What was the catalyst moment that shifted you from 'I’m employed' to 'I want to be self-employed?'
I’ve always been about one thing and that’s designing the life that suits you, not the one everyone around you has normalised. So looking back it doesn’t surprise me that post-graduation, I decided to shift from being employed to self-employed.
Walk with me.
In 2015 I applied for 40 jobs via LinkedIn with hopes that my portfolio of work would impress recruiters, but that’s not what quite happened. So I continued my pursuit and went for a few freelance jobs and there was one in particular that pushed into quite an uncomfortable place in my career. I found myself listening to someone who literally paid me to submit to his idea of marketing and it was pretty excruciating to bear and led me to tell myself… “okay.. I need to step out on faith and register this agency and tell the world about it because my ideas deserve to be heard”. Having worked on small projects since the age of 16, launching an agency 6 years after that didn’t feel like a premature move.
“When I think of being a Congolese business owner, I think of my mother...”
Have you ever doubted yourself through the process and what does the ‘process’ mean for you?
Speaking of 6 years, allows me to segue to my next point. The process.
If only I realised that success was and is the journey! But instead, for many months after registering the agency I found myself in deep self-doubt. When your goals don’t seem to align with your reality, it can cause a lot of second guessing, because that seems like the only logical thought process at that time. But it’s a phase, it’s such a phase.
There is a thin line between doubt and self-reflection but in the working world you can easily find yourself questioning whether the output is due to a universal calling or just being sh*t at what you do, but it takes a different level of understanding and sometimes maturity to figure out the answer, but more than anything, if you’re in the field, you’re supposed to be there.
“Quite often on this journey, you may be tested and it’s imperative not to fold under pressure...”
How has being Congolese shaped your identity as a business owner?
Being Congolese, years ago, could’ve been seen as a setback. Especially in comparison to many other African cultures as you don’t hear much about our accomplishments. I love that we’re such passionate caring people and I think that contributes a lot to how I interact with my insular community, and has ultimately helped shape my identity as a business owner. However, when I think of being Congolese business owner, I think of my mother. She’s the most hard-working woman I and many know. She hustles non-stop and she’s proven that you can use your cultural strengths to develop a business that isn’t only successful economically but has legacy potential. She didn’t let the language barriers get to her and I admire her for that.
Knowing what you know about the world now, what advice would you give 18 year old Prisca?
I’ve always given half-hearted answers when asked what advice I’d give my 18 year old self, but at 26, I finally get it. The first would be to go through a (negative) phase but be unphased. Another would be to never let people take me out of character, from my personal to work-life. Quite often on this journey, you may be tested and it’s imperative not to fold under pressure and go to friends for all the emotional stuff.
If there are three key messages you could send to the Congolese community what would they be?
I’d love to end with these three key messages to the Congolese community. The first: Although Congolese people have many strengths, there are a lot of faux ideologies reinforced in our community. In order to produce impactful work, there has to be a level of unlearning - or taking on a new. Realising that we naturally have strengths in many things but yet have so much more to achieve will propel us forward.
Secondly, I often hear let’s work together, but how? I suggest that when connecting at events, highlight a problem area and swap solutions. It’s those moments where we can discover how we can best serve each other. It’s a healthy way to build not only business relationships, but also friendships.
Lastly, keep going. On this journey to building legacy businesses, it’s easy to bump into several distractions, so remain optimistic about the future and build strong networks.
Prisca is the Founder of Moyesa & Co., a social-first marketing agency that helps brands connect with culture, by coming up with creative ideas and produce video content.
As well as the latter she works with the likes of Ideas Foundation on Creative Camps which have partnered with Channel 4, BBC and more, and has a monthly marketing feature on the Wanna Be Podcast.
Prior to shifting the focus to Moyesa & Co., Prisca got her start consulting freelancers and startups, where she is best known for culturally attuned marketing strategies and creative work across a variety of industries including fashion, music, publishing, poetry, STEM and healthcare.
Linked In: Prisca Moyesa