My earliest taste of business having started at the age of 9 when I started selling “Gaaring” (Nylon String) to kids in my area in order for them to fly there kites. A profitable business, but one that soon closed down when my leading supplier, my mother, realized that she was going through string faster than a newborn in diapers.
I am officially 7 months into my full-time entrepreneurship journey and looking back, there are a few painful lessons learned. Everyone calls it paying school fees, but I am prepared to be taken to court for failure to pay. Though I am not new to the business world, I am new to running and operating my own.
My earliest taste of business having started at the age of 9 when I started selling “Gaaring” (Nylon String) to kids in my area in order for them to fly there kites. A profitable business, but one that soon closed down when my leading supplier, my mother, realized that she was going through string faster than a newborn in diapers. Lessons I learned from that business venture was simple. Without sound supplier relationships, your business is dead in the water.
Early in 2016, my friend and I opened a Flight School in Port Elizabeth (Frequently Answered Questions – yes, I co-own a plane, No I can’t fly. Yes we train Pilots to fly). We went through all the processes, did the due diligence tests and the venture was feasible and the business model was sound. We had commitments from students, secured our aircraft and had the team members in place to fulfill various roles in the School. Following the go-ahead from our consultant that the process is all but wrapped up, we signed the lease for our premises and went furniture shopping. The following week, we were informed that due a number of industry rules and regulation changes, our application has been placed on hold. 14months later, we had all but depleted our cash flow, reserves and battled to keep the dream alive. We eventually received clearance and the business took off, however, the delays had seriously hampered our momentum and stunted our growth. Lesson learned – It is only definite once signed and approved. – Without a binding agreement, it is all just Hopes and Dreams.
The day I made up my mind that I will be going into business fulltime, I was excited and full of joy, excitement, and enthusiasm. I shared my exciting news with all my close friends and family and was rather disappointed with the general response received. Few shared my joy and excitement. With the general views being a combination of “You can’t leave a government post for a start-up business’. or my personal favourite, “You can’t just quit your job, you have a wife to take care off”. What I learned from this: Not everyone will share your excitement, support your dream or grasp your vision.- It is your dream, Make it happen. Full stop.
When I started my business, I went all out to make the business ‘seem legit’. From offices to office furniture, and expansive coffee. I was living the dream and embraced that view that perception is reality and in order for people to take you seriously, you need to look the part. I soon realized that perception does not pay the rent and I spent most of my time out of the office to meet clients. Did most of the work on my laptop and got more done with sitting in noisy coffee shops than I did in the office. And so my journey as a Coffice worker started. I was rather astonished at the beauty of the arrangement. On average I spent 15 days a month in coffee shops. With an average spend of R150 a day my “rent” came out to approximately R2250 a month excluding the many meetings where others pick up the tab. What I learned – Perception is Reality but Lean is King
There are many articles and books on the topic of business, wealth and prosperity. Many of which I personally consume and put in to practice. However, there are no 10 steps, for dummies, and biographies that can magically unlock your true potential and make you successful. It all comes down to finding what works for you and carving out your own success, wealth and prosperity. So lastly, – Do you and success will join you.