Pancras Karema is the co-founder and CEO of Expeditions Maasai Safaris, a tours and travel company operating from Nairobi and Mombasa.
The secret to building a career: You will not thrive if you choose a career that needs an alarm to wake you up or a boss who breathes down your neck for you to fulfill your duties. You must be passionate about what you do. Personally, traveling has always been my passion. I grew up in Nanyuki, which is a tourism hot spot, and schooled within the Mt. Kenya forest, which nurtured my love for expeditions. None the least, being passionate does not always mean that your career choice will be a walk along the beach. You must put in the hours, break sweat, and be good at networking to make it work.
The secret to making it: There are three steps you must take. Be passionate, committed, and consistent. In my business, we have had to be very deliberate on where we want to be and how to get there. Once we identify our destination, and the road that leads to it, we take key steps regardless of how tough they are to ensure that we realize our set goals.
Biggest milestone: In November, I was crowned as the young male entrepreneur of the year in the Young Entrepreneurs Awards. This came as a vindication for my business model and my belief that no one is too young to be ambitious and successful. Life will at some point reward you with provisions that equal the amount of work you have put out. If you are consistent and determined enough, expect success. If you’re mediocre in the way you run things, expect failure.
Money mistakes you must avoid: You must adhere to a strict budgeting routine in the way you handle all your finances. You will lose control over your money the moment you stop budgeting. For example, you might be making so much money, but live a life of hand to mouth, or always be in default of your money goals. In my case, every coin that lands in my hand must be budgeted and accounted for.
Biggest loss: As the head of a highly evolving service business, I consider it a failure whenever I am caught by surprise. In my line of business, getting caught unawares can determine profit and losses. To keep my end of the business responsibilities above the water, I constantly strive to know what’s going on with my team and their work, and how we can all be more efficient.
If I could go back: I would start my entrepreneurial journey much earlier than I did. I have come to learn that the earlier you start, the earlier you will fail, and the earlier you’ll learn and improve from your mistakes.
Saving method: If you have not been saving, start today. The key is to start by picking a small percentage from your income and setting it aside. There is the option of setting aside 5 per cent to 10 per cent from your total daily income, or the option of saving a standard amount from your monthly salary.
Entrepreneurship versus employment: We all have different levels of abilities and career inclination. What might work for me might not work for someone else. This is the balance that keeps the economy growing, and continually creating opportunities for both entrepreneurs and employees. The trick is to find what you’re good at, employ the requisite wealth creation steps on it such as saving and investing, and you’ll be on the road to financial freedom.