I hope I’m not patronizing anybody by saying; let’s do a little play-play exercise. Rest easy girls, I’m also still learning and my heart remains with you the whole way. Let’s assume for real that we’re limited in the resources we have right now to start up our own little work from home business. Let’s assume or pretend that none of us even have mobiles, tablets or laptops to communicate with or play around with. Now, for motivational purposes, try and think what it must be like for those folks in the world’s least developed nations who have little or no entrepreneurial infrastructure to rely on.

I do not want to mention any places for fear of upsetting anyone going through difficult times. If there are such people reading this post today, let me just say that I am trying my best to cheer you up. While trying to make you smile, I am also endeavoring to give you a bit of encouragement. As I said in my first line, I am not patronizing anyone. I want to just say that I know what it feels like to struggle. I have been there.

Today, things are still hard for us on the island, but we are doing a lot better than in the past. Today, I have the tools and the resources to broaden my horizons and to begin opening new doors for myself in the world. Locally, we are still doing things the old fashioned way. Business is not exactly booming, but it is competitive. All small traders are vying for precious cash that customers still have very little of.

What is the one thing that neighbors want the most?

Well, food, of course, everyone needs to eat. The mothers in the neighborhood need to get ready for supper. They need to see that their children are well fed. So, resourceful moms like me, my mother, and my grandmother, are preparing things in the kitchen to sell. I am harvesting vegetables from our smallholding to sell door to door. I do this instead of trekking all the way to the market. I am doing my friendly neighbors a favor by saving them time and money as well.

We need to plan our home businesses well. The hardworking men all get paid at the end of the week. By Thursday night, we have prepared delicacies for proud fathers to purchase absentmindedly to take home to their families at night. While we rely on their patronage, we do not take advantage of their tiredness. Our prices are not sky high, but at the same time, they are not dirt cheap either. We still need to cover our overheads and realize some profit to carry us into the next week.

Fortunately, this is not posing too many challenges for me right now. This is mainly because I have most of everything I need on our smallholding. We are lucky too. Not everyone these days gets an opportunity to own their own piece of land. Our land has been in the family for many generations. This is something that our local authorities recognized. During colonial eras across the world, many indigenous folks were repossessed of their land. Quite literally, their land was taken away from them, stolen.

All in all, I’ve managed to keep my overheads low. Capital expenditure is also minimal at the moment. This is encouraging too. It motivates me to carry on. I’m happy to say that I am a lot stronger than I used to be. I’m building what is called a thick skin. I’m still nervous sometimes, it can’t be helped, it’s in my nature, I guess, but more often than not, I am able to battle my way through the marketing minefields. I am able to rub shoulders with the market bullies, much bigger and worldly wise than myself. When I have to say no, turn down a too good to be true deal or refuse to have my arm twisted, I am able to do that.

Oh my gosh, have I been going off point or around the bend? No, not really. Just sharing with you inspirational thoughts and such. But we were talking about the neighbors. There that’s more positive. It’s a lot more encouraging too, I guess. And I’m hoping that wherever you are in the world, it is the same for you. And if it isn’t, I hope it will be soon. I’m lucky – these are the conditions I want you to experience – I’ve been blessed with good neighbors.

We trust each other most of the time. Now, in reality, I wouldn’t encourage this outright, but I’m in a position to allow some of my poor, cash-strapped neighbors to buy from me on credit. But I never, ever charge interest.