Senso Kiakuama was born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, which is located in Central Africa. During his youth, he attended an elementary school adjacent to the sporting stadium where the Matomo Basketball team played and trained. Due to the close proximity, there were many opportunities for the children to skip school to observe popular sporting events. One day changed Senso’s life forever- Muhammad Ali arrived at the stadium to practice for a major event.
It was an exciting day for all the children as they skipped school to catch a glimpse of their boxing hero. The children tried to get close to Muhammad Ali but were met with resistance from his bodyguards. However, their gracious hero did not dismiss the adoration of the children chanting and cheering his name. None of the children spoke English, so his bodyguards translated Ali’s words. As he approached the children, he asked, “How do you want me to finish George Foreman?” The enthusiastic crowd returned with an aggressive response of “kill him.”
Senso was nine-years-old when he witnessed his first live fight event between George Forman and Muhammad Ali. The day of the event had such a profound impact on Senso’s life that it set him on his path for years to come. Since then, Senso has always been involved in boxing, athletics and basketball.
Senso left Africa in 1989 and traveled to Switzerland on a scholarship. He maintained an amateur boxer status, winning many fights. When his scholarship ran out, he spent some time in France before arriving in Canada in 1991.
Once in Canada, he made the transition to the business landscape. He opened a beauty salon and has worked in the country ever since. Married with two children, he still maintains his passion for physical fitness and works out in the gym six days a week.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I was working out at the gym when I met a truck driver. He was telling me about his life as a driver. He suggested that he would be financially secure in twenty years, and if I stayed in sports, I would not be financially secure. He didn’t lie to me when he said driving a truck for a living would be hard. He said that if I could work at it for 20 years I would be financially stable. I followed his advice, and he was right.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day consists of speaking with many different people and organizing the day for myself and other truckers in my company. I am always connecting new people to opportunities they may or may not even know are there.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I give myself enough time to research the validity of the idea. If I decide to go ahead with a project I take the next steps to bring it forward.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Staying connected to people is important. Networking is also important. I believe the world is going back to farming and agriculture. I would like to connect with others who are successful. I know if others are successful in this industry, I will be even more successful.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Going to the gym every morning. I have been going to the gym every morning since I was sixteen and at 56, I am still starting my day working out at the gym.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself that self-discipline is the most important thing in life. You must have a daily routine. You also have to control the artificial media.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I believe men should be very serious when it comes to relationships with women. You should take the time. Not rushing into a serious relationship is best. Women can help you a lot. If you will have this kind of relationship. But, other relationships can lead to serious consequences which can last a lifetime.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Always be open to new ideas. Never be too comfortable, you never know things may change.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy is to respect the people that you work with. I’m lucky that I have many people who like working for me. I built a positive relationship. It takes time to build a good reputation. But, a good reputation is like money.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When you are interviewing people for a job, do your research.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
If you’re in Canada, Amazon requires people who want to use their own cars to deliver packages. There are opportunities all over. Anyone can make a good living at it.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I gave a guy on the street asking for change a hundred-dollar bill. It made him so happy, but it made me very happy as well.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Coaching podcasts on YouTube give me a tremendous amount of useful information.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
99 and Still In Business by William H. Garrison.
What is your favorite quote?
“A wise man never gets upset”
- Always do your research.
- Be open to new ideas.
- Self discipline is important.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.