Entrepreneur, Hustler & Self-Starter

Don’t let your dreams be asleep with you anymore

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Yesterday, June 26 2020 was my last day of being formally employed. I was at the company for 5 years and had some good times. It was time to move on. With Covid-19 upon us and everyone working from home, I realised just how much I was missing out on with raising my 2 boys. I used to drop them at school at about 07h30 and only be back after 18h00 in the evening. I just didn’t want that anymore.

I decided to trade places and choose them. With that, of course, comes the responsibility of now having to make my own money with my freelance writing and blogging career, as well as the virtual administration business that I have running on the side.

I am very familiar with business, I had a fashion design business making African print ladies fashionwear before. I am even more familiar with failure. I had to close the business after 2 years due to cashflow constraints. One would think this time she would have it all together…

I still have sleepless nights since the day I decided to go on my own about a month ago. How am I going to pay my bills? Am I gonna have to deplete the savings I spend years accumulating? What if I’m forced to look for another job?

If you let loose the demons in your head, there is no end to the stories it will tell you. Of the doubts that you will continue to have. Above all else, get your mindset right. I took a piece of paper and wrote down the pros and cons of taking this major step right now.

You will never be ready, but you have to start somewhere.

Don’t wait for the right time.

The time will never be right.

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

There will never be a better time than right now, in the middle of Covid-19. It is inherently a time for change, for everyone and everything. Companies are changing the way they have been doing business for years.

More employers allow staff to work from home. They are learning to trust their workers that tasks will still be completed, even though they can’t see them. A two-hour commute just doesn’t make sense anymore.

As for the individual, you are made for a time such as this. This is the cue you’ve been waiting for. The time is now. There are so many opportunities to make money online, to make money without leaving your home. It may mean learning a new skill, it may mean just brushing up on a skill that you have. But it does mean that you have to work harder than ever before.

Working on your own is not for everyone. The possibility of failure is real and it can crush you. Allow some caution and common sense in your decision making. Discuss it with your partner and family. You will need their support. They will want you to succeed, that’s great encouragement and motivation to get going.

Alas, time doesn’t stand still, it waits for no-one.

This is a tweet I wrote about 3 days ago.

You can be a new person in 6 months’ time.

Start now.

With hands shaking and knees trembling, I have started.

You can too. Let’s do this!

Be Fully, Magnificently, You!

Photo by Oladimeji Odunsi on Unsplash

About 20 years ago when I was in high school (I know I don’t look my age 😊), you had 2 groups of girls. The cool girls and the girls with nappy hair and crooked teeth. I fell in the latter group. My father was also not the headmaster or the church pastor. I slid lower down the ranks.

I don’t know who decided on these ranks, but there they were. I had to fall in line. Like many other teenagers who don’t know their place and trying their best to fit in, but only succeeded in standing out, like a sore finger.

‘I hope that my presence on your screen, and my face in magazines may lead you young girls on a beautiful journey, that you will feel validation of your external beauty, but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.’ — Lupita Nyong’o

I eventually finished high school and went to college in Cape Town. I stayed with my aunt and worked nights and weekends at KFC in Claremont, the one in Main Road. I was lucky enough to find a decent job straight out of college. I could get my own place that I shared with my brother and later my sister came to join us.

Throughout this time I was grouped in a certain class.

We were the Coloureds from Mitchells Plain who were all gangsters. I didn’t need to open my mouth. It didn’t matter that I was not from Mitchells Plain. I fit the profile before I could open my mouth. Talk about judging a book by its cover.

‘I raise up my voice — not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.’ — Malala Yousafzai

Photo by Leon Ell’ on Unsplash

With that racial bias and stereotypes came the realisation that there was a glass ceiling. You could only be the PA, don’t ever think you will make it to the corner office. And when one of the girls got knocked up and the baby daddy is gone before the baby is born, it just reinforced our positions.

That maybe you should hold on to the merchandiser’s job at Edgars. At least you’re not the cleaner. And so we never get rid of the stereotype. Even if you can now afford to book a table for 10 at the Codfather in Camps Bay, when you walk in they size you up and down and think, Oh Lord who let them in?

