Friday, 11 November 2011

Writer makes it big in property magazine


She has tried her hands in business several times and despite failing and loosing money along the way, Christine Mweteeli 41, has never tired.  Driven to find to solutions for problems Christine, a Kenyatta University Bachelor of Commerce graduate has been employed for a combined two years only in her life.
“I have always wanted to be self-employed,” says Christine.
About two years ago while running a property business with her husband Mike, Christine noticed a gap in the market.
“Information on properties that would be affordable to middle class income earners was lacking.  The only property magazine that was available targeted the high end market and advertised houses that were beyond the reach of most Kenyans,” she recalls.
Christine argues that she wanted to give an option to people who advertise on shopping malls, citing a common scenario at the Sarit Center Shopping mall in Westland’s where hundreds of houses for sale and lease are advertised.
To fill this gap, Christine started Property Zone, a monthly property magazine that showcases affordable properties as well as educates and informs readers on legal matters, construction and new opportunities.
“We strive to make our magazine very informing to the readers. Other then property listings we cover stories on emerging opportunities in the sector such as housing for students, conversion of homes into offices and new markets such as Uganda and Sudan,” she says.
To date, Christine an avid reader and writer who also serves as the magazines Managing Editor has 17 publications to her name. She has managed to bring in real estate agents, developers, banks and other mortgage lenders, interior and d├ęcor experts as well as lawyers in her portfolio of clients.
 With several thousands of copies published every month and distributed countrywide Christine employs….people on full time basis.
Starting out though, Christine attests was challenging for the reason that many publication have come and mysteriously disappeared from shelves.
“A lot of publications dealing with property have come and gone.  Even websites have been shut down. We had a problem of credibility. People were skeptical at first that we wouldn’t survive for long,” she recalls.
With capital raised from the family’s’ property business, Christine published an 8 page dummy magazine and begun scouting for advertisers.
“I discovered no one will believe I am doing a magazine until I did one. So I published a magazine at my own cost with no paid adverts. Before long we brought along loyal customers and since then our list of advertisers and subscribers keeps growing,” says Christine.
Having made it this far Christine is optimistic that the magazines’ numbers will keep growing in the future.
“We have had inquires in Rwanda and Uganda. We are definitely planning to enter these markets as we expand to the entire region. We want to offer our readers affordable housing options,” she says.
 Christine reckons that whereas in the US youthfulness is the society’s core value, in Kenya matters land and home ownership are dear to almost everyone.
“Most Kenyans are interested in investing property.  My dream is to train people in the future on how to make the right investment decisions in the property sector,”
 On Kenya’s hiking property prices, Christine argues that for as a long as demand overrides supply the price will keep going up citing the acute housing shortage in Kenya estimated to stand at about 150, 000 houses every year.
 Though publishing has its challenges especially on handling deadlines and ensuring quality, Christine argues that the venture has been worthwhile. 
“I am glad to deal with and support Small and Medium Enterprises.  Though the spotlight is always on the few big property businesses it is worth noting that SMEs are actually closing a lot of deals in the property sector because their houses are affordable and their decision making process is faster,” 
 In her many attempts in business Christine quips that she has had varied levels of success.
“I have lost money in ventures.  I have failed and picked up. It is a personality thing. I just want to solve problems. That is not to say that I don’t get discouraged but for some reason I get the energy to keep going on,” says Christine who is also a motivational speaker.
 Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs:
“Don’t wait until you perfect it. I did not know how magazines are done until I did one. You have to do it badly before you do it well. A lot of ideas go down the drain because people want perfect circumstances. You need some degree of madness to stay in business,” 
Christine, a mother of four, has written and published a motivational book titled ‘Blossom Recipe for Success’ and has two other books in the pipeline.
She is also out to give her advertisers more value by rolling out a series of campaigns to increase the magazine subscription and readership across eastern Africa.The difference with us is we get the magazine to the right hands,we deliver the message to the right prospect.We have no much wasted coverage unlike other media.she concludes!!!!

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