More guns than roses

Before I became a writer, I worked with a global professional services firm in the Assurance line of service. (Ha, I just lifted that straight from my defunct CV.) In one word, I was an auditor. And to some degree, an accountant. Auditor and accountant now a writer. Fancy that.

Whenever I think back to those days in Upper Hill, what stands out the most for me was the personal drive of the people I worked with. My grade mates and my managers and my partners were what our corporate culture called ‘the best and the brightest’. It’s a phrase I first heard during orientation, on 1 September 2008. The chick from Human Capital kicking off the orientation said, “You are the best and the brightest the Kenyan universities had to offer in 2008.”
We heard this on that first day, then every day of training until we checked into the office for the real work a month later. Best and the brightest. Best and the brightest. On repeat. Best and the brightest. A litany pregnant on their lips. Tell me you won’t believe this world is yours for the taking after embracing this mantra. Best and the brightest.

And indeed, they were. These guys were driven by a thirst and hunger heretofore seldom seen to me. A thirst for personal and corporate success. A hunger to be better than their previous selves, better than everyone and everything else they were measured against. They played to win. And took no prisoners. That gritty will to be number one was so intoxicating, so callous that it reeked from a mile away.
No one wanted to fall behind. No one wanted to be the guy left bleeding in the battlefield; too weak and too wounded to get himself to a safe place. No one wanted a helping hand. Metaphorically. No one wanted to be judged as foolish or a failure.

Failure amongst these guys – amongst us – was extraordinarily tragic. Failure was emotional: missing a promotion was as tragic as losing your mum (sorry for that morbid illustration). A failed audit as tragic as going blind. A poor performance rating, as being incontinent. Withering feedback made you consider getting a traditional circumcision. (Heehe. OK, I don’t know how that last part ties in.)

So you can imagine what it was like for me to admit this wasn’t working for me, neither me for it, and to jump ship to become a writer. It sounds so…romantic, eh? You imagine I am ballsy for making this transition in pursuit of my happiness. Please. The mendacity of it. Truth is, writing was a deserved break, a break to patch and stitch my open wounds. I found my safe house in writing.

As a freelance writer, I have to run a string of side-hustles to maintain my lifestyle to at least some level as it was before. Side-hustles that aren’t related to my writing in any way. What I have realized from these gigs is that the chaps I am partnering with aren’t the ‘best and the brightest’. They aren’t A-players. Book smarts doesn’t earn them their street cred. Being able to balance books isn’t mileage.
Chaps out here think different. They work different. They respond and react different. Failure is neither emotional nor a measure of business success. Hell, it doesn’t even feature. What drives them to run their business and what drives me to partner with them aren’t the same – we don’t share vision or agendas. Our goals don’t overlap. We don’t hold hands in prayer asking the Lord to guide us to the pot of gold we are both after. I am not as hungry or as thirsty to business as they are. Neither are they me.

And because of this, there were days I went to bed cussing why the hell these guys walked out their front doors without putting their thinking caps on. It defeated me. I swear I could have shot somebody.

But I was naive to their M.O. I didn’t understand how things out here really work.

Look, just because you and your guy Maish met to sign a year’s contract at Gibson’s Coffee House on a loose Thursday evening doesn’t mean your cut will promptly check in every 30th of the month. Contracts count for shit. Maish’s word holds as much water as his place in the pecking order. Its cash flows and liquidity which determine if the bills will trickle into your empty pockets. Maish needs you to understand that, Blondie. Quit the emotions.

The romanticism of my pursuit fired out pretty quick.


Broads, bumps and bellows

Comments (6)

  1. Mutindi

    Many thanks for that lovely story in honor of my birthday. (Smiles). You are the best and the brightest.

    • fra

      Hehhe. Thanks. And thanks for subscribing to the blog.

      Hope you had a happy birthday, Mutindi.

  2. Savvy Kenya (@savvykenya)

    One thing I also loved about my former job was working with (mostly) bright people. I am back in school and surrounded by smart people as well so I’m happy ;)

    The romanticism may have faded, but I am sure the passion remains.

    • fra

      Oh hell yeah, it does.

      I haven’t heard from you in a while, Savvy. I hope the East has been kind to you and J.

  3. kmbogo

    ‘Contracts count for shit….’ that is the truth out here.

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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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