How To Overcome Failure


How do you deal with failure in life, business or professional life?  Many of us would instinctively give up and focus their energies elsewhere. Failure is indeed a scary word to many.

We were having a tee-a-tete with fellow influencers on an upcoming engagement for the youth in various fields including entrepreneurship when we discovered that one denominator ran under us: we all had failed one time in our pursuit of success.

My fist time to organize an event for nascent entrepreneurs was the first time to experience failure first hand.  We did all the necessary preparations beforehand.  The event was also oversubscribed and we were confident that it would surpass our expectations by far. Come the training day and we went earlier to set up the venue and waited for our trainees. Half an hour into the scheduled time for starting, no one came! We consoled ourselves that maybe those who booked slots would come later. However, none came. We had to pack up and leave. We agreed with my partner to revisit the event and learn where we had failed to make it even better next time we would. And that us why we met recently, to revive our dreams and see how best to resurrect it once again.

Did I give up after the debacle? Not at all. Actually after that major failure, I purposed to approach the calling using a different approach. I chose to build my brand and that is how I came up with Passionpreneurship. I did a book to disseminate this knowledge and followed it up with two others, including an online course on how to turn one’s hobby into a sustainable business. (Check out the Passion to Profit Online Masterclass via ). The inaugural book has opened up doors I never imagined – speaking events, opportunities to mentor others and most importantly, being a business trainer cum mentor for the prestigious Cytonn eHub Program. What if I had thrown in the towel, where would I be?

Your guess is as good as mine.

There is a famous saying that goes: if you have never failed in anything, then you have never tried doing anything. And if you are just inert, it implies that you are not accomplished. You can never achieve anything in life if you are afraid to risk it and fail.

Maybe we can examine various world renowned success personalities in their own right to best appreciate this: The infamous owner of the OWN Television Network, Oprah Winfrey, was once  demoted form her news anchor job because she was considered “unfit for the position.” Michael Jordan, the sports icon, had been cut out from his high school basketball team since his height was not up to standard. Years later, he was recognized as a top Basketball Hall of Famer, earning millions from his endorsements of sports apparel. J.K. Rowling, the infamous writer, did her inaugural Harry Potter manuscript and knocked 12 publishers’ doors and none would accept her. Her 13th accepted it but half-heartedly. He told her that she could not make serious money doing children’s books. Well, she is the only dollar billionaire purely from writing books!

Nonetheless, in the event failure happens, which is inevitable anyway, one reaps much when they choose to persist. This can only happen if you have passion for what you do. They say that passion, is more consistent with happiness and success than any other thing.

From the above examples, were it not for passion, the history makers would have thrown in the towel and resigned themselves to fate. But they chose to keep on pushing in the hope that one day things will turn out right.

It is therefore upon us, if we are serious about succeeding in life and overcome obstacles that come our way, to discover, develop and deploy passion into the world. This way, we are assured of overcoming any challenge that is set before us.

They say the when currency fails, gold becomes the standard of transactions. For success, the currency is passion. Passion, is the new black! Embrace it. 🙂


The writer is the author of Passionpreneurship Demystified, a book on how to leverage passion for success in life. If you need a copy, visit the link below:



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. 

The Power of WHY

Airtel posts a Kes. 45B loss for the last financial year. Safaricom, its main competitor in the same market, posts a reverse figure – Kes. 48B profit. Airtel, originally known as Kencell Kenya, was the pioneer mobile telephony operator in the country. Safaricom started later on, and experienced a myriad of customer service issues due to its technological challenges with its infrastructure. Give it to the then association with the then parent company, Kenya Posts and Telecommunication Corporation, a government parastatal.

But then, how comes the originator of the mobile telephony concept was beaten to the game? It behooves us to keenly look at the business models of the two antagonists and you will discover a deeper and much engrained secret: Values.

Safaricom started off as an enabler of communication with its “Get Connected” brand proposition. It enabled even the marginalized then to connect with each other and endeared itself with the rural poor and unreached. The competitor, showed itself to be elitist – marketing itself as an urban brand and only concentrated itself to its urban target market. It was considered expensive. However, the network quality was superior.

Then came the game changer – Mpesa. As we speak, Safaricom has transformed itself from a principally mobile telephony company to a cross sectorial aggregator to currently, a digital enabler incorporating data and other services on its platforms. It’s purely a hegemony! 

Airtel tried to catch up with its Zap service but Kenyans wouldn’t accept the brand. To them, Mpesa, especially after the 2007/2008 PEV crisis, proved to be a much more reliable and homely service than Zap. Mind you Zap even waived off all fees! Airtel, since its inception, has seen changes in its leadership with nine CEOs taking charge. For Safaricom, as a show of its stability, has only had one transition in its top leadership.

