Fed up? Start your own business

There are many reasons to start your own business – controlling your time, building real wealth, fulfilling your life goals – and an equal number of reasons not to – fear of instability, fear of failure, lack of experience and knowledge. Many people don’t realise how simple and uplifting the process can be, and stay with their dreary and low-paying corporate jobs.

The truth is that anyone can start their own business. In South Africa, 97.5% of all businesses are self-started small and medium enterprises. These entrepreneurs contribute 35% of the country’s GDP, employ 55% of all private sector employees and pay 43% of all wages and salaries. Clearly, starting a business is a lucrative and attractive prospect. Men and women of all races and ages are striking out on their own, uplifting the country and following their aspirations.

Here are just some of the reasons to start your own business:

  • You are in control. You can make the business and personal choices you want without having to fight against the corporate current. You can do exactly what you want with your own business, and take any direction you choose.
  • You can manage your time. Feel like working at 3am or taking four holidays a year? These things aren’t possible with a normal job, but if you’re your own boss, you can make the rules.
  • You can build real wealth. If you are working for someone else, you are making them a lot of money and are being compensated with a salary that doesn’t equate to your real contribution. If you work for yourself, you can build real wealth because all the money you make goes straight to you.
  • You will be happier. It is rare that somebody working a corporate job is completely satisfied with their salary, working times, commute, bosses, colleagues and, above all, the work they are doing. If you get to do what you want, when you want, you will inevitably be happier and more motivated.
  • It’s a great career move. You can carve a specialised niche for yourself and become well known personally for your work – instead of being an invisible cog in the corporate machine. You will build more connections and a better reputation than ever.

However, the unfortunate reality is that 50% to 60% of new enterprises fail within the first three years. The reason is simple – they are mismanaged by uninformed and inexperienced businesspeople. The University of Cape Town has identified this need for comprehensive, formal and practical training for those who want to start their own business. The 9-week, part time UCT Start and Manage a Small Business course is taught entirely online in partnership with GetSmarter, a specialist online training firm. If the only thing holding you back is the fear of diving into the unknown, this course will give you all the tools and clarity you need.