Why you should have to pay money back

My name is Caroline. I’m an entrepreneur.

Eight years ago, I was looking for a loan to renovate. After visiting several banks, and always being told to ‘come back tomorrow’, I was fed up and about to give up, until I ran into an EFC signpost. There, I explained my needs to the loan officer I got the loan within three days!

That first loan was for 1.5 million Ugandan shillings (about EUR 350). I’m currently paying back my 8th loan, this one of UGX 30 million (about EUR 7,200). I have great plans and will apply for a new and bigger loan when the current one is paid back.

Originally from the border region with Kenya, for 15 years, I have been living in Kireka, a suburb of Kampala. Out of my four children, one is working for Solar Now Uganda, selling solar energy solutions, one is working in Kenya and two are still in school.

You have to pay money back

There is work for those that want it. If you are willing to put in the time, you can earn your way – little by little.

Caroline Cherotic, entrepreneur

I am an entrepreneur. I made my starting capital selling chapatis and mobile money [financial transactions using a mobile phone ] in a kiosk. With that capital, I bought some unfinished property to rent out to local workers and students of a nearby university.

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I used my first loans to renovate my apartments, turning what had been little more than walls and dirt floors into cosy living spaces, with light, power and tiled bathrooms and toilets and covered verandas. Where I originally asked UGX 50,000 for two rooms (about EUR 12), now, I charge 350,000 (about EUR 84). Many of my tenants are from the university – one of my rooms is rented out to the headmaster of another school.

It’s a point of pride for me that I earn enough to take care of myself and my children, that I keep up with loan payments and still set something aside.

One of the biggest problems Ugandan people face, I believe, is a lack of financial savviness and follow-through. People will get loans – from either local banks or international sources – and then promptly forget why they got it. They will spend it on luxuries – like make-up, clothes or even extra meat – and end up incapable of paying back the capital of the loan, let alone the interests. They forget that the money wasn’t theirs. They will then feel obliged to take out another loan to pay for the first one, and so on and so forth. For me, this can only end one way: in destitution or corruption – and neither one is good for the people or the country.

For me, it’s simple. You get the money for a particular purpose, so that’s what you use it for. For example, I will lend money to invest in my apartments, for which I can then charge more. You spend the money so that you’ll be able to earn it back, setting it aside whenever possible. The capital isn’t to be touched – the profits will be used for food or will go to the bank for a rainy day. That’s the way I’ve always done it, and my success proves the validity of these simple guidelines.

Women can be strong.

They can work like a man – if not better.

I’m an independent woman. Married to a soldier, always off who-knows-where, I cannot count on getting any support from that end – whether he sends money home or not, my children and I need to eat. Running a chapati stand, they are never hungry. Many women, I believe, depend too much on their man, letting it spoil their business. With me, it was always just between me and EFC Bank. And we get along just fine.

20211025 EFC Uganda Caroline4

BIO has invested in EFC Uganda, a microfinance deposit-taking institution, both directly and through Africinvest Financial Sector.

Caroline Cherotic is one of EFC Uganda’s many clients. This is her story.

Personal finance tips every entrepreneur should know.

Personal Finance Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know

Being an entrepreneur is a lot more demanding — both physically and mentally — than most people think. The majority of entrepreneurs work far more than 40 hours a week, and most don’t make nearly as much money as they would if they were working a corporate job in a comparable field. Entrepreneurs are also responsible for all of their financial obligations outside of the business, including insurance, savings and retirement. While it can be easy to remain laser-focused on your business, it’s important to look to the future and plan accordingly.

Eventually, retirement will face you head-on, and if you aren’t prepared, it could be a rude awakening. There are also surprises that you could face while running your business that you need to be prepared for. Being prepared for the worst-case scenario is always the best approach.The entrepreneurial path can be rewarding, and it can also be extremely stressful and full of challenges. Here are some personal finance tipsthat will help you navigate the entrepreneurial journey and prepare you for the future, as well as protect you along the way.

  1. Create a personal monthly budget

It’s important to be disciplined when it comes to your finances, especially when you are starting a business. The leaner you can run both your business and your personal life, the more money you can continue to roll back into the business and fuel its growth. Many entrepreneurs focus on looking successful rather than becoming successful. Avoid large homes, fancy cars, expensive dining and other unnecessary expenses.

Create a budget containing the bare necessities along with a little extra for entertainment (you have to get out and enjoy yourself on occasion)! When you have a set plan and stick to it, you set yourself and your business up for success.

  1. Invest in quality insurance products

When you are your own boss, that leaves all outside responsibilities on your shoulders, and one of the most important is insurance. Don’t try to take shortcuts when it comes to protecting yourself and your business.Get a strong health insurance policy that covers you and your family, and be sure to have life and disability insurance in place. It is always better to prepare for the worst possible situations rather than try to save a few shillings.

One thing many entrepreneurs overlook is business insurance. It doesn’t matter if you have a global business with thousands of employees and you are selling millions of physical products a month, or you are a solopreneur. Protect yourself with a business insurance policy that covers liability for whatever it is you sell.

  1. Allocate money towards an emergency fund monthly

Most business owners don’t have a reserve saved up that would allow them to operate for several months without revenue coming in. The COVID-19 situation forced a lot of businesses to close for good because they couldn’t keep the lights on. Put money into a business savings account each month. Hopefully, you will never have to touch these funds, and they will continue to build over time. But, in the unfortunate event of an emergency, the savings will help you stay above water.

It’s also a good idea to have at the very least 3 months’ worth of operational expenses saved up to cover everything, assuming there will be no incoming revenue. If you can, 6 months of reserves is ideal.

  1. Avoid personal debt at all costs

To build and run a successful business, you need to eliminate as many stressful situations as possible. This allows you to focus more on the tasks at hand. One of the biggest real-life causes of stress involves debt.Mountains of personal debt can pull your focus away from your business. Avoid debt at all costs, and if you must borrow some money, do everything possible to pay it back quickly.

Many entrepreneurs try to live beyond their means, and if they just cut back in the early stages and focused on building a successful business, the money and financial freedom would come faster.