Robson KanyamaBy Robson Kanyama|September 15, 2022|8 Minutes|In R&G Season II

Risk and Glory

I lost a lot of friends!

I refer to myself as a model of possibilities because, throughout my life journey, I have learned with great keenness that life will hand you what you put your mind to. As Napoleon Hill says in his book titled: Think and Grow Rich, "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve." And I believe the universe is just to give to an Earther who is willing to do whatever it takes, will achieve.

Being the second youngest member of my family. When I was 12, I lost my father and everything changed so drastically. Since that age, I’ve always wanted to be someone who challenges my family’s norms and endeavours always to create something that will transcend generations.

I’ve been telling my friends since I was a teenager that I am going to own a large clothing store and a group of companies someday. As I used to find it otherwise as most of the malls in my country were and are still dominated by foreign owned retail stores. Against all odds, I need to change that narrative. There is an urgent need to own our economy and exert more control over it.

In my initial stages of business, at my tender age, I would order phones on eBay and resell them to make some money. The process of ordering and reselling of bought items on eBay continued for a couple of years until before having to abandon the business due to financial challenges. Time passed as I focused on job searching; the search proved futile, so I had to volunteer for some work. I volunteered for 7 months without any pay.

I kept me asking myself, “Is this the life working class do every day (routine activities)? If this is it then I want more than this!” Constant thoughts would tick away in my head as I walked mostly to and from work which was about 3km away.

With my search for meaning and purpose of life, I was still unable to silence the voices inside my head because the spirit was always pushing me, and telling me; you’re not built for this, Robson; you’re better than this.

RK Fashions was founded while volunteering, and was initially known as RK Fashions and Jewel. With an initial capital of ZMW600.00, I purchased some simple (Geneva) watch from China via eBay. Fortunately, I was able to resell the watches at a reasonable price, and people seemed to love them. I reinvested my money and purchased more watches of higher quality, each of which was selling for around ZMW250.00; repeated the process before switching from watches to ordering shirts from China via Alibaba. My first set included 18 shirts (it was what I knew). After my volunteer work, on weekends, I

would pack my business in a bag and go door to door selling shirts to students at the University of Zambia.

I kept selling while identifying other links from which I could order goods at a reasonable price. I made connections to Tanzania and South Africa. I could order online, but was obviously exploited on the order prices. While that was going on, I continued to broaden my supply sources and search within the two countries. Returning to my volunteer work, after about seven months, or so, people began to recognize my excellent work ethics and asked me to work under a certain project for small pay; I agreed. While there I met a friend who introduced me to Grant Cardone online sales programs as I had told a friend that after reading certain business books, I was not finding what I was looking for and needed. My spirit kept yearning for more ways to better my life and that of my family.

I would arrive at work early and leave late. Working both in the office and on self-development in sales among others. I spent about a year on the project.
In addition, I got a job in another province where I worked for two years until I resigned last year in 2021 as I had made a decision to pursue my entrepreneurship journey. It was never an easy decision to make as my family opposed leaving my current job.

My former supervisor attempted to negotiate with me if I could reconsider my decision, but my answer was still no. She asked me to find something to do because the road I chose wasn’t an easy one, and I agreed, but I wasn’t going to start doing that.

Without a shop or enough capital, only relying on my previous clientele base and online (social media) traffic for sales in a country where online shopping hasn’t evolved much because people are wary of being scammed. It would take time to persuade a client to simply buy.

I have had clients to whom I have sent goods but have never paid. Among the many lessons I learned. Followed by that was Facebook shutting down my page during the festive season. And it just so happened that I had traveled to Dar es Salaam for orders, only to return with a life-changing shock. Facebook page was one of the major sales lead generators. With nowhere to start after trying to get the page reinstated, all efforts were futile. I’d tell myself that great things come from adversity. For sure, they did.

I was a month late on my house rental payments as I was required to pay two months in advance, and I lost a lot of friends along the way. I had to make a growth decision to relocate to another town, insofar as I continue to operate online.

Among other things, the thing is proud of is the bold decision I took of pursuing my dreams.