Of Foxes And Hogs

Just amazed that it has taken me more than a week and a half to think through just four core objectives of this year.  Previously,  before i learnt the Fox and Hog Fable lessons,  i would do more than ten New Year resolutions even before the previous year comes to a close.  Well,  it seems with age,  i have become wiser… 

Come to think of it, Isaiah Berlin, a 13th Century English philosopher studied human beings and classified them into two major groups: foxes and hendgehogs.  

Foxes are known to be cunning.  They are energetic and can run after several objectives at once.  They hunt prey,  hedgehogs included.  Hedgehogs/hogs on the other hand are sluggish.  They are never in a hurry to reach a destination. When attacked by foxes,  they only know one way to defend themselves – rolling up into a ball and expose their spiky exterior.  The foxes would be beaten to the game and try another way, this time running away and hiding and once he is sure the hog is up and walking around,  he attacks the hog.  The hog would again fold up in self defence.  This way,  hogs use that one skill to defend themselves against prey.  The fox gets outwitted bespite his numerous ways to achieve his objective and finally gives up the chase. 

In real life,  foxes would try many ways to achieve a single objective.  They pursue many things at once and this makes their achievement of goals very hard and ineffective.  Hogs are slow and meticulous – their rates of goal achievement are high and very efficient.  They concentrate on their “One Thing”. 

I learnt this principle and purposed to apply it in my life last year before teaching others through my #Passionpreneurship programs and it worked.  Against momentous odds,  even my career life transformed totally. 

We are starting a new year….. It is still very young,  would you rather be a hog or a fox?  The ball is in your court – hit it and score well! 

Won’t you? 😉



The Professor stood in front of the classroom holding a white sheet of paper with a black circle at the centre.

“What do you see?” he asked his class

All the students raised their hands. Most of them answered that they saw a black dot.

You know the story and its moral – despite the bulk of what he held being white, they focused on the black circle.

This famous story speaks volumes about our lives. 

Let me twist the plot a bit: If the Professor started with informing his students that he was holding the white sheet of paper and eventually asked them what he was holding, they would have provided the correct answer  a white paper!

How does the difference come in? In the second is in the Professor enlightens the students about what he held in his hand!

Corporations all over the world invest billions of dollars to build their visibility to sustain the demand of their products over time. 

Coca Cola was established in 1896. In its nascent years, it sold an average of nine servings daily. As we speak, it does 9.6 billion bottles on average, thanks to heavy investment into marketing! Apple, the most valuable brand in the world is another case. Every new release is usually met with long queues of people in front of their stores even before they hit the market. Mark you, they buy at a premium price yet IOS system they run on is not the best Operating System! What do they buy? The simplicity and prestige associated with the Apple brand. 

In Kenya, the most profitable company is Safaricom Kenya Limited. In 2017, it announced profits that contributed to 54% of its parent companys, Vodacom Plc. The funds, if availed to the Kenyan Government, would finance its Ministry of Health for a year (as per 2017 Budget) and it would have remained with Kes. 2.1 B as change! Their game changer was in investing in brand visibility. Let us keep note that it was Airtel Kenya Limited (then known as Kencell) that started mobile telephony services in Kenya. 

As an entrepreneur, you will certainly not have a market if your products personality does not ring in the mind of your target audience. I always advice my mentees to invest in being known for something. People will never buy the product per se, but the #WHY behind your product. Invest in making it known why you exist and this will always pull people to make a purchase.  People would not know your product exists if they are not aware of what value it can add into their lives. This is why, when you see the Coke logo, you feel thirsty. Your mind has been programmed so!

I tell students alike: as you study, develop you unique abilities. Exhibit them to the world and be known for something. Those who know me associate me with perfect execution. Similarly, when I started my banking career, I known as the “perfectionist. I believe this is what enabled me to grow in my career against expectations. I made it into management from graduate entry in a record two years! Employers do not recruit for qualifications. They do for competence to enable them create value that pass on to their clients. The paper qualifications are therefore a plus. The world has no shortage of employment opportunities, it is in shortage of the employable! 

