Whether you are looking to make some extra income or start a business while working, side hustling is no small feat.You must learn to balance your commitments, stay consistent and grow while you’re at it.
Temi Ajibewa, founder of The Millionaire Housewife Academy – an online platform that has helped over 5,000 women start their online businesses, shares her golden rules for side hustle success.
Rule 1: Discover Your Passion
Your passion could be an issue you feel strongly about or something you do effortlessly.
Side hustles based on passion tend to be more sustainable because you are self-motivated to go on even when things get tough.
If you are not sure what your passion is, here are 3 ways to get started:
Look out for things you do well without incentives and recognition.
Ask people who know you what they think you are passionate about.
Consider problems people often ask you to solve because you find them easy to solve.
Rule 2: Turn Your Passion into Profit
Doing what you are passionate about is one thing. Knowing how to make money from your passion is a whole different ball game.
Here are 5 basic steps I teach my clients to monetize their passion.
1. Find the problem your passion solves
Your passion cannot bring you money unless it solves a specific human problem.
Your passion must become a product or service for you to make money from it.
A great way to turn your passion into a product is by teaching people what you know for a fee. When I started to monetize The Millionaire Housewife Academy, I created e-books, DVDs and online classes to teach people what I knew about starting and growing an online business.
I always recommend starting off with digital products because they are easier to maintain and become lifelong assets people all over the world can buy.
People pay for products and services, not passions.
5. Promote your hustle
You must shamelessly promote your passion if you want to make money from it.
You can’t afford to be shy if you want your passion to be more than a hobby. If you are nervous, start off by promoting your hustle to people in your network.
Price is only an issue where value is in dispute. Once people realize the value they’re getting from you, paying you becomes non-negotiable. It all starts with finding and monetizing your passion.
Growth of e-commerce Gives Rise to Sophisticated African Digital Consumer
After scouring the store for a new pair of sneakers, Paballo Molahlehi finally lands on the one that catches her attention. She stares at it excitedly, swooning over the fresh pair of purple Reeboks. “It’s precisely the one I was looking for, I knew I was going to find it here” she nods as she adds the shoes to her shopping basket.
Thrilled with her latest addition to her growing sneaker collection, she navigates her way to the pay point. Molahlehi is doing all this while reclining comfortably on her couch, enjoying the convenience of online shopping. “I stopped going in-store after discovering online shopping. It makes more sense because my purchases get delivered to me for free, and I usually get discounts.”
Molahlehi is among Africa’s growing middle class who have money to spend and whose shopping habits have changed. With the surge of internet penetration on the continent, many Africans are easing into the habit of shopping online. According to a McKinsey’s Lions go digital report, online shopping could account for up to 10% of retails sales (with a value of around US $75 billion) by 2025, as more Africans gain access to the internet.
The increasing access to the internet is seeing a rapid emergence of e-commerce sites eager to tap into the continent’s growing online consumerism. The likes of Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa are at the forefront of this evolution. Companies such as Jumia, a Lagos-based online retailer, are dipping their finger in almost all major markets on the continent, cutting themselves an enviable piece of every pie. Jumia is also among Africa’s best-funded e-commerce sites, having raised US $150 million in funding in 2014.
As more people take to the internet to do their shopping, the demand for devices such as smartphones also increases. The 2017 Accenture Digital Consumer Survey finds that in countries such as South Africa, smartphone acquisition increased from 52% in 2016 and 63% in 2017. Some of the more technologically advanced nations like Kenya and Nigeria boast a smartphone uptake of more than 44% and 30% respectively. Across the continent, the number of smartphone users saw a nearly twofold increase, reaching more than 226 million. This spike in smartphone penetration is steering a digital revolution on the continent, exposing users to the endless opportunities the internet provides.
Here are some of the top e-commerce platforms in Africa that are reaping the benefits of the booming internet penetration on the continent.
With a mission statement and ethos for connecting African consumers and entrepreneurs to do better business together, Jumia is blazing the trail of e-commerce sites in Africa.
The company is creating a platform where small, medium and large African companies link with their potential market, thus creating a new-age ecosystem that bypasses the middle man.
