2017-04-18-PHOTO-00000972 (1).jpgI started the year 2017 with very high expectations and a few solid plans. Things suddenly went haywire and all my initial plans failed. I felt dejected, downtrodden and alone. With the help of my partner and family, somehow, I picked myself up, I found my inner strength, I found focus and then I started re-living my dreams. Suddenly I was on the grand hustle and fully aware of my value and potential. As I look back at 2017 and how I turned misfortune into fortune, here are my top 8 lessons:

1. Take a break and travel near, far and wide

In the past few years, I worked like a donkey – I never used to stop work and there are nights when I worked 24/7 without blinking just because I wanted to be ahead or feel like I had accomplished certain projects in less time. 2017 mainly taught me to delegate duties. I also learnt how to take a break from work and live life. My travel to Uganda and other destinations was great, always giving me a chance to exchange culture and adapt to new environments and change. Read my travel blogs below:

Only 5 things to do in Lamu

 

The Thing on My Head: Tales from Nigeria

World’s best balloon ride is atop Maasai Mara: Vlog

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A Visit to Poland’s Wieliczka Salt Mine: Like a Movie (Part 1)

What’s Christmas in Czech Republic Like? Trees, Tea & Snow

2. Try Something New

Up until 2017, I had been running Sauti Sol’s PR full time for 10 years straight. I decided to take a break and work part time so as to get time to try my hand at starting my own business and company. I really wanted to work with other acts so I could grapple with different tasks and working ways so as to grow new brands and experience new demands. It’s been such a challenge yet a breather for me. It’s also been interesting and an every-day lesson having to introduce my brand afresh.

My 2017 clients included from Nigeria: Gidi Fest, Skales and Seyi Shay, Kenya’s Stella Mwangi, King Kanja, Muthoni DQ, Sauti Sol, Nick Mutuma, Diani Beach Festival, Africa Nouveau Festival, Madaraka Documentary, Beauty Click, Decimal Records, Laugh Festival and the East African Basketball Tournament – Africa City Challenge.

Doing PR for Stella Mwangi’s self-titled Hollywood EP was mega! She made major waves and we documented it all. MTV coming on board was also epic!

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Other PR work included for Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards (Uganda), Cameroon’s Stanley Enow and the global hit makers: Major Lazer—yes! I did PR in Kenya for “Particula”.

You might enjoy this: Top African Songs of 2017 – Anyiko’s Top 10

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Salvado and Arthur Nkusi at Laugh Festival Presser

My company also started conducting bookings and we locked a few for Vanessa Mdee, Runtown and Seyi Shay. We hosted media tours for all Coke Studio Africa artistes, Mandela, Seyi Shay, King Kanja and Rosa. I hosted over 10 press conferences, including Coke Studio’s unveiling Jason Derulo, Diani Beach Fest and Laugh Festival’s second edition featuring Uganda’s funny man Salvado and Rwanda’s Arthur Nkusi. I personally wrote about 250 press releases circulated across Africa.

My company Anyiko PR partnered with Nigeria’s New Media Conference for its inaugural edition in Nairobi, which was super successful – we had Google’s Country Manager, Charles Murito, give the keynote speech. Thank you Caroline Mutoko for the assistance!

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3. Have several plans and different strategy

In 2017, I learnt to be extra at work and be thorough at my planning – this is my secret to successful PR. Instead of a plan – have 10! Different strategies will leave you with various options towards the same goal if anything fails.

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From February I started a drive to recruit 12 new members to join my Anyiko PR collective. For 3 months, I took them on 2 media boot camps per month and at the end, I picked 3 new members. This not only gave my company the support and capacity, finally sharing my knowledge and empowering someone, left me gratified and content. Check out Anyiko PR website here

Our Instagram is also cool. Follow …

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In May, I gave a workshop at HEVA on PR in the Music Industry—that was a dope highlight, and an opportunity that I feel was birthed by my training series. I also spoke at a panel discussion at The GoDown’s Creative Entrepreneurship Class.

From these experiences, I wrote  8 Lessons in Entertainment PR for artistes

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I also participated in GoDown’s latest drive to get the funds for transforming the art space. Make your contribution now. Mpesa Paybill 681471. Airtel Money 681471. Account name: Your Name. For more info: http://www.godowntransforms.org

4. Get Your Hustle On

Going independent really made me enter the grand hustle front. Worked as Publicist of Coke Studio Africa for a third year in a row. The merging of Coke Studio Africa and Coke Studio South Africa really fed my hunger for discovery more African music and artistes. I also mcee’d at the launch of MTV Shuga – Down South.

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For a second year in a row, I worked as Head of Content for Not Just Ok – East Africa, and columnist for YUMMY Magazine. I love to write on artistes and new music – period 🙂 On YUMMY I interviewed Jason Derulo, Nyashinski, Navy Kenzo, Tresor and Avril on food, lifestyle, drinks and their time at Coke Studio.

Read: Dissecting Aika and Nahreel: Tanzania’s Music Duo: Navy Kenzo

5. Build Your Brand and Network like never before

Been working hard on cementing my networks across all the key African markets. That’s why I went on a media tour to Lagos, Uganda and Tanzania in 2017.

If you saw me being interviewed somewhere, that’s all hype! I am just traveling to make new networks and collect contacts because you’re not a real Publicist if you’re not invested in this.

Thanks to my travel, I am now a weekly correspondent on Uganda’s X FM radio. Together with Denzel, we are going to take this to the next level in 2018.

It was super amazing to meet and brainstorm with Apple Music’s CEO – Julie Pilat.

I was invited at the Embassy of Sweden, in Nairobi to give a talk on my career’s strides and new use of social media. Such an honour!

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Thank you Swedish Ambassador to Kenya, Anna Jardfelt, for the warm hosting at the Embassy of Sweden.

See some of my interviews below:

  • DW
  • CCTV Africa
  • Victoria’s Lounge

6. Learn a little and a lot

You are not perfect. I am not perfect. For this reason we must put ourselves in a position of always learning new things from our colleagues, opportunities and from the world at large. In the quest of learning, make sure you are not a fool. Don’t be fooled by being cajoled or stepped on. Real lessons are in fair and objective situations so be keen on personal and work environments you settle on.

My trips to Djibouti and Lagos, taught me a few things that I wrote about.

Retracing Fela Kuti: Visiting The New Afrika Shrine (Part 1)

5 Things to do in Djibouti

From my Lagos trip I also wrote an Op-Ed for Daily Nation – read:  This is what ails Kenyan music

7. Lastly, take some time to love yourself and love someone. The concept of being loved starts with loving yourself. I am taking care of myself and trying to care more for those around me. I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have met the man of my life.

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It’s not just about being in love but being with someone who will be present, true to you, correct you if need be, teach you something and be a support system. True love really makes you calmer, chill and happier.

BONUS: Thank you 2017 for the lessons! Ready for what 2018 has to offer, wishing you all well!

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