It is not easy being a young entrepreneur in South Africa but Thabang Molefi kept swimming even while her business was sinking.
Molefi shared the challenges of her journey from humble beginnings in Soweto to the United States of America as she promoted her recently published book at the Wits Business Society (WBS) yesterday.
Dollars to Soweto chronicles Molefi’s rise to business success and is a manual for any young entrepeneur who feels discouraged by the difficulties of starting a business. “I used to walk to and back from school every day while I watched my class mates drive home and it helped me prepare for the challenges I would face in the future,” she writes.
Molefi is now grateful for the many times she had to struggle in order to make it. There’s a time when she had to move back in with her mom because the money she earned on American cruise ships ran out on her first attempt to open a healthcare centre. “I had to go back and live at home and drive my mother’s car”.
She went from running a truck company, to property management and now owns a company called Roots Healthcare Centre in Soweto. She regrets leaving the business she was most passionate about (Roots Healthcare Centre) for other businesses that she was convinced would make her quick money.
She told members of the WBS: “don’t leave the business you’re trying to grow in and don’t grow too fast.” She admits she felt pressure from other entrepreneurs who were doing much better than she was which made her deviate from her core business.
However, the many challenges she faced in opening her business did not stop her from pursuing her goals but it made her more cautious about her decisions and priorities. “Your priorities must be right in business because people start with the things they should start with last,” she said.
She advised students who wanted to become entrepreneurs to make sure they market their business well and run the business without relying on credit.