Sharing My Work Still Scares ME

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Hey guys,

In my previous post I let you know that I’m now a YouTuber. I am now posting  videos on YouTube instead of only consuming content from it.

Its fun and scary at the same time. Shooting and editing are exciting, but I’m still getting used to that stomach churning feeling I get every time I upload and share a video.
Its the thought of sharing my work that scares me. But I’m cognizant of the fact that I’m a work in progress and that it’s from doing that I will get better.

I read somewhere that if you’re happy and content about the work you’re publishing, then you’ve launched too late.

The quote simply tells us that we shouldn’t chase perfection in the beginning. It will come through practice.

When I was writing for The Star newspaper as a lifestyle and features writer, I would still cringe and critic my work when it was published. I was always thinking of a better way I would have expressed a thought or wrote a headline. We all think we could have done something differently. I know I’m not alone in this. We are our own worst critics.

But I am committing to living boldly,sharing my work, as I know its all a process.Growth is a process, we all have to start from zero and move up the ladder to 100.

So my second YouTube video explains what I want to do with the channel going forward.
I have shared the link below. Please click on the link to watch and get to see what’s driving me.

The link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rcp9Sm7mb8k
And don’t forget to give the video a thumbs up and to subscribe to never miss videos from channel.

Thank you.

Till next time, live boldly!

So I started living boldly…

Happy International Women’s Day!

I feel its like a global birthday party for all women!

Social media posts are heartwarming to go over as they’re championing and celebrating women who’ve made an impact in the lives of many. The posts that are really  making my heart do a flip are those appreciating the women closer to home, the women in their circles and showing the impact their existence has made in their lives. These are posts celebrating mothers, sisters, friends and also the  men who support them all the way.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BeBoldForChange.

This is a beautiful coincidence as  I chose to #LiveBoldly  in 2017.  You can say its my 2017 theme, in a way. At that start of the year I was questioning why I’m not pursuing the things that make me come alive. I noticed that I was always waiting for the right moment to start. I was consistently  coming up with excuses to stall the process.

Why? Because I thought that I needed to be perfect, to look a certain way, to get to a particular social ladder etc first before I could earn the opportunity to share my content with the world.

So that’s how I decided to start doing things unafraid, to share content (which I love to do )  with the world no matter how unfinished it may look to me.

So in line with my theme #liveboldly I took hesitant bold steps and embarked on the journey to start my own YouTube channel. I had been mulling over this idea for 6 months and constantly found a way to talk myself out of it.   I watch a lot of YouTube videos and I would always tell myself that I can do the same. These are ordinary people sharing their authentic selves with the world and people were watching. So what am I afraid of?

I shared my resolve with my friend who committed to help me fulfill it. I planned the content and we shot it. It was so much fun and I had an amazing time doing it. I felt like I was really born to do this. I shared my video on my social networks and I’ve received positive response- which came as a surprise.

Honestly, I was kind of afraid to share the video at first but how was I expecting them to know that I’m doing this?

I plan to upload 2 videos a month for starters, from March, which means at least 20 videos in 2017. I think that’s pretty manageable and I want to keep at it and stay consistent.

Please support a sister by watching the video.

<—Watch My First video here  —>    My First YouTube Video

Then Like, Share, Comment & Subscribe!

Thank you 🙂

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Thumbnail for my first YouTube Video 

Why You Need An Emergency Fund

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Have you ever lost your job? Has your car ever required an expensive fix? Have you or a family member ever needed funds for an expensive, emergency hospital visit?

Now imagine that you didn’t have a medical insurance cover or readily available cash to pay for that emergency. What would you do?

Recently, many sectors of the Kenyan economy have experienced shake ups that have led to job cuts. Some are downsizing, merging or selling out. In the process, they have rendered some of their employees redundant.

You certainly could do something to cushion yourself against the  after-shocks of a job loss or just generally against the disruptions of the uncertainties of everyday life.

If the unexpected happens, how would you pay next term’s school fees for your child, pay rent or afford treatment, at least in the short term as you figure out the next source of income?

About two years ago when I was working in the media, media houses began converging certain functions in their newsrooms. This caused panic and uncertainty among journalists. No one knew what to expect. Many lost their jobs.

