Plenty has been written about how most millionaires have multiple sources of income, and how that’s what keeps them afloat.

I had a very interesting conversation with one of my mentors this past week that reminded me of this.So one of the questions I had a while back, and that most entrepreneurs fail to get an answer to, is: when is it time to start a side hustle, and what are the key elements you have to focus on while doing so?

Finding Imenti

I’m not against the employment system, but one thing I tell my peers is that the job market is harsh at the moment, and we’ve seen major corporations cut back on staff numbers just to sustain functionality, or instances of workers going on strike because of a lack of pay.

While I’m not saying entrepreneurship is easy, it does give you a sense of ownership. A worldwide survey was done and it was found that the productivity curve of employees dips as the years go by because they get used to their work.

In my last semester in university, what the school would do is find internships for the top-scoring students, and since I was one of them, I was assigned to a company that was along Brookside Drive in Nairobi’s Westlands.

To this day, my mother asks why I didn’t take that job. But by the time I was in my second year of school, I had found a balance between my music, school and business.

I had started recording an album, with the sound engineering skills that I’d acquired from DJ Loop, and was planning a launch. I was doing well in school, even though my mind was set on going into business rather than employment.

Each morning I would get into the city and my first stop was Growers Café in Imenti House. I loved their African porridge and cassava.

Six months later, I opened a shop in Imenti House that dealt with clothing and branding, and it served as my first office.

By this time, my school had organised for my internship, but I had received my first big business cheque, and it gave me a whole different outlook on employment. I paid my university school fees with revenue from the Imenti House business.

The drive

So, why a side hustle? With employment, there’s more or less a guarantee that you’ll get a salary at the end of the month.

But my strong opinion is we have to know what drives us. An entrepreneur’s drive is totally different from an employee’s. The dynamics of a self-run business are different. When I say this, I’m speaking from experience.

I have had my good days and my bad days, and sometimes the business is stable and you feel like branching out. But other times it’s so bad that you feel like closing it down.

However, over the years I have come to embrace this dynamism. The ups and downs have built my thinking and I’m more calculated when making decisions.

Eventually, I worked where I was assigned but after a short while, I quit. I was asked why I quit and I confidently said I wanted to be my own boss.Was I ready? Yes. One of my top five role models is my mum, and she’s been self-employed for as long as I can remember. Since I was part of her journey, I felt like I was in the same space.

While most entrepreneurs make it look easy and glamorous, what we never celebrate is their journey, their rejection, their failures.But keep in mind that your business will only thrive when you overcome the hurdles in the way to making your idea skyrocket.

People would never talk about my management company if it had failed. What they never focus on is the early years when I believed in the dream so much that I would do a gig and use a percentage of the money I was paid to invest in a new artiste I’d signed on.

The risks

There were many, many times I’d pay for a studio session and invest in a video and get an outcome I didn’t expect. I was tempted to quit and invest in something different.But in my years of business, I have learnt that drive, vision and passion will give you results Eventually.

When they say entrepreneurship has freedom, they’re warning you it’s risky because you’re dealing with executing a plan that’s never been tried before, or you’re doing it without any experience.

But hands down, it’s the best decision I ever made. I have achieved my dreams and I’m still dreaming some more. There’s a great feeling that comes when you see your plans and dreams coming to life. So go out there and dream.

First published here