A YEAR OF FINANCIAL FREEDOM

financial-freedomOne thing that I have learned from people above the age of thirty is that they wish they had learned about finances earlier on in their lives.

I must say I am blessed that I am learning  about finances in my twenties and  when I get to thirty I will be telling a different story.

This is 2017 a year of possibilities and great achievements or that is what I hope for. After many years of making more than twenty new years resolutions and only achieving one I decided it was time to re-evaluate and make a change. The year 2016 went on swiftly and I had no resolutions as it was a waste of time to me. The only thing I wanted to do was to finish school. True to it I finished school and I had so much time on my hands. I have always been a person who is driven by having goals but I did not have any. That is when  I decided to look into the “resolutions game” again. I looked at the problems I had faced in the year 2016 and decide that from that is where I would make goals for my next year.

After a long search I realised two things that  really mattered, my weight and overall health and my finances. 2016 for me ended up being a year of weight gaining and being broke. How they say as poor as a church mouse, for me it was worse. I was living from nose to mouth and in debt. By the end of that year I was just done and I knew  that I did not want to feel that way again.

Being a student the debts were from Mshwari and to increase my pool of getting more debt I joined KCB Mpesa. On top of that I joined all the betting sites to make some free money and called it investing for the poor man. Sadly all I gained I also lost. Betting is a bad habit unfortunately one learns a grave lesson after losing so much. I do not know it then but that was part of the reason I was always broke.

On the other hand was my weight. I had become a frequent customer of chicken inn, fast foods and junk. Last year was a year like no other the offers were so many. Eat more for less was the new policy and I was taking full advantage of it. We fat people love food and good food for that and when the craving kicks in personally I can spend all my money and this unfortunately added to my brokenness.

That was where my money was going. I now equate a better lifestyle with financial freedom. My plan is simple I have joined a chama and I have joined the 52 week money challenge ( goggle it in the internet and start). In addition I will reduce on junk and fast foods and walk distances that I would usually pay a boda boda or taxi just cos am lazy to walk. Lets call it killing two birds with one stone.

Are you facing the same challenge? What are you doing about it? Share and tell me all about it in the comment section below. Till next time.

Its never too late to start trying to archive financial freedom. My parting shot is

make realistic goals and aim to spend what you have rather than spend what you do not have.

TURNING TALENT TO MONEY

I do not know if you know Centonomy but just in case you do not I will tell you what it is and if you do thumbs up. Centonomy is a financial literacy institution that teaches how one can achieve money autonomy.

All we are taught in our lives is how to make money but how many times are we taught on how to use it.

I know what you are thinking ‘do you really need to be taught how to use money, give it to me and I’ll show you how it is done’. I have some news for you, it is that it is important for one to learn how to use money. The knowledge will enable you make sound financial decisions and  promote a culture of responsible financial management. I do not need to say more,be curious! If  this has sparked you interest do check their website and you tube channel to know more.

One of my friend was introduced to it by her mum and as you  know we girls can not keep anything to ourselves? I got to know about it and after watching  a couple of you tube videos I was interested. What really impressed me was the segment from young people who had undergone the training and it changed their lives. This was evident when they came back to speak about their life after Centonomy.

Last week on Thursday as I was going through my instagram I cam across Ben Kiruthi’s, renowned wedding photographer, post that was inviting campus students  for a three hour hangout on ‘turning talent to money’. The guest speakers being Ben Kiruthi , Andrew Kio founder of Blacjack jeans and Mwalimu Rachel who is founder and presenter of the class 124 segment on  Homeboyz radio, host of the couples show and chama show. Honestly I only knew Ben but now I know all. As you do now too, right?

I arrived thirty minutes late, but do not judge me as travelling from the diaspora is a hustle. I registered and thereafter went into the training room where a couple of people had arrived and the conversation had started. I took a seat and removed my note book so I could note down the the flow on wisdom. My take away from all the speakers was different but a few things were similar. The individual take away were: From Ben Kiruthi I learnt

  • that it is important to take calculated risks. Do not just quit your career without thinking of the consequences.
  • Be original
  • Money follows ideas. Do not just follow you passion for money.  If you follow your passion money will eventually follow.
  • opportunity is everywhere, you just have to see it.

From Andrew Kio I learnt:

  • Identify a problem and try to solve it
  • listen to your clients, they are always right
  • Put in the effort
  • Specialize

From Mwalimu Rachel I learnt:

  • Talent is usually 10% and hard work 90%. Just because something comes easy for you it does not mean you should not put in hard work to develop and become the best.
  • Develop you brand. During this time you are allowed too do everything you have an interest in. With time you shall know what works for you and what does not.
  • Have a mindset that will help you grow. For there to be success you must be willing to work hard, be determined and sacrifice.
  • It is important to have a mentor. Identify one and have the courage to approach them and ask them to be your mentor. You have know idea the amount of information they have and platforms they can open for you.

