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04/04/2013

Ghafla founder: A College Drop Out Now A Millionaire in 2yrs.

 He was unceremoniously discontinued from JKUAT University, for failing 8 units. Little did he know that this would be the launch pad for his success. He went on to found Ghafla, which has evolved to be Kenya’s premier entertainment website. Ghafla Kenya founder, Samuel Majani, talks to Career Point Kenya’s Dorcas Karuana on his journey. 

 1. You dropped out of college in JKUAT in 2006, yet you have become successful. What has it taken you?
Yes, I was pursuing a degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering but failed 8 units after re-takes and was therefore discontinued. It was difficult for my parents since they had invested in me and had a lot of hopes in me and they felt I messed the chance to be in college. But yes, am now making it.

2. How did you Start Ghafla! ?
After my Discontinuation in College, I became an idler and I would listen to the collection of music I had accumulated from JKUAT. I had love for Kenyan music, and I remember looking online for lyrics of the song Jamani by Bamboo but never got it. Then I looked for other Kenyan Music but never found it. I saw this gap
and started filling it while still at home. So I started running a website called kenyalyrics.com

3. You are the CEO of Ghafla Kenya, what challenges did you face as you started?
I had no skills and I remember I then typed with one finger, and never knew how to do sales. I was forced to look for partners with the skills that I lacked. I got a friend I knew from nursery who had web design skills and after taking me around for 3 months, I had to do it alone. I learnt the skills the hard way from writing, web design, and editing, typing e.t.c

4. When did you make your big break?
A year after running kenyalyrics.com I got an investor who got interested in my idea and sold a share percentage of the site to him. We agreed to take a different direction and incorporate news and therefore rebranded to Ghafla. This also saw me expand my team from a one man’s show to a team of six employees.

5. Rumours have it that you sold some shares of the site for over 20 Million? Is this true?
No, my investor provided revenue of 2.5 million for a 25% share and further deposited 10 million shillings as evaluation money.

6. Why did you choose entertainment content for your blog?
I realized there was a big gap as discussed earlier and also the fact that entertainment is the number one reason why people go online. In you tube, music has the most views. Since the traditional media did not treat entertainment news as important for example, the papers cover it once in a week and radio gives it a minute segment.

7. Who are your sources for the stories you post?
Our sources are usually the people involved in most stories. Some celebrities call us to give a story or even confirm rumours about them or others.

8. How do you ensure that the information you post is credible?
We always verify our facts and work with the audience to verify some stories. I make sure that every story has a writer’s name and full contacts so that any error spotted by the audience can be corrected.

9. Have you ever posted something only to regret later?
Yes I posted an article on Kibaki’s Pants Falling and got so many reactions from the readers as well as friends who were against posting such a story since it was disrespectful. I later withdrew the story and replaced it with an apology for the same.

10. Your site has got various music lyrics for Musicians in East Africa.  How do you deal with copyright issues?
I have no copyright issues with anyone since I only post lyrics and do not engage in business of selling their music therefore do not compete with them in making money.

11. How have you managed to make Ghafla a highly visited site?
Since entertainment is the number one reason people go online, I am dedicated and have shown a sense of reliability of new content with at least 40 stories in a day. Even media house sometimes use Ghafla as the source for their stories. Also, I have ensured the voice of Ghafla site is sensational, positive and funny.

12. What is your readership and how do you add value to them?
Our readership is between ages 18- 28years. This gives us 620,000 monthly readers and 4.5Million page views in a month.

13. How does blogging generate money for you?
Trough advertising we have scaled the website tremendously and it has a high growth rate. Also we are planning to make money directly from the users. Other bloggers have made money through selling tools like SEOs, adverts events or paying to see the content.

14. What are your future plans for Ghafla! in the next five years?
I want Ghafla! to be worth 100 Million shillings.

15. What do you wish you would do different if you were starting Ghafla! today?
I wish I would make money from day one.

16. What advice can you give to young people who imitate celebrities’ lifestyle?
Showbiz is a show off business therefore they should take it with a pinch of salt. What you see is not what you get.

17. What would you advise graduates who want to do blogging?
They should be willing to earn little for a slightly longer period. Most average Kenyans start business expecting to make money in 3-6 months but blogging is a long term investment and may take up to 18 months to make money.

18. If you went back to school what would you study?
Computer Science.

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