The thought of starting a business may be scary, especially when one thinks about the various costs involved such as rent for the business premise. However, what if I told you that there was a way to have a successful business without the burden of rent? We carried out a number of interviews with successful entrepreneurs in Nairobi who operate without stores, and you may want to take notes. 

Phanice, Liz, Diana and Nina are some of the Nairobi residents who are making a fortune on a daily basis from business, without necessarily having an outlet store.

In the case of Phanice, a resident from Dagoretti who started out as a househelp, doing her job with all her heart made her boss see an opportunity that she herself had not noticed. All she did was prepare chicken for dinner, which made her boss want to fully exploit the skills Phanice had. The boss spread word to her friends that Phanice could make the best chicken for them, ready to be served at a price of Ksh1400. 

The boss would place an order of 15 chicken every two days for Phanice to prepare, and they would be out even before the two days were over. Phanice noticed that she could do well on her own, quit her job and started venturing in preparing chicken smoked traditionally. She buys fresh chicken between Ksh700 and Ksh900, and sells them at Ksh1400.

What is interesting about her business, is that she does it from the comfort of her home.  Speaking to a local media, Phanice states that on a bad day, she makes about Ksh10,000. To start this business, all she needed was to identify her skills and do it with passion.

“If you start off with one, you make the profit to add one more, and the market grows by the day. The advantage is, you won’t lose by trying with only one chicken, because you do it in your house, and the expense of paying rent won’t be part of your problems,” Phanice concluded.

Faith Nina may only be 20 years old, but the young lady is filthy rich. In high school, she studied home science and soon realized her love for baking. That is how she now makes thousands from home. 

She started by cooking some for breakfast, and since having guests at home is common, one guest in particular could not have enough of her cakes. Just like that, she got a client who advertised her cakes to many people. For her first client, she spent Ksh2000 but made Ksh2800.

As time went by, she became more experienced and gained more customers. Right now, she gets contracts for baking birthday cakes, wedding cakes, anniversary cakes and graduation cakes.

What if cooking or baking isn’t your thing? Well, there’s a variety lined up for you. 

Anne Kamau began selling clothes and sneakers to her friends in campus. She always carried a big backpack with her, but what she did not know is that the backpack would turn into something that would earn her a lot of money. She, however, did not need a lot to start off.

One day, she wore boots she had bought at a local market for Ksh200, and a friend spotted her and inquired on the pair. The friend offered to pay Ksh 1000 for them. 

Surprisingly enough, she was not the only one interested. When Anne realised this, she decided that weekends would be for buying nice but cheap shoes in the market, and sell to her friends at a slightly higher price. Customers kept coming to her, and a business she started with as little as Ksh200 is now her major source of income.  

 Another interviewee was Liz, who stays in Karen. She quit her job at the United Nations to venture into farming. All she does is collect orders during the week and make deliveries on weekends. On a bad day, she states, she would make a profit of Ksh7000.

For this specific investment, one needs a lot of capital, especially if you have no piece of land. People love to eat foods fresh from the farm, and the products are always on demand. She sells fresh farm produce including almost all kinds of vegetables and fruits. 

If you have land in the village, it will be easier since all you will need is transport to ensure your produce gets to you. 

Another interesting story is that of Diana Rose, an ex-Switch TV journalist. She noticed many people love fish, and many retailers need suppliers. She is now one of the major suppliers in many parts of Nairobi. 

All she needed was to identify a consistent supplier, and find out how much she will need for the business. In this case, she needed an investment of about Ksh50,000, and this was largely because storage of fresh fish is critical. She has, however, not been disappointed. Diana is also an employer as she needs riders to help her make the deliveries. 

Diana Moseti started her jewelry brand by investing Ksh700. She knew she had crafting skills and began crafting her own jewelry. What is intriguing is that she used her social media handles to get contracts for making jewelry for bridesmaids. She sells a pair of earrings at Ksh700. 

According to her, if you have the skills, make one and just give it to a friend or family. You do not have to re-sell what everybody is selling. 

The basic thing you need to start a business, is to identify the specific skills that you have. That way, you will do what you love. You may not be good at preparing chicken like Phanice, but you have a unique way of preparing other meals like beef, fruits and even vegetables.

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