Launched in 2012 in Nigeria, the site has solidified a footprint in over 23 African countries, with a network of over half a million sellers since its inception. Jumia has managed to create a stellar reputation for being a hub for products and services spanning across the retail, food and hospitality, talent recruitment, concierge and the hotel and catering industries. Apart from servicing the needs of consumers and businesses, Jumia has also been upskilling and aiding employment for many Africans who are qualified in areas such as Engineering, IT and online marketing and web development.
South Africa’s Takealot is the go-to online retailer for the shopper that seeks a convenient and simplified online buying and user experience. The site has been around for over a decade, having been established in the year 2002. Its broad catalogue and variety of products in entertainment gives it an impressionable edge. Customers can shop anything from books to games, computers and TVs.
Part of what makes Takealot an e-commerce success story is that the online retailer strives to provide its customers with the very latest products in the market, coupled with up-to-date product specification.
In April 2017, Takealot scored a significant investment of over US $69 million from Naspers, one of Africa’s biggest digital companies. This came after the online retailer received US $100 million investment from investment firm Tiger Global Management in 2014. Naspers boasts a 53,5% stake in Takealot, while Tiger Global owns about 34%.
Kenya’s largest online shopping mall, Kilimall is relatively new in the e-commerce space but has remarkably managed to create an inter-continental mark since its launch in 2014. The site, now established in other countries such as Nigeria and Uganda, has a retail customer base that continues to boom.
Kilimall is known for providing electronics such as phones, computers and gadgets, stocking top brands such Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo, and Phillips. The site also offers other products such as home appliances, clothes, books, health and beauty products, and more. All its services are accompanied by a 7-day free return policy on their premium range of goods, making it an attractive choice for consumers.
Konga has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 2012 as a Lagos-only e-commerce site that specialised in baby and beauty care. The online platform has morphed into a major online retailer, often dubbed “The Amazon of Africa.” In 2015, Konga joined forces with leading Nigerian banks to launch KongaPay, a safe and convenient online payment method to tackle the issue of trust in Africa when it came to online payments.
The online marketplace was one of the first in Africa to create a system of payment that was integrated with world banks – an innovation that uses click system that eliminated the sharing of sensitive information during payments.
With a backing from the South African media giant, Naspers, Konga is now a major player in the e-commerce space. In 2014, Naspers, which has a 50% stake in Konga, invested US $50 million in the online store.
Established in 1999, South Africa’s online store Bidorbuy is one of the oldest online marketplaces in Africa. What makes the site unique is that buyers don’t only get to purchase what they want, but they can also make a bid for products, functioning as an online auction. The site provides a platform to facilitate trade between buyers and sellers. Previously owned items such as antiques and collectables are some of the most popular on Bidorbuy, making up 40% of all items sold. Other second-hand products shoppers prefer include high-end DSLR cameras and lenses, laptops, books, as well as video games.
Over the years, Bidorbuy has made several acquisitions of South African online businesses. These include popular sites such as online jobs portal, Jobs.co.za and e-commerce company uAfrica.com.
Once in a while, a freelancer finds herself under the obligation of completing contracts for a period of months. Usually, emotions go from really excited (about that money of course) to interesting, to daunting and finally, to lethargic.
As is human nature, procrastination creeps in, like a thief in the night. (Okay, that last bit was too much, but you get the point). So, below are tips on how to crush your contractual freelancing gig like a #MotherlandMogul.
Yes, I know, journaling is a task on its own, but bullet journaling helps greatly when it comes to actually doing your job. It basically consists of to-do lists organised on a daily basis. All you need to do is tick off each item on the list at the end of each day.
This helps you cover every detail on the job. It also forces you to think about the development process of the task ahead. Think I am kidding? This is one of the most agreed upon activities to increase productivity.
Set an agreed time to update your client
Usually, a client that has no time during the entire contract, or one that has no idea of what is required, will start pushing you around at the last minute. They will then get to asking the most ridiculous questions, which can turn into a circus, to put it gently. We also cannot fail to discuss a particular nagging client that lives to terrorise your sleep, and operates in opposite time zones.
For such clients, it is necessary that you provide updates as regularly as possible. Agree upon a date that works for both of you. This way, if you go off-track from the results expected, your client can easily guide you to what is required.
