Meet 29 Yrs Old Who Started a Thriving Business with Almost Zero Capital

Joyce Muthoni - Proteque Consulting Firm MD
By Tabitha Makumi,

 Forgive me for starting with a banal question; what did you want to be while growing up?

29 years old Joyce Muthoni dream was not to become a doctor or a lawyer like most of us imagined we would be in our later years.

“I always wanted to be a business person. Whether it was buying a fleet of matatus or opening a kiosk, the idea of starting a business was always ingrained in my mind since childhood,” she shares during an interview at her offices along Riverside Drive.

The first born of three siblings admits that while she hails from an artistic family, she never bothered to follow that path herself.

With an eminent brother (Mike Muthiga - Faiba famed Animator) Joyce says, “I celebrate Mike, he is extremely hardworking but I would have crashed and burned if I was to walk in his shoes for a day. It’s pretty exhausting what he does.”

Determined to follow her own path, Joyce pursued a business course at the United States International University but unlike most graduates, she wasn’t caught up in the rush of looking for her first job after campus.

 “I don’t like being told what to do which is what employment is all about,” she laughs at this and adds that, “This cemented my decision in what I’ve always wanted to do all along.”

That’s why after graduation, she made Google and her networks her closest friends and started doing research on the kind of businesses she could start with her marketing degree.

“I settled on PR and Marketing, Personal Branding and Event Management.”

Contrary to the believe that you need whole load of cash to start a business, Ms Muthoni admits to starting her lucrative venture with almost zero capital.

“My first client was a friend in the hotel industry who hired me to train his front office staff. The only cost I had to incur when I started off was the business registration fee which was a small amount given to me by my mother to organize a graduation party.”

The 29 year old who decided to put her dreams first at the expense of a graduation party became the proud founder and Managing Director of Proteque Consulting Firm.

But as she tells it, the journey of keeping her dreams alive hasn’t been all rosy.

“Just like any other business I have had to deal with my own bundle of challenges. For starters,  for two and half years, I worked from home since I couldn’t afford to rent out an office. I was also pretty green in the business scene that I ended up hiring a lawyer who did a shoddy job while registering my business.”

And as is the case with most young employers, she made a dire mistake of hiring candidates without job descriptions an idea which she says failed miserably.

She also admits to being unable to delegate duties to her employees since she wanted to be involved in everything.

“I am very possessive of ideas and there’s always a particular way I want things done,” she laughs at this and adds, “But with time, you learn to let go and let others get involved.”

Speaking of employees, what does she look for when recruiting for her consulting firm?

“Marketing is all about people, so my people have to be people’s people. Of course they need to have basic education depending on the nature and level of the job..”

She quickly adds that, “I am also of the belief that anyone can be molded if they have passion in whatever industry they are in.”

And how is the business doing? She smiles at this and says, “I haven’t gone hungry and neither have my people.” She adds that with Marketing, there are high and low seasons. “It’s a very busy and unpredictable industry.”

If  her client list is anything to go by, then she sure is doing well for herself.

“I have been hired by individuals and corporate brands such as Safaricom, Kenafric, Craft Silicon, The Tribe hotel, Chase Bank and other organizations to train their staff on presentation skills, customer service and personal branding.”

And what’s her advice to young people?

“You learn by making mistakes. For those who would like to start their own ventures someday, get the experience first even if it means getting an internship in the industry you want to get into.”
She reckons that this gives one the experience of getting to know the ins and outs of how things work.

She sums it up by adding that, “I don’t know how to do business without God. When things do not work out, God does it for me.”