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Surprise! I’m Still Here

December 13, 2012

Yesterday, I received a phone call from a former client. When I answered the phone I could tell he was a little surprised, but he quickly recovered and went on to say, “Oh, you have made it back.”

Just in case you didn’t know, I went to the States for about five weeks- a trip many people in Ghana didn’t expect me to return from obviously.

“Yes”, I replied. “I came back  last Wednesday.”

“Oh, ok well I am going to give you a call when I get to the office.”

“Sounds good, I am around,” I stated and then hung up the phone.

Of course, he never called and to be honest I wasn’t expecting him to. You see, I get these calls occasionally from former clients or other random people who know I work for myself. And although, they would have me believe they are calling to check in, I know they are calling to see if I have failed in my ventures; I am sure many of my African entrepreneurs can relate to these calls.

Now, I know some of you are thinking you don’t know that for a fact. But I do. I worked for Congress for nearly three years, a place where 90% of things said are are not genuine. A place where people ask you a question only to gauge if you will be leaving a vacancy in your office soon or are attempting to gather hurtful information on a political foe. A place where everyone walks around and smiles at everyone, making small conversation, only to later to confess to their closest allies how much they hate an individual. So, yes, I have become an expert on disingenuous actions and statements.

I would say that I am surprised, but I am not. Because as an African entrepreneur I know that there is always someone hoping you fail. You see, not everyone has the guts to be an entrepreneur  in Africa, to go out and struggle daily to make things happen in the midst of defeat. Not everyone will leave the comfort of their office/cubicle of their respectable African job to live their dreams. So when you do it, it will inevitably make someone a little jealous. They will wish you the best, but secretly hope that you have to return to the land of fluorescent lights and needless water cooler conversation- because after all why should you get to live out your dreams in Africa?

So don’t be surprised if people who you have barely associated with or people who failed to produce promised contracts suddenly become super interested in your business and what you are doing on a regular basis to support yourself, or if you start to receive random calls six months to one year down the line that curiously ask, “Are you still in business?”  Instead focus all of your energy on giving them the surprise of their life when you say, “Yes, I am still around and business is still going!”

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