Yes you can!
Thinking about starting your own business but not sure where to begin? These four woman tell you about how they got started.
In the March issue of FAIRLADY we profiled six successful women who turned their passion into a business (p50). Last week we asked you, our readers, if you knew of any inspiring entrepreneurs. You gave us names and we spoke to them about the challenges and merits of running your own company.
Caro Erasmus, 24
Before starting my own business, I was engaged in full-time study. Now, I work on my business full-time and study part-time. StudentCo is an agency that specialises in affordable academic tutoring (from primary school all the way to second year university level); au pairing services and pet-sitting in Johannesburg and Pretoria. The members of our team are all personally interviewed and selected according to strict criteria.
The greatest challenge has been getting friends and family to take this seriously! Three years in, and they finally see it as more than 'something to keep me busy'.
The highlight of owning my business must be seeing its growth – it's wonderful to see an idea blossom into a reality. Also, the creation of jobs. I love that feeling.
Meg Pascoe, 28
I am actually still working full-time and running The Counter during the evenings and over weekends. I work as an event manager for a catering company in Johannesburg North, planning functions and designing menus for up market events.
The Counter is a small business, run by myself and my business partner, Ian Vos. We are both extremely passionate 'foodies' - Ian is a highly trained chef specialising in pastry and I have been in the food industry for ten or so years. Our dream is to one day open a deli or eatery, serving freshly made sandwiches, simple breakfast and lunch dishes and decadent sweet treats.
Working full-time and managing a business on the side has been tough. We are in an industry that doesn't have 'office hours', so there are times during the year where we work 18 hour days, five days a week.
But the highlight of owning my business has to be all of the wonderful recognition we have received from everyone so far - we have been featured on numerous blogs, magazines and websites over the past 11 months. Having a nomination for the Eat In Produce Awards which take place on the 24 March. Five of our products have been nominated in the Best New Product.
Mishah Effendi, 33
Old Job: Investment analyst
New Job: Mishah Designs owner
After graduating from the University of Cape Town with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, I joined the corporate world where I spent 10 years in the investment industry as an analyst.
Mishah Designs is a Cape Town-based fashion house established in 2005. We supply prominent boutiques throughout South Africa and its border countries. We source and manufacture both locally and internationally. Our collection comprises ladies seasonal fashion wear and accessories, such as leather handbags and belts.
The first six months of the business are the most crucial. There are lots of overheads with the business making very little or zero profits so there was no guaranteed pay check for me at the end of the month and I had extended working hours!
The highlight of having my own business would definitely be the fact that I don't have a boss watching over my shoulder each minute of the day.
|Suzanne Styles, 46
Old Job: Director of an Outdoor Advertising Company
New Job: Makes You Think Director
I was 15, when I came to South Africa, and I had come over on a six-month sabbatical before joining the Women’s Royal Air Force to train as an Air Traffic Controller. I fell in love with South Africa and its beautiful and diverse people and never left. I worked day and night to pay off the money I owed banks and friends and grew quickly through the ranks from sales executive to director, the first director of an Outdoor Advertising Company.
I started Makes You Think, a personal and business development company, in April 2011. We offer seminars, coaching for individuals, couples, leaders, businesses and entrepreneurs; and we facilitate the international Thinking Into Results programme and do speaking engagements.
I like being able to make decisions instantly; without going to and an executive committee or the board.
Most ideas are still born; you have to breathe life into them. In our excitement we often share our ideas with all our friends and family and that’s where the trouble starts. It’s the fear of criticism, most entrepreneurs will tell you that their ideas were ridiculed and often by those that love them the most. Most people will write and tell you that the challenge is money, resources, or so on. I say the biggest challenge is other people sowing the seed of failure into your mind.