‘It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.’ Madeleine Albright

My message to you, don’t let it take you 20 years. Twenty years to understand that you have just as much right as any other person to be here, breath in the free air and own your space.

You don’t have to be a feminist and burn your bra and demand equal rights. You can do so silently, with fierce determination, to firstly quieten the voices in your own head. Once you have conquered those, the rest is easy.

‘I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.’-Audre Lorde

It starts with you believing that you belong here.

You have a purpose. Others look up to you, some you don’t even know. You carry their hopes in your heart because you have the voice they don’t have.

‘And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.’ — Anais Nin

Be fully, magnificently, you!

We’ll Die Of Hunger First!

Unlock the South African economy now!

As we enter lockdown day 43 in South Africa, with over 8000 positive cases and a death toll of 161, the situation is bleak, to say the least. The economy was abruptly brought to a halt on Friday 27 March when the lockdown started. Everyone had to stay at home, you could only go out to buy food or go to the doctor. Only essential services were operational.

Everyone else had to stay at home and work from home. Restaurants, hairdressers, beauty parlours and gyms were closed. There was a ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes and a curfew in the evenings. Sounds more like we are going to war than fighting a virus.

Exactly 6 weeks later and thousands of people have lost their jobs. Some had to take salary cuts of more than 50%. Others can’t afford to pay their rent, pay their car instalments, or buy food. Someone I know had to be content with 10% of their normal salary. I mean, what do you do with 10%?

The companies also don’t have a choice, no-one is buying, no-one is paying, pending orders are cancelled. With a huge cashflow crisis gushing expenses with no income, it’s not a pretty sight.

How does your life change so radically in 6 weeks?

A whole generation’s sweat and toil down the drain. No-one has an emergency fund. No-one. I guess we thought the rainy day would never come.

All the schools are closed. Children are at home. Parents are at home. Nerves are in tatters. Children are going hungry. Parents watch in despair. If they go outside without a permit they can get locked up.

Still trying to find the owner

We know that the lockdown was never going to stop the virus, it was only going to slow down the spread so that hospitals can prepare and get ready when the virus hits at its peak. But in the meantime, people are starving.

“First they came for the cigarettes, and I did not speak up because I am not a smoker. Then they came for the alcohol, and I did not speak up because I’m not a drinker. They later came for my cooked chicken, and I did not speak up because I’m a dumbass who can’t recognise danger.” — Quentin Quarantino Ferreira

The government has vouched to plough back billions into the economy to ease the hardships of ordinary people, but the sheer magnitude of the administration is leaving many people wanting and waiting. The grants are not coming today or tomorrow.

In the meantime, people are going hungry, by the millions. Another initiative was to distribute food parcels. Well done for that, but it’s only feeding the family today, what about tomorrow?

By the time we wake up, starvation would have killed many more people than the virus ever could. We need to lift the lockdown and let people get back to work, those lucky ones who still have a job.

Masks are now mandatory. Yes, let’s wash our hands and wear masks, but please can we just get back to work!

Staying Home Amid COVID-19

Don’t wish for it to be over

Photo by Tani Olorunyomi on Unsplash

In South Africa, we started our nationwide lockdown on Friday 27 March at 00:00. It was to carry on for 21 days until midnight on Thursday 16 April. That was 3 weeks. All we could do was go to the shops or go to the doctor pretty much. If you were not essential services, you stay home.

Companies had to adjust quickly and send staff home to work from home. Restaurants, bars, public places were the hardest hit. Everything had to remain closed.

Two weeks in, everybody got into their groove, not too much bitching and moaning going on anymore because it was the same for everyone, the rich, the poor, black, white, coloured, indian. No-one was exempted. This made it more bearable.