The professor in our analogy failed to make the students aware of the existence of the paper. This is why his students noticed the black spot yet the primary background was all white! As an entrepreneur or job seeker, this year invest in enhancing your brand visibility. Unlike the professor, ensure your white background is visible to the world more than the obvious (dot).  With focussed effort and consistency, you will be able to curve out an identity that you will be associated with.

By the way, many never know I pursued a biomedical degree in college earned a first class honours. Nonetheless, I chose to pursue my passion and exhibit to the world my abilities. I ended up in banking and part time consulting. This is what I do even now as a part time author, speaker and business coach. You too, can purpose to exhibit your white rather than let the world choose to see the black dot! 

Can’t you?



Making the Most of 2018 Resolutions

Having put the year that was 2017 behind us,  many yesterday ushered in the new one in style.  Many who have never stepped into church the whole year went to start a new life closer to God.  Many more even went ahead and noted down New Year resolutions,  those homongous lists of to-do things that never ever come to be! 

I purposed to just sit down and decide what i needed to accomplish in 2018. This time round,  i chose not to do a list.  I have religiously been doing it and nothing has been realised from it.  Last year i did not do a list but purposed in my heart to pursue three broad life objectives.  I look back and am happy that i exceeded expectations. I am proud of my 2017.

So what would i advice?  

Your life has four major needs: need for personal development or learning,  spirituality,  wellness or health and finally,  financial prosperity. 

Decide what one thing you would wish to accomplish in each of these four major areas.  The lesser the number of objectives, the better.  In the Fox and the Hog fable by Isaiah Berlin,  it was observed that foxes were never effectively successful at what they do as much as hogs.  Hogs chose to do one thing and pursued it to completion.  I would ask of you: what is your one thing this year?  Note that down. 

After noting down your broad objectives,  under each,  note down one specific objective you will dedicate your life to pursuing.  For example,  under wellness,  i have been at my doctor’s cross hairs every time i go for a medical review on weight matters.  I have purposed to reduce my weight this year.  I have purposed not to add any weight by halfing my daily sugar intake.  Sounds sensible,  right? Under financial needs,  i would wish to diverisfy my incomes.  I purpose to set up my PBL Africa corporate website and productisize my gift of speaking and coaching.  

Thirdly,  once you have made your specific objectives,  it would be wise to decide what exactly you would do under each objective to facilitate its attainment.  This will firm up your 2018 resolutions and ensure you create a behaviour pattern to ensure all your objectives are met. 

Fourth,  ensure all your objectives are time barred.  Set timelines that would help you keep a track of what has been achieved,  what is in progress and what is yet to be worked on.  Every often,  ensure you consult this list to ensure it is up to date.  The best way is to write the objectives where you can be viewing them from time to time.  I do that in my year diary on the furst page. In 2016, i pasted the list on my wardrobe door so that each time i go to dress for the day,  i would remind myself of my resolutions! 

Trust me,  going to pray in church and making humongous declarations won’t bring about any meaningful change in your life. Writing some long list won’t work either until you create a workable mechanism that infuses action in them. 

Personally i have decided that 2018 will be an even grandier year.  Hope we will meet here to celebrate our achievements! 

Good luck. 😊


Passion to Profit Online Program

The best resolution to make for 2018 is to be financially secure.  The preferred way to achieve this is by establishing a secondary source of income by starting a business.  Most of us have an idea but do not know how to actualise it into a business. 
So How do you turn a good idea into a great business?
Lots of us have ideas we think would make great businesses. Most of us never do anything with those ideas. Maybe it’s because we’re really happy with our jobs, maybe it’s because we’re not confident that our idea would really work. Or maybe it’s simply because we don’t know where to start.
This ‘Passion to Profit: How to Monetize Your Hobby and Be a Passionpreneur’ online coaching program was designed with you in mind to help you transform your passion or talent into a sustainable income stream.  It will make you cease from being a mere ‘passion carrier’ to a passionpreneur. 

