Having multiple streams of income has never been more crucial than it is today. Olwethu Leshabane mentioned during the recording of an upcoming interview on The Sit Down with Olwe2lesh, that she doesn’t remember a single day when her mother ran out of money, because she always had a stash saved under the mattress from selling amagwinya (fat cakes) at her workplace. What intensified this conversation was the COVID-19 pandemic. People have been looking into different avenues to make more money, due to job cuts, salary reductions, and the motive to prepare for the worst. 

A recent poll conducted by the South African eCommerce platform Gumtree has indicated that 31.5% of South Africans have either started a secondary job on the side or have transformed their side hustle into their main source of income. 

If you have been waiting for a sign to take that leap towards starting your side-hustle, then keep scrolling and take inspiration from this week’s edition of #WomenomicsThursday as we chat to women who have taken matters into their own hands while refusing to have their stories moulded by the status quo. 

Mukona Mamburu – Air Traffic Controller and Founder of Mukona’s Beauty Studio

Q. Being an Air Traffic-Controller can be quite demanding as it requires a certain level of concentration. What have been the effects of juggling both your day time job and your side hustle? 

The one thing I love about my job is you don’t take work home, you plug in your headsets at work and when you plug out you are done. So, I never had a problem with losing focus. I try to switch off when I’m at work and forget a little about the beauty studio.

Q. Why did you take the step of studying microblading?

Microblading is not a well-known procedure by many beauty artists, so I tried to choose something that was scarce, and of course I don’t want to focus only on microblading, I’ll learn other skills soon.

Q. Give us a brief summary of what a typical day looks like in your life.

I usually work nightshifts, however my shifts are scheduled differently throughout the week. When I have shifts that end before midday, I am able to plan my day properly. That also gives me time to take appointments for the beauty studio. 

Selina Ntobong – Radio Producer and Founder of Country Hoppers

QWhat motivated you to take the first step towards starting your business?

I used to initiate road trips for my friends to destinations outside South Africa, mainly in the SADC region and plan the logistics from A-Z (even cook for them). These trips became a thing and I realised then that people are willing to pay for planned trips and experiences without lifting a finger. I capitalized on that.

Q. What are the biggest challenges that you experienced as a black female-entrepreneur? 

Contrary to what women in most quarters of society and career spaces have experienced, I’ve had it differently. I’ve met people I call enablers along my career path, who almost immediately after meeting me, sussed-out what my capabilities are and where my passions lie, supported and guided me. 

Q. Do you have any plans of leaving your main job for your own business

Definitely. I’d be the happiest girl. For that to happen though, a lot of learning still needs to happen. 

Siwaphiwe Myataza – Media Liaision officer in the Executive Mayor’s office at City of Johannesburg and Poultry Farmer

Q. The poultry industry is the biggest agricultural industry in South Africa, employing in excess of 100,000 people throughout the value chain. Why did you decide to enter a highly competitive sector?

For me everything revolves around building generational wealth. Our parents grew up during a time where resources and opportunities were only allocated to white people. Even in our generation, there are a lot of hurdles we face to this day, but I do believe that nothing is impossible because there’s a larger pool of opportunities available to us today.

Q. “Black people don’t excel in farming businesses” is a stereotype  that has been loosely thrown around in recent times. What is your response to this and how has your experience in the poultry farming field been?

I disagree with such misleading stereotypes, especially because when our grandparents raised us, they always exposed us to farming. We grew up exposed to cattle farming, ploughing and many agricultural activities in the village. We were also taught about the significance of starting your own things and the ability to sustain whatever you build. So, black people are capable but what has been a challenge for many is getting capital to start proper businesses. 

Q. How important it is for young women to have multiple streams of income?

I strongly encourage young women to always step out of their comfort zone and venture in any business opportunities that will yield economic emancipation.  

Nyeleti Hlungwane – Student (living in the USA) and Founder of Star Tribe Events

Q. The décor field can be quite competitive. Why did you choose this route? 

You can never have enough of anything; I clearly defined my target audience. My aim was to focus on servicing clients that were hosting a small group of guests (max of 30 people, 40 if we are pushing it) with a small budget. I also wanted to work in a field I enjoyed. Interior design and décor have always been things I was interested in, so I figured why not make money from it. 

Q. Running a business in South Africa is difficult, amongst lack of funding/investment, support from people, are various challenges. You chose to run a business from another country, what challenges do you experience?

The biggest challenge is that I am physically not available. The distance is a major challenge. Another challenge was having to find someone who is versatile, reliable and trustworthy to take over.

Q. Being in another country did not stop you from continuing with running your business, which shows resilience. What advice can you offer to young women who are scared of starting?

Just start, research, learn, ask for help and most importantly be realistic. Set goals and work towards them, start small if you have to, find your rhythm and grow. It is not easy, and you owe it to yourself to at least try.

Q. Take us through a typical day in your life.

I am currently looking for someone to remodel and rebrand my company because the COVID-19 pandemic presented us with challenges that we have to live with. But I usually have classes in the morning then work during the day as well as attend to hair appointments, for extra money. School fees here are actually very expensive. 

Later during the evenings, I’m on calls from home (because of the time zones) discussing how the business is running.