That is the power of a brand. If you really want to make it in business, learn your target market. Aligning your value system to the target market’s ethos and you will be good to go! Apple is the way it is not because it is cheaper, but because its users find it easy and amiable. Safaricom too, is running on this same platform of values. It all boils down to your WHY.


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



Telegram:             @Mokinda

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How does one earn a promotion faster than the others? How comes very few of us get those raises so easily at the detriment of others? Read on to discover this secret that very few know of and start working with utmost satisfaction.



Whenever I get the opportunity to give an introduction about myself to young and upcoming professionals, the audience stands in awe at how fast I rose up the corporate ladder of success. Yeah, I became a manager for a multinational financial institution at the tender age of 28, three years after joining the firm as a junior clerk!

The first question I am always asked is how I made it and if I really had “connections” to enable me ascend the ranks. But my answer is always in the negative. Neither did I work hard to earn the rising…but I chose to work smart.

The avalanche of queries led me to do my inaugural book, “Passionpreneurship Demystified” (available on Amazon and via where I elucidated clearly on this secret.

Well, it is common notion that for one to be noticed at the workplace, one must have the appropriate papers or be known to some authority that would prefer favours on them to rise.  Others take it that one has to really work hard to deliver and overachieve to literally earn a promotion.

When I got employed as a graduate clerk back in late 2007 (October 11th to be precise), I realized that I was not on boarded to the company because of my qualifications, but my capabilities. I underwent rigorous aptitude testing and interviews until I eventually made the cut to be a graduate clerk and posted to a remote area to start off my career. The irony of it all was that I was a medical degree First Class Honours holder yet the banking industry required educational skills in banking and finance related subjects.

I set out to learn my job well and develop passion around my job roles as a way of having an easy time in the organization. It was a choice I had to make, including adjusting attitude and putting myself to task about my expectations in the office.


Now where do we go wrong as employees? How comes many of us stagnate in one position for years?  The first misconception as I have mentioned is the notion that for one to employed or promoted for that matter, one has to be a thick curriculum vitae of academic qualifications. But then, place yourself in the shoes of the employer with several employees and direct reports with huge files of qualifications but minimal delivery….what will be your next reaction? Sack all of them, or is it not? Well, that is how useless it is to be so learned with nil skills and competencies. Employers do not employ for papers. They do because of the employees’ potential to deliver. It therefore means what sells are not the academic qualifications but abilities or competencies. It is your skills that sell you not the papers you hold!

The world has come to appreciate this fact: a few years ago, leading business consultancy firm, Ernest & young, removed the requirement that for one to be legible for employment, one has to have a degree. PricewaterhouseCoopers too have followed suit. This is a strong pointer of the importance of anyone keen on rising up the ladder of corporate success, to work on improving their output delivery ability.

How then do you go about boosting your ability to perform so that you get noticed? I will answer this question exhaustively in the second installment of this article. Keep tabs on his blog for the second part of this!

***** End of Part 1******

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 Coach with PBL Africa. In case you need assistance to give your business or profession a jump-start, he can be reached via the following contacts:



Telegram:                       @Mokinda

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What Is Your Price?

I always wonder how premium brands sell yet they do not advertise neither are they cheaply priced. For instance, how many have seen an ad on television for Ferrari? But Toyota and other Japanese brands are a permanent resident on our screens. And how comes Ferrari turnovers are higher than Toyota Corporations? Or Apple being much more appealing to sell than let us say Nokia phones?

I bumped onto this analogy online as i was browsing, and i copy paste here for illustration purposes:

A friend once went to promote an new soft drink in a rich kids school. The drink was going for 10 bob (promotional offer) while Coca Cola was going for Sh. 40.

He realized very few were buying the soft drink at Sh. 10 and they were all flocking on Coke’s stand.

He quickly changed the pricing from Sh. 10 to Sh. 60 and the tables turned. People started buying the drink even more.

When sending bids, note that rich clients may NEVER even check your bid if you price too low. If a client is looking to pay someone Sh. 20 per 500 words. High chances are that he won’t even check the Sh. 2 – Sh. 10 bids. He’ll consider them desperate.

Therefore, NEVER bid too low for projects in bidding sites. Always check the client’s budget and bid either at their price or slightly lower. I’ve seen that even bidding slightly higher can work wonders. Aim to get to at least Sh. 10 per 500 words as soon as possible.

Are you surprised as i am? Yeah, i am sure you are. We expected that the cheaply priced items and bids would have a higher number of users than the premium priced but then, practically speaking, it is the premium priced ones that outdid the cheaper ones.

The secret herein lies:

People never buy the product for what it is. They buy the motivation behind the product. What touches the human soul of the potential buyer is what moved the producer to produce to manufacture the final product. That is what makes them buy. If it was pricing, we would be seeing the cheap products’ turnovers being much more than the cheaply priced ones. How then does Apple, premium priced as it selling more than Nokia, which is cheaper? The motivation for the manufacture of course!

