In the third week of June 2019, my laptop crashed. The technician who I requested to fix it, needed a hard drive to reboot it. Because I couldn’t afford a new one, we used my external hard drive. That, apparently…. Needed to be formatted.
With this, most of my music, videos, images, work documents, strategy papers, and random files vanished. The most important of them? Years of creative endeavors. Unreleased, unedited, unique manuscripts.
A reset, but not by choice.
I started my online entrepreneurship journey in June 2017 as a co-founder of Baselinethoughts. It was a blog that addressed creative people from all walks of life. Poets, photographers, writers, musicians. That project showed me the potential that a well executed online project can have. Unfortunately, the project also showed me that one needs the right team for that to work. When there is discord in the team, it will not work.
In January 2018 , I took another go at it. By now, I had a heightened self awareness of my deficiencies: Technical, interpersonal and commercial. A team was assembled to mitigate them.
Since then, I have relentlessly pursued online work. The most significant of these being my own website : www.valentinemakoni.co.zw where I could blog, from something I own and control. Where I could share my creativity with the world.
Since then, I have engaged in the following:
1) Zeitgeist : a bloggers network
2) Debate (ZW) : a platform to distribute debate and public speaking training
3) Topaz car hire: an online presence for the family car hire company
4) Indawo: a property management platform
5) Verse Connoisseur : a poetry based podcast
On last count, thats 7 online projects. Over and above that, there has been social media management: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc
This has, as a rough estimate, cost me at least USD $1 200. At current exchange rates, about RTGS $10 000. This includes allowances, hosting space, domain names, ssl certificates, plug ins, graphic design. Over and above that, it’s involved events to promote the online platforms including venues, transportation, talent compensation , refreshments, photography and other costs.
In addition there is planning, meeting, traveling, calling, checking, organizing, writing, editing and all the costs that come with trying to make one’s dream work.
First, I would like to extend sincere thanks to my partners, subcontractors, volunteers and collaborators. For the time, effort and skills dedicated to these projects. I am grateful, I truly am .
But, I write today from a position of sadness. Sadness, that after all that colllective investment, I virtually have nothing to show for it now.
The Baselinethoughts team separated.
Verse Connoisseur is not mine.
Topaz Car Hire
Are all defunct. Pulled from the internet.
Literally the only site standing is www.valentinemakoni.co.zw
Yet even that was recently hacked. It has links to previous articles that were not written by me. The layout was changed and it is cluttered and messy.
I have tried. And I have failed. And, I still can’t vouch for those I worked with…
I take responsibility, for all the things I do. The good, the bad, the ugly. I have made many mistakes and I hope that I will learn from it.
Yet, even now, I am wary of the illusion of control.
A site is hacked. A developer is unaffordable. A team member has more responsibility and is unavailable. A hackathon prize money is a hoax. A big customer defaults. A financier promises a small fortune, then blue ticks follow up DMs. Distance becomes a barrier. A laptop crashes. The country’s currency changes. The country’s currency changes again.
I will continue writing, trying. But, for now, its a pitstop. To take stock, and count the losses….