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By Kibet Tobias
At age 21, just after graduating from university, I made a decision to start a business while looking for a job in my new town.
With only 5,000 shillings to my name, I started buying and supplying exams to local primary schools. At the time I had no business plan, no business name, and no clients but I was ready to create my dream job and get things started anyway. It was a huge risk but it is worth it at the end!
After a year of running a business, I have finally learned some important life lessons that might have taken me years to realize.  Probably an entry-level job wouldn’t have offered me such valuable lessons.
Here are the 5 lessons I learned in one year of being a young business owner:
1. Keep Taking Risks
The first year in business, I discovered what it means to get out of the comfort zone. I realized what it also means to sell. I used to say I am not a salesperson, but business is all about sales.
You need to hustle to get new customers, most of them strangers. It is challenging but you will be able to achieve what you never imagined you could achieve.
The more you reach out to new people, the more you and your business will grow and the more income you get.
2. Surround Yourself with Other Business Owners
Most people including your family and friends would want to know the progress of your business. They used to wonder, is it really working?
I didn’t know how to answer them because in the first year in business it is actually hard to explain success to someone else, especially if they don’t own a business.
Truth is business requires great financial sacrifices at its early stages. At this point, you have to surround yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs to help you grow. They will probably be your support system any time of need.
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3. People Who Appreciate Your Services Will Pay Your Prices
While starting my business, the prices of my exam papers were relatively low. Though this was a technique to get clients, some would not trust my prices because they were too low.
However, those who accepted and gave me orders to supply exams to their schools would respect my work and would even pay more to appreciate the delivery.
Don’t worry, even when your products or services are rejected, it is not the end of your business; you will get more clients.
4. You will work past 5 p.m. and on weekends
Being a business owner has no regular time frame. You may be required to start working at 7 a.m. or even up to 4 a.m.
Surprisingly, even when you work till late at night, you won’t be paid for overtime.
It is your dream and passion you are pursuing. So you will need great self- motivation to grow your business.
5. Set Monthly Goals
Every month I established a monthly goal for the business. It’s a powerful reminder and motivation to stay on course and keep meeting your own expectations.
If you hit that goal the first month, in the next, you push harder to achieve more.  The feeling that comes after hitting those goals is just amazing and encouraging.
Now, while trying to set your goals, always remember you need to evaluate your business well. Are you spending more than you should? Figure out the areas that need improvements.
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Final Thoughts…
Entrepreneurship is not an easy road for everyone.  It needs courage and passion to grow in it. Good news, the end result is worth it. Have a thick skin and pursue your business idea.
Tobias is a Content writer/Digital Marketer at Career Point Kenya. Email tobias@careerpointkenya.co.ke