On Thursday 09 April, we heard that the president would address the nation in the evening. We were all eagerly awaiting news from him. He started with praising the public response and cooperation, the healthcare workers’ dedication and commitment. Then he said that’s it’s too early to tell whether our efforts to curb the virus has been successful and imposed a further 2 weeks of lockdown. The lockdown will now extend to 35 days, until the end of April. There were mixed emotions. We had one week to go and all of a sudden the 3 weeks had started all over again. Businesses who were suffering were now pushed into a further 2 weeks.

About a month ago patient zero arrived on our shores. Who would have thought? I bet these are the words on everyone’s mind. How did this thing come out of nowhere and so quickly disrupt my existence to the point of some losing jobs and later all hope?

Who allowed that to happen?

Photo by Krists Luhaers on Unsplash

As you are now confined to 4 walls with your partner and children, you have never spent more time with them. You’re not sure if you want to anymore. Your spouse is driving you crazy and you wonder, where were the days that you could drop your kids off at school or the daycare centre and get on with your life? I want answers you think. Someone must pay for this.

After all the ranting and raving and punching pillows, you know it’s not going away. No use fighting it any more. You always said you would build the dollhouse, well now is the time. Might as well keep you busy and not just with trips to the fridge.

Your kids will grow up and you will never have this time with them again. You won’t have all this time again to start that side hustle that you always dreamed of. Everything is going digital anyway. Maybe it’s time to offer those online piano lessons. Or to learn code, or to take up cooking lessons. 
 
First, you have to start with a plan. Work out a daily schedule for the remainder of the lockdown and include everything, even trips to the fridge. 
Read, meditate, catch up with friends and family via FaceTime. Call your parents, every day. They are the most vulnerable.

On the other side as well, it’s a great motivation to re-adjust your budget and expenses and save. You just realised you can do without all that eating out and daily Starbucks coffee. Put money away for a rainy day, because although the rainy day is here now, you will be better prepared for the next one 
 
Only hard cash is king. Make sure you have at least 6 months of expenses saved up. Yes, we all thought that day would never come. Well, all we can do is ride the wave, make adjustments and come out of this strong and ready. I will and so can you. We can make money again, find other jobs, but we can’t bring back life.
 
Good luck and all the best during these turbulent times.

Just remember, this too shall pass.

Blessings.

Love Lives Here

In the heart of a beautiful woman, you.

I just felt that today I needed to speak to the women in the house.

Ladies, wherever find yourselves. Will you do me a favour? Just for today, put yourself first.

Take some time out, go into a quiet corner and reflect on where you are today. What are you grateful for? What do you have going for you? A job that you like (that’s rare), your studies to educate yourself in order to become something better. A husband or partner who loves you. And lastly your kids whom you wanted to drop off somewhere more than once, but since there’s a law against that.

The burdens are heavy. Our mothers have carried those same burdens. With so much grace. Here we are, living in an age of microwave dinners, workplaces with child care facilities, being able to FaceTime your mother whenever you need to and still, we are not happy.

Something is sapping all our energy. Self-doubt and worry make us lie awake at night. Woman. Listen. For once, make it about you.

There is a beautiful saying — Love Lives Here. Let here be wherever you are.

Fellas, if you are listening. She may appear strong. For you. But inside she is falling apart. Especially when children are involved. Be committed. Stay committed. She loves you. Give her that honour.

She needs to know that she is your everything. Tell her that you love her. Often. That you appreciate everything she is doing for you. Do it today. Pick up the phone. Now.

Ladies, go to work every day determined to give it your all. Change your attitude towards your situation. It will never be 100% perfect. But if you go in with a smile, you will get through the day much easier.

Where do you see yourself 6 months from now? Will your situation still be the same? I hope not. We either progress or we stagnate. Start today to lay the foundation for a better future.

Become financially independent. It gives you options. Spend less than you earn. Start saving 10% of your income. Tackle your debt one at a time. Pay off your credit card.

Start taking care of your health. Start exercising. Eat better food. You can’t do anything if you don’t have your health.

Practice kindness. You just have to look around you to see where the need is. It is everywhere. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. That someone else is you.

