In 2016, I took the hard decision of being am a part-time business owner whilst still juggling a full-time job at one of SA’s state owned company (and yes I have declared my interests). I know you might be asking yourself why I still work on a full-time basis, reality is that even after a year in existence, the full-time job is still “the only” means of getting my bills paid “on time”.

They say starting any business comes with challenges, and boy was I never ready for such a roller coaster ride. After a full year in existence, I still have not been able to secure even a single contract regardless of the monetary value. Trust me at the rate I’m going, I would be happy to get a contract of any value so that my at least my bank balance gets to reflect a balance of greater than R50. That is just the tip of the iceberg, it might seem petty, but through the struggles of business, I lost a best friend, or must I say someone I thought was a friend on the day we happened to attend the same tender briefing. I found myself unfriended and blocked in every social platform without any explanation. Guess I had to read between the lines….and they were clear as daylight.

To be honest, for over a year, I had not learnt how to overcome these challenges and part of me was starting to be thankful I had not impulsively quit my full-time job. I was at the edge of giving up, thinking that maybe I was not cut out for the business world. My spark was recently evoked when I met Mrs Busisiwe Mdletshe, a well-established accountant firm business owner, whom through conversation shared much of her success with me. I have since that fateful weekend started to look at my business in a different light. I began to see potential in my business again and I was eager to start learning from basics. She told me that the key to learning and prospering in business is to first get yourself a Mentor, not necessarily in your field and definitely more than one Mentor. I grabbed my opportunity right there and asked her to be my Mentor, and she willingly agreed.

I’m excited to be on the journey we have started together. That is now my ultimate drive and what keeps me going lately. I have someone to talk to who is willing to give unbiased advice.

As part of my lessons learned, looking back, should I have known the costs involved in marketing and creating an image for the business, I would have waited a very long time before getting my website live. The decision was based on thinking that it would easily assist me in marketing my business to the potential clients, little did I know that a year later I would find myself behind payments on maintain that website. To add to that, monthly bank charges are piling up with such speed it’s becoming hard to transfer funds from my personal account into my business account keep it active.

The decision to register a business came by through research and observations whilst dealing with consultants at my current job. There was and still is a lack of black woman-owned businesses in the Environmental and Quality management fields. At that time I had just recently graduated with an Honours Degree in Environmental Science and I through to myself, why not give it a try. I’ve had times where I regretted my decision, but I am now more certain that ever that I am meant to be.

Sithembile Vilakazi

Director

Eyendalo Consulting

September 12, 2017  Page 2