My husband quit his job to join me in running our tour business

Ann Kendi is the Managing Director Unique Preen Safaris, a tours and travel company domiciled in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo | Pool

What you need to know:

Ann Kendi is the Managing Director of Unique Preen Safaris, a tour and travel company in Nairobi, Kenya

This business is about providing people with experiences that allow them to explore new places, cultures and activities. We provide curated tour packages and business travel and facilitate a wide range of tourism services which include: corporate team building, hotel booking (local and international), domestic, regional and international air ticketing, beach vacations, bush safaris and tour packages (group joining or private travels (Maasai Mara, Amboseli, Serengeti), car rental services, ground transfers (airport and train stations), corporate travel and honeymoon packages.

My husband James Livingstone, has been very instrumental in steering the business. Jointly, we incorporated the business in June 2021 because we wanted to be part of something that could be personal and financially rewarding. I also wanted to use my skills and experience to help grow the business and make it successful, as a marketer. Armed with Sh50,000 we built a simple website, purchased domains and branding and got started.

I wasn’t employed when I started this business. However, my husband was, and he had to resign from his job as a financial analyst to help build it. We don’t regret making the decisions we made to venture into entrepreneurship as the future of this business is luminous. There have been challenges without a doubt. These have included managing cash flow, finding reliable employees and service providers, managing customer expectations, and staying on top of marketing and advertising trends while trying to find the right channels to reach customers.

I once joined network marketing with a pyramid scheme. I was excited at the prospect of reaping some good benefits and I jumped in and invested too much money too quickly. I ended up losing everything. I learned that it is important to research any opportunity before investing. Trust the process of money building. There’s no such thing as quick legitimate wealth. Utaoshwa!

Early this year, I got the opportunity to plan an itinerary to six African countries for our international clients. This turned out to be one of my main business milestones. It was a great honour to be entrusted with such a huge project; it allowed me to explore my creativity and understanding of Africa’s diverse cultures. It was also a great opportunity to expand my business network and gain valuable knowledge and experience. It was a referral from a friend.

If I were to start over again, I would focus more on developing a long-term plan for my business. I would also invest in my education by taking additional classes or certifications, attending industry events, and networking with others in my field. I would be more mindful of my spending, and I would take time to enjoy the moment.

Budgeting is the fulcrum of my spending. I try to restrict myself within my budget. This has allowed me to prioritise my spending and track my progress. Previously, I was simply trying to save whatever was left over at the end of the month after paying bills. This wasn’t effective because often, there was nothing left to save.

It’s never too late to start something to build a secure future for yourself and your family. My advice from what I have learnt is: be mindful of what you have and use it wisely. Try to live within your means and avoid unnecessary debt. Save for the future and invest in yourself. Develop a budget and stick to it. Be generous with your time and resources, helping others where you can. Finally, remember that money isn’t everything; focus on the relationships and experiences that make life truly meaningful.