Is the Level of Education one has a Measure of Success?

 Much emphasis is always placed on education level one has and many will be proud brandishing academic papers acquired along the life’s process. Though there is nothing wrong in quest for a better education or higher training to land that dream job, oft times, many end up in careers that are less paying or ones they least trained for. But does it take higher education and specialized training in any field of expertise to be a success? Amongst the many successful people in the field of their hustles that I have come across, some did not see the inside of a high school wall let alone complete their college education. This is not saying pursuit of high education or profession training is wrong but the examples of these hustlers’ stories can inspire.

Patrick Kiuna
  After his primary school, he began life as a cowherd looking after cattle for different employers. When he clocked the legal working age of eighteen years, he began working as a porter in Nakuru town and was in that backbreaking line for a period of six years. One of his regular clients was a cereal business trader who mentored him to rethink his work line. This was to turn into a life changing fortune. He rented a stall along Bargain Road in Nakuru and began cereal business. “I would buy cereals at lower prices from suppliers and resell same at a profit,” he says.

  It took time before he was able to own his stall and today buys cereals in bulk from different parts of the country. Apart from selling to customers, he supplies cereals to schools and other institutions on contract basis. And to show for his investment, he had acquired a pick up van for business, build his own house as well as rental units.

Louis Ouma Oguti
At eleven years, he was already working at a daily wage of Sh1 having dropped from school at class five as his parents couldn’t afford to put him in school.The man, who is in his mid-thirties at the time of writing this, was employed in a private company in Kabete in Nairobi that was making shoes. He worked for three years, but it became hard to subsist on wages averaging about Sh30 per month that, at the age of 15, he felt mature enough to venture in a business of his own. He came to Nakuru and began working as a cobbler along Kanu Street. The business didn’t pick well, however. He moved to Kisii town where his efforts to establish himself in that place came a cropper too. As he had become familiar with Nakuru town, he came back and set base along Moi Road in the town’s central business area.The business began picking up as he persevered. “I had been working in this place for the last fifteen years and I can say the returns are good,” he says. 

And to show for his investment, he had managed to educate all his five 
children with the two of them in own gainful employment as a mechanic and a welder respectively.

Samson Macharia
  He dropped from school at class eight and joined his father in the street of Nakuru where the latter worked as a sign maker. He was then fifteen years old and his parent apprenticed him in making rubber stamps and printing on clothes. Those were days of designing everything manually. After a brief stint working with his father, he opened his own stall and began business. His clients were mostly schools and tertiary institutions seeking to have T-shirts stencilled or have rubber stamps made. It was going on well until the devolved county government units came and the first Nakuru county government drove many hawkers off Nakuru streets and he was amongst the affected. But, having learnt the art of digital design and printing, he simply rented an office space and operates his business under the name of Sammy Graphics.

  During the 2017 General Election, he recorded booming business as politicians seeking different elective posts sought his services to have T-shirts, caps, banners, posters, calendars, reflector jackets, flyers and campaign vehicles branded with party colours or have their names and pictures stencilled. “I made good money during that period,” he says, without giving a figure other than the sum was in six figures. He has a staff of three and this is what he has to say, “You have to be creative in this business coming with appealing designs and doing everything to a customer’s satisfaction.”

  He has ventured into real estate business as well.

Evelyn Rukusa
She dropped out of school at standard three owing to lack of the needs of the day like school fees, books, etc., when the era of free primary education was unheard of then. She began working from an early age as a house help.
There were exploitative employers, however, who would not pay for months on end. Some would take advantage of her seemingly naivety opting to pay for services rendered in kind, rather than in cash. This saw her moving from place to place looking for better wages. Fed up with being a maid, she decided enough was enough and ventured into boiled egg business and had been in this business for long before venturing into green grocery as well.

Michael Wahinya
He dropped from school at class six and began life work while many of his age mates were in classes balancing books. He worked as a casual at construction sites apart from other jobs and says he did not see much prospects in life at first compared to his friends who had a good education. While working at a timber yard mainly scooping sawdust from the pit of the operating machine, he studied those who operated donkey drawn carts and realized there was good money to be made if he owned one. It took him a few painstaking years saving before he managed to buy a donkey and a cart and began working from the same place he was formerly employed at. Then he realized there was more money to be made from timber business than transporting same for customers. He saved for ten years and began a timber yard business which is currently five years in operation (at the time of writing this). And the man who began ferrying timber products and sawdust for clients using a donkey cart today ferries same using his own lorry for those seeking transport services.

Daniel Muiga
  He dropped from school at form two and began life hawking water with a bicycle and tilling gardens for pay. He opened a hotel business but it did not thrive. After a year hustling, he opened a butchery which too closed doors after six months in operations. He then ventured into making human use food known as ‘roti’ and it did well. However, some of his former employers tailored their businesses as his with the effect the copycats brought unhealthy competition which saw massive dip in profit margin. He again began a hotel business but it closed doors in a span of a short time.

  “I have to think of a strategy to stay financially relevant,” he says. He began buying bales of hay and molasses and selling same to farmers at a profit during a long dry spell, but the venture suffered greatly when rains came and the ground was covered with lush green foliage.

  As many in his Nakuru rural village were not connected to the national grid and were using car batteries to power their televisions with, he began a battery charging business, and it was while in course of this business an incident that was to prove a life changer happened. When his radio malfunctioned and he opened the inside and sorted problem with no expertise in electronics, he decided to venture into electronic repair business but at first had to finesse his innate skills through apprenticeship. “I had this innate skill I didn’t know about,” he says.

  Today, he is an electronics expert repairing everything ranging from televisions, radios, mobile phones and video machines. He also doubles as a wiring expert apart from selling all electrical and electronic accessories. He had been in this business for the last seven years and is also a landlord with some rental units.

As these four examples show, success is not defined by the level of education one may have attained.


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