Florence Bett-Kinyatti: I earned a place on the panel of eminent persons

Kalonzo Musyoka

 Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka appears before the panel of Eminent Kenyans.

Photo credit: Pool

Tell me, where were you last Saturday from the morning hours until mid afternoon, say 3pm? I will give you a minute to think about it. Well, I was speaking as a panellist in an event about women and money. Financial literacy, financial empowerment, talking money… the whole shebang.

I have been getting invited to these events since launching my book last December. (Title of the book is ‘Should I? Your questions about money.’) Let me tell you this, everyone who is earning money struggles to manage this money. Let no one tell you any different. Everyone struggles with a certain aspect of their personal finances: perhaps it is their income. Or budgeting. Maybe their savings and investments.

I struggle with managing my debt because I struggle with my income. What do you struggle with, dear reader? Kenyans are buying my book because they want solutions to their struggles.

Anyway, I have been getting invited to these events and I always have a whale of a time. It is quite an honour that folk go into their pockets and set aside time from their hectic schedules to come listen to me – and others – talk about how to do money better. It is quite humbling. A humbling honour.

Unseasonable June

The humility hit no different last Saturday. There I was at the location in Lavington. It was an overcast day with skies hanging low, an unseasonable June that smelled of endless possibilities. I was there to talk about investing in non-financial markets and investing in yourself, you as the “golden goose that lays the golden eggs.”

I was on the dais with two other women and one gentleman, and I want to believe we gave the over-40 women attending the event value for their money and their Saturday.

I was humbled to be sitting in the panel, I must mention that again. Do you know what crossed my mind at some point? I thought, ‘I have earned a place in this panel because of my writing, my book. I have not been sent here by the company I push paper for – not a bank, a trader or an insurance company. I am sitting here as me, as the writer and author.’

Certifications give you authority but nobody cares much for them. The event organisers did not tell me, ‘Bett, before you confirm, please scan and send us copies of your academic papers. Show us your graduation photos.’ Ha-ha.

Working mothers

Imposter syndrome: career women like me who are also working mothers suffer from the psychological malady that is imposter syndrome. It is an internal experience where you doubt your skills and feel as though you are not as competent as others think you are. That someone may grab a megaphone and point at you saying, ‘This woman is a fraud, she doesn’t deserve to be here!’

I don’t experience imposter syndrome – thank heavens – but I battle insecurities of a different kind. I am happy and fulfilled but I doubt that my writing will make me as much money as I desire. I don’t have the confidence that it will open the door to the comfortable lifestyle I have always dreamed of for myself.

Just last March, I met with a career coach over a sun downer. I had reached out to him while at the end of my wits. The agenda of our meeting was to plan my comeback to audit. Let me rewrite that with the enthusiasm of my coach: Your comeback! To audit! Let’s do this!

In hindsight that was a mistake. I should not have been meeting with a career coach but a brand coach. Someone who would help me leverage my emerging creative brand to sell more books and get invited to more events, to grow my numbers online and become a micro-influencer. To increase my charge-out rate.

Personal finance

A wise friend once told me, ‘Bett, this writing that you don’t believe in is what will make you stand amongst the great. It is your talent that will make you serve before kings and presidents.’

It is true. A few years ago, I wrote a story in one of my personal finance columns about table banking. Within the month I got a call from…wait for it… from the office of Rachel Ruto, DP Ruto’s wife. I kid you not. Her Excellency wanted to have a cup of tea with me.

It turns out that table banking is one of her pet projects. She popularised it. It has a special spot in her heart because it has transformed the lives of thousands of women at the grassroots. Women who have fantastic ideas for business but cannot get money from big lenders to get their ideas off the ground have financed themselves from their table banks.

How table banking works is…I have exhausted my word count, perhaps you can invite me to an event where we can talk about it.

@_craftit; [email protected]

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