fiction pieces each day. This simple exercise yielded over 400 flash fiction stories. My blog, at the time, was nominated for a Bloggers Association of Kenya award. This acknowledgment validated my work. But I didn’t know how to turn it into a lucrative venture.
As I sought how to turn blogging into a cash cow, I started to receive phone calls from people seeking my copywriting skills, to build content for their websites. The money was rolling in and I felt rejuvenated, a year or two later, frustration began to mount. The businesses I worked with lacked direction; they weren’t clear on what uniquely defined their business. This made content creation painfully difficult.
It was here that I discovered a niche market waiting to be exploited; young companies in dire need of brand development and direction. I had no drive, or interest to engage in this new venture. I had no idea why I had this much internal resistance to what seemed like a lucrative opportunity. I sought help from several mentors. It took time to fully comprehend the source of the failing internal drive I experienced on and off for the past six years.
In May, I found someone who had been in my shoes and works in the same content creation space, to serve as a guide.The past six years of business has taught me one key thing; whether you choose to build a boutique business, a global conglomerate or a consultancy, you need someone to walk this journey with you. Without help, you will surely collapse and faint. I know, because I spent most of six years in fits and starts mode. This was internal, and partly an ill perception of asking for help. I believed it was a sign of weakness. Seeking assistance is a daily deliberate effort for me.
To all those aspiring and practicing entrepreneurs, find someone to hold your hand and to hold you to account. The person will be a guide to point out areas of improvement and areas of strength. Entrepreneurship isn’t a stroll in the park, it’s a hike through mountain ranges and we all need a cheerleader, guide, and veteran to keep us going.