Friends, I’ll share just one more teaser as I plan for upcoming exciting and beautiful content for you my creatives. Enjoy the read from my book THRIVING CREATIVES. This is an excerpt from the business chapter.
Most creatives tend to be creatives first, then business people second. There are, of course, some that are just as business-driven right from the start but the majority that I have encountered are more concerned with creativity initially and then learn business skills along the way. I am no exception despite having an early exposure to trade. While in the third year of my secondary school, I developed a real love for Microsoft Power Point. It was one of the first computer programs I learnt and through experimenting with the different templates, I found out that I could make gift cards and bookmarks. My mum, who is super awesome, bought a laminating machine for me to make bookmarks. She officially became the first investor I would ever have through that action. She encouraged me to sell the bookmarks in my boarding school and I sold each at 3,000 Ugandan shillings. The first school term I did this, I sold out! That was the real beginning of my journey of being turned into a business person and not only a creative. From that moment on, it’s like something within me had been ignited.
This thing called business enabled me to make my own money and it felt super empowering. Thereafter, I made sure that I often had something to sell. When I got to university in 2008, paper bead jewellery had become rather trendy. I remember going to one of the craft markets in Uganda and buying necklaces and bracelets in bulk. I’d then take them with me to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania where I was studying and finally sell them there for 3 to 5 times the price of purchase. I sold all my jewellery to my fellow university students. The interesting thing is despite the ridiculous profit margins, they were cheap for the Tanzanians because of the difference in the currencies and standards of living in both countries. I also sold new clothes that I’d bought from the wholesale imports shops downtown in Kampala during my university years. The first person who introduced me to these clothes was my sister-in-law – Happiness. She opened up yet another world for me. I became thoroughly intrigued by fashion.
My desire to do business was insatiable. This did not mean I was suddenly great at business. Later, I learned so much more when I opened my first ever formal business. It was after opening up the House of KEA that it dawned on me that business was not just buying and selling or making and selling, for that matter. It was a whole new world with different rules. I realised that selling within the confines of school with such a ready market of hundreds or thousands of students was different from selling in the real world with numerous tastes and preferences. I quickly realised I had to grow as a business person or I wouldn’t survive in the market. Since then, I have become a perpetual learner of business.
Since 2015 when I started the House of KEA, I have subscribed to business magazines and websites such as smallstarter.com. I have also gone for different growth programs such as The Creative Enterprise Program by British Council and Nesta, YALI’s Regional Leadership Program under the Business and Entrepreneurship class, one-on-one business coaching and any business seminar I came across and was available for. I am eager to learn and soak in all the knowledge I can get because I know now that as a creative that wants to make really good money from my creativity, I must learn to think and act like a successful business person. That’s the only thing that turns a creative hustle into a creative business.
The things I share in this chapter therefore are lessons I have learnt and experienced through different avenues. They have proven useful to me and I know they will be useful to you too.
That’s it for now folks, I hope you enjoyed the read. Again, the rest is in the book and it’s only 50,000 Ugandan shillings.