I have always liked nice things. Nice things often cost money, sometimes lots of money.
I’ve always had chores at home but my parents started to incentivize me with money, more chores, done correctly equals more pocket money at the end of the month. This definitely taught me the value of money and how to save for things I want and budget so that my money would last until the next payday… but the money was never enough and I had to either lower my expectations or make my money stretch and grow. Here’s how I got started and a few things I learned along the way.
I started my first home business when I was 7 years old. I used my allowance to buy a bulk pack of ice-lollies to sell during the holidays. Business went very well for the first week but then I started eating the stock and spending my income on other nice things. By the end of week two I had burned through my inventory and spent all the money I made and that was the end of that.
- Manage your inventory.
- Watch your spending.
- Make sure you have enough to restock.
2. CLOTHING LINE
When I was 8 years old my mom quit her job and started her own clothing line. I spent my nights doing homework under the overlocking machine and collecting scrap material to hand stitch clothes for my dolls. If the scraps were big enough mom let me use her sewing machine to make head bands and scrunchies. The scrunchies were a hit at the flea markets, plus I was a super cute kid with my Barbie dolls modelling replica hair ties. I sold the doll clothes on the playground for extra pocket money. I had to shut down shop when I moved away and went to a new school.
- Be resourceful.
- Presentation is key.
- Always be open to learn or try something new.
3. HOME BAKED COOKIES
In 1998 we moved to a semi right across the road from a public hospital and I returned to my old school. I baked cookies and sold them in bags at the hospital during visiting hours over the weekend. I sold tameletjie (toffee) and popcorn at school during the week. This was very labour intensive and bulky so I decided to stream line the business model when I got to high school.
- You have to put in the time to reap the rewards.
- Be consistent.
High school proved to be my most lucrative hustle. I sold sweets, sours and lollipops. It wasn’t allowed because the school had a contact with the people running the tuck shop so I operated by word of mouth, under the counter (work desk), dark alley type transactions. I worked on a 200% profit and was 20% cheaper than the Tuck shop so people kept coming back. Most of the proceeds of this business went towards my ‘N Sync and Backstreet Boys obsessions; those imported magazines and memorabilia do not come cheap. These rest was saved for spending on outings, shopping and vacations.
- Have a goal and work toward it.
- Always look for better ways to do get the job done.
5. WEB & GRAPHIC DESIGN
We got our first computer in 2001 and I taught myself to code HTML and create graphics. Eventually people started paying me to create fancy front pages, headings, covers and dividers for their assignments and montages, .gifs and minor tweaks for their websites.
- You can turn your hobby into a cash cow.
- Stay current.
- People will pay for what you know. Don’t underestimate yourself.
I stuck with the web and graphics and expanded on my knowledge over the years. The skills have and continue to open amazing doors for me and the lessons learned from all my tried and tested businesses have proven invaluable.
If you haven’t yet… I encourage you to get started even if you fail at first. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll learn.
Are you an entrepreneur? How did you get started? What are your entrepreneurship goals?
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