It is said that teachers are like sign posts, they will show you the way to a destination they have never been to. As teachers, this is what we do every day of our life. Even UNATU’s motto says, “Because we are, the nation is.” It is from the tireless efforts of teachers that we have doctors, lawyers, engineers, mention it. But what happens when teachers are stranded with no pay, no job and no motivation? Who has come to the rescue of teachers when the pandemic is ravaging their livelihood? – Sadly, none.
Around 2016, a colleague of mine Jacent Nakamanyi started a small mobile money business on the veranda of my internet cafe. In one of our conversations, she asked for advice on how she could diversify her income. Mobile Money stalls were mushrooming everywhere and new taxes on mobile money were introduced thereby shrinking her monthly take home. My advice was – diversify, introduce phone accessories.
I wasn’t surprised when a few weeks later, Jacent told me she had put a few resources aside for an accessories business. She went to town and came back with a 5 flash disks, 5 screen guards, 5 phone chargers, 5 memory cards, 5 earphones and 5 USB cables. At that time, it was laughable that with these items which were packed in a black kaveera, Jacent was determined to start a phone accessories shop.
In less than a year, the results of determination were clearly visible. Jacent now had a display stand for her items and her stock had multiplied several times. As I write this article, what started as a few accessories in a kaveera has now grown into a full electronics shop selling all varieties of phone accessories in addition to phones, TVs, Kitchen ware and more.
So, can a you too start?
They say, once beaten, twice shy. If this pandemic has anything to teach us, the need for a side hustle alongside teaching is a must. It is now time to put away all our fears as teachers and venture into activities that can not only support us during tough times but also to complement our incomes. In my article 10 business Ideas for teachers of ICT which I wrote a some time back, I shared 10 business ideas that we as teachers of ICT could start. One of the ideas in that article was an accessories shop.
How my student pushed me to start
On Independence Day 2021, the day was dull and business was low. I then got a call from a parent who came to deposit fees for his daughter’s computer lessons. I quickly went to Jacent’s mobile money shop to deposit it on my account. Because business was dull, I found time to chat with Jacent before doing the transaction. Most of our conversation rotated around the survival and growth of our businesses. That is when she advised me to start selling accessories.
Off course I was a bit hesitant. I gave a few excuses of how I needed a substantial amount of money and blah blah blah. That is when she reminded me of her first stock in the black kaveera. She went ahead to show me some of the pictures from 2016. She advised me to deposit only 50,000/= and use the 150,000/= as my starting stock.
It was now time for my student to sit in the driver’s seat. I shyly obliged and with 10,000/= for boda boda, we used the 140,000/= to buy a few phone chargers, computer mice, flash disks, printer cable and a VGA cable.
How will people know what I sell?
Off course, having the items for sale is one thing and selling them is another. One of the methods that is quickly gaining ground is online marketing. As a teacher of ICT, your knowledge of ICTs is above average and therefore you won’t find it difficult using platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.
With some graphic design skills, you may also make flyers for your products which can be shared in groups, on your WhatsApp status and your circles. The pictures below are of the graphics I personally made to kick start my marketing.
Many times we share knowledge with others while we personally fail to use the very knowledge we give. This pandemic must be a wake up call to us as teachers to use our knowledge outside the class. Being teachers of ICT, this would be the right time to show others that ICT is the way to go be it in class, business or even leisure.
The ITAU SACCO is also now fully incorporated, bank account setup and the office ready. This means that we can slowly save for a business venture or save part of your proceeds from our sales in this SACCO. I am personally giving myself a 1 year challenge to have my stock multiply by 50 times. This means that by October next year, I should have stock worth 7,000,000/=.
Fellow teacher of ICT, I believe that even with the little you have, you can start. I have seen this first hand and have decided to start on this journey. Will you join me and pick a leaf from what others have done?
Stephen Dumba is the coordinator of the ICT Teachers’ Association of Uganda for Central region and team lead of the ITAU EdTech project. Besides teaching ICT, he repairs computers and designs websites. Steve is a speaker and facilitator at tech events and ICT workshops for students, teachers and school leaders. He is a Director at E-zone School of Computing, E-zone Web Services and a consultant on education technology.
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