My time in college was filled with watching movies every time I did not have a class. The stress that came with an unsuccessful job search period after college is what brought me to the realization that I should have made good use of my talents while in school. Had I embarked on a moneymaking project, would I have been stressed by my state of joblessness?
Kyllan and Mumbi are changing this for themselves. They decided to engage in moneymaking ventures while still in school. Their businesses are driven by passion – something that has enabled them to build their own unique brands, make money online and gain valuable work experience.
For them, unemployment after graduation is not something they are worried about.
Here are their stories:
“When I was a freshman at Kenyatta University, I had a lot of free time, and I spent most of it sleeping and watching movies.”
When his mother returned home from South Africa, she brought back the equipment she used in her salon and showed him different types of nail art techniques, leaving the equipment to him. As he was not keen on nail art business, he considered selling the equipment.
However, his friend’s birthday was around the corner and because he did not have money to buy her a gift, he offered to decorate her nails. The results were impressive and he ended up painting two other lady’s nails.
Encouraged by the satisfaction that the ladies drew from his work, he started decorating his classmates’ nails for free just to improve on his skill.
Using YouTube, he also learned more on nail art application and discovered a new technique called polygel. Once he mastered the new technique by practising on his friends’ nails, he attached a fee to his services.
“Starting out on marketing was my biggest challenge. My clients were mainly students, so I would walk around with a placard hung on my chest to advertise my services. The results were not so good. I was banned from doing that inside the school compound.
I then opened an Instagram account called @qiqi.nails on which I posted my work. After a while, clients began contacting me through Instagram. To expand my reach, I paid for my pictures and posts to be promoted by Instagram.”
As Polygel is still a new and expensive technique, he offers his services at a subsidized fee of ksh2000 and to gain an advantage over his competitors, meets his clients at their preferred location.
Kyllan has been in this business for four months and makes an average of Ksh25,000 every month.
“This job has enabled me to rent a place of my own and to furnish it. I look forward to growing the business, and even after I complete my Bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences, I will continue to focus on my business.”
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“Spoken word has been close to my heart from the time I was in high school. My journey began at the Nairobi International School just before I completed my secondary school education.”
When she joined Riara University to study Law, she started looking for people who loved spoken word as much as she did.
Her first ‘home’ was at the Kwani? Open Mic which is held every first Tuesday of the month. Here, she met Cindy Ogana, who made her believe she was a good performer. It is also here that she was introduced to Poetry After Lunch (PAL), which is held every Thursday at the Kenya Cultural Center. She says she met people who set her poetry career rolling.
Later that year, she auditioned in Slam Africa, a spoken word competition, and made it! She emerged the second runners up in the competition. This was the defining point of her career as a poet.
“In early 2018, my poems started gaining popularity, but people did not know who I was until I performed at Churchill Show.”
Mumbi describes her journey as one with difficulties. Being a female artist and a student at the same time has not been easy for her. Sometimes, people doubt her ability and underestimate her. She has however learned to take every challenge positively, and use it to improve her skills.
“I am proud to have built my brand while still in school, to the point where I get invited to perform in high profile events.
As I wait to graduate, I spend my time performing and also offering lessons to high school students who are interested in poetry. I also visit children’s homes to spend time with underprivileged children.”
Despite the challenges you may face in balancing between your business and studies, it will be worth it in the long run. Nothing is impossible.