One thing they had in common was that;

you have to ask yourself,”what problem am I solving?” that is where to start.

If that is not pure wisdom, I don’t know what is? One thing I remember is no one said it would be easy and fast as we the youth would want things to be.

My parting shot on this topic is:

DO NOT WAIT FOR LIFE TO HAPPEN; MAKE IT HAPPEN

Till next time; keep living

BRANDING

“What is a brand?”

According to the business dictionary, it is a unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. From this we gather a few qualities of a brand, it is unique, an image identifying a product and differentiates it from the rest. 

Unique means being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else. it can be in the design, name, logo or all of them combined. An example is coca cola, its name is the only one in the market and  its signature colour is red. This in turn creates an image such that who ever comes across it is able to identify it without hesitation. This distinction is what ultimately sets the commodity apart  from others and it is the last most important stage. When all this qualities are put together they create a something that people can identify to and can be loyal to. Without it, its hard to secure your share of the market or fun base. For businesses it is easy, this is because when you know what you want to produce ideas are unlimited and can be pulled from everywhere. The part which most people find hard is when it comes to personal branding.

Personal branding is where one creates himself or herself in a manner they would like to be perceived by all in society. It is common knowledge that; the way one carries and presents him/herself is how everyone else will take him/her. This is usually the case because people judge someone by what they perceived with the eye first rather than taking the time to get to know the person. The slogan, “there is no hurry in Africa” honestly does not apply. In as much as there is no hurry, no one has the time to stand and get to know you better to make up their mind about who you are. Everyone should ensure that they are a brand of what they represent and stand for. There are a few tips on how one can make a brand of themselves.

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Firstly its personal thus you should know what you want for yourself. Only you have the power to define who and what you stand for. It is advisable to stick to one thing as being a Jack of all trades may confuse you and deter you from achieving you full potential. This is most especially at the beginning when you are laying your foundation.

Secondly the world is dynamic and the only way to keep up is by being relevant to the times and those in society. The needs of people and the society at large will always be different as time passes.

If at ten years I loved dolls, do you think that shall be the case when am twenty? Do you think the wants of a teenager in the year 2000 are the same as those of a teenager in the year 2010?

Absolutely not is what i would presume you’d say. This is because needs and wants are changing, not only in people but also in science, technology and innovations. If you refuse to adapt to change, you become archaic and irrelevant forcing you out of the market. An example today is with phones. They are continuously evolving and are now refereed to as smart phones with fast Internet speeds, a luxury we could not enjoy ten years back. All manufactures who failed to move with the new trends are no longer in production and are long forgotten. Now you see why I phone and Samsung are always producing new gadgets, I phone 6 and Samsung galaxy S5 being their latest.

Thirdly one must be hard working. Building a brand for yourself or your business is not easy. You do not just sit and wait to see things happen rather you make them happen. You shall do all the field work, supervise to see if things are going in the manner you want them to. Your physical presence will be needed. Hard work and patience operate hand in hand for success to be achieved, even drugs meant to heal diseases do not work instantly and only with time do they show real results. It also helps with the transition from the comfort zone to the point you want to reach, helping you get through the tough times and making you stronger as a brand.

With this said making a brand whether for you or for your business will not be easy, neither smooth. You will make wrong decisions which will teach you lessons if you let them and you will give up on some things as they will not define, represent or even seem realistic when ventured into. A promise, is that it will be one defining journey that will be amazing filled with no regrets. Life is about taking risks; it will not be easy but it definitely will be worth it.

In life we are all brands, different in many ways yet similar in that we are all human beings. all establishments that aim to make profits are called businesses but what differentiates one from another is the brand they have created.

PERSISTENCE : Mt. LONGONOT

Yesterday I got a chance to experience the out doors and my classmates and I left for the mountains. It was Mt Longonot. It was my first time there so the excitement was clear, I even bought some mountaineering boots at my local market. This was a purely a fun trip and i had nothing to include this blog but truth be told, I learned a lot, more than I expected really. Fun fact, there is actually phone network up the mountain. So I know how persistence and business come in. What is persistence to start with? It is the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult. There some things that are life lessons and thus can be applied to all aspects of life. Persistence is one quality that every business person, entrepreneur has to have as an asset to success.

