Latest posts by Angela Mwangi (see all)
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This story appears in the January 4th, 2018 issue of Inversk. Subscribe
His is an amazing story about bridging passion to profit: Safe Joe, he emerged among the finalists of The Blaze BYOB 2017. It captures the heart as it clearly reveals and touch on the aspect of many entrepreneurs struggling, yet very passionate of their gifting.
What could be the missing ingredient? As you read on, you are going to discover.
His birth name is Joseph Mugweru Wanja, but goes by his largely known brand name Safe Joe. He is a music producer for his Music Firm; Safecon Music and Wildlife Conservation Enthusiast.
How It All Begun:
He started out as a musician, specifically as a rapper and poet. After clearing Form 4, Safe Joe started doing music production but during this time he was observing under another music production house.
Entrepreneurship is a journey and for some, it takes much longer than others. For his case, “Music takes time, it’s not like baking a bread and selling it in the next few minutes.”
Joe had to get an alternative means to sustain himself as he continued working towards his dream. He worked at a Timber yard from 7am to 5 pm where he could earn Ksh 325 per day and continued learning and improving his music production skills through YouTube. This also translated to 3 or 4 hrs of sleep for the young musician.
When he decided to venture full time into music, he opted to start off as a freelance music producer where he would pay the music production house per hour. He would work together with his artist, oversee the whole process and give the artist the final work that would generate him around Ksh 2,000 in profits after paying the overheads.
Safe Joe’s producing talent is inborn but one has to incorporate skills, discipline and work ethic to get results. The world of producing is quite technical, from beat making, lyric composing, recording mixing and mastering, and the production, where the producer oversee the whole process.
Idea Inspiration and Clarity:
Safe Joe started learning music since his childhood, but getting into the music production was inspired by necessity because of the situations he was going through.
He was working in the Timber yard and lived in a one roomed house in Githurai under poor conditions without money then so he decided to use what he had: Music.
It was hard for him to get into production, he remembers a song he had to pay for, amounting to Kes 9,000 for one full year by contributing small amounts of Ksh 100, Ksh 200 etc. to cover the total fees.
Joe also desired to be in a space where he could help others not to go through the same struggles he went through as a startup producer.
Music production is something Safe Joe desired. The fact that he loves music, and the idea of creating something from scratch to something that you can hear and inspire someone is what inspires and drives him to keep the hustle.
A Journey of Breakdown and Breakthrough:
To summarize in one word the journey of his early beginnings: Rocky. Safe Joe started his entrepreneur journey earlier than most of his peers and age mates because it was a do or die situation. His mum passed on in 2009 when he was in Form 3 and he had been raised by a single parent. This meant he had himself to depend on.
His business faced challenges and closed down the 1st time when he was only 21. He got scared and terrified, with no idea of where to go.
Another instance was when he was moving his studio in Githurai to Hunters, a more well of and civilized place but he again closed the shop and went into a depression, moved to Eldoret but the ignition of his dream could not let him rest. He had to stand up, shake off the dust and move on. He took a whole year off from Music Production but was engaged in small projects here and there.
He was still on the move until his breakthrough came!
He Auditioned for The Blaze BYOB by Safaricom; a young entrepreneurs summit that included a TV Show and out of 1,500 participants he became a Finalist. The Blaze experience helped him to scaling his business.
Joe had developed his skills since 2013. However, the business side of it and networking was something he was working on until when he got the opportunity at Blaze.
Positive Mindset In Building a Business:
Like any other startup business, there are seasons that demands alertness in the part of the entrepreneur.
There were two occasions where Safe Joe faced closing down of his business, this was time to evaluate and look back to how far he had come. And this helped him decide to wake up, dust himself and keep life moving. He also asserts that many entrepreneurs go through these tough tests, and anyone facing such would be wise to recognize they are not the first ones to undergo through such and it’s a situation that can be overcome.
Lessons Learnt Through The Journey:
- Investing In Self: – Most young people acknowledge network as the only ingredient needed to build a successful brand. For Safe Joe, he strongly believes it starts with the person as an entrepreneur. He had instances of low times after thinking of his mum’s demise and through that course of time, he got a Chance by Wildlife; Anti-Poaching Org, to a Competition that gave him Ksh 250,000 and the first thing he thought was to furnish his house, dress well to help boost his esteem.
- Merge Your Passion With Skills:- When you have a passion, you have to put it into business. In budding himself, Safe Joe relied on Dr. Eddy, the man who produced Kapungala. A Musician should ask right questions, do research and have a business model. When you make a decision you affect the business, separate business from yourself as an independent entity. Knowing the key players in your market, he believes your Network is your Net worth, Networking and collaborations are very important.
Advice to Young Musicians:
Safe Joe advices young and novice musicians wishing to step into the music space not think of music as a hobby but more as a business. Having a business model and being disciplined will pave the way for you. “Everyone must instill discipline, work ethics and undertake what they do professionally by registering their businesses and invest time to grow them.”
Winding Up: “You are who you think you are. If you think you are a failure, you will fail definitely, if you believe in Success it becomes inevitable. Mind is a powerful tool that people do not normally use.”