Mueni resigned from her job to start a business nearly two years ago inspired by her friends who, she confessed, seemed to be doing well as entrepreneurs.
Everything went well for 18 months. Then she realised her capital had substantially shrunk and the going was getting tough. “At this rate I will be insolvent in a couple of months,” she told me seeking advice.
I realised she thought that starting a business was like acquiring a ticket to good life, free from stress, mainly associated with employment.
One thing she failed to realise is that it would take some time for the business to pick up and be profitable and possibly give her enough income to lead the lifestyle of her choice.
I asked her how many years she had worked before quitting employment.
She smiled as she explained how she rose from an intern and climbed many steps before becoming a departmental head within eight years.
I looked at her straight in the eye, asked if she took eight years to get to a senior position in corporate world what made her suppose that rising to a senior position with good income in own business without structures would take months.
She did not have an answer. Rather she went into reflection mood.
One of the main causes of agony and stress in start-ups is expecting miracles; expecting a meteoric rise in profitability and lifestyle to match those who have been in business longer.
A general observation across most sectors show that it takes five to seven years to fully develop a career and move to a senior position.
This is based on the assumption that one continues with learning, self-development and hard work. It takes time, resources and devotion to achieve mastery.
This principle applies to entrepreneurship as well. There is hardly any short-cut to success whether both in employment and in business.
All demand hard work and dedication to continuous self-improvement.
When you start a business, regardless of your experience in your previous job or level of education, expect it to take some time before it grows to a point where it gives you optimal profit.
It simply takes time to build a brand, gain enough customers and learn the best ways of managing the business.
Experience in your previous jobs may accelerate your learning curve but will not insulate you from making mistakes as you understand the new industry and win enough customers.