Monday, October 22, 2012

Accountablity Trip

Next week, for the first time in a year and a half, I go home to the United States. Now as excited as I am, I am also slightly nervous. Because going home is not really just about visiting, but it is also about accounting for the time spent in your new home. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think that anyone is expecting me to say I have built two houses or have a fleet of cars, but I definitely have to give an overview of business and upcoming plans. After all, I don't want anyone to think the African jungle has eaten me up- because it definitely hasn't.

Over the past year and a half, in my book, I have managed to build a decent life. I have been able to land enough freelance gigs to keep me going and, over all, I have managed to successfully build a social network worth having. However, I must admit, that I have failed miserably at establishing one solid thing.

Now the reasons for this are numerous. First, I will admit, I do have a tendency to be distracted by money. After all, a girl has to eat. And the worst thing any foreigner can do is go broke in Africa; it would be the greatest modern day tragedy seen by mankind, especially if you have no African roots.

I have also noticed that I am slightly ADD in my business affairs. I blame this on the number of ideas I generate per day. And although, I do remind myself that there is time for them all. I can't help but want to test the waters of everything at once, which leads to a "Greedy Dog" type situation. For those familiar with this Aesop tale, we all know how it ends- the dog gets neither bone.

It's funny, because I have always known about these weaknesses, but here in the African terrain where my safety net isn't nearly as secure, these weaknesses have become extremely noticeable. So well,in the end, what does one do?

Suffer, if you ask me. It has been said that in order to be successful you have to be able to risk more than you can afford to lose. I think that is particularly true in Africa where high gains can be seen in shorter periods of time than in traditional Western markets, but only after you taken the time to understand how exactly that money is being made. Because of course, as any business person in Africa will tell you, nothing is ever as easy as it seems.

So, when starting a business in Africa, unlike the Western world, its almost impossible to run multiple ventures at once and expect either one of them to flourish. In fact, I think it may be a universal law that you must suffer for success. If not, you will always be surviving, but not living.

Fortunately for us all though, when you know better you do better. So don't worry, I am sure, next year, I will knock it out of the ballpark. Now, you just have to ask yourself, what are some of the weaknesses you have that are holding your business ventures back?