Usually, you will not miss a particular client that will ask that you complete a portion of the work without pay ‘just to see how you would fare’. What happens is that such a client will take your work, approach another freelancer, and go ahead and ask her to ‘show him/her what they can do’ without pay as well.
If such a client approaches you, provide a sample of previously done work that is similar to what is required. Always agree on being paid a portion of money before you start off. Alternatively, have a third party withhold the money until various obligations are met.
Other than managing your time and client, contractual jobs in freelancing should not cause chaos. These are actually some of the most envied jobs in the freelancing world so, eat your cake Mogul.
Wonderfull Abuah’s first name is a perfect ice-breaker. She is co-founder and partner of Sew Easy Workshop (S.E.W), which she runs with Folasade Dan-Oketola. S.E.W is an online school for all things fashion, providing courses that are easy to digest and super easy to implement. Wonderfull’s journey into the world of fashion design started post-NYSC (National Youth Service Corps).
Depressed over the fact that no job was forthcoming, she jumped at the opportunity to acquire sewing skills at a vocational centre where she met Folasade. Prior to co-founding S.E.W, Wonderfull spent her time making & selling outfits. With S.E.W, Wonderfull Abuah is living out her lifelong dream of impacting others.
Would you say it’s important for fashion enthusiasts to go to fashion school?
I would say it’s important for fashion enthusiasts to attend a fashion school. It isn’t mandatory, as we have some renowned fashion designers who are self-taught. However, times have evolved.
A fashion school has a comprehensive curriculum that one can benefit immensely from. It saves time, energy and effort attending a fashion school rather than spending hours searching online or reading necessary and unnecessary books.
How do you teach women to make money from sewing?
At S.E.W, we teach women how to make money from sewing via an intensive coaching program. In this program, we cover their products, the quality and relevance to the current season/trends.
We also deal with their pricing model and online/offline sales strategy. We literally show students how to properly position themselves as a brand that would attract the right target market. For example, we always emphasize product quality to the women we coach. Tailors already have a negative brand image around so it’d be catastrophic to be branded as “one of them”.
By “them”, we mean tailors who disappoint their customers with poor finishing, poor customer service etc. We believe women should first of all, work on the quality of their products, then work on the packaging and marketing strategies.
Our curriculum is created for absolute beginners and women with intermediate skill set. Our desire is to see women acquire this skill from scratch and be able to trade it eventually. We ensure that whatever we put into the curriculum would be suitable for a novice with zero knowledge about dressmaking.
You’re a virtual company. What would you say to someone who doesn’t believe that one can learn fashion skills without a teacher looking over their shoulder?
We are aware that many women in this part of the world are used to the traditional way of learning; i.e. physically with a tutor. And so we decided that our online teaching model would be as visual as possible and super easy to understand.
However, our biggest breakthrough has been the testimonials from the women who dared to sign up for our online tutoring. This has been a major factor in convincing so many other women in our online sewing community to opt in for online sewing courses. We’ve had a wide variety of women use our program; from women who have 9-5 jobs,women who have children, young ladies freshly out of university and even students.
We have received tons of tear-jerker messages from women who have taken our free and paid courses. It’s hard to pick one exactly because we have touched them in different ways.
There are women who have had no extra time to enroll in a school and then discovered us and suddenly their dreams can come true, finally. We have stay-at-home moms whose kids are toddlers; they have no time to leave the house but with us tutoring them, they have begun mini sewing businesses from home.
There are others who live in far away countries and discovering us has been an answered prayer. The scenarios are different but the results are same. We rekindled their dreams!
How did you meet founder Folasade? What do you think compliments the both of you so S.E.W runs smoothly?
I met Folasade at a vocational institute in 2009 where we both acquired dressmaking skills. We became good friends and kept in touch afterwards. She went on to intern with high profile designers and then established her sewing business, even as a banker back then.
Last year 2015, Folasade called me and told me about her idea of us teaching women online. We had taught several ladies physically before; we did this separately. I loved her idea and we created our online group the same night! We added our family and friends (forcefully I might add) and then they added others. And that’s how we grew.
