When I quit my job in a top advertising agency to venture into running my creative boutique, no one told me it would be so hard! Or that I would make some very stupid mistakes. Or that offering the best one-on-one creative services wouldn’t guarantee immediate client buy-in. I have had to learn this the hard way.
I guess that’s why the SME (small medium enterprises) business is sometimes called “soko mjinga“. For those unfamiliar with the term let me fill you in on its origins. According to Kenya Buzz, “soko mjinga” which directly translates to ‘stupid market’ in English, is an informal market where vendors display their farm produce on the paved sidewalks to sell to low-income earners who cannot afford to buy groceries from a modern market. Someone with a fascinating name, Tuulikki Pietilå, and an equally interestingly titled book, “Gossip, Markets, & Gender—How Dialogue Constructs Moral Value in Post-Socialist Kilimanjaro”, similarly says that “soko mjinga means fools’ market.” If soko mjinga means a fool’s market, then I declare myself Mjinga Number 1!
True, I have made lots of mistakes in my past efforts as an entrepreneur. However, I believe that as I venture into another attempt at running and steering my business in the right direction, I first need to laugh at myself. To borrow from a New York Times article by Malia Wollan, “How to Laugh at Yourself”, I want to build the capacity to look at myself and my mishaps in an amused benevolent way. By laughing at myself and encouraging you to laugh at and with me, I hope that we may learn and thus build a better, stronger business.
I invite you to walk with me, talk to me, laugh with me, caution me (whichever gives you the greatest satisfaction), and hold me accountable for my actions.
Note to future self
It’s not for nothing that they say hindsight is 20/20. This blog is about lessons learnt. It is about harnessing those lessons, getting the right advice and then following through to navigate the confusion that comes with starting and running a business. Simply put, we will be learning something new together with every blog.