Give yourself permission to start enjoying your life. Don’t wait for him to organise a date night. Just do it and send him a meeting request. Buy your own flowers.

Be the strong, independent woman that you know you can be. With a soft heart. Many things may have happened to warrant a hard heart. But you are not going to let those things overshadow the good that is still in the world just waiting to be discovered.

Be open. Let the light in. Let Love Live Here.

Make The Tough Decisions Today and You Won’t Regret a Thing

When things are not going well we are quick to come up with every excuse and justification for not taking action or doing the right thing.

Most unpleasant situations are our own doing. We know the right thing to do, but take zero action and then we wonder why nothing is happening.

We blame our past, the present and everything in between. It’s time to face some hard truths. Let’s start by asking yourself some tough questions?

1. Are you healthy?

The other day I had a slight headache because I was fasting for the day. I told the person I was with and immediately came out a whole bag of medication. She had a pill for everything. I was very surprised because overall she seemed healthy.

Don’t feel the need to be dependent on anything. Nothing that some exercise and fresh air won’t fix.

2. Healthy Eating

Are you able to go to the shop and choose exactly what you want to eat tonight? Do you have a choice of getting the healthier, slightly more expensive options? All the fruit and vegetables you need?

For some people, it is pap (South African mielie meal porridge) once a day only. If you’ve never had to go to bed hungry, you have nothing to complain about.

3. Healthy Body

Are you able to, if you wanted to, take a brisk walk around the block? Are you able to get out of your car, or get off at the bus stop before yours and walk the last 20mins?

Some people don’t have that luxury. Are you able to if you wanted to? That’s the answer.

4. Healthy Mind

Are you able to look around you and count all your blessings? Your spouse, your children, your co-workers who make you laugh.

If you wanted to, can you switch off all electronics and noise and just sit all by yourself, with your own thoughts without wishing you were somewhere else?

Can you decide to stay in and work or read a book, without having the feeling that you need to be somewhere or that you are missing out on something?

5. Healthy Spending

Are you able to say no to the impulse of buying another pair of shoes or another kitchen appliance you don’t need?

At the click of a button you can buy anything online and if you pay a little extra it can be home before you. Knowing that this service exists, knowing that you have the money to buy whatever you need, but not doing it — that’s a winner.

You will never regret it. Not making that purchase. This strong resolve will show up in all areas of your life. People will wonder how come you’re so lucky, you have everything going for you.

They don’t know that in the quiet moments when it’s just you and you, you make the tough decisions. It takes nerves of steel, but you’ve gotten better. Practice makes perfect.

6. Healthy Relationships

Are you able to walk out on an unhealthy relationship because it’s toxic and it’s affecting every area of your life? Are you saying no to verbal and emotional abuse even though you will return to an empty house tonight and there is no one to split the bills with?

You don’t need to sell your soul just because the lights are on when you get home and the bed is warm.

We’ve all made mistakes. But when you know better, you have to do better. 

You owe it to yourself.

Good luck with your journey.

Is Your Life Paying Dividends Already?

I am sure you are having an amazing life so far.

The lights and heat are on and you have a nice little nest egg saved up. If you were to lose your job tomorrow, you are able to cope with the financial pressures. You have enough money saved up to cover at least 6 months of living expenses.

Uhhmm yes…or maybe not.

If you are reading this you are in a fortunate position. For those who can internalise and make sense of it, you are in an even better position. Or best scenario, you don’t need any advice since your pockets are lined already.

Good for you, too.

However, for the rest of us mere mortals, let’s put our heads together and start turning the soil.

There are only two rules.

  1. Spend less than you earn.
  2. Don’t forget rule no 1.
  • The millionaire next door carries a brown paper bag lunch to work.
  • The millionaire next door is driving a 10-year-old Toyota Carolla.
  • He doesn’t have the latest iPhone.
  • He doesn’t party every Friday night.
  • He knows exactly how much he has in his bank account, down to the last cent.
  • You would think he never gets a raise because he always looks the same.

There are so many things we think we need. The Joneses have it all. If you could only send them your cat food bill at the end of the month.

