Find work you love to do; do it well; and the money will follow. You’ll be much happier for it.
Kwei Akuete is an experienced management consultant and trainer with 20 years of experience helping organizations succeed by solving problems, improving performance, and finding new and better ways of conducting business. Kwei has worked as a senior consultant with top consulting firms including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Booz Allen Hamilton, Robbins-Gioia, and Sapient Government Services where he worked across a variety of projects, including a specific focus on organizational assessments, project management and policy research and analysis. He has also held senior positions in the District of Columbia Public School system and at the Aga Khan University-East Africa, respectively, working closely with organizational leaders to achieve desired goals. As a business owner, he has provided specialized consulting services to private firms and academic institutions, including Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
As a result of his experiences in the private sector, in government, and through his own businesses, Kwei has gained valuable insights that have led to his scenario-based training approach. Using real-world experiences, participants learn how to more effective in sales and business development, customer service, and leadership development, to name a few.
His background and experience ensure that he is adept in working in multicultural settings and across all organizational levels and positions.
• Global Executive Master of Business Administration (GEMBA), United States International University (Nairobi, Kenya)
• Master of Public Policy, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
• Bachelor of Science, Social Policy, Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois)
Where did the idea for Konecktnow come from?
The idea for Konecktnow came about when I was in between jobs in a frustratingly tight job market in 2013/2014 and thought “wouldn’t it be great to just meet someone – a prospective employer – in a casual setting; have a conversation, build rapport, and just connect with them?”
At the end of the conversation, I’d surprisingly learn that s/he was looking to hire someone just like me. Based on the great conversation we just had and the rapport we just built, I would have a good chance of being hired. Pretty awesome, right?
This does happen, but probably not a lot as submitting resumes for jobs is a decades old, standard practice which would be difficult to change. So I began to think of a way where I could combine the two aspects of the jobs search upfront – where you could meet a candidate, get a good feel for their personality behind the resume long before the show up for the in-person interview.
More specifically, we facilitate this connection through our video recording feature which allows each party to share what s/he is looking for in a new employment opportunity. More importantly, the recruiter and the candidate can share more of his/her personality which goes beyond the company brochures and resume, respectively. I believe this will go a long way toward a more positive experience for all involved and, ultimately, an authentic and mutually beneficial professional match. This is how Konecktnow became a reality.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Konecktnow is geared toward 21-35 year old professionals on the candidate side and SMEs on the employer side. On a typical day, I’m thinking of possible venues and social media channels where I can meet job seekers to share the Konecktnow concept. I also research and reach out to SME employers to do the same.
Additionally, I think of potential guests and schedule our Konecktnow “Take 3” interviews. The format is one in which we ask 3 questions in 3 minutes of professionals across various fields to share their professional insights with people thinking of studying or changing careers in those fields.
Finally, I create content for posts on Facebook and Twitter; these are either informational tips and comments, which I hope are thought-provoking.
In order to do these things, I’ve written down my goals and a schedule which helps me to get stay focused on what I need to accomplish for Konecktnow to be successful.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I think of how to create and leverage partnerships for win-win scenarios. In addition, on a daily basis, I read about the strategies other entrepreneurs use to promote their brand, products, and services to see if their ideas could work for Konecktnow. I then contact people who are more skilled than I am in other areas such as marketing to increase awareness of Konecktnow.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m excited about the development and acceptance of a more holistic approach to non-traditional education and general well-being in Western countries. These include more excursions – usually by travelling – that combine educational learning on various topics with exercise such as yoga or learning a language while also learning a martial art. This approach provides for a more enriching, personal and professional development experience that I believe allows an individual to be become a more enlightened and fulfilled person. Hopefully, this will eventually become part of the educational landscape in African countries as well.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I prefer not to overthink next steps so I have a ‘do it now’ approach. If there’s a call to be made, I make the call as soon as possible. If there’s a profession that we need to feature on Konecktnow’s YouTube channel such as ‘stage director’, I start calling people in the theatre community to find a prospective guest to interview.
As a new entrant in the talent search space, I’m far behind other jobsites who’ve been around for years and have name recognition. I need to have Konecktnow stand out as quickly as possible by creating channels of value which the others do not have…yet.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t worry about getting a job to pay back your student loans. Find work you love to do; do it well; and the money will follow. You’ll be much happier for it.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I strongly believe that many countries will be police states in the next 15-20 years. This will be particularly evident in Africa because older leaders see their future threatened by the growing number of increasingly restless youth. Therefore, they are making constitutional changes to retain power and privilege.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Read from a wide variety of sources on multiple topics. These include science, history, psychology, journalism, meditation, and theatre, to name a few.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
As with many entrepreneurs, business usually doesn’t grow as quickly as you would like. However, one strategy that is working is the face to face contact to share the Konecktnow concept to generate interest which will yield the desired growth over the next year.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In 2005, I started a t-shirt business focused on putting positive messages and spent a lot of money on inventory and built a website to take orders online. Due to poor marketing in an already crowded space, I didn’t make any online sales.
It wasn’t until I got out to the outdoor weekend markets and events that people saw what I had to offer. By doing so, I was able to generate sales than I ever did online.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Unfortunately, in many African countries, there is a dearth of entertainment options for children of all ages outside of school grounds. This includes amusement parks, video game places, a combination of games and food venues like Chuck ‘E’ Cheese or Dave and Busters.
My business idea for one or more of your readers is to start a chain of entertainment venues for younger kids and teens. The ideal setup would be for food and games for both age groups where they can play before and after a meal; and definitely rent the place out for birthday parties.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I spent $100 on Udemy courses to not only learn how to code for building websites and apps, but also to be more informed and monitor progress if I have to contract out the work. I want to know what’s happening and why so that I can put out the best product or service I have in mind.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Google Drive. I use it to store and locate documents easily; putting them here saves space on my computer as well.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Psychocybernetics” by Maxwell Maltz. I believe that self-doubt due to poor self-image holds the majority of people back from realizing and using their gifts to have a fulfilling life. Many of us need a mental makeover from time to time – plastic surgery for the mind, if you will – and this book will help someone do that.
What is your favorite quote?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do…Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
• Do what you enjoy most; do it well; and the money will follow.
• Expand your mind. Read widely from multiple sources on different subjects.
• Travel and learn for professional development as well as spiritual and physical development.
• Despite technological advancements, personal contact is still important and necessary to grow your business.
• Read Psychocybernetics by Maxwell Maltz if you want to improve your self-image to be your personal best.
Kwei Akuete on Linkedin:
Konecktnow on Youtube:
Konecktnow on Twitter: @Konecktnow_2day
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.