The questions those who lost their jobs were battling with caused me to put things in to perspective. I had been saving, but after doing some research, I realized that that alone was not adequate. I needed an emergency fund. An emergency fund is a stash of money set aside to cover the financial surprises life throws your way. These unexpected events can be stressful and costly.

 I realized that this was one of the most commonly ignored components of financial planning. To mitigate against major financial crises, like job loss, significant medical expenses, home or car repairs, I needed to have a huge chunk of money stashed aside to easily pay for these things. The last thing I wanted was to be forced to rely on credit cards or a loan which would only make my problems worse.

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My reality finally came crushing down hard on me, when an unfortunate robbery incident happened at my mum’s home in Mombasa. Thieves broke in while mum was away and stole electronics and other valuables. More than the loss of property, she was in fear and shock and felt that her privacy and security had been compromised. Since they broke in through the roof, she was in distress and couldn’t sleep that night because she was afraid they would return to do worse.

The only way to reassure her safety was to change the roofing, reinforce the perimeter wall, add more spokes on the gate and to seal any loop holes. This needed to happen as soon as the sun rose the next day. Cash was immediately required. I knew that doing this would finally give her peace of mind. There’s nothing as bad as feeling unsafe in your own house.

I financed all the repairs she required with the little emergency fund I had managed to build up. If I had done it off my life savings, I would not have been able to do it comfortably. The repairs totaled to Sh 100, 000 and I’m glad that my mum now sleeps soundly in her house.

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An emergency fun ensures you don’t deplete your savings.

Investor.vanguard.com has outlined some of the advantages of saving for a rainy day.

1. It helps keep your stress level down
Being prepared with an emergency fund gives you confidence that you can tackle any of life’s unexpected events without adding money worries to your list.
If you’re living without a safety net, you’re living on the “financial edge”—hoping to get by without running into a crisis.

2. It keeps you from spending on an impulse
You’ve heard the saying “out of sight, out of mind.” That’s the best way to store your emergency money. If the cash is only as far away as your closest debit card, you may be tempted to use it for something frivolous like a designer cocktail dress or big-screen TV—not exactly an emergency.
Keeping the money out of your immediate reach means you can’t spend it on a whim, no matter how much you’d like to.

3. It keeps you from making bad financial decisions
There may be other ways you can quickly access cash, like borrowing, but at what cost? Interest, fees, and penalties are just some of the drawbacks.

 If you find it difficult to save money the key is to start small. Accumulating one month’s worth of expenses will take some time, but if you set your immediate goals to be small and manageable you will have a better chance to reach them.

The best way to get started would be to open up a new savings account, because it’s important to separate regular savings and emergency fund savings. The next step is to get into the habit of making regular deposits into this account. Whether it is weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, create a schedule and stick to it. The other challenge that bogs most people down is discipline to save regularly. To beat this, use a standing order service to automate deposits from your salary or current account, and you won’t even have to think about it.

How much should you save?
Your ultimate goal should be to have enough money in an emergency fund to pay your essential expenses for several months. Some experts say six months, others nine, or twelve.

Helpful tips to help you build my emergency fund:
Direct Deposit. If you’re tempted to spend extra cash, set up a direct deposit into your separate emergency fund account. (Pay yourself first.)
Bill Yourself. Treat your monthly emergency fund allotment as a bill—like rent or your electricity payment. Remember to deposit that amount into your savings on whatever day of the month works for your situation. (Same idea as above; pay yourself like any other bill).
Add Bonus Money. Use things like side hustle cash, unexpected windfalls or cash gifts to add a boost to your contingency fund.

I hope this was helpful. Share with me in the comment section how an unexpected emergency caught you off guard and how you handled it.

This article was first published on the ABC Bank Kenya Blog on 7th February 2017

What Helps Kenyan Youth Make Money Online?

 

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Kate Nyakinyua, Founder of @katiescloset

When you see Kate Nyakinyua glance and check her phone every second, you would think she’s a stereotypical millennial addicted to social media. But you would be wrong. This 26-year old has been running an online store on Facebook and Instagram for 2 years now and she constantly has to check her pages to answer queries or lockdown orders.

