Having lots of cash boosted my ego, but it was a trap
Jeremiah Gichuki Maina is a certified public accountant and the sole proprietor of the finance and auditing firm Maina Gichuki & Associates
I started my career journey as a financial controller. This was a critical moment for my growth. I was able to gain skills ranging from financial auditing and taxation to business discipline, management and development. I believe that being employed is a critical stage that every entrepreneur must go through. There are certain things you will only learn if you are working for someone else.
It is very easy to generate a business idea. Moving the idea from paper to a business that withstands time is not a walk in the park. Chances are high that the business might collapse. My fondest milestone is founding, developing, and running a self-sustaining business.
When you are young in entrepreneurship, keeping cash at hand may boost your ego. But this is a dangerous habit. When I started making money from the business, my earnings were easily accessible. I kept too much liquid cash. My friends and people around me took note of it and started borrowing. It became hard to say no because the money was there for them to see. I started lending. Many never paid back. Friendships became strained and in some cases, I lost both money and friends. It’s not only risky to lend to friends, but it is also risky to keep too much cash when you could invest it elsewhere and make it work for you.
Giving out your goods or services on credit can be a booby trap. This is what has brought me the biggest career losses so far. When I started, I would give my services to clients who would promise to pay after the job is done. The majority of these never honoured our gentleman’s agreement. This taught me that it is always safer to get a down payment before you can engage. Once you have completed the job, you must demand for payment at the point of delivery.
I didn’t have a bank account when I started working. I would save my money in cash. This meant that I frequently had bouts of impulse spending. At the end of many months, I had nothing to show. I now save through fixed deposit at the bank, a savings account, and through the Sacco.
The past few months have not been easy for everyone. It is much easier to give up on your career, business or money goals now more than ever. This is why you must have courage to stick to your dream, career and financial targets. I have found prayer and family support to be critical in career and business survival. These are the two things that can genuinely give you that extra kick to keep you going. There are two factors that have also been critical in the growth of my business; open-mindedness and networking. Networks will give you referrals and opportunities to grow. Your network is your net worth.
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