Blanka Kobayashi is about as multi-passionate as one can get, I love her ‘why’ and her determination to put family first, no matter what. I’m sure you’ll enjoy getting to know Blanka as much as I have…

It’s a pleasure to have you here, Blanka Kobayashi. Let’s start by learning a bit about you:

I was born in a very small town in the Czech Republic and always wanted to travel. After exploring Europe for a few years, I decided to spend the summer with my girlfriend, who was in Japan at that time, and that was pretty much it. After landing at Narita airport, I felt at peace. Like I’m home. I still have that feeling when I return from my travels.

A year later, I met my husband, and that was pretty much it! Decided to stay here, was working for his company, and little by little, we started new ventures together. We left Japan for a few years when we decided to have a family, but we returned in 2012 with our son, who was 2 years old then.

Over the Covid lockdown, we added a little kitten and two sulcatta tortoises, so our house is never boring. Especially over the winter when the torts stay indoors with us! 

photo of Blanka Kobayashi and her family, a white middle aged woman wearing jeans, white shirt and green scarf, a black man wearing a blue suit and a mixed race teenager wearing jeans and a hoodie.
©️Blanka Kobayashi

TELL US ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS

Wow, that might take a while! I basically joined my husband’s company and then we added few more, both here in Japan and in Nigeria. We have very wide range, from hospitality, construction, real estate, finance, blockchain & fintech, private security and natural medicine.

I am in charge of marketing and PR for our companies. We also published a book, The Beginners Guide to Financial Freedom, and have two books lined up to be published shortly, all focusing on Financial Literacy and how to help those less fortunate to manage their finances, understanding the basics, like budgeting, saving, and investing.

Our third book is about Kidpreneurship and Financial literacy for teens and young adults, because that is one subject that is missing in schools. We try to create meaningful businesses that not only create profits, but help others living better lives. 

a photo of the book Beginners guide to financial freedom by kingsley and Blanka Kobayashi
©️Blanka Kobayashi

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH ALL THESE VENTURES?

Well, I always knew I wanted to work for myself, to have freedom of sorts. So when I met my husband, it only made sense to join his company.

My husband is a true mogul, owning many companies, and always motivated to create something amazing. So I think it was a match made in heaven. For most of our companies, we see a void in the market, a need that needs to be filled, and we figure out how to do it.

For our natural medicine company, it was a medical condition, that needed to be treated and with a special concoction created by our herbalist, we achieved this. So we decided to share the blessings with others. We now have one product at the market and four others at the testing/approval stage.

For our security company, it was our personal experience and understanding the needs of the market in Nigeria. My husband started his professional career as a police officer in Nigeria, and he saw not only the need for well-trained security personnel but also the need to employ his former squad mates and colleagues, who retired early, but with a wealth of knowledge.

For our books and financial lectures, we see so many people around us having absolutely no idea how to manage their finances. During Covid, so many people were left with no funds because they lived paycheck to paycheck, with no emergency funds, a single income stream, and no investments.

Our renovations company, we started it after renovating our own bathroom and seeing the lack of support for foreigners during construction and renovation.

Our latest venture, KobaPay, that we will be launching this year, is targeting the unbanked and also the small and medium enterprises, that need help with their financial transactions. Our starting market is Nigeria, because that is close to our heart. It is a great market full of potential and needs. I could go on and on as this is really my passion.

Once we figure out what we want to do, we brainstorm about the name and then comes to branding and marketing, which is my part of the business.  It’s really exciting for me to be creating logos and visuals, creating the identity for the business, and seeing it grow.

I love the creativity and the flexibility of branding and marketing, because as a wife and mother first, I want time to take care of my family and work at the same time. I can work anytime and anywhere. I always bring my computer with me, and also, my phone is my mobile office.  So if I’m waiting for my son during his basketball practice, I can work from a chair at the club. 

WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU HAVE STRUGGLED WITH OR A PROBLEM YOU HAVE OVERCOME AND HOW DID YOU DO IT?

Imposter syndrome. For years, I thought what I do is nothing special, that it is normal and expected of everyone to know and do. Little by little I realized, thanks to many wonderful people around me, that I am actually very good at what I do, and that it impacts others. I had to learn that to give myself a credit does not mean I’m not humble. It simply means I am proud of my achievements. 

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS?

The flexibility, creativity, and freedom of it all. I only have one boss (my husband haha) and even though he is demanding, he always puts our family and happiness first, so I can go days without touching work, and I can travel for weeks, and just spend an hour or two catching up with the workload.

I can work from my sofa, with a nice glass of red wine, while my cat purrs next to me.

Having multiple businesses is demanding of course, but it is also freeing at the same time. I love how our businesses touch people, and how it helps them grow. I love how it gives us the financial stability to support others, support charities, fund education for children who would not be able to study otherwise, support better quality of life for abandoned animals and so much more.

Most of all, I love that our business is a family business and that we get to do it together and build our own brand. 

A photo of Blanka Kobayashi, a white woman with long brown hair wearing a white shirt and bright lipstick
©️Blanka Kobayashi

HOW DO YOU USE YOUR CREATIVITY IN YOUR BUSINESS?

Branding and marketing are all about creativity, so I can write, and create visuals, and logos, which helps increase the engagement of the audience.

When we promote anything, when we post anything, we have a very short time to catch viewers’ attention. So we have to be really creative for people to stop and check what we are talking about. With writing, I love the freedom of expression, being able to pass our message to others in the simplest, easiest to understand language. 

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH YOU HAD LEARNED EARLIER IN YOUR BUSINESS JOURNEY?

That I deserve to be at the table….

A family picture of Blanka Kobayashi, her husband Kingsley and teenage son.
©️Blanka Kobayashi

AS A MOM, WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER MOMS STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESS 

Find a business that does not stop you from being a mom and enjoying your time with your kids. I know it might be old fashioned, but your kids will grow up and you will have so much time to focus on your business full-time, so enjoy your mom life while you are building a business.

Be efficient about it, learn to schedule your day, and your tasks, and delegate what would take you too long. Buy that bento, so you can play with your kid instead of cooking dinner.

Set us tasks that absolutely have to be done and do them first. Take regular breaks. There is so much you can accomplish if you have a system in place. So plan your days, weeks, months. Set doable goals and reward yourself. 

Quote card by Blanka Kobayashi that reads "Learn to schedule your day, and your tasks, and delegate what would take you too long"

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE BOOK/WEBSITE OR RESOURCE THAT HAS HELPED YOU WITH YOUR JOURNEY?

I learned a lot about self-growth, planning, and how to be efficient from Brandon Burchard. For a while, I use his planner, I listen to his podcast a lot. Great advice every time. 

IF READERS WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT YOU, WHERE CAN THEY FIND YOU?

Our website Kobayashiigroup contains links to all our ventures. We also have a Facebook group for those interested in learning more about how to improve their finances. 

Website: kobayashiigroup.com
Instagram: @blanka.kobayashi
Instagram: @kingsleykobayashi
Facebook: bianca.kings
Facebook: kingsleykobayashi

If you are looking to start your own business or you are a mom juggling a business and family and need that extra bit of help, come and join us in The Wonder Mom Success Club. We have lots of accountability built in plus all the resources you need to get started and systems put in place so that things run smoothly, check it out here: The Wonder Mom Success Club.

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Blanka Kobayashi started out in a small town in the Czech Republic. She now runs several international businesses with her husband based in Japan