It draws its lessons from real life case studies, recent business start-up research and entrepreneurship gurus.  With supportive learning materials conveniently availed at your fingertips, a support system of fellow participants and an experienced business coach, you are guaranteed to succeed in your quest to set up your enterprise in 2018.
And yeah, we will teach you to start off even with minimal or no capital!  
You feel like you are the candidate for this?  Hit the link below and once in WhatsApp,  click the send button and we will enrol you into the upcoming cohort of #Passionpreneurs in the making!


Be this Duck!

I bumped onto this duckling floating on water in a pond and it amazed me. It is unimaginable how an object with a higher density than water can float. But then, basic science taught us that ducks have webbed feet and hollow bones that enable them to float. And hence, aware of this advantage, they ride on it to survive by floating on water and this helps them reach food sources. Amazing, right?
Earlier this year, I tried my hand in coaching. I asked around and quickly assembled a team to help organise an event for training would be entrepreneurs. From our analysis, it was going to be an outright success.

And so we went about researching and creating great training material, together with shopping for a an appropriate venue. Once we settled on one, we put up the posters for people to sign up. The reception was overwhelming.

We knew it would be an easy sail now that we had reached a wide spectrum of our target audience with our call.

Then came the day of training. We went there an hour earlier and arranged the furniture for the participants and set up the projector and laptop ready to start off. Then the countdown began to the zero hour. To our astonishment, no one came over. We chose to delay for another half an hour lest some may have been caught up in the notorious traffic jams since it was a working day. Only three turned up and left excusing themselves that they were going to catch some snack and get back!

At the end of the day, we went back home dejected and heartbroken. Our initial investment returned a nil return. Actually we were running at a loss since we could not recoup even a cent of our investment.

When I settled back I reviewed the reasons why I had failed and what I could learn from the whole experience. I realised I went into it full throttle rather than utilise the few resources I had to reap maximum benefits.

Most of us entrepreneurs have this tendency of investing a lot without realising that there is a way you can execute certain tasks to reap maximum output with minimum input. This technique where one uses minimal resources to realise much more returns in output is called leverage.

Nature has the greatest lessons on how to leverage. If we could bio-mimic ants, for instance, we can learn how best to use the littlest of resources to achieve much. Ants are minute creatures but through proper organisation and elaborate communication systems, they are able to build magnificent anthills that inspire architecture designs of modern buildings like their ventilations systems.

For instance, why invest a lot of financial resources to undertake marketing when in actual fact, you can dwell on referrals to sell? You can imagine how effective and powerful positive word of mouth can work for you if you leverage that. For marketing too, one can utilise their social connections to build a brand over time and maximise on the brand to enhance product penetration.

For us, we learnt the hard way that we need not strain to achieve much. A little tweaking of a technique, a little thinking through would almost always deliver maximum results. For the purpose of reaching out, we restrategised and started social media branding to entrench ourselves in the minds of our target audience. As a result, we have been rolling out our coaching programs at almost zero cost.

Do you still want to be that duck?
Do you in any way need to learn more about how to undertake leverage in business? Maybe learn how to leverage branding, networking and coaching relationships? We have designed a Passion to Profit Online Masterclass Program to address this need and much more.
Hit the link below to enter your email address and select submit and we will get back to you on how to enrol into the program. It will transform your idea of entrepreneurship. That, we can guarantee!



Why Be An Entrepreneur & Not Self Employed? 

In my entrepreneurship mentorship sessions, I always float this question to my audience: why are you into business? In response, I receive an array of answers  some convincing, others not. That is normal with open forums.

In a study carried out by the Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) last year in Kenya, it was established that over 2.2 million businesses had collapsed over a five year period. Even more shocking, was the revelation that slightly over 400,000 start-ups never lasted beyond their second year of operation. 46% of these firms die off within their first year. 

