Joanne Mwangi Yelbert is the chief executive officer of Professional Marketing Services Group Limited (PMS Group Africa). Joanne Mwangi Yelbert has been running this marketing company for 19 years.
Building wealth: My secret has been in saving and making wise investments. I always ensure that I put some money away at the end of every month. You must realize that keeping money in the bank does not really help you. Instead, it helps the bank achieve its own financial targets. Let your money work for you. Let it create wealth for you through well deliberated investments. In building wealth, though, I have learned that you should never act or behave as if you are already wealthy. It will halt your pursuit for greatness. Instead, stay humble, determined and grounded.
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Biggest money mistake: This occurred when I first left employment to venture out on my own. I did not know how to handle the first big cheques that I received. Most of the money I earned was wasted on youth-induced acts of ‘showing off’, and excessive and misguided acts of philanthropy.
Biggest financial milestone: Through an audit by a leading local audit firm, my firm was able to bag three awards at The Kenya Top 100 Medium Sized Enterprises’ awards. It took the top position in the service sector and got recognized as best enterprise while I took home the best entrepreneur award. Hitherto, no other firm has managed to bag so many awards in one scoop in that business awards’ series. These achievements are the beacon of my entrepreneurship journey.
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Biggest loss: I once provided services without the necessary paperwork that is contained in an LPO. Eventually, I was never paid because the contact person I entrusted with this deal left the firm before my pay came through. Since then, I learned to ensure that I always dotted all the I’s and crossed the T’s before embarking on any assignment – however attractive it appears.
If I could start all over again: I would delegate more work and stress less.
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Entrepreneurship: Women should go into entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur, I have learned that you will develop a sense of discipline which gives you the direction that you need to achieve the set goals. Nonetheless, if you look at the money factor, you will be highly likely to lose sight of the set targets. This is because not all business deals go as planned.
Making it in business: As an entrepreneur and woman, the first thing you need to do is separate your personal expenses from your company expenses, then ensure that the expenses are incurred at their lowest costs. Unfortunately, too many entrepreneurs have not detached themselves from spending the company resources. This is due to the assumption that ‘it’s their money’. Money generated by the company should be ploughed back to the company and not splashed around.
On side hustles: It is important that women start a side business to enable them increase their income. This side income stream, though, should not be in conflict with their employer’s business. If as a younger lady you want to be at the top, you must have passion as a driving force in all that you do, from family life to your career. Passion is the aspect that makes one’s job an adventure rather than an everyday duty to earn a penny or two, it’s the aspect that drives me to be in the office at 4am in the morning working on a proposal for a client, it’s the aspect that makes me want to get involved in everything that will see my clients’ brands grow.
This profile feature was first published in Saturday Magazine.