I think my love for entrepreneurship started while I was working at a grassroots newspaper.
It was in 2011, the year I also did the part time National Degree in Journalism course. That year was tough. On Tuesday- and Thursday evenings I had to go to class after a long day at work.
I worked on the Cape Flats – which is known as a very dangerous side of Cape Town. Amazingly enough, despite the fact that I probably surrounded by crime, I only once was robbed (of my cell phone).
Why is it amazing? Well, I also walked to stories – to do interviews with people I mean. I walked and made use of public transport. Yes, I was a bit scared of the bad elements or as I would call the “skollies” (gangsters) back then. The thing is, I was just to eager to do journalism. I practically would do anything to just continue doing my job.
The Publisher of the newspaper did sales for the business and also had his hand in the layout of newspaper. Our personal assistant had to sell adverts and also helped with the Youth Page or did some graphic design.
At grassroots level publications you learn to do more than one thing. We went to courses and had workshops on how to maintain the newspaper. [Grassroots level newspapers are mainly run by independent publishers.]
My boss (the Publisher) taught me the value of having relationships with your clients – them taking care of you and vice versa. I later learned that despite the tough economic climate, some the clients still offered to help us financially by buying adverts.
That office was like my second home and it broke my heart when we got retrenched.
Anyway, so this past few months I have joined a blogger- and small business owners’ network called the SA Biz Chat. On Thursday evenings for an hour from 7pm, there is the #SABizChat on Twitter. There’s a different topic for each chat.
On 27 October 2016, for instance, the topic was Human Resources 101. We chatted with a Human Resources Manager about things like “What is an employee file” to “What is interview guides”. Questions like “What do you need when you start hiring employees” were asked.
While this chat was live, I checked out another chat of a network called She Leads Africa. This initiative tells stories of African women who are successful entrepreneurs, and it also gives advice on how to better your business. Their chat #SheHiveJoburg was an interview with a South African entrepreneur, Thokozile Mangwiro. This founder of hair care company Nilotiqa spoke about how her business started and how research played an important role to get and keep clients.
She said: “Primary research is engaging with potential customers. Research can [also] be observing what a potential customer struggles with.”
These Twitter chats are live and gave me an opportunity to engage with these people, ask them questions and get answers.
I love listening to stories, especially those of entrepreneurs. This is probably why journalism is a great job for me. I get to learn a lot from people and the research I do.
So, on Thursday 10 November 2016 I will be a host of the SA Biz Chat. My topic to bloggers and small business owners will be “Writing like a Journalist”. I signed up, thinking this might be a cool thing to do. You know, like those people talking about ticking off things on their bucket list. Well, I am making up my bucket list as I go along.
Yes I am nervous, but also excited to do this. The last time I spoke in front of people – I think – was probably while I was working at Cape Flats News. I remember talking to high school children about my career and I even taught youngsters about doing citizen-journalism.
This is it.
Thank you to the Cape Flats News team that planted a seed. I also appreciate all the entrepreneurs and senior journalists who taught me amazing things along the way. Tomorrow night it will be my turn to teach. I can’t wait 🙂