Losing three businesses did not kill my dream

Thursday, March 18th, 2021 00:00 |
Ovotox Group CEO Antony Kamau. Photo/PD/MILLIAM MURIGI

Although poor strategy, marketing skills and lack of knowledge cost Antony Kamau his companies, it did not stop his quest to become his own boss.

Milliam Murigi @millymur1

At 21, Antony Kamau was lucky to have secured employment as a studio technician-cum-radio and music production instructor at Zetech College, now Zetech University.

Though the pay was good, he was not comfortable being employed. He always wanted to be his own boss.

That’s why, after two years, he quit his job to start his first music production studio.

 “Though most of my peers envied me, I was not comfortable being an employee. I always wanted to own a music production studio.

That’s why after I got enough money I decided to quit and start my business,” he starts.

Armed with Sh50,000, Kamau bought the required equipment and was ready to start his entrepreneurship journey.

He converted his house into a studio and was ready to soar. Little did he know that the business was dead before it even started. After few months, due to rent arrears, he lost everything.

Collapsing business

“Poor strategy, lack of know-how, poor marketing strategies cost me my business a few months later.

To say I was frustrated is an understatement. My life was completely ruined. However, I was still determined to succeed,” he says.

With no money left, Kamau had to be accommodated by a friend for two months. Later, he was hired as a part-time producer to document company events.

Still focused on his passion, he quit his job again after two years and started a second studio in his home.

Again tough financial times and lack of strategies led to the closure of this company as well.

 “The second studio lasted for about one year and I had invested around Sh100,000.

After its collapse, I decided to attend entrepreneurship classes. I joined Inspire to Inspire classes by Dr Wale Akinyemi of,” he adds.

Here, he bumped into his third employer. He was hired as the chief producer, quality control manager, and media instructor at Princecam Media now Talanta Institute.

 After a year, he was ready to try his luck again and he resigned. He again set up another music production studio.

However, this time in Nairobi Central Business District. The previous ones were based in Kiambu county.

 “This was a bold and risky move as it pushed me to the worst and most painful phase of my life. Lack of a sustainable business model, low clientele, and poor strategies pushed me to rebrand four times in two years,” Kamau recalls.

Washing cars

In the midst of being broken by the fact that nothing seemed to work, a broken engagement followed suit and he ended up closing the business with substantial rental arrears, losing all his equipment for the third time.

 With no savings, a friend again hosted him before he finally landed a car wash job on Kamiti road where he worked selflessly.

Though at this point, it was all about survival, his mission of establishing a successful music production studio never changed.

It was disoriented by circumstances, but it was still so alive in him, still so fresh.

Earning around Sh200 per day, he invested his time in proper online research on entrepreneurship and general life issues.

That was the most psychologically painful phase, yet the most beneficial because he took time to do proper research on building successful companies.

 Since the car wash job didn’t pay much, he looked for a side hustle. Indeed, he managed to get three part time jobs.

Since he couldn’t let any opportunity slide he developed an agile strategy that enabled him to handle all jobs perfectly.

“I secured a job where I was offering music production classes part-time in a certain music school, I was also contracted by Pastor Richard Takim to offer videography services during his daily evening and weekends services and the last job was a video editing job at Sunrise films,” reveals Kamau.

This was his breakthrough. He managed to raise Sh150,000 a month from the side hustles and he dropped the car wash job. 

 “To ensure the money mistakes I had made before weren’t repeated, I started saving with a sacco.

A year later, I was appraised to get a business loan. With the loan and support from family and friends, I started Ovotox limited,” he says,

Wiser and more stable, he decided to offer media training and multimedia productions to empower multimedia creatives and, most importantly, training as it is a sustainable business model noting that education is a necessity. With time, he approached venture capitalists and the business scaled higher.

Diversification strategy

Kamau is now the CEO of Ovotox Limited a multimedia training, multimedia production, and media consultancy firm based in Nairobi.

They offer government-certified artisan, certificate, and diploma programmes with the integration of artificial intelligence.

“Artisan courses take one month at a fee of Sh35,500; certificate courses take three months at Sh60,000 and diploma courses take two years (five semesters) at Sh69,000 per semester,” explains Kamau.

 “Though still in the line with my initial idea, I decided to diversify after realising that you cannot prosper businesswise if you stick into one business idea.

Ovotox group is made up of Ovotox International School, Ovotox Africa, and Ovotox Business.”

Ovotox International School is the first institute in Kenya to offer Creative Multimedia Diploma courses with the integration of Artificial Intelligence to fuel the demand for Digital Revolution.

It has partnered with Conflux AI (Technology Partner) to provide proper education and artificial intelligence solutions.

“At the academy, students can choose from a wide range of visual and performing arts programmes that include Film making, Visual Effects, Animations, Broadcast Journalism, Cinematography, Digital Editing, Documentary Film making, Graphic Design, Photography, Producing, Screenwriting, and Music Production,” says Kamau.

More on Lifestyle