KBC news anchor, Ahmed Juma Bhalo, opened up on a time he was forced to hawk chicken meat after being retrenched by K24 TV where he worked as a news presenter.
In an exclusive interview with Kenyans.co.ke on Monday, August 29, Bhalo described the period as one of his most uplifting owing to the indelible life lessons he picked from the experience.
It was in August 2013, just weeks after the General Election concluded, when the station's parent company, Mediamax Limited, unveiled a grand plan that included retrenchment of several of its workers.
Being one of the victims, Bhalo found himself out of a TV job despite having accumulated two years experience oscillating between expertly anchoring the news and packaging news items as a reporter.
Soon after, the hardship of being an employed youth in Nairobi became unbearable and he packed his bags for his home city of Mombasa.
"In 2013, there was a retrenchment at K24 TV and many people were fired. It was in 2013 August, immediately after the elections. I stayed in Nairobi to hustle, but staying in Nairobi while jobless can be a hurdle.
"I decided to go home to Mombasa. I was still young, aged 24 years and had worked at K24 TV for two years as a news anchor and a reporter. I was affected by the retrenchment but I did not let it weigh me down," Bhalo explained.
Still open for opportunities, the news anchor approached his in-law who reared broiler chicken and sold them for meat.
According to Bhalo, the idea was to become a middleman by getting the inventory from the farm and linking it to the buyers. His first client was through a call he got as response to a Facebook post he made announcing his new venture.
"In Mombasa, there is my in-law who grows broilers and I thought it wise to sell the chicken instead of idling around. I worked hard and used my social media pages to advertise the new hustle. My selling point was a lower price than many butcheries in Mombasa.
"I also did free deliveries. I was making enough money and I contributed in home expenses. I did the work for six months until I landed a job at KBC," he added.
His decision to return to the small screen, when he landed the KBC anchoring job in 2014, was conflicting to him since his side hustle was also fledgling, hence becoming profitable.
He noted that the experience taught the importance of side hustles aimed at reducing over-reliance on employment.
"Being young and a celebrity on TV for two years and then people seeing you on the streets on Mombasa, they expressed shock. I visited several homes where they wondered whether I was the same journalist at K24 TV.
"That was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. It taught me that when you work hard, you will find success. Also, a person can find success without employment as long as you work hard," he remarked.
It is through the experience that he set-up his other business, House of Bhalo, that could come in handy in 2019 after he lost his news anchoring job again.
House of Bhalo, which deals in sale of perfumes, helped him put food on the table for more than a year before securing another job.
"After the 2013 experience, I got a very big lesson... I started House of Bhalo and I had my own signature fragrance called Anchor 001 but the pandemic disrupted the business. It is a sole proprietorship for now selling perfumes and other fragrances. Mostly they are Arabian perfumes from Dubai in UAE.
"People have degrees but there is no work. You must work hard and create your own path. Do not just expect to get employment," he concluded.