Lack of capital and fear of failure have always been a hindrance for many people venturing into business. But for Philip Mutahi Ngunyi failing has been his greatest lesson.
After failing in his 29 businesses including running a restaurant, the 35-year-old decided to try his hand in rearing dogs, rabbits and doves.
Upon completing his Bachelor of Science (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) from the Technical University of Mombasa, Mr Ngunyi was not interested in being employed but starting a business.
“I was not meant for a white collar job. The 29 failed businesses have taught me lessons on perseverance, persistence and never giving up in life,” he says.
“I have done 29 businesses in Mombasa including selling milk, selling foodstuffs at Kongowea market, running a restaurant, cyber cafe, taxi, keeping pigs, supplying food from Nyeri to Mombasa and they’ve all failed.”
But he is now contented keeping dogs, rabbits and doves in his half an acre plot in Kashani, Kisauni Sub-County.
The businessman says he has incurred losses running into millions of shillings thanks to his failed ventures.
However, he says in retrospect the failures have been very solid lessons for his current venture, which is doing well.
“I sell doves at Sh2,000 to people who keep them as pets,” he says, adding that he depends on social media to get customers.
“I had a cyber, a taxi and a restaurant and they all failed due to numerous reasons including high cost of electricity. I decided to engage in dog keeping,” he says.
Mr Ngunyi feeds his dogs on a special diet.
“I love them. It’s my hobby hence I must ensure they are well feed, healthy and strong. Sometimes I buy goats which I slaughter and cook for the dogs. Their foods are cooked very well but never salted,” he says.
“I also feed them on wheat and maize products, omena, soya, bone meal,” Mr Ngunyi says adding that “hygiene is paramount; I wash my dogs every day. I deworm adult dogs monthly but puppies every two weeks, and they bath every day.”
The 2013 general election stalemate was particularly a big challenge for him as the standoff that ensued caused his cyber cafe business to collapse.
“I had taken a loan, but when a dispute arose over the polls, I suffered severely and had no choice but to shutdown the business and sell the equipment,” he adds.
His sold his 10 puppies at Sh25,000 each to make ends meet.
To start off his dog business, Mr Ngunyi took his savings and bought a land in Kisauni where he started also keeping rabbits and doves.
“I found myself all alone in this area but I was not scared. I decided to keep more dogs for security reasons. I lease the dogs to families who have recently built their properties around this area and need security,” he adds.
He gets between Sh500 and Sh1,000 to lease a dog for a day.
Currently he keeps nine dogs which include Rottweilers, Bowers and German Shepherds.
Mr Ngunyi says Rottweilers are very aggressive and they feed on more food than the others.
“Dogs can give birth of up to 10 puppies at a go, which I sell between Sh25,000 and Sh40,000 and they give birth twice a year. This is a good business,” Mr Ngunyi says.
He also rescues dogs from Kisauni and keeps them safe in his compound.