It all started well, I have to point out that it was a very hot day, no cloud in the sky kind of day. We were very clean, taking selfies and photos as we waited for clearing. Then we started on the hike. I was among the leading lot, didn’t want to remain behind but this didn’t last long, one person after another passed until at one point I was actually the last. I have been to many hikes but this was a test and I mean it literally. The mountain was so steep I can not explain or understand I got to the top. YES!! I got there, to the Top. There were so many trying moments before I got there. Almost throughout I almost gave up but something or someone helped me take the next step. My first real hurdle was the stairs, they were many and they were steep. My calves almost gave up on me and almost immediately an angel appeared,Oliver, he held my hand and supported me and we went up stopping when I could not go on and saying I can do it when I wanted to give up. He is very fit and to him it was a walk in the park. When almost finishing the stairs I could not do it any more and so I stopped and let go of his hand and told him to go on. Life lesson number 1. never be selfish and let go of someone you are always pulling them back and they can not reach their full potential. When you have given this chance they can achieve their all and still come back or they can stay as their own choice accepting the consequences. He went on and achieved, went all the up and around and called to check up on me while on the mountains. When we reached our first pit stop. I was ready to give up and the better part i saw someone of my friends sitting down and I thought they were giving up too. Sometimes I like having a crowd backing me up in the decisions i make. After ten minutes they got up ready to go and guess what they were pulling me along!!! No!! I took my ass up and continued. The crater was so high up I decided to stop looking at the goal and took one step at a time to the top. Life lesson number 2.  You will never succeed alone, your friends will encourage you to go on even if your not on the same path. No one is an island and we all need people. Thank you Karen, Pato ,Ian, Edna. The next stage was where the song that sang in my head: “Take one step at a time, theres no need to rush” Jordin Sparks. Another lot came and started overtaking us. One kind man asked one of his friends to help us up but the man just looked at us so disinterested and continued on his own up. Life lesson no 3, Not everyone in life will want your success. They will watch you struggle as they go up and never offer a hand, they may even scorn and laugh at you. These are the discourages and haters. Their effect on us should only be to make us want more for ourselves, and be great. He who laughs last always laughs best.

The worst part of the climb was the last 500 meters, they were the hardest. I could have given up there but there was the voice of Dennis and Jael cheering me on that I have reached and am almost there. That voice in the background was what gave me strength. When i got to the top cheers and hugs and selfies of cos. It was the best feeling ever, getting to the top. Lesson no 4: when your almost there is when it shall be toughest, the easy road will be to give up but think about it, if you’ve gone 3/4 the way what can be worse than what you’ve bee through and conquered. At that point there will also be someone who will be there cheering on for you to reach. The icing on the cake will be reaching the top. I was last to get there in our class but I did get there eventually. Its not how fast you get to the top but rather that you get there eventually. Its not a competition where there is a prize for number one, this is different even the last gets a prize!! The view of the crater was so beautiful, so worth it, everyone should make a trip to Longonot. Life lesson no 6 enjoy it all. Its all fun when you doing what you love. Don’t forget the selfies.:)

Persist for what you want no matter how hard it will be. I assure you it wont be easy but it will be worth it. #101

FREE TUITION FOR ALL GERMAN UNIVERSITIES!! WHAT OF KENYA

Everyone loves the word free: freedom, free food, free shelter, free primary education, free maternity, free health care but when its free University Education? It makes you ecstatic. Thats amazing news for everyone who wants to study. This is the good news that University students in Germany received from their government. Apparently what motivated the decision, according to Gabrielle Heinen-Kjajic, Lower Saxony’s minister for science and culture, was the desire of attaining higher education not depending on the wealth of the parents. What is even better is that it also applies to international students. I do not know if this was the case earlier but according to topuniversities.com Germany is in the top four destinations for further education. If this was before then am sure this will even make them top one but that we’ll have to wait and see.

Now everyone is asking when their respective countries will implement such a law.  Being a Kenyan am asking when will our government follow suit? I know my country though , i would have to wait for at least three year for such an idea to to presented. Am not being pessimistic but I know my country and its leaders. At least, is what i said because such a proposal would not be in vain rather it would be a political leader trying to gain the votes. Its all about strategy in our country. This is then followed by the long wait, The leader having been elected may or may not implement , either way they are in power what can anyone do ? As has been the norm most proposals made by leaders are implemented in their second term, apparently its not as easy as they initially thought, the corruption, the lack of money, Former political allies who no longer support how the procedures of implementation are going to court and asking for referendums mostly to frustrate the project rather than help. Don’t ask how I got to know all this, all i can say is that i use my eyes, and they see pretty clearly.

Even as am writing this I am not so optimistic that we’ll follow suit but maybe in the next 30 years and i insist on maybe. This in the long run is a challenge as many people who do not have money do not go to the university especially in families that do not have educational backgrounds. A practical example is when i went to visit my cousin at her home and she told me of a sixteen year old girl opted to get married to the milkman as she did not see any hope of attending university even if she finished high school. Now she is seventeen with a child. Do you think that even the children that she will bear have any hope if they do not have educated parents or anyone to even encourage hem to go to school. Illiteracy is one of the things we want to eliminate by 2030. This then comes as a challenge for our government to ensure that they promote education and eradicate ignorance and illiteracy.