Trevor MumbaBy Trevor Mumba|April 15, 2022|7 Minutes|In Risk and Glory

Risk and Glory

“I was cash strapped and running on very little hope”

My name is Trevor Mumba. I was born in 1983 in Lusaka, Zambia. I was orphaned at age 10. I was then taken in by my grandmother. I spent my childhood in her little three-roomed house in Matero, one of Zambia’s largest and most notorious townships. Here, I would learn to live on very little and also to sell whatever we could get our hands on to help with school fees, books, and uniforms.

I may not have known it then but this was the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.

I completed my secondary school education in 2001. Never be ashamed to say that I did not do well academically. That grade twelve class would be the last classroom I would ever step in.

So, my business life started. I first started out selling pirated DVDs (discs) on the streets of Lusaka. While at it, I got a job at Madison Insurance as a Life Sales Agent and failed at it just as quickly.

So, I was back to hustling on the streets. I later started selling clothes in Livingstone to mostly Sun International Hotel employees. These guys used to pay well because of the US dollar tips in the industry. I had a big enough market just in their Victoria Falls resorts. I would get my supplies from Lusaka’s COMESA market at wholesale prices. Good picks, because of my eye for fashion and great relationships with my customers, put me ahead of the competition.

The money was not bad considering where I was in life then but I wanted more. I was very ambitious. I wanted so much more and better for myself. So, I saved up some cash, bought a one-way bus ticket to Johannesburg and I was out of Zambia in 2007. Within a few weeks, I got my first job in Randburg at a Sales company where I was hired to sell converged phone services for Neotel. It was tough, the money was bad but the lessons were great.

 

Under some very interesting circumstances, I managed to get my first company, Rovert Marketing registered and would run my first business in Cape Town in 2010. The first product we ever sold was Virgin Mobile Sim cards. Small margins but we pushed volumes with over thirty sales agents at any given time. I made a lot of money so fast and that is where my first real lessons in business would come from. I did not understand money. I did not know how to negotiate. I got too comfortable too quickly. I was over ambitious in my hunger for new opportunities and lost a lot of money to people who took advantage of my naivety.

By mid-2011, I was losing my grip on business and a lot of other areas in my life. By the end of that year, I closed shop and went to find a job. I had no other options.

Luckily, I convinced an offshore investments company that I could sell their investments products (lump sum, regular savings and life insurance), and maybe they were also just desperate to have more people in their Zambia office. They hired me in Sandton, sent me to Cape Town for a week’s training and in another week, I was posted to their Lusaka office. I did a few sign ups, made some good money in basic salaries and commissions, all in Pound Sterling and made my exit.

I clearly still had lessons to learn because I left that job, made another foolish move and got into a business partnership in a night club/restaurant that made me so unhappy and I would walk away with nothing at the end of 2013.

I decided to move back into Cape Town and restart my company. I was cash strapped and running on very little hope. It was a very difficult period but I kept trying.

I saw  some light at the end of that year. I came across an opportunity to get into fundraising for an International Animal Welfare Organization, but first I had to learn so much about that industry and how I would apply my direct sales skills and experience to fundraising.

Sometime, mid 2014, I cracked it and would get my first contract in August of the same year.

It felt good, but within a week of signing that contract, I lost my dear grandmother. I was broken and would have to rebuild my business through depression. It eventually got better with time and a lot of focus.

Within another two years, my business would really take off and the world would notice me and my company. By mid-2016, I would have a few more contracts with other organizations and things just kept looking up.

Currently, Rovert has grown into an Investment company with various businesses under it in three different countries, across different industries such as marketing, sports, entertainment, farming, travel and logistics. We just turned twelve on the 26th of March 2022.