There are two sets of people in life. Those who are living the life right now in terms of enjoyment and consumption. Then there are those people who are investing in themselves and decided to put off ‘enjoying’ until later on.

Have you ever noticed those people whom you see jogging day after day? They are the ones who seem not to need to jog. But that’s why they are fit. Those who are wealthy work at staying financially fit. But those who are not financially fit do little to change their status. — The Millionaire Next Door

Every day you get up and get to work on the groundwork of your life. You don’t take for granted that one day you will retire on a great retirement package and have enough money for all your needs.

We count on tomorrow as if it were guaranteed. There is so much that can happen. Unexpected life changes like retrenchment, falling ill, divorce. Will you be in a position to absorb those financial shocks?

No matter what your financial position is right now. It can always be better. You need a mindset shift, from consumer to investor.

Who and what you are today is directly proportional to the investments you have made earlier on in life. Right now we are in the planting season. It may not be pretty, but it will be worth it.

The harvesting season will come.

With finances, like anything, prevention is better than cure. Don’t think it won’t happen to you. And myth number two. There is no time.

Live life on the offence. Ready for anything. Always. 

I can, I will, I must.

Man, You Are Worthy

Ladies, the man in your life needs you.

(I wrote this post a while ago, but I thought it was worth sharing again)

Photo by josh peterson on Unsplash

We all have men in our lives, whether husband, father, brother or just your friend. When last have you had a deep conversation with them? Not the kind of outburst after an argument with words and plates flying around.

A real heart to heart, how they feel, what bothers them, what do they fear. Most men feel that they obviously need to be the strong one, keeping it all together, making sure the wife and children are provided for and feel secure.

However, when life throws it’s punches, it may become rocky. He gets laid off at work. He is facing a health issue. His friend passed away. He is struggling to keep his business afloat. There are demands. The rent is due. The hospital bills are coming in.

You get the picture. Ladies, at this time he may be pushing you away, he may be saying that everything is under control even though it’s not. Understand that it’s difficult for him to talk about it. He needs your support now more than ever.

Let’s stop thinking about ourselves for a moment. Do just one thing that shows him that you are fully behind him and that everything will be ok. Tell him that he is doing a great job already. Everyone needs that reassurance, that his woman is behind him. Our circumstances are all different, it may be easier said than done.

Once you’ve made a decision to be with someone, you owe it to them and the relationship to build up one another, not tear down each other. We can get so emotional. The relationship can only blossom when there is mutual trust and a commitment to make it work no matter what.

I think part of our problem is that we give up too easily. Your partner may have done something that hurt you. No one is without fault and misunderstandings happen so easily. You have to believe that what you have is worth more than one (or two, or three) misunderstandings. Especially when children are involved. Of course, there are non-negotiables. Nobody needs to stay in an abusive relationship.

Having said that, if you are in a relationship where you are co-parents, respect the other person enough not to talk badly about them in front of the children. Fathers, take the lead role in your children’s lives. Be there for them, physically, emotionally, financially. They, too, will grow up and it will be difficult to try and forge a relationship later if you were absent during their childhood. We cannot turn back the clock, but we can make a decision today to make it right.

Man, reclaim your rightful place as head of the household, and head of your tribe.

You can do it, you are worthy.

Woman, You Are Worthy

Let’s give each other permission to shine.

(I wrote this post a while ago, but I thought it was worth sharing again)

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

As you show up at work (when you eventually go back to work again, after COVID-19), just take a look around. How many women do you see? Not just notice, but really see.

Not just say hi to and get on with it. We are all supercharged, 100 percent battery life as we sit down and get to work.

No time to really connect with others, particularly the women in our lives. So many women are carrying a silent burden. Whether the trouble is with the man in her life, her children, finances or job, a lot of us don’t say anything. We just suck it up, show up and get on with it.