Our partnership has been of great value. Folasade is the level headed one. She thinks through each proposal we create. She’s very practical and patient. On the other hand, I’m the instantaneous one. So we compliment each other so well.
Folasade helps me slow down when my adrenaline is too high and I want to make decisions rashly. I also nudge her a bit more when we seem to slowing down on our goals. It’s been awesome working with her.
What are the challenges in running a fashion school that is based online?
Our challenges in running a fashion school online have been eye-opening. We have had to win the trust of women who were strangers via free online tutoring. About 5 months before we launched a paid course, we offered free online tutoring. We still offer free tutoring monthly within our sewing community and we’ll always do so.
Eventually, we have been able to gain their trust. We have also had to deal with being present almost at every hour, answering questions from our online sewing community. We had to set a schedule for this to avoid burnout and to remain valuable to our students.
Any New Year resolutions for Sew Easy? Were you able to meet your resolutions from 2016?
We definitely have great plans for Sew Easy Workshop come 2017. We intend to reach out to many more women, mainly through referrals and social media marketing. We want to help them conveniently acquire dressmaking and business skills via our online tutoring.
And yes, we were able to meet our 2016 goals, most of them. For example, we successfully launched our website despite many technical challenges. Nonetheless, we did it. And we’re still tweaking it.
If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.
Virtual reality is the world we’re living in. Tariro Makina knows this, that’s why she set up Twenty47 Virtual Assistant, a business that provides social media strategy and email management, among other services to clients. SLA contributor Glenda Makumbe caught up with Tariro in Harare, where they talked about starting a business in Zimbabwe while remaining grounded, the challenges of charging by the hour in Africa and the perks of being a virtual assistant.
Tari tell me a little bit about yourself and Twenty47 Virtual Assistant.
I am a 30 year old IT geek who is passionate about helping small business owners manage their businesses better. Twenty47 VA had always been an idea in my head until the end of 2013 when I actually gave birth to it. I had fallen out of love with my job and I did not want it anymore. So I just woke up one day, wrote a business plan and registered the business in early 2014. Soon after, I quit my job. I wanted more and I wanted to build on my passion. Currently, most of my clients are based here in Zimbabwe but I also have clients in South Africa, Zambia and the US. My main clients are in the services industry – forming a mix that is spread across various sectors. These include business consultants, event organisers, educators, technology and logistics companies and non-profit organisations.
Why Twenty47 Virtual Assistant as a name
I chose the name Twenty47 Virtual Assistant because I had a vision to create a global business that served clients in all time zones. I have no problem working evenings (sometimes) so it makes it easier for me to accommodate clients in different countries around the world. However, this has often been construed to mean I am available for every client 24 hours a day and 7 days a week **sighs** this is why you should be careful when choosing a name.
What does your business entail?
Twenty47 Virtual Assistant started as a one woman business and had been until 2015 when I was joined by one other person. I am involved in the general management of a client’s business online and this is usually the little things like administrative tasks that are considered not entirely important, brand awareness, customer service through various marketing and client engagement channels. Many small businesses shun investing in these areas as they are afraid it may be wasting money, time or both. Yet, they can have a huge impact on the success or failure of a business. I also take care of certain functions of a business or project for those focused business owners or professionals who understand that they cannot do it all by themselves and wish to take advantage of delegation. This way they have an opportunity to focus on what they do best whilst entrusting me to do the rest. I especially specialise in social media strategy formulation, implementation, monitoring and reporting. I do email management as well. Keeping up-to-date with the current industry trends and information plays a major role in social media so as to stay relevant to your audience. This requires a lot of research as well. So I do not have a structure of how a typical day in the life of a VA would look like, but, in a nutshell, it involves planning, lots of it, and staying on top of things.
Is there anything in your educational background that helps you in managing your business?
I have a Computer Science degree from Midlands State University here in Zimbabwe and that has been a great foundation for me. I have had to learn new things on the job like web and graphic design as my previous roles had nothing to do with design. I found there was a demand for this kind of work and it has helped increase my service offering.
How have people received this type of business in Zimbabwe?
