Name: Audrey Kathurima
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Business Name: Kamsa Media
WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS?
I am a photographer and videographer as well as social media manager. For photography I focus on Newborn and Toddler photography and on occasion my company shoots events as well.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
I had just made the decision not to be employed anymore. I figured out one idea but that didn't work out. So I ended up focusing on what it was I enjoyed the most and I started with photography then added video as a service and eventually social media management.
Photography and videography was a skill I saw I had believed that I could do more of with. So I took the leap and went for it. I wanted to do as much as I could to add value to an industry I was getting to know.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR INDUSTRY OR NICHE?
I chose this industry because I had had experience with it before. It initially started with my cousin, Tony and eventually my dad. I chose this industry because I had had experience with it before. It initially started with my cousin, Tony and eventually my dad. My cousin Tony is an amazing photographer and I thought to myself what he was doing seemed pretty amazing. My dad would encourage me to take pictures as well and I simply loved it. I had no idea if the pictures looked decent or not but what I knew was that I loved it. Eventually, I would learn about it and work in the media industry.
DO YOU DO THIS FULL TIME? IF YES, WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE THIS? IF NO, WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO?
Yes, I do before this I worked at a media company as both a write and intern radio news reporter. Eventually, I would work with farmers in Naivasha, Kenya. We ran trainings that would teach the farmers various practices in which they could work together and earn more.
DID YOU GO TO COLLEGE? IF SO, WHAT DID YOU STUDY?
Yes, I went to United States International University and I studied Journalism. My focus was on broadcast and Public Relations.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR? WHY OR WHY NOT?
I didn't really know if that was something I would have wanted. What I knew was that I wanted some sort of independence and I wanted to try a number of things. I wanted to try things for myself with my own rules.
When I was younger, I would fantasize about becoming a writer, then a model, then a writer again then finally a photographer. I didn't realize that that independence would mean becoming an entrepreneur.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST LESSONS YOU’VE LEARNED SINCE STARTING YOUR BUSINESS?
Running a business can be very frustrating and quite hard. I learned that I needed to be more patient with myself as you can't always see instant results. I needed to come into acceptance with the fact that I had my own pace and I needed to do things the way I saw fit. Rather than what I thought others wanted to see or what they thought of me. Comparison can be one of your biggest enemies so coming to terms with that really helped me focus on what my bigger picture was.
Additionally, I learned that I needed to plan and have goals and objectives otherwise I would just be a lost sheep. Finally, I learned that it's okay to say no to things that don't align with your business and that it's okay to take breaks. It can become quite overwhelming when you don't have a plan and you say yes to everything.
WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
How some individuals behave around you. I guess people have this idea of how one should look or be at a certain age. Therefore, you ended up having to explain yourself in some instances you probably wouldn't if you looked a certain way. Not everyone is going to understand why you can't meet them because you're focused on running your business or you're simply tired.
I also didn't realize that I could inspire anyone older than myself to try out certain things or have them listen to me and trust me.
Another surprising thing was the freedom and the number of choices I had to make. At first, it was scary because I was scared of making the wrong decisions ( I still am) but it eventually became exciting.
It can also be very depressing when things don't work out. If you don't have a great support system you might end up finding yourself in a really bad place. This can happen to anyone even when things work out really well and you wonder if you can do anything better.
WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’D GIVE TO ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS?
I would say, be resilient and just do it. Honestly, if you really want to become an entrepreneur think about the number of hours you would put in. Think about how you react to loss and if work was to go in the opposite direction of what you wanted; would this still be what you want? If so, go ahead and do it.
Plan and adapt the plan! You do this so that future you can thank you
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SETBACKS AND IMPOSTER SYNDROME?
Initially, when the company would have setbacks I would be quite stressed out and upset. Of course, I still do but it's not as bad as before. Now I try to find alternative solutions or accept that specific idea just wasn't working. Find an alternative solution tends to help quite a bit even though it feels like whatever you have done has ruined everything. Talking to my friends really helps. They give the best advice and are very encouraging. They have similar experiences so they're able to discuss and break things down.
Dealing with imposter syndrome has been difficult because I find that I have jumped over that hurdle then mentally I discover another. I then start becoming even more frustrated and then unable to believe in myself or anything I am doing. What I have managed to do is remind myself that I am worthy and I look at how far I've come in terms of growth. From looking at those things that I have become better at I become proud of myself and more confident. I then accept that this is who I am and I am capable of doing anything.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT BEING A CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR AND DOING WHAT YOU DO?
I love that I get to try different things. There are wonderful clients who give us free rein to try whatever we want with their work and it's just heartwarming when they say they love what we did. Hearing how happy the person is about what we've done is really one of the loveliest things about it.