Kate’s story is a familiar one for many young people in Kenya, where unemployment is a major challenge that affects the youth. 80% of unemployed Kenyans are below 35 years old. Millions have looked for jobs in their field of study without success and have opted to be their own bosses by turning to entrepreneurship and the retail business instead.

This new breed of Kenyan entrepreneurs uses social media platforms for business, as a way around high set up costs, expensive rent, and complex business regulations.

So what’s enabling this shift?

For one, availability of affordable smartphones in Kenya has helped connect the youth to the internet 24/7. A study by e-commerce company, Jumia, found that out of the 3.1 million devices sold in Kenya in 2015, 1.8 million were smartphones, representing 58 percent of the units sold.

The expansion of 3G services in the country has also enabled a majority of Kenyans with smartphones to spend a significant amount of time online, thanks to affordable mobile data. This includes young people who can spare up to Sh 50 a day to be online.  Access to Wi-Fi has also contributed to this, as most offices, restaurants, and public service vehicles provide this wireless connection. This is a win – win situation for buyers and sellers as customers can browse for goods on affordable internet bundles and sellers post pictures and respond to queries about items faster.

The numbers also work in favor of the sellers who choose to use social media for business, as we have around 4.3 million Kenyans are on Facebook, approximately 1.4 million Kenyans on Twitter where 700,000 are monthly active users. The State of Blogging and Social Media in Kenya report 2015 also shows that Instagram is also catching up- as it has become the second most popular site among the Youth, after Facebook.

Instagram is a dream come true for sellers, as its visual nature makes it a great online marketplace. To post something on Instagram requires a half-decent picture, a caption, and the right hashtags. Doing all this requires a smartphone, which most Kenyans have. Kate Nyakinyua who runs an online fashion store called @katiescloset uses Instagram to actively sell her jewelry. Her Instagram bio asks shoppers to call or Whatsapp her to arrange delivery.

“I turned to social media because all my friends are online, plus it was too expensive for me to rent out a stall in the CBD. Most of the people I target are mostly always online, so I opened a Facebook page and an Instagram account to post pictures of my merchandise.”

 

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@katiescloset ‘s Instagram Page

 

She says the response has been overwhelming and she has loyal clients who always buy from her and frequently new buyers on referral. “My Facebook page has over 4000 likes and the good thing is that clients share the pictures with their friends, so I get even more inquiries because my logo is superimposed on the photo. The only cost I incur is delivery costs- but I am now including it as part of the selling price so that I can maximize my profit.”

Reliable mobile money transfer services have allowed buyers to conveniently transfer money to the seller and get their wares delivered to them. According to the Communication Authority of Kenya 2016 statistics, over two thirds of the Kenyan adult population is subscribed to mobile money transfer services and 78% of that number use Safaricom’s M-PESA.

M-PESA has made business efficient. Some online businesses that have merchandise on demand require a customer to send a down payment via M-PESA so that an item can be reserved for you.

Behavioral change is also another impactful factor. A Customer would rather sit and browse for goods online than waste countless hours doing window shopping in physical stores. Marketplaces on social media platforms serve them well enough as they don’t have to leave their screens.

Yusuf Juma who regularly shops on Soko Kuu, a marketplace on Facebook says he loves the convenience it offers. “Pictures of the items are posted and information on the size, type of fabric also accompany the picture and if I like it, I just buy it and they’ll deliver. It saves me so much time.”

My story was first published on Jan 12th, 2017 on akomanet.com

 

How To Have Quality Relationships

I want to nurture quality relationships in my life. To be there wholly for the ones I choose to do life with. Have deep honest conversations, listen attentively , be observant and be there for them even when they don’t vocalise it.

I purpose to spend more time with family & friends. Just like a flower  blooms when its carefully tended to, relationships flourish when prioritized.

Memories and experiences are all we’ll be left with when we’re old and weary.

I choose now what memories I want as nostalgia.

What Are Birthdays For?

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Yesterday was my birthday.

I am still squealing in glee.

I had such a beautiful day and my happiness was uncontainable. I was happier than a kid who’s been given all access in a candy store.

