The current tough economic times have turned Kenyans into entrepreneurs. A large section of Kenyans have started side businesses in addition to their existing jobs, in a bid to supplement their income.
For Phanice Kwamboka, a side hustle was a necessity, to add to her income as an employee at a flower farm. She decided to start her company, Malvo Cleaning Services, a corporate office and home cleaning business.
Here is her story as told by WoK.
Phanice started her business in September 2019 with Ksh10,000 as capital. After running the business for a couple of months, she decided to go all in and quit her job.
Like every other small company, the journey to being a profit-making business was not easy. Phanice struggled to get clients, and it took about two years for the business to be self-sustaining.
“The major challenge was convincing potential clients about my services and gaining their trust to work in their offices and households,” she said in an interview with Nation.
“Pricing my services correctly was also an issue. At one point, I undercharged a client so much that we had to pay my workers from my own pocket. I had to go back to the drawing board and figure out my rates. I learnt that in a bid to appease a client, it can be easy to burn your fingers with the wrong pricing,” she added.
Speaking about what led to the growth of her company, Phanice cited referrals as the biggest factor.
“Referrals are very critical when running your own business. They are derived from absolute customer satisfaction. Sometime back I served a client who was so satisfied with my work that she referred a prominent private hospital to my services. This was one of my biggest contracts and it taught me why putting your customer first and ensuring you give them the best services from the get-go is important,” she explained.
Giving her two cents on money management, Phanice noted that mobile money has been a plus for her business, adding that she has an official till number and a mobile banking app.
“I have interlinked these modes of payment such that I am able to make deposits from my till account straight to my business account without visiting a physical bank branch. I have also set aside amounts in mobile pouches for investment, my own salary, and my personal budget without dipping into my actual business cash flow,” she said.
Like every entrepreneur, investing back into the business is paramount. Phanice disclosed that she makes a point to inject money back into the business after paying her employees and herself.
Entrepreneurship over employment
Making the decision to be an entrepreneur was a big risk for Phanice, since success of the business was not guaranteed. However, she prefers entrepreneurship to employment, explaining that the former is more fulfilling.
“I find entrepreneurship to be more fulfilling than employment. As a mother, it has allowed me to juggle running my business and parenthood quite efficiently. In contrast to my days as an employee, I can say that the unpredictability of a business is not only thrilling but challenging. There’s a unique satisfaction that comes from the rewards of the sweat invested,” she said.
Commenting on the lessons she has learned along the way, Phanice noted that one of the biggest lesson is to always be bold and take a step even when you are not sure about the outcome.
“From the successes and shortcomings, I have found myself moving forward, improving myself, my outlook in life, and my financial position. Money alone will never be enough. You need other components of life and this only comes by being bold and charting new paths and territories,” she said.