Raymond Cheruiyot considers himself a successful entrepreneur nine years after resigning from his job to run own business. However, the proprietor of Accounts and Financial East Africa Limited says he had a baptism of fire along the way.
He was passionate about setting up and tried partnerships that did not work. Mr Cheruiyot opted for debt to register a company, egged on by the picture of success, therefore ignoring possible risks, storms, and stories of gloom and doom.
But the storm came sooner rather than later. The result of which was frustration and a debt that was building fast; he almost ended up in jail.
“I was 28 when I resigned as a software technologist having studied for Bachelor of Science degree from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) where I graduated in 2003,’’ Mr Cheruiyot says.
He used his savings to buy a laptop “and was sure one computer, one man attitude and one million dollar ideas could unlock my success.”
“I have always wanted to venture into self-employment through technology business but I was not aware that there is a big difference between reality and wishful thinking,’’ he said.
In a small office at Railway Station in Nairobi, he established and paid a rent of Sh22,000, which was the remainder of his savings.
“The office was meant to give me a corporate touch as I did freelance consultancy jobs waiting to register my business. The opportunities were not forthcoming and I had to seek Sh15,000 from a friend as a soft loan to register the company.’’
This did not work, the banks asked for a guarantor for a loan, he had none and was forced to ask for a private consultancy position from former employer.
“A friend who lent me Sh15,000 to register my firm saw me as a joker who had quit a job where I was earning Sh55,000. I convinced myself that I had to breathe again,’’ explained Mr Cheruiyoit, hardly audible.