Sunday, December 4, 2022

Jenny Kairetu: Homeless in 2020, transport business owner in 2022

Jennifer Karanja, better known as Jenny Kairetu on TikTok, is a lady uber driver who operates within Nairobi.

Her story is traumatic yet rejuvenating as she has had to endure several heart-crushing moments before becoming an embodiment of success. Her pain and wait for the past 2 years have now proved valid as she’s charted her path to owning a taxi business; Habibi Taxis Limited.

Back in 2020 during the pandemic, Jenny Kairetu, a proud mother of two lost her 8-year marriage, which was a harrowing experience for her.

Rubbing extra salt to the fresh wound, Jenny went on to get laid off from her call center agent job as most companies struggled to keep afloat during the Covid period. All she had left from her torn marriage and ended job was her children and her clothes.

Jenny relied on friends who hosted her for shelter, even as she struggled to make ends meet and help in putting food on the table.

Jenny Kairetu: Homeless in 2020, transport business owner in 2022

True to the norm, desperate times call for desperate measures, the young lady found herself drawn into an online money-making scam christened Amazon Web worker.

Jenny saw herself invest money in the ‘pyramid scheme’ as she termed it, expecting the returns to double after a certain period of time.

“I knew it was a pyramid scheme and would eventually collapse, but I had planned to invest and get out before it did. A day before my withdrawal, it collapsed! I lost everything,” she recalled.

This was the third bombshell that had just dropped into her life in well under 6 months. She succumbed heavily to depression and anxiety attacks and needed to find a distraction.

Jenny thought it was a good idea to meet new people on tinder, in hopes of finding a  distraction from her piteous state then. She got a match.

The guy whom she was matched to invited her on a date, and the meeting left her intrigued by how adept her tinder match was at digital marketing.

He offered her a chance at a job, as his company was looking to hire a digital marketer.

“I showed up for the interview. I had no skills but did my research and somehow qualified. That’s how I got my next job,” she narrated.

Thereafter, Jenny was now able to somewhat stand on her feet financially and move from her friend’s house in search of new beginnings and greener pastures.

Jenny Kairetu is the kind that enjoys ‘Be Your Own Boss’ (BYOB). Despite having a delightful and fulfilling digital marketing job, she thought of a means to generate extra cash flow in her pockets as she looked to support her two daughters, and pay bills. She had also given thought to self-employment.

Jenny enjoyed road trips and driving cars, as she found it therapeutic. She then decided to buy a car (A Suzuki Swift) and get into the taxi business, since she knew she would enjoy the drives rather than see it as ordinary work. Plus she would take a stab at being her own boss.

“I closed my eyes and sold a piece of land I owned, then used the cash to buy a small car that I used to get into the taxi business,” she says.

With both the taxi business and the digital marketing job, Jenny was minting enough money now to sustain herself after losing a lot in the previous months.

She balanced both well, however sadly, the digital marketing job fell apart as the company scaled and hired digital marketers from an even bigger marketing firm.

“That’s how I lost the tender but it allowed me to focus fully on the online cab business,” she recounted.

As much as she loved the driving job and had also built a network of clients for herself, she says that a number of factors reviewed by both Uber and Bolt have discouraged many drivers out there, her included, as the earnings dropped.

In a video on her TikTok account, Jenny says that the business is less profitable as compared to the amount of work the drivers do. She explains that most drivers are disheartened by the meager earnings and high commissions charged (approximately 31%), coupled with extreme fuel prices.

READ: Uber offices in Kenya and their contacts (Updated)

Jenny says she had to figure out a way to do something different before it was too late. Being a driving enthusiast, Jenny Kairetu was passionate about venturing into starting her own transport business.

She bought another bigger car, based on what she wanted to do in her new business in an emotional video on her TikTok page.

Jenny Kairetu: Homeless in 2020, transport business owner in 2022

“I didn’t know if I would manage to do it on my own, but my dreams were greater than my fears. That’s how I registered Habibi Taxis Limited.”

Explaining her choice of business name, Jenny states that Habibi is an Arabic term that means ‘beloved’ and can be used to refer to both men and women.

She says that her ambitions lie in creating a taxi brand focusing on airport and hotel transfers, as well as executive services for corporate and individuals.

Jenny looks to onboard more drivers and vehicles depending on the number of new clientele she is set to acquire.

“I want a transportation company that equally takes care of their drivers and clients where both parties will feel safe with a conducive working environment,” she says.

READ: YEGO Global commences taxi-hailing operations in Kenya

Jenny Kairetu looks forward to using the skills, experience and knowledge gained in her time driving for Uber, to ensure that the clients are treated with the utmost respect, and care and are offered professional services.

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