“Employees leave where they work. Employers live where they work.” - Mokokoma Mokhonoana
For some reason this supposedly monumental and "impossible" task was one of the easiest things I have ever done.. Not to mention one of the most financially rewarding.
So back in 2009 I had a less than mentally stimulating job, sure there were parties, great colleagues and amazing perks like free trips etc but not only was my job not mentally engaging, it didn't pay well and it took up my whole day.
I took my future into my own hands and started an online travel agency, African Travel Desk . I knew nothing about making websites, registering domains or SEO but I did know someone who did and I knew a lot about tourism and SA. I contacted Sam my web guy and made a deal to split the profits of the business for the 1st year and a bit if he designed and maintained the website for me.. needless to say I can do all of that myself now thanks to weebly.com .. check them out.
I had the company running for a full year online before I quit my job and got it properly registered through http://www.shelfcompanywarehouse.co.za/. This was simply so I could establish clients and bookings for my company while still being paid my regular meagre but much needed salary.
I don't know, I read all of these articles of failed businesses, how many investors you need, what your business plan must say and blah blah blah.. I started my company with R400 (USD40) and it's the best R400,00 I've ever spent. It's paid itself over more than 10 000 times.
I have no advice to give but to go with what your heart is telling you, sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and DO what you want to. I was also lucky enough to be surrounded by people who believed and supported my vision without having to hand over money to support me.
A very simple guide to starting you own business Athini's way
1 - Do not burn bridges when you leave your current place of employment, I still do lots of business with my old workplace, I am now their client and they look after my clients.
2 - Work smart, not hard.. 45 minutes - max 2 hours is my working day. I do not understand the people who are always grinding.
3 - If you can't do it, find someone who can, if you can't pay them, offer them shares in the company, you win, they win, your clients win.
4 - Keep your overheads low.. In this day and age everything is done online, why do you need an office?, my office is my phone and laptop. I pass my savings onto my clients, no need to be greedy.
5 - Make sure you have enough money to live on for a year in your savings before leaving a job to focus on your new baby.
6 - Remember, your best clients are returning clients, look after them and they will market your business for free.
7 - Make sure that your friends and family all know about your company, you would be surprised where business can come from.
8 - Business cards are not over rated!, hand them out wherever you go, at least in your 1st year or 2 of starting up.
9 - Register your company PROPERLY with all the relevant bodies, tax man, business registration, insurance anything that relates to your industry.
10 - Always reinvest in your company, for me it means getting a new laptop and phone every 2 years, I spend money to market my business on Facebook & Google.
11 - Save money for rainy days, save money for sunny day, save, save, save!.. but do spend too, have fun.
12 - It's your company, look after it and it will look after you.
This is where I ramble