I’m having “work withdrawal” if that’s a thing, and depression is one of the symptoms. Are you an entrepreneur? Has this ever happened to you? You step back from work for a while and it feels like everything bad could possibly happen? Especially when some stuff is indeed happening?!!!!!

When I started Hephie Brown Fashion Accessories, it was one of the biggest highs of my life. I left my 9-5 with my full chest; I could never colour inside of the lines. I knew the mad potentials the business and brand had, but I lacked the guts, maybe even experience to take it there. I also had tons of emotional blockage standing in my way. I remember mistakenly going back into paid employment. I had applied for this bank job, 2 years later they replied “You got the job!”. Lmao Nigerian employers are the worst.

Some of my advisors thought the training school was a good opportunity to get a mini Business School crash course, so I went for it. I remember studying hard to pass exams, knowing deep down I didn’t even want the job, but caring about it anyway. I passed training school, I started working, the extra income was good I won’t even lie. And I got to work in an enviable department too, got me a godfather/mentor even.

When I left Nigeria to relocate to Kenya, everyone kept asking me what was next with Hephie Brown, but I never had an answer. I beat myself up over it for the longest time, and someone finally, finally convinced me that failing at a business was part of the entrepreneurial journey. So I took the L (lessons). Keyman risk being one of them.

I’m here now, running a cloud kitchen, a hair and jewellery retail business, and a dark store out of Kilimani Nairobi. I’ve learnt a lot and grown a lot this period, and for every time I felt I couldn’t breathe, I just took a lifeline. It turns out lifelines are endless in this game, as long as you use it at the right time. I hired and fired, I trained and scolded, all working towards continuity no matter what life brings. Because I know life will definitely life.

The first time I took days off, it was 2 nights staycation in another county in Kenya, and I was stalking everything at work every minute of every day. My work life balance was in the sh||ts. Weekends were the most profitable in the food business, so I definitely couldn’t party. My glue gun was missing me and I missed it too. Fitness was a thing of the past, a yogified body was a pipe dream. I was sleeping at work, working at home. I would be on my feet all day, and the minute I got to sit down, I would sleep off. I was a robot on auto pilot, and family time, friend time, fun time, meant very little to me. I struggled to even take time off in the first place, but I was reminded that I had to make time for my marriage, because what do I gain if I have my heart desires but lose my heart desires? I wouldn’t be the first workaholic, or the last. My husband would laugh at me fondly about all the times I always told him to take some time off work. Gloat much bro? Now I’m taking even longer time off, I’ll be away from one business for the sake of another business, but it also means half of the time I’m sitting around and I could be having f-u-n.

OK lmao FUN???!!! How dare I have fun when my kitchen is out of eggs and the supplier isn’t responding? When the WiFi keeps acting up and I cannot speak to the staff as much as I want to, which is every minute of every day?! When on my last day away, one staff was actually threatening to slap another hehehe. When I can see on my video camera that my staff is faffing around but I can’t be that witch shouting on them over the phone every minute of the day!! My account manager basically told me I’m not a big enough fish to fry by not attending to network issues urgently, or maybe she’s the lazy one.

What is this tightness in my chest that causes me to reach for the comfort of oversleeping? What is that overwhelming powerlessness I feel, the like of which I haven’t felt since I relocated from Nigeria? What is that tightness in my brain that has me reaching for panadol extra? What are those questions popping up I cannot answer. Did I take time off too soon, or too late? Is this actually a brilliant test of my Key-man risk? Those plans to replicate, are they pipe dreams? Am I a terrible delegator? Afterall being Miss Independent comes at a cost. Am I being negative, or not realistic enough? Can I take a peep at the future now, will that help erase my fears? Do my staff think I’m lazy and weak if they see me taking time off? Will it affect staff morale? Was this girl serious when she said they’ve felt dull since I’ve been gone or is she saying it to kiss ass?

I asked for this, I made this happen, I brought this on myself. And even if I wanted to bury my head in the sand and wallow for 1 day, this monster I have set in motion cannot just go on pause because of my say-so. What is this feeling like I have upped the pedestal for myself, but I have Acrophobia!

Anyway, time to grab a lifeline. 

What is your entrepreneurial situation? Take a load off your shoulders in the comments section, if you dare; if you need to. Let’s let ourselves drop the glamor for a minute, we’ll get back to it when we see our bank statements.

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