First client

That First Client

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“Now you have to go out and look for your first client,” Mark had remarked.

It had been two months since Mark told her those words. Makena had gone out with so much enthusiasm.  She called everyone on her phonebook, emailed random people informing them of her new venture; Makena Communications offering PR services and social media management; her business cards read. Her business registration certificate that had consumed a quarter of her savings was framed nicely in her bedroom.

She received a few follow up calls but not a first client yet.

“It’s a new concept and people will need more time to warm up to the idea,” Mark consoled her.

She had started to doubt her business idea. “If it were in the States I would be rolling in dough! “She mimicked imitating an African America accent. In Kenya people don’t see the value of a publicist or a social media manager.

Every morning, she logged on to her website, admired the intricately designed pages and felt alive again. The statistics had shown she has had visitors to the site but she suspected it had been Mark all along.

Six months prior, she had walked into Mark’s office for the job interview dressed in a short black skirt and a green blouse. She always believed green brought her luck but that day it had failed her.  The woman seated next to Mark, whom she later learned was his sister didn’t like her. 

“I think you are over qualified for the job,” she remarked.

“We are looking for an office assistant, someone to make us coffee, help with cleaning here and there,” she continued.

“Your academic qualifications are impressive though,” Mark interrupted.”… and Oh my God! You went to St. Georges high?  That was our sister school!”

Makena nodded and there was a growing hope that she would get the job.

“You remember MilkShake?“ Mark enquired and they both laughed out loud with nostalgia.

“MilkShake! Haha! I hear he is not the Interschool Debate chairman anymore,” Makena remarked.

“Your communication degree won’t be useful here, Makena,” the woman interviewer interrupted them. Makena hated the way she pronounced her name Maa-Ke-nya, shortening the second syllable. She always preferred Ma-key-na, with the second syllable pronounced Key like a padlock key.

She had waited for a call from Mark’s Tour and Safari Company all week and just when she was giving up, she received a personalized email from Mark. Besides regretting for not having an opportunity that fits her qualifications, he complimented her for her amazing communication skills and suggested she starts her own firm which he would be glad to recommend to his friends and even mentor her.

Mark was the reason she hadn’t given up to date. All the people he had forwarded to her hadn’t really grasped the idea of someone pretending to be them, writing tweets and facebook posts for them which will in turn increase business for them.

Mark had walked her through the steps of doing business.

“Do a market research, identify your target market and then make it official,” he said.  With Ksh 30,000, Makena had paid for the business registration fee, a website and printed some business cards. Mark offered to lend his internet modem since he had already installed a high speed internet connection both at his home and office. Since then Makena worked from a corner of her living room away from the TV which had been a major distraction.

She had a dummy intercom, something she had collected from her dad’s storage. Once in a while she could make calls pretending to be a big shot entertainment guru sealing deals in record time.

Today she was meeting her first client at Java along Koinange Street. On the phone he had sounded so formal and claimed he had gotten Makena’s contact on social media. He is the founder of a youth initiative and thought her services will help in the upcoming campaign.

Makena sat on the table near the entrance, her treasured MacBook Pro laptop neatly staged on the table. Her eyes locked on the entrance scanning for a man named Juma, who will in turn be her first client. This she strongly believed even as she sipped her freshly brewed latte.

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