It’s the small things
From the 20 emails that I sent I only received a few replies on only one person agreed to meet. To be honest this was a bit disheartening because I thought I’d made some good contacts over the last few months but the thing you quickly learn is that people are amazingly busy and if you don’t seize the moment they quickly forget who you are and get consumed in other things. It’s not that people don’t care or are rude. You just have to chase busy people unbelievably hard and people receive so many emails that it’s easy to ignore them.
Anyway the one meeting that I managed to set up was a good one. Yvonne Roberts had been a senior associate at the Young Foundation when I was there and she was always someone that I admired. In the office she was always energetic and positive, talking to other staff and asking how they were and she really seemed genuinly interested in what I was up to and my future plans. On top of this she’s a great writer and journalist and she knows a bunch of people. So I was excited to meet her and in the back of my mind I thought that she would be a great board member.
We met in Clapham and had a great chat for about 40 minutes and she was hugely enocuraging. At the end of our chat I subtly suggested that if she had some free time I was looking for new board members. Thankfully she said yes! So I got on the tube and travelled home pretty happy with some time to consider things. Sitting in the carriage I came to a conclusion that I still feel strongly about. When starting a venture it’s the little bits of success that count. You get so many knocks that when good things happen, even if they aren’t big things like getting funding, you have to really appreciate them because these are the things that will keep you upbeat and confident. I easily could have thought about all those emails that I sent and all the people that didn’t want to meet and find out what I was doing. But instead I chose to think about Yvonne and her decision to invest her time in KenyaWorks. So focus on the little bits of success that you get and take heart when they come off.