Youth unemployment remains Kenyas biggest socio-economic challenge. So enormous it is that it shakes the core of the countrys dominance as an economic powerhouse. Statistics put it that one in every six young Kenyans is unemployed. In neighbouring Tanzania and Uganda, the rate stands at one in every twenty on average. 

Ask any Kenyan youth about their occupation and they would respond that they are either gainfully employed (in a job), or self-employed (taken to mean ‘business owners’). More often than not, they venture into self-employment as an option for lack of employment opportunities. They undertake business with neither the requisite skills nor passion for it.

Nonetheless, are these who are self-employed truly in entrepreneurship? Is there a line between self-employment and entrepreneurship? 

It has to be cherished that entrepreneurship is a philosophy of sorts, a lifestyle. Methinks entrepreneurship in being a vocation, one to add value to society. An entrepreneur would identify a challenge and consequently task himself to provide a solution. His main motivation is to fulfil a human need and alleviate a pain point. Despite the challenges they encounter, they keep on trudging on the path to their objective. 

Take Thomas Edison, he who invented the light bulb, for instance. Over 999 times, he failed and never gave up. He said that each time he failed, he discovered one way that he would not do it. His optimism paid off at last. Again, let us examine Jeff Bezos, he who for some days beat Bill Gates to be Forbes Richest Man alive. When he started Amazon, his dream was to provide a link between producers and the consumers and build the worlds largest online retailer! The business made money for the founder after six years of operation. Facebook, the worlds largest social media platform, took five years before it reported a profit. Alibaba took eight years while Tesla, the world acclaimed innovative automobile manufacturer, is yet to be profitable to date!

Coming closer home, Parapet, the regions leading cleaning company, took three to four years to stabilize and post profits. While it may seem business leadership translates to super profits, Business Daily too proves otherwise. The paper is the countrys leading business publication and yet, seven years after launch, it is yet to post a profit!

Did the founders of these businesses give up since they were unable to recoup their investments in the short term? Absolutely not. In fact, with the continued negative feedback on their financial positions, they persisted and got motivated by the need to fill their identified society gap until when their businesses broke even. Hence, entrepreneurship is a philosophy, a calling of sorts!

On the contrary, those who take entrepreneurship to be a profession (self-employment) look forward to financial rewards or compensation. As such, they would get into business to be free most of the time (or so they think), to express their bossiness around, and most popular of all, earn huge payoffs from the business! Some even start a business to be able to live a defined kind of lifestyle. To others, getting their hands into business is an express ticket to wealth generation. Nonetheless, this is getting it all wrong. 

Entrepreneurship is about value creation. The sanctity of undertaking business is to enrich the human race. Their mission in life is made complete by solving a human need. It therefore cannot be a short term affair as for the ‘self-employed’. Entrepreneurs go for the long haul. For instance, Coca Cola has outlived its founders, more than a century after its invention. When the firm started in 1896, it sold nine servings per day in Atlanta. The founder passed on two years after inventing the beverage. Currently, the firm sells an average of 1.9 billion bottles daily across the globe! 

In addition, entrepreneurs are risk takers and dare invest in a venture in pursuit of their objective. They would not fear failure. Failing is just but part of the process of success. Whenever they encounter failure, they keep on working their passion to fruition. A self-employed individual is risk averse, choosing to play safe with the intention of reaping big from their undertaking. Failure discourages them altogether.

However, even more interesting is the ability of an entrepreneur to flex with dynamics on the ground. He appreciates that there are constant shifts on the ground and as such, he/she is prepared to change in tandem to the shifts. This is the reason why those who take entrepreneurship as a calling do not give up. Their flexibility works to their advantage. For the self-employed fellow, their rigidity works against them. Like the dinosaurs of old, their rigidity causes them to fail due to their inadaptability. 

How else can we explain the findings of a study by CB Insights, who undertook a post mortem on 101 start-ups that failed recently? In this study, they found out that the major cause of start-up failure is lack of a human need (up to 42%). Lack of capital only came second with 29% of subjects alluding this to their failure. This is interesting since most business founders blame the lack of capital as the cause of business failure. 

