Paulette Achieng is a founding partner in the law firm Lumallas Achieng & Kavere Advocates. She is in charge of the Banking, Conveyancing and Real Estate department at the firm.
Greatest milestone: Going back to school. I am currently a student of counseling psychology at Amani Counseling and Training Centre. This course has completely changed my practice of the law and my personal life. One of my values in life is to keep learning. Only dead things don’t grow.
On building a career or business: Excellence is another of my personal values. You can achieve greater things by doing small things excellently. But most of us want the quick route to riches. We don’t have the patience to trust the process, and as a result, every season there’s a new scam with thousands of victims. Work at improving yourself daily, and work at what you love.
Taking care of yourself is also very important for your career or business. While the bottom line is usually profit, there’s more to growing a business or career than the profits or salary generated. Guard your mental wellbeing. Eat and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Do not allow your career, business, or wealth to define you. Always ask yourself who you’d be without that career or business.
Biggest money mistake: I paid a deposit for an off plan house which was meant to be completed in the year 2016 through a loan. This year 2020, is when the houses are finally complete. As an experienced conveyance lawyer, I was aware that the estimated completion dates given by the developer was too ambitious. I expected a completion within 6 months to 2 years beyond the dates specified. In my case, though, I paid interest without return on investment for 4 years. It was a huge investment loss.
Coping with career losses: Losing a court case is every lawyer’s worst nightmare. Somehow, even if you have many wins, the losses torment. But my father once told me that even cars sometimes need to reverse in order to move forward. That is how I view failure, a chance to learn, a chance to grow, a chance to do better, and a chance at humility.
If I could turn back the clock: I would venture into self-employment much earlier than I did. I should have ventured out with what I had without waiting for the right time. There’s never the right time.
My saving method: I have tried numerous saving vehicles. Most like SACCOs have worked for me, given the dividends and interests that I have earned. I have also saved using Government Bonds. These come with very low risk. From all these saving ventures, I have learned that the trick to getting it right with saving money is to save through a vehicle that matches your risk appetite. Previously, I participated in an informal merry go round. While these are not effective in terms of returning on investment, they are good for building the saving discipline.
Entrepreneurship versus employment: Having been employed for several years and now being an entrepreneur, I believe both can work. Employment worked for me when I was starting out to build networks, and learn from qualified and experienced masters of the game. I had a very supportive employer and great coworkers. As I grew into my own person and values, entrepreneurship became my mode of breaking out.
My parting shot: The law of diminishing returns also applies to money. If it’s all about the money, you will never achieve real satisfaction in life. You must look beyond the money. Focus on your values to build a lasting legacy.