By Susan Tuwei
Who is Douglas Logedi AKA Penguin?
Douglas Logedi Luhangala (The Penguin of Maragoliland) is an entrepreneur and a business enthusiast. I am the founder of Sharppro Solutions Limited and a passionate educational entrepreneur. I am a master of ceremony for hire and a blogger on a part time level. I run a blog called The Penguin Lifestyle (https://www.ampenguin.com)
When did you start writing?
First, I have never considered myself a writer. I have always thought that I am just a random guy who sometimes decides to put down his random ideas.
I started that in 2011 as a freelancer at oDesk then did a lot of academic writing through my time in campus. It paid well. Then I moved out of campus and stopped writing except as a side hustle.
In between, I was writing professional articles for AfricaTalent.com on their Facebook page.
In 2014, I started a blog that later abandoned before I started The Penguin Lifestyle this year.
What does writing mean to you?
For me, writing amplifies the society. I basically use my writing to highlight and open the box on issues that people go through but they either miss to discern or choose to be quiet about them. I am thinking of writing something which when complete, it will highlight them all. It will be named ‘THE HOLES’.
Does writing pay?
Writing has paid me for a long time. It even paid my fees. Writing pays and should pay. How you go about it is all that makes the difference.
How does your reading list look like?
I read business books most of the time and some fiction very little times. Now I am reading Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook.
What is your take on Kenyan writers when it comes to reading?
Kenyan writers do a good job. Kenyans do not read enough. That is not to say that they do not read. They read selectively. There are places that are deplorable on that aspect. I believe Kenyan writers can do more. The problem is that Kenyans have commercialized writing and chances are that when you write for money you always mess it in some way.
Why do you think most Kenyans do not consume Kenyan writing/written content?
Most Kenyans do not consume Kenyan content because Kenyans do not write about issues that matter to Kenyans. We try so hard to be sophisticated and lose ourselves in the process. Having said that, sometimes it’s sheer bias where one would leave Vincent De Paul’s work for Chimamanda’s even when the former is better.
What are Sharppro solutions all about?
Sharppro Solutions Limited (www.sharppro.co.ke) is a training business. We do training in areas of Human Resources, Marketing, Customer Service and personal development.
We are also looking into educational support through a product called Know Your Studies (KYS). In the future, I hope the company can train particularly the young to launch their careers more successfully and with a higher level of assurance. I founded the company in 2014 and registered it in 2015.
Tell us about your blog?
My blog is called The Penguin Lifestyle accessed through https://www.ampenguin.com. The blog highlights and discusses Lifestyle issues which include but not limited to; Fashion and design, Gym and fitness, Relationships and dating, sports and dance, health and Nutrition, The penguin Mother by Ripesa etc.
We have four posts a week each handling different areas.
How do you go about marketing both Sharpro solutions and Penguin Lifestyle?
Marketing Penguin and Sharppro is exhausting. I am a resilient marketer. I am in about 590 Facebook groups. I am also super persistent on whatsApp. What I believe in is in the creation of communities that believe in my work. I have a community for Penguin that reads because I try to give them the best over and over.
Are there any pointers you can give budding writers on marketing their content? Marketing is about building relationships. Many people do not read your work because there’s no relationship that exists but when that happens, you will all be in the same van. You have to rely on relationships for quite a while before your content can start to sell itself.
How is it like being a young entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur is more like marriage (family guy speaking). It is one of the best things that one can go for. It is a very much appealing venture to get into. When people look at entrepreneurs; they think “wow, I admire this guy. He is self-employed and can do pretty much anything, anytime, anywhere and not worry about his boss.” What they do not know are the struggles inside. Entrepreneurship needs some level of steel and an iron heart. Sometimes you sleep at 3am and get up at 5am and you have to be ready for the day. The wait, in many cases, is worth the struggle. More like… you know, marriage.
What challenges have you encountered as an entrepreneur?
Problems of an entrepreneur are numerous and pretty much similar for all of us. Cash flow problems, lack of trust from clients, marketing and all. Entrepreneurs work twice as hard as anyone else.
Is it harder when you are a young person?
Harder than many people think. At least once every day, you think of quitting not as an option but just thought.
What is your advice to those thinking about becoming writerpreneurs?
Write to make an impact, not make money. Write stories that you feel are relevant and those that would interest the world. That way, you won’t be worried about being read. For bloggers, consistency and quality is key. Again, think of buying the domain. It somehow makes you ‘more legit’.
Have you ever been employed formally, full time?
I have been employed. I worked for Rift Valley Railways between July 2015 and August 2016. I resigned to run Sharppro and I am so glad I did that. That is my only formal employment so far.
Shed some light on transition from employment to entrepreneurship?
That transition was the worst time of my life. Before I left to work I was super connected. Then I got out and everyone I knew had either switched jobs or transferred. The transition is also hard because you are moving from an assured consistent income to one that you don’t know if it will come. What made it easy is that I was clear in my mind that it is what I wanted to do.
Does passion pay?
My answer has been and it remains NO. For me, passion does not pay. Passion drives you to things that pay. No one will ever pay or hire you because you are passionate.
What don’t we know about you?
I am not sure there is anything hidden about me. I am just about the most open book you will ever have. Maybe what you do not know yet is that three of the poems at Kenya National drama festivals 2014 were my works and I travel to at least four countries a year since 2015.
Impressive. What else would you have been besides founding Sharppro Solutions?
I would be a founder of something else. I am not sure of many other routes. However, I would have been great for the Kenyan Wall Street as well. I was good in my finance.
What do you do to unwind?
I dance salsa most of the time. Other times, I stay indoors and just watch movies but that is not often. I am also a Manchester United fan. You know what that means.
Are you mentoring someone?
Yes. A few mentees. To be exact, three young men and a lady. Three of them are going into entrepreneurship and one has been my mentee since 2011.
Where do you see yourself say in the next 5 years?
I will still be in Kenya. In business. I hope I will have expanded Sharppro and measuring by workforce, I hope I will be employing 15 people in the least.
What is your advice to any youth across the board?
Work hard, network, be open, have fun but maintain focus. Get a mentor too, it helps a lot.
What is success?
Success is different depending on your goals for instance if you plan to have 1M dollars by age of 30 then that’s your measure of success. For me, it is impacting as many lives as possible and owning the 65 storey Tower and of course having kids (laughs).
Your parting shot?
Life for me, I will say tune in, turn on, have fun. I mean, life should never have a minute of boredom. Try a few new things, a few mistakes, adventures and a little stupidity. But have a brand you can fall back to.
Douglas can be reached through:
Douglas Logedi Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/douglas.logediluhangala
Sharppro Solutions Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SharpproSolutions/
Know Your Studies Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/knowyourstudies/
The Penguin Lifestyle Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Penguin-Lifestyle-255557181517199/
Douglas Logedi Twitter: https://twitter.com/DouglasLogedi
Douglas Logedi LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/douglas-logedi-luhangala-207a3363/