The crux of the matter is the motivation for an individual to get into entrepreneurship. That is what determines whether a business will last or not. Of particular noting is the fact that all the mentioned businesses that have outlasted the times had one common denominator  their founders had the right mind set. To them, business was not a means to earn a living. It was a calling, a vocation. If we re-evaluated our motivation to get into business, we would reverse this failure rate of businesses in our country and region and reap big from the ripple effect in terms of economic growth and sustainability. 

So then, would you rather be self-employed in business or choose to be an entrepreneur? The better choice is quite explicit!


This article was first done for publishing in the Cytonn Investments Plc Blog by Michael Okinda,  the author.  

He is an acclaimed personal branding & business coach under his PBL Africa initiative. 



Plane disused2

I was once privileged to work in Northern Kenya, in Turkana County at a town called Lokichoggio. It was my first time to serve in a hardship area in my ten years in banking and finance. The experience had its own challenges alongside merits.

For once, I could interact with flora and fauna I only read about in my Geography classes.  But the presence of the international airport as part of the town’s infrastructure is what fascinated me most.

During our time for rest and recuperation, we would use flights to and from Nairobi. The presence of many planes on the airfield, disused and in bad shape attracted my attention. So when an employee of the facility invited me over to the watchtower for a visit, I obliged.

Once up in the control tower, he showed me how they directed and managed flights in the airport. It gave me a chance to question why so many huge planes were parked on the tarmac on the fringes of the airfield, disused and abandoned. He informed me that most of those planes were left abandoned by their owners after the government banned their use in the country.

The discussion progressed on. I also questioned why, in such a short time, most had rusted and were literally falling apart. He told me that a plane is made to fly. Its life should be spent mostly in the air and not on land. As such, when packed on land, vagaries of weather work on it more than when it is in the skies. Likewise, my friend went on, a plane is safer when it is in the air than on land! And this shocked me to the core…

In Nairobi’s biggest airport, JKIA, the turnaround time for a plane is two hours on the maximum. This means, every two hours, a plane has to be in the air to minimize its wear and tear when aground.

Plane disused

It made me to start thinking: what was I created for? Was I really living the life I was meant to? Am I harnessing the potential in me to the maximum? What was my gifting? How was I using it?

In this world, many of us are like those planes on the ground – living a life they were never created to live, with unexplored potential lying idle in them. Many of us are leading lives to fit into our clichés and gangs. We do things to belong. We do things because we feel that is what society and those around us expect us to, oblivious of the actual reason why we were created in the first place.

Plane disused3

Look around social media for instance: we are literally competing against ourselves on who looks more fly than the other. But then, were we all created to be similar? Life would be very boring if all of us did the same thing, living similar lifestyles!

It is upon us to dig in and have a conversation within ourselves to find out why we exist. Unless we do that, we will be like those planes I have spoken of – wearing off and disused, useless. For we will never find meaning if all we do is sit on the ground when we were made to fly! When you time on earth comes to an end, would you look back and regret that you never lived the life you were supposed to? Would you, for instance, blame doubt and fears as some of the things that stopped you from exploiting your life potential?

So, then, fly – each in his own unique way as we were created or lie down and die disused and wasted. It is your choice. True success only comes when you live your purpose – living as you were intended to. So make the right choice!

***** Ends******

The writer is an acclaimed business author of Passionpreneurship Demystified and Business Networking: How to maximize on your contacts for Business and Professional Growth. Both books are available on Amazon. He is also a Personal Branding and Business Speaker with PBL Africa and a Cytonn Entrepreneurs Hub Mentor. In case you need assistance to give your business or profession a jump-start, he can be reached via the following contacts:

Email:                mokindah@gmail.com

LinkedIn:             https://www.linkedin.com/in/mike-okinda-9652b210a

Telegram:             @Mokinda

Telegram Community:      https://t.me/joinchat/EkprBT6zCKCRUmQUaDD9cQ