Gratitude. That is the feeling that has saturated me. I am grateful that God saw it fit to add another year into my life. I am humbled and I am in awe. I don’t deserve to be on this earth and neither does any of us. We are all alive because of God’s unconditional love, grace and mercy.  Do not take it for granted.

I shared about my biggest 2016 lesson here.  I vowed to give it all up to God. Everything. My life, my job, my fears, my ambitions and dreams. I was jaded from going through the motions. Observing religion but yet feeling so far apart from God. So I boldly made a decision to know God for myself. I was tired of hearing from others who God was to them. I wanted to experience Him for myself. With outstretched arms I surrendered and gave up my reigns. I wanted no, needed to be a Christian whose faith was active and deep.I wanted to be in a relationship with Him. To be an obedient child and follow his will. And it has been such a fulfilling journey.

While I strove to know God more and more, I was re-introduced to myself. My true self. With all my insecurities and shortcomings and surprisingly I was not afraid. I embraced it. All my murk and gloom because I knew that God was purifying me just like gold in fire.He was molding me. And truly, God’s word was slowly by slowly helping me shed off the lies and expectations that I had come to accept.

God makes life meaningful.

I am grateful for the friends who showed up for me yesterday in every way to celebrate my birthday. Those who picked up their phones and did a solo of the Happy Birthday song for me, those who texted and spoke blessings over my life and those who spared their time and treated me with cake and food. Thank you. You made this  January 3rd baby feel so glad she was born.

I share with you, my birthday scripture and pray that the Lord shows himself to you in every single way this 2017.

Isaiah 58:11

The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.

I wanted God to love you less…

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2016 was an unlearning year for me.

I had to unlearn what love is, unlearn who God is, unlearn what makes me excited and what drives me, unlearn what friendship means and unlearn the definition of success.

Love

This one was pretty brutal for me and I can’t accurately say that I have now mastered it. But I have come to know God is relational and through our interactions, I have come to understand what it means to love unconditionally, to give without expecting, to love even when it hurts (love for enemies).

In the love sphere, the major exhale point for me in 2016 was forgiveness. It had been really hard for me to forgive. To honestly forgive someone for hurting me. In the past, I would deal with it by cutting off a person completely. It was my escape route. And because I wouldn’t see them or talk to them – I would assume that I’m over it- but when I bump into them or hear about them – the bubbling anger would rise to the surface. But God being God, had me learn the lesson of true forgiveness by using someone in my backyard. I couldn’t shake this one off- I had to see them and interact with them all day long. And even if I hid- the truth was that I was still in anguish.

It’s so true what they say: when you walk around with anger, you’re the one who’s carrying the load.

Holding on to anger made me emotionally fatigued and aggrieved because I couldn’t understand why they chose to hurt me. In my devotions, I’d read about God’s grace and mercy. How God loves me even when I don’t deserve it. And a  friend ( bless her heart) reminded me that God doesn’t love the person who hurt me, any less- because they hurt me. God loves us both equally.

Hearing that really stung. I wanted God to love them less. How can God love us the same, surely? Sigh. But that’s the magnificence of his unconditional love.

After a while, it dawned on me that I saw love as a transaction. You do well or perform well- you get love. You fail, you don’t. Then the Lord’s prayer brought everything into perspective.“Forgive us as we forgive those who sin against us.” How can I ask God to forgive me yet I am not extending the same grace and mercy toward others? I felt so ashamed. It was an aha! moment for me. I can’t expect the same if I’m not doing the same.

Then this verse came to mind and I completely broke down.

John 14: 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

If I claim to love God, then I should do as He says. And God asks me to forgive and love my enemies. As I hard as it was- I decided to obey. I decided to forgive and let go. To release the anger and the hurt and let God vindicate them on my behalf as he sees fit. And since he promised to fight my battles- I let Him be the commander in chief.

I felt lighter. I no longer had a knot tie itself around my neck whenever I saw them. I no longer felt the urge to just cuss them out or wish them dead ( literally). I just felt sympathy and a reassurance that God truly has got me.

1 Samuel 24:15 “May the Lord be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.”