In the same vein, we always reach a point that desperation make us to just accept what life brings our way. I always get so many inbox messages from people looking for jobs and when i ask them which job they desire to linked to, all they would answer is ‘any job’! And i tell them off that there is no job titled “any job”. You must know what you want and be psyched to go for it. That is what one who has a vision and is principled carries himself. Now worse off, are those who when they go for interviews, they quote a low amount of cash as monthly pay. What the interviewers see is that you are desperate and you have no intrinsic value attached to your skills.

I remember when i got employed, i had a perfect career development plan. That in five years, i should be made manager from being a graduate clerk. And yeah, i exceeded my expectations and was promoted in two years to be assistant manager and two years later, a unit manager. When i landed into my new position, i set a target to work and if am to move, my new employer had to add a specific amount of cash on my monthly pay if successful in convincing me to. I achieved that. And since the game was sweeter by the day, i purposed that my next employer would have to double my pay on poaching me out of there. And yes, when the time came a year later, they did exactly that. And how did i achieve all this? By building a track record and using it to sell to those who needed my skills and services.

Clients pay for quality. If you know you have something worth being paid for, do not undervalue it. Because the price you attach to a product or skills speaks much about the motivation behind the service or commodity you are selling.

So, what is your price? Let it reflect the worth of your WHY.
The writer is an acclaimed business author of Passionpreneurship Demystified and Business Networking: How To maximize on your contacts for Business and Professional Growth. He is also a Personal Branding and Business Coach with PBL Africa. In case you need assistance to give your business or profession a jump-start, he can be reached via the following contacts:


Telegram:                       @Mokinda

Telegram Community:



Passionpreneurship Demystified

​If you want to learn how to achieve your dreams in life, be it in business or professional life, this is the book to have. 

I consider it a manual, for it not only inspires but also coaches on how to turn your passion to profit!
To order:


Text/Call: +254 724 774 479

Telegram: @Mokinda




Monkey See, Monkey Do Syndrome

When i heard of this idiom, i never actually appreciated what it  implied. Actually it holds much water for us who are still growing and finding our footing in life.

So the story goes that a group of pupils organised for a trip to a zoo and on the way, they each bought hats. When they arrived at the zoo, they were amazed at the different animals on display. One stand fascinated them – monkeys upon a tree. And they were so engrossed at enjoying their presence with them that a slight wind came and blew away their hats which the monkeys grabbed. They wore them on their heads just as they saw the kids do!

The kids got mad. They beckoned to the monkeys to go to where they were and the monkeys did exactly that. Whenever they did anything in an attempt to get their hats, the monkeys did the same. They realized there was a way to trick the monkeys, by making them ape them: they took their scarfs and tied them on their heads to look like hats. The monkeys did not copy that since the way they looked was alike to them – as if they wore hats. Then in tandem, they removed the scarfs from their heads and threw them into the air. The foolish monkeys, as was their character, did the same and pulled the hats from their heads and threw them into the air. The hats flew down to the ground and the kids took them back and ran away, laughing in joy.
Funny as the story is, it holds great lessons for us and is a clear mirage of how most of us live. How many of us have a clear vision of what we want in life? It is said almost 92% of people in the world today die before realizing their potential in life. It is therefore not a surprise that the richest place in the world is the graveyard as in it lies ideas that were never fulfilled.

I know of friends who purpose to do stuff but along the way, out of external pressure, they bulge and start aping their fellow men’s ideas. Of particular instance is  a pal whose passion was doing marketing. When a fellow came into town and he held an event, he chose to shift to doing events management. Well, he organised his and it never went down well. He lost a lot of cash and when i met him, he chose to go into environmental consultancy, saying that that was his forte. Well, i just sat back and analysed his adventure at self discovery and i pitied him. I have never heard of him since.

Like the monkeys in our analogy above, many of us never have confidence in what we put our minds to do, and get derailed when challenges come in. We are uniquely created with individual and specific strengths that make us to be who we are. No two people can therefore do the same thing likewise. If i was to write down my speech, and gave it to you to go present at a conference, trust me you would not deliver it as perfectly as i would even without the write up. Because we are totally different. That is the reason why anyone who apes fails in execution.
I always admire Thomas Edison, the great  American inventor. He tried 999 times to invent the light bulb. And every time he failed, he said he learnt one way not to do it. Were he to start letting his eyes wander off his purpose, someone else would have come along and did exactly that and take all the glory, plus the rewards!

They say the grass is always greener across the fence. But then, if you water yours, it would also be green. It is just a matter of effort and skill. Or better still, be greener and more attractive than the one across the fence. So, why cross the fence? Tend to yours!

 It is time we stopped seeing what people do and ape and start living our lives as we were created to, in business and in the workplace. You can only be the best version of yourself and not the other person! If you want to have a fulfilling business or work quality, just choose to be the best you can be of yourself. Because it is your passion that would power your life dream!

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



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