For most young people finances and business capital seems to be what comes to mind when they are asked to consider starting up a new business. Although experts have said that there is more to a business than the startup capital, there are still many young people who wish to go after the money first.
Every entrepreneur has had rough times especially at inception however, these moments are said to be moments of truth which lay the foundation for future successes with passion as the major driving force.
Ms Mary Njoki, Founder and CEO of Glass House PR Ltd. Kenya in an exclusive interview with Amazons Watch Magazine, speaks on the need to be passionate about career dreams and how best to work towards achieving them. Excerpt:
In a few sentences, please describe the person of MS. MARY NJOKI.
Ms Mary Njoki is a young ambitious woman with a transformed and innovative mind geared to give solutions to many organizations and individuals. Her vision is to eradicate poverty in Africa through innovation.
She grew up in a small village in Kenya called Ngarariga but that did not stop her from pursuing her dreams. By being persistent and tenacious she has been able to build a successful PR Company; Glass House PR Ltd; which is a top PR company in East Africa.
Your story is a very inspiring one. How were you able to break even with the financial constraints and discouragement while growing up?
I was able to break even by being tenacious and being persistent. Though growing up in an environment where there is lack can cause a lot of discouragement, it also builds values such as hard work, patience, tenacity and persistence. This values made be a better person and through them, I have been able to go through the process, get over the financial constraints and also get over the discouragements that come with being an entrepreneur. I believe the financial constraints and discouragement are part of the growth process.
Your interest in public relations was born out of passion while serving with a public relations company. Many young women have ventured into businesses which they have no passion for and as such they tend not to excel in those businesses. What will be your advice to such women?
I always advise young women to venture into businesses they are passionate about because this enables them to do their businesses whether they are being paid or not. Sometimes young women get into business to make money; which is not necessarily a bad thing but in the entrepreneurial journey I have discovered that one does not make money all the time, especially during the startup phase. During this startup stage passion is key and many people give up on this stage. Unless one is passionate and can work overtime to be able to grow they tend not to excel. It is important for one to have a passion for what they want to venture into.
One of the challenges associated with running a PR firm has to do with the ability to harvest good clients. How has the journey been since inception?
The journey has not been easy. In order to harvest good clients, my first year saw me doing a lot of pro-bono work or work at a minimal fee just so I could prove myself and to build the brand of Glass House PR. The pro-bono work would get me other jobs with bigger clients. I have also invested a lot of time in building the brand of the company and in research on how to be of value to clients. Good clients have come over time and also the client’s testimonials have facilitated the process of harvesting better clients.
Most young people are of the opinion that to set up a business, the first thing is to have capital. Do you belong to that school of thought? How do you think young women can set themselves up for greatness?
I do not believe the first thing that one needs to set up a business is capital. I believe that capital can be a resource, a person or a skill that one may have. When I started off I only had USD 60 dollars and a laptop. I used the USD 60 to buy bandwidth, created my own website and I started marketing the business using online tools. Young Women can set themselves up for greatness by using the available resource, skill, passion or talent that they may have to change the world. They should not wait for perfect moments but they should start where they are, with what is available or accessible to them.
How will you rate the capability of women in the workforce? Do you think more women should be given the opportunity to serve in top executive positions?
Women are very good in the workplace, once they dedicate themselves to perform certain tasks or assignments, they give it 100% and they do it in excellence. More women should be given the opportunity to serve in top executive positions as they serve in excellence and integrity. I also believe that women tend to be more intuitive and the decisions they make give great results.
What is your take on the issue of marginalization against women across regions?
I think the issue of marginalization against women is an ongoing struggle but women can escape poverty and the marginalization if development policies place more emphasis on their contributions to the economy through leadership and trade and if women also believe that they are capable of doing significant things that can change societies.
What are some of the activities you would like to venture into in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years, I would love to help more entrepreneurs/ startups in Africa to grow and be established. I have started the project and it is called a Billion startups, and hope to have reached out to many in 5 years’ time. I would also love to see Glass House PR become a media outlet of the future and a content hub in Africa.
What’s the best way for the readers of Amazons Watch Magazine to connect with you?
Facebook; Mary Njoki ; https://www.facebook.com/njoki116/
Glass House PR: https://www.facebook.com/GlassHousePr.ke/?pnref=lhc
Twitter: @njoki116 @Glass _HousePR