LeAnne Peris is an entrepreneur. She owns a series of businesses that include the Diner En Blanc, a wedding and events planning, a micro-finance, and management consultancy businesses.
Greatest milestone: I made my first million at age 23. I was broke, trying to be an entrepreneur but not making any money! One day I was called for a meeting but I didn’t have any money to attend it. I scheduled the meeting for 2pm. I took a mobile phone-based loan of Sh. 1,000 to go to the meeting. After a very short discussion there, I bagged my first million-shilling contract. I’d made a million from Sh. 1,000 investment. In life, you must be willing to bulldoze, jump over, go under, or round every obstacle that comes your way. Stop complaining or looking for excuses. No opportunity is too small to be explored and no opportunity is too big! Go for your dreams with everything you have! Take risks! Dream big! Be confident! Listen to your instincts! Stop saying lack of capital is the reason you’re not doing business. That is an excuse. If you really want to do it, you will find a way to do it.
Biggest money mistake: I had this habit of hiring my friends because they needed jobs, or investing in my friends’ businesses because they needed capital or my advisory role, or partnering with my friends for business ventures. It always ended badly. A disconnect on the expectations they had of me as their friend, and the expectations I had of them in the business would always arise and we ended up losing money and friendship. I also don’t lend money to friends. If I must, I give it out as a gift.
Biggest career loss: I partnered with someone who had a bad character and didn’t even have the starting capital required to enter into business. She not only failed to put in the money required but also stole from the business. When you make a loss, don’t dwell on what could have been and spend your time mopping. Take note of the loss and the lessons that come with it, dust yourself off and start over again. Plan for both profits and losses. Map them out. Ask yourself, if this doesn’t work, how much money will I lose or how much money will I need to plug the hole? If the answer scares you half to death, don’t do it. Create a proper business and financial plan, ensure you’re operating with people who have integrity and always do due diligence on any deal that comes your way.
If could start all over again: I’d have more confidence in myself. I spent a lot of time looking down on myself and being cowed by people I thought were much better than me. This made me lose some opportunities and also react to situations in a different way than I do now. I’d also manage some of my past business connections better to avoid burning bridges.
On saving: I merge my savings with my husband’s. Previously, our saving was a direct result of our family income and goals and not really a set figure. This was not effective as sometimes we’d actually forget to put some money away because of business needs. Then we decided to be saving a specific amount every month. We also joined a Sacco which has been very instrumental in growing our savings and also receiving financing for our various projects. This year, I’m doing the 52 Weeks of Savings Challenge just to make the saving more intense and exciting.
Building wealth: Unwavering consistency is the key. You have to be obsessed with your business and work at it until it makes sense and money. When I started my consulting business at age 23, I had to walk into boardrooms and pitch to people three times my age. I got lots of No’s in the beginning, but because I was consistent, I picked up the lessons and changed my technique, and started to get lots of Yes’s.
On side hustles: One of the greatest rules of wealth creation is to have a steady source of income then create a secondary source of income. Starting a side hustle is thus a great idea. However, you must maintain a high level of integrity and ethics when doing this. It’s very unethical to start a side hustle that is similar to your employer’s business or to steal time and stock for your side hustle.