Selling the idea of what I do to people is not hard, it’s the billing part that was initially hard. So I found that people received the idea of having virtual assistance as something really useful. I came with my approach of billing per hour based on research I had done in other markets. Little did I know that some approaches don’t work in Africa! And I say this with much respect for the continent – one size does not fit all. Because some clients were not time conscious, I still billed them for my time that they would have wasted. This would sometimes anger some clients and it was one of the things that would have made me give up on my business. The moment I changed approaches – put up value proposition packages – things improved. A value proposition package is in a sense packaging my services such that the benefits are clear. For each benefit I present, there is an associated value based on comparable market elements. A prospect can therefore be able to evaluate whether the value proposed versus the cost is something they would be interested in investing into. Many find it easier and clear to make that investment decision compared to when you just say “My services are $20 an hour”. This was a learning curve for me as I learnt that you have to be flexible in business, understand your market and model your business approaches to suit the environment you are in if need be.
How do you keep fun in your business?
If you spend time with me you are going to laugh. The nature of my work requires me to know my clients’ true personalities. I have to show up and be as authentic and original, as I require them to be.
Why did you decide to stay in Zimbabwe?
I have faith in the continent and in Zimbabwe. Whilst everyone is looking for a chance to run away, I want to stay and make my business work here. If I can make a business successful in Zimbabwe, I definitely can make it anywhere. I also did not want to be labelled a failure, I have many people looking up to me.
What are the challenges of running your own business at such a young age in Zimbabwe?
This was my first business ever. I had never sold even a sweet (candy) so this was a bit of a challenge for me. Trying to put yourself forward as someone who knows what they are doing can also be hard as people just look at your age and dismiss you and this can be intimidating.
Getting into the right circles and meeting the right people was also a challenge. In the early days of starting my business, I had little to zero information on networking events. Access to training and information on how to start a business in Zimbabwe is limited and some things are not as transparent as they need to be.
What can we expect from Twenty47 VA in the next five years?
I have a vision to take the business to other cities in Zimbabwe, as I aim to grow my team and provide employment. Don’t be surprised when you hear Twenty47 Virtual Assistant has changed names in the near future, we are growing, we are in a process of building it into a much bigger business.
What lessons or advice would you give other young women wanting to start their business in a difficult context like Zimbabwe?
“Don’t do this” she laughs. Be patient- very patient because you are likely not going to make a profit in the first or the second year. Get the right training, there is a lot of free training especially for young women, all over. Learn business skills, soft skills, finance – how to manage money in your business. Get advice and a mentor. Things are easier when you have someone you look up to guiding you – whether you know them personally or not. Get into an accountability group. An accountability group is a small group of at least 2 people that you meet with or are constantly in touch with for support, encouragement and guidance in achieving a particular goal or goals. Members help each other maintain commitment to a vision by keeping each other accountable. I joined an online group in October, and ever since things have changed for the better in my business because it helps me maintain focus.
How do you keep Tari grounded?
I have three values I live by; integrity, honesty with myself and with my clients and commitment to the work I do. Apart from this, I have a very strong support system in the form of friends, family and colleagues who have been cheering me on since the day I decided to launch Twenty47 Virtual Assistant. I know they want to see me do well. All these keep me grounded and focused.
Three words to live by
If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.
Have you ever wanted to share something with the world, but you’ve hesitated? You ask yourself, ”can I really do this? Will people like what I produce?”
I can relate.
Putting yourself out there is daunting – the Internet can be a scary place. If anyone had told me a year ago that I’d be running my own website, www.abiola.me and sharing my thoughts on life and faith, I would have laughed in their face. Me? Faith? My experiences? It didn’t sound very glamorous and we all know it can be a touchy subject. After months of umm’ing and ahh’ing, I decided to take the plunge.
Since then, I’ve found that the world of writing isn’t so big and scary after all. In fact, there’s a lot of good that can come from joining the conversation. Now I’m going to share 6 steps to help you to launch your blog with all the Naomi Campbell-level confidence you can muster.
Step 1: Believe in your product and it’s purpose
First of all, your product (or in the blogger’s case, content) should be something you’re passionate about and you think other people will enjoy. I didn’t start Abiola.me just cause I ‘wanted to have a blog’, that’s not enough to sustain you when the novelty wears off. From chatting to friends and strangers alike, I could sense that we were all looking for something ‘more’ in our lives, that missing piece.
