We shouldn’t get used to making the “easy” decision to go for the short-term win.
2018 was a big year. I started this business, fumbled my way through, worked really hard and figured things out as I went. When I’ve been asked to reflect on it, I find myself responding initially with a big, thoughtful sigh. Relief. Anxiety. Gratitude. So many feelings. Throughout it all, I was constantly learning, constantly asking questions.
What’s the process for registering a business in Kenya? Am I qualified to [insert “job I’m totally qualified for” here]? What should I charge clients? Is it normal to feel this way? How am I impacting my community (if at all)? Where am I going? (Both literally and figuratively…) How am I impacting the environment? What does it mean to run a business well? Can I afford to [insert anything outside of basic life-sustaining necessities here]? How can we stop using so much plastic? What’s the next step? Wait… what am I doing?
Some of these questions (more than I would like to admit) have come from a place of worry and anxiety, based in my fear of failure. Those I could do without. However, some of my questions were rooted in curiosity and learning. They’re questions that will help me become better at my job — helping other businesses grow so that they can contribute positively to society. They’re questions that will help me be thoughtful and purposeful about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.
And these are the types of questions that will help guide my 2019 (and will be the topic of many of my future blog posts). What is our responsibility, whether from a personal or business standpoint, when it comes to how we impact the environment? How do we impact our communities positively? What does it really mean to run a business well — not based on profitability alone, but looking at things holistically? How can we be more thoughtful about the choices we make, rather than just reacting to circumstances? I want to explore how I can do these things for my own business and how I can help other businesses do the same.
So, here’s to another year of questioning and exploring — hopefully with a little less anxious and an extra dose of curious. Happy New Year!
I never had ambitions to become a business owner, but here I am.
Following my decision to fully invest in Kenya as my home, I started Kupanga Mawazo, which focuses on helping organisations accomplish their goals by supporting them in writing, editing, and strategy.
I started my business because I was no longer interested in a “traditional” job. After initially applying to organisations where I knew I would have only a few weeks of holiday time, be required to go into an office every day, and have limited control over the type of work I could do, I realised how much I craved flexibility and the chance to be my own boss.
I also knew I had something unique to offer. It’s taken me awhile to call myself an entrepreneur — I’m not the typical visionary who has a burning idea they can’t stop dreaming about. Instead, I enjoy the planning and implementation phase, figuring out how an idea can work in reality. I realised that I could help those I had considered to be “typical entrepreneurs” carry out their ideas, as well as come alongside established organisations that are trying to grow their businesses.
After taking the plunge, though, I can totally understand why this is not for everyone. It’s exhausting and scary. It’s so easy to get discouraged and off track. It takes a willingness to put in significant amounts of work without immediate financial benefit. It means being organised and structured and pushing through when I don’t feel like working. I’ve been forced to grow in creativity and have had to be willing to put myself out there when all I want to do is stay behind the scenes. And I still have a very long way to go.
But, most importantly, I’ve discovered that, while it’s not for everyone, it is for me. And it could be for you too — or maybe not. Either way, I hope you’ll join me. This blog will be a place where I’ll share about the things I’m learning, profile my clients and our collaboration, and let you in on why I do this work and what I hope to accomplish.
By: Joelle Mumley