208 installments • 96%
I was born into a humble but ambitious family, with my parents struggling to overcome severe challenges including getting enough to feed just themselves and I (being the firstborn). Being a village setting in the heart of the present Nyandarua County, both had forfeited their jobs for various reasons (dad had dropped out of his job as an army officer with the Kenya Defence Forces and mum quit her ECD teaching job) and poverty was threatening the union from the very beginning. I must say they endured, often having to beg to go to maize fields where established farmers had harvested their maize crop to just pick any available leftovers. They worked hard through the next few years and with the size of the family having grown to five in just four years, they were already doing considerably well and had no problems raising us through the next decade. My primary school life was uneventful - I performed well and our family was quite stable by local standards back then.
Then came my secondary school education. This would be the next big problem for the family. Everything we had amassed through the years disappear through school fees and a failed business within three years and everything came to a standstill. By now my family had grown to seven members. My younger sister was joining high school as well. I fell out of school and went to charcoal burning and my sister also dropped out in her second year of high school. Our 3rd born also got admitted but dropped out of high school in just less than a year due to lack of school fees. At some point the three of us were at home facing the predicament of never completing high school. It took the intervention of my high school and a well-wisher (by sponsoring my siblings and I on the merit of being bright students) to restart where everything was stuck for several years. I worked hard knowing it was really rare to get such an opportunity, and finally qualified to take a course at the University of Nairobi. It was tough getting through this again - no guaranteed school fees, too little to spend, sometimes wondering whether anything will ever work out - too many uncertainties. On completing the course (in Statistics), I was lucky to land a job with a foreign firm through which I could work as a freelance researcher. This is the job that I've done for the greater part of my employment life. But I felt limited because I've had a passion to work in a different environment, and the nature of the work was changing rapidly and detrimentally for many of us who had enjoyed the good days between 2011 and 2016.
One of the biggest challenges (and the main reason I've finally down-scaled my involvement in freelance research to concentrate more on cereals and groceries) has been an exponential increase in the number of people working in the field (especially with too many unemployed graduates joining the local job market every year), leading to extreme competition and significantly lower returns because clients no longer pay what they used to when there were fewer freelance researchers. Honestly, working in freelance research has opened so many doors for me. I am raising my son (he is progressing to Pre-primary 2) partly through the proceeds of freelance work and partly from my earnings in the cereals/ groceries store. I have also made friends beyond my country – friends who trust me with their work and sensitive assignments.
I love reading and playing soccer. I watch soccer matches and other sports, majorly athletics. I am conscious of my body-weight and do take every available opportunity to sneak out for a walk, run, or play football. At the moment I spend a lot of my free time with my family.
When I have sought assistance with my projects before, it was all about freelance writing and research tools and equipment. Since I have down-scaled my involvement in that sector I am now going to talk about my more important business now – selling cereals and groceries. I opened a cereals/ grocery store at Kasarani, a residence inhabited largely by upper middle class people. The business is still young, having started it in July this year (2019). It is doing well, and I like very much because the returns from sales are pretty high – at 40% on average. This figure is what I realize as average profit from sales. The good thing about the products I sell is that they’re always on demand and the location is residential with high-income residents. The main costs are rent, cost of purchasing produce, and staff salaries. This business is very important for my young family as we rely on the proceeds for daily upkeep and the education of my son. I also pay my two youngest siblings fees (one in high school and another at the university) from the earnings. I am happy that I am offering my family and the two siblings a less troubled life than what I experienced.
I am humbled to be communicating with you on my intentions ton purchase a new laptop for my freelance work. Apparently, my current machine does not have the minimum capacity to handle the complex software I often need to complete sophisticated assignments from my clients. More so, some of the basic tools in my trade are advanced data analysis software that are not available freely and some need quite a bit of monetary input. The good thing is, projects involving such software as Matlab and STATA pay quite highly and this's where I target to hit! Below is a simple breakdown of what I aim to achieve in the long run, bearing in mind that the amount initially available to me may not essentially cover the entire list of items hereon.
Laptop - $500
Matlab - $400
STATA - $250
Office Chair - $200
My listing for the software includes rough estimates of each since joining hands with other already interested freelancers will mean we acquire a multi-user version at much lower price than the one-user policy. I believe with your loan will help me to gradually acquire these items. I expect to be able to earn an extra $300 per month once these tools and equipment are in place. I can henceforth select more profitable projects and cater better for my expenses and grow my business to new heights such that it can create extra employment for other people. Besides, my little sister and brother will not have to endure the pain I endured to complete their studies.
Thank you for your time and enthusiasm to help me through this project. I will be equally committed to reimburse both on time and as proposed.
Sep 9, 2015
Cost to entrepreneur
Service fee: $6.20
Edwin opted to pay $58.13 into the Zidisha Members Loan Fund in return for a higher starting credit limit.