This past month of August 2018, the Wacha niKwambie blog focussed on Entrepreneurship. The blog had the privilege to interview Thrity Engineer of Thrity Engineer Consulting. I hope all readers of this article will glean a lot on Entrepreneurship and set themselves off in their own entrepreneurship journey.
Who is Thrity Engineer?
A deeply passionate woman who believes in making a difference in the lives of the people she interacts with. A strong, resilient and hardworking person who wants to help people be the best they can be.
I wear so many hats. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a teacher, a coach, a mentor, a trainer, a marketing consultant and a writer too.
I have over 20 years experience in the areas of marketing and strategy having worked in the corporate sector – responsible for several markets in Sub Saharan Africa. I was the first woman in Kenya to be awarded the status of Fellow – Chartered Institute of Marketing UK which is recognition of the many years of experience and contribution to the profession of marketing.
Why did you decide to begin your own business firm as a consultant and coach?
I wanted the opportunity to make a difference in society and to make it in the areas I was most passionate about, marketing & coaching. I wanted people to benefit from coaching – as it can transform one’s personal and professional life.
I also wanted to share my expertise in the area of marketing with upcoming marketers, helping to mould the next generation.
Tell us more about the services that your business offers?
The business focuses on career coaching & business coaching.
Coaching is the opportunity for a person to work with a coach to discover their potential and to get them to move from where they currently are to where they would like to be. A good example would be someone who wants to grow in their career, perhaps they have been in sales for a long time and how either want to transition into marketing or want greater responsibilities as a team leader. Once they are clear on what they want to move towards, then they can work with the coach to understand the gaps, and create an action plan for themselves. The coach walks with them on this journey, providing guidance and holding them accountable.
The firm also offers business coaching for entrepreneurs, trainings in leadership, sales, marketing, communication and customer experience and in addition offers marketing consultancy services.
Who can benefit from coaching? From the consulting services that your firm offers?
Contrary to popular belief, coaching is not the preserve of executives only. Rather, anyone can use coaching to drive success in their personal and professional lives. You could be a student, a stay at home mom, a working professional e.g. a lawyer, or accountant, a teacher or even an entrepreneur. Anyone can benefit from the power of coaching.
Does one require a lot of financial capital to begin their own consulting and coaching firm?
I will answer this question from a non traditional perspective. Usually when setting up a business of this nature, one of the first things one uses capital to do is get an office space.
However, when looking for clients, it is not the office space that brings in clients. It has more to do with the expertise and experience that one has. So I invested in getting trained as a coaching (yes you can go to school for this) and also on being a credentialed coach. This is further investment in the profession of coaching which allows one to be vetted and validated by the regulatory body – International Coach Federation. Not only does this build your skills and knowledge, but it also means you are confirming to your clients that you provide a high standard of coaching to them. I also invested in working with a tax consultant to help deal with the intricacies of taxation and to help me put my finances in order.
What are some of the successes that you have experienced as an entrepreneur?
Success is different for different people. For me success is about the number of lives I have touched and impacted through the different things I do.
I have over 300 hours of coaching experience having coached business leaders in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. I have also coached entrepreneurs in business incubators, and designed and rolled out a coaching skills program.
So far, I have taught over 1000 students marketing related subjects at Strathmore University, and I am also the patron of the Strathmore University Marketing Club.
I have been invited to speak in various forums like Organization for Women in International Trade and I have contributed a number of articles on coaching and marketing to leading publications. I have had the privilege to be a mentor in both local and international programs, and most recently I was a speaker for an international audience via webinar with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women.
What are some of the challenges that you have faced as an entrepreneur?
By far the biggest challenge is ensuring that I get paid for services I provide. As an entrepreneur, it is important to have many streams of income and sometimes consulting clients do not like to pay for the consulting process.
Another challenge is learning new skills. One needs so many different skills and it is important to put aside time to learn new things.
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey and when things look like they are not going the way you would like, it is important to have a mentor or a support system that stands by you and keeps encouraging you to move forward.
How do you manage the day to day finances of your business?
I face the challenge that all entrepreneurs who are starting business face – mixing personal and business finances. It is inevitable, even though experts will say this is not recommended. I also keep a log of my income and expenses using a simple excel sheet. This will probably have to change once the business grows further.
What are some of the marketing initiatives that you use to attract more of your target clientele?
I find that word of mouth is still the most useful method of clients getting to know about the coaching services I provide. There is nothing as powerful as having someone recommend you to a client especially when one is able to share their own successful experiences with coaching.
Speaking engagements are also useful because they help build my personal brand. I also write a lot for various publications like Marketing Africa magazine and Kenya Institute of Management magazine. My next step is to use the power of social media and combine it with a personal website to generate more awareness and interest in what I have to offer.
What are some of the future goals of your consulting and coaching firm?
My short term goals include rolling out virtual learning programs that are focused on helping people with career progression. Watch out for these!
Long term – I would like to be recognised as the centre for excellence for matters of coaching and mentoring.
Many entrepreneurs tend to over work themselves not taking time to rest and unwind, has that been a challenge to you? If not, how do you manage work and rest?
I try to consciously focus on the need to rest. I try to rest in between engagements and also rest during the week whenever I feel the need. Rest is not just meant for the weekend, you can rest on Friday and work on Saturday if necessary. It is very important to rest to avoid burn out.
Parting shot to all the entrepreneurs reading this article.
Be patient – good things will happen for you. Just be persistent and never lose sight of your vision. Most of all, do the thing you are most passionate about – the money will follow
© Kwambie Nyambane,
Lead Writer and Founder,