It’s not easy because, at night when the guard and make-up come off, it can be a lonely place. There is no-one to talk to, no one to listen. No one hears the doubts and fears, the silent cries. They don’t know that when the kids are asleep, you take out the whiskey or the valium, or the two for the price of one double-decker pizza (which comes with a free 2-litre coca-cola).

In our 20s, we are set on getting an education and a decent job and rightfully so. Then, in our 30s we are climbing the corporate ladder, trying to get to the corner office. Then suddenly we are 39 and single. Just stop today and take stock. Is this where you thought you’d be when you hit 25, 30, 40 or 50?

It’s not too late to get your life back together and make yours truly your number one priority. Put down your 5-year plan, also put down your goals for the next 12 months. Like they say if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. Make it all about you.

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

There’s that good looking guy with the great sense of humour you’ve been eyeing. You know what is better? When you work on yourself and have it all together. You are emotionally and mentally strong and you can hold your own. You won’t have to go looking for anyone, they will come to you. Put in the hard work first.

There is nothing worse than going from one failed relationship to another, without any loss of enthusiasm. Life is not a sprint. It’s not speed dating. Stop worrying that you may be missing out. The relationship worth having is firstly with yourself. If someone shows up who is genuinely for you and in your corner, good for you. But even then, take your time. It’s great to get to the fireworks, but then what?

Woman, wherever you are in life, do what is right for you. Feel the fear and do it anyway. The saddest thing would be to fast forward one year from now and be in exactly the same place. I know it’s not easy. We don’t want to be vulnerable. As you take the smallest of steps forward, your confidence will grow and it will be like compound interest. With every step, you grow and become beautifully and wonderfully you.

You can do it.

19 March 2020 – 150

I guess every South African knows what this number means. Probably the rest of the world as well. All they need to know is where you live and they will immediately make the connection.
150 cases of COVID-19 in South Africa, up from 116 yesterday.

A little less than a week ago we were still fine. I remember the total was 24 on Friday 13 March, nothing to be really concerned about I thought. I woke up on Saturday 14 March with an announcement from the school that a father who had travelled to Switzerland and returned had tested positive. As a precautionary measure, all the weekend’s sports and social activities were cancelled.

On Sunday 15 March, we heard the president will make an announcement at 18h00 that evening. Everyone was now at the edge of their seats, what is he going to say? At about 19h30 (an hour and a half later) he began to speak.

We are now entering a state of emergency he said. All schools will be closed from Wednesday 18 March. Social gatherings of 100 or more were prohibited. A travel ban for incoming visitors from high-risk countries. I don’t think anyone has recovered from the news yet.

Even though schools were only closed from Wednesday 18 March, children were kept at home from Monday 16 March. Normal parents have to work, or so I guess… So who is going to look after all these little people who are suddenly at home that no-one planned for? It’s enough to give anyone an anxiety attack before the start of the week.

Despite our whole world just being turned upside down, we are all supposed to act like normal people. I know many of you have similar stories, and I think the only thing holding us up, is that no-one is exempt from COVID-19, we are all in this together. Our leaders may decide on different measures on how to fight the virus, but collectively we are all affected.

As Marcus Aurelius said, it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you respond. For some of us, there is a lot of free time at hand, and it’s what you do during this time when no-one is watching that you build character and integrity. No-one has to tell you what’s good and bad, you intrinsically know the difference. That’s personal growth and wisdom. You can either get out of this proud and strong, or weak and pathetic, the choice is yours.

We are all at the same starting blocks. Even those who were ahead are forced to take a step back to recalibrate. Maintain your internal fortitude. Be the rock to those around you. You are not doing it for others, you are doing it for yourself.

Even though the children are at home, businesses still operate. If not, we may just have a total collapse of the economy. Most people are encouraged to work from home. Where I work we do medical assessments and we are dependent on foot traffic. If we don’t see patients, there’s no money in the bank.

I don’t know what will happen next week, but for now, we are still going in. We have taken various measures to protect ourselves and our patients. My children are at home doing their school tasks and my one son send me this photo. This is what he did today.

There is still beauty in the world. Don’t despair, we will get through this, together.

God Bless.