An additional thing is that you get to challenge yourself and there's so much more to learn. Once you achieve one goal for instance, in editing something one way you realize there are several other ways you could have done it.
IF YOU WEREN’T A CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
I would probably be more focused on farming so, I would probably end up becoming a different entrepreneur.
WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU?
Success means that I am happy with what I am doing and that it gives me some sort of peace of mind. I know that it'll mean being able to leave the office and I won't panic about certain elements of the business. It also means that my business can support itself and I can be happy with its positioning.
WHAT IS YOUR WHY?
I do what I do because it feels necessary to me to become this woman who can run her business in an industry that is so male dominated. It is important to me that other women see that they can do what I am doing and more. It became quite apparent when I had to take a picture and I kept being shoved right and left by these bulky gentlemen. I remember my dad saying okay find another angle or climb that chair if you can't see. In other words, he didn't think my gender should affect whatever I am doing. I should achieve it and move onto the next thing. I shouldn't second guess myself because of who I am and this has been an amazing journey. My, “why” continues to change and evolve over the years.
IMAGINE IT’S A YEAR FROM NOW AND YOU’RE CELEBRATING WHAT A GREAT YEAR IT WAS FOR YOUR BUSINESS. WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE ACHIEVED?
I would have probably covered more weddings and succeeded in projects we want to try. My company would have shown more of its work. We would have at least two TV shows airing. We would like deliberate positive things being shown that affect people in a good way. Additionally, we would have more happy clients. I would also like to have at least one more employee and celebrate her as well.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL/WHO DO YOU LOOK TO FOR INSPIRATION AND WHY?
I don't really have a role model at the moment but I do have a few people I look up to. I look up to my parents because of how resilient they are. No matter the setback they continue to figure things out and move forward. I look up to my friends and family members because they do some of the most creative things I've ever seen and never give up. They keep trying to figure out how to be better and when they are going through things, they manage to stay afloat no matter what.
The person I am currently admiring is Jamie Beck (AnnStreetStudio). She is an amazing photographer and I would love to produce high quality work like she does.
WHO HAVE BEEN THREE OF THE BIGGEST SUPPORTERS ON YOUR BUSINESS JOURNEY?
My parents, my cousins, and my friends. My parents keep in check and constantly ask important questions. they are more so my critics and accountability partners. My cousins have given me so much support I am honestly speechless. My friends help me out and support me when I'm feeling overwhelmed. They also root for me and give amazing advice and let me know how I could improve.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING, WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO?
Nap! I also enjoy meeting up with some of my friends and cousins. I am currently learning how to knit and I have found myself enjoying it while watching Netflix or SortedFood. I started golf recently and it's just become a really good way to ignore your phone and be very present.
WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS AN INTROVERT OR AN EXTROVERT? HOW DO YOU THINK THAT IMPACTS YOUR BUSINESS?
I would describe myself as an introvert who attempts to be an extrovert. Well, I have to force myself to do things that I normally wouldn't. It impacts my business in the sense that things may take slightly longer because of how difficult I find networking. However, I do my best to push myself to try even though it feels like quite the task. In the end it's about prioritizing so that means trying no matter how hard it is.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL THE MOST PRODUCTIVE? ARE YOU AN EARLY BIRD OR A NIGHT OWL?
I seem to be a bit of both. I enjoy waking up early but that's from childhood. My mother would always loudly announce that, “the world is awake and doing things, why are you still asleep?” I enjoy working at night but depending on the day I'm usually too tired to have any kind of focus.
However, lately I find myself more involved and alert after lunch hour towards the evening so maybe I'm moving towards becoming a night owl.
DO YOU HAVE TIPS FOR STAYING PRODUCTIVE WHILE WORKING FROM HOME?
Having a list of what it is you need to achieve that day really helps. Another thing that helps is finding a spot in your home that you enjoy and feel comfortable in. I find that if your mind is at ease than you're able to work better and faster.
A FEW OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS
WHAT IS A BUSINESS TOOL YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?
Honestly, my camera. Without it, my business can't fully exist.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE OR AFFIRMATION?
I might be misquoting this but the quote went along these lines of “Be mindful of the words you use after you say I am.” This is important to me because a lot of the time one may find themselves saying something negative about themselves without realizing how that affects them. This ends up bringing bad unnecessary energy as opposed to positive energy.
So, if you truly believe you're powerful then believe it but don't say I am weak while in your mind you know you're strong!
Two other ones are, “Be present, Fear is overrated” and “No one should have that much power over you, to make you question your sense of worth, your beauty, or your life choices.” (Those last two were from my cousins.)
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BUSINESS OR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT BOOK?
The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp was my favorite personal development book. The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World by Brad Stone was my favorite business book.