Personally, I had found something that had a huge impact on me, and I had a strong feeling that other people might find it useful too. In true Olivia Pope style, I decided to trust my gut. A strong belief in your product will eventually outweigh your self-doubt or fear of what people might say.
Step 2: Your online voice is unique, believe in it, develop it
Next, think about your tone of voice. This is one of the most important things as it helps people to buy into and believe in what you’re offering. I decided that I wanted my blog to be approachable and relatable, kind of like speaking to a wise, trusted friend. Each time I publish a blog post, I continue to ask myself, do I sound like that friend? Asking yourself these questions regularly will help bring your content to life.
But I can’t write as well as some of the other people out there… I hear you say. Listen, no one becomes good at something without practice – don’t ever let that put you off. We all have to start somewhere, as long as you’ve got your spelling and grammar down, you’re good to go. If you need help, send a draft post to a friend for feedback – that’s what I did at the start and it worked like a dream. The key is to share it with people who are supportive but also comfortable with giving constructive criticism.
Remember that this entire experience is a learning opportunity, and waiting until you’re ‘perfect’ is unrealistic (even the Chimamanda Adichie’s of this world have still got stuff to work on! We all do).
Step 3: Take the plunge, spread the word
The next thing to do is to tell people! It’s really that simple. When I first started my blog, I told no one except 4 or 5 close friends. Even worse, when I added new posts I didn’t tell anyone at all because I was too shy. This is where belief in your product and yourself becomes super helpful: I knew what I was creating was useful and I was putting in too much effort for it not to be shared. So I decided to finally put on my big girl pants and spread the word, what was the worst that could happen?
Sharing wasn’t easy – the very first day I prepared my social media promo posts, I was nervous. I knew deep down that I would never feel 100% ready, I’d always find another excuse, so I just did it. Sometimes, you’ve just got to close your eyes and go for it. It’s like jumping into a pool, you’re hesitant at first but the adrenaline pushes you to do it anyway, and once you’re in you realise that it’s actually pretty fun! It also gets easier the second time, then the third time, and suddenly you’re 6 months down the line telling everyone about it.
The best thing about sharing is that it’s infectious. If people like your product they will share it their friends without you even asking. I have had colleagues, old university mates and acquaintances tell me how much they enjoy reading my work. But it’s up to you to get the wheels turning; you are your first and biggest cheerleader, so never be afraid to lead the pack.
Step 4: Be sponge, soak it all up
Congrats, you’ve made it to Step 4 in one piece – not so bad is it?
Next, absorb lessons from everyone (and everything) around you; articles, blogs, other people, celebrities – whatever. Inspiration comes from the most random places. So many things inspire the way I write, the images I use or my future plans. Also, never underestimate the power of your own story, even though learning from your peers and the gawds is important, don’t forget to get busy living.
Be open to discussion, collaboration and feedback – there’s nothing like bouncing ideas around with people you respect, whether that’s friends, family, mentors, your readers or your peers in the writing game. What you choose to do with the feedback is totally your choice, but always be open to listening.
Step 5: Your non-writing experience is relevant too
Ever had a job or been in school, university or college? These experiences have helped you to develop the prioritisation and organisational skills you need to keep your blog alive. Developing content takes commitment, dedication and sometimes saying no to brunch (#tears) or staying awake for an extra hour.
Being able to keep yourself accountable and balance all your responsibilities will be the difference between a one-hit-wonder and something more substantial. Luckily for us, we live in a world of automation, so you can use tools like Buffer, HootSuite and Latergramme to help you get organised. So while you’re sleepin’ you’re also tweetin’ – you overachiever, you.
Step 6: Be patient, be authentic and expect the best
Stick to your blogging hustle ladies, you might have some kinks to work out at first, but stick to it. Continue to tell people, continue to improve and most of all continue to produce that good content.
Some days might be easier than others, some blog posts may be more or less popular than you expected but keep at it, it’s so worth it. You’ve got something unique to offer, so don’t keep it under wraps! It’s amazing what happens when you’re willing to put yourself out there, even just a little bit.