If you’re an entrepreneurial student, chances are that you have a flood of business ideas that you're eager to pursue. Perhaps, you’re thinking of pursuing them full-time after your studies. Before you take the leap and dive into entrepreneurship full- time, there are some key things you need to consider.
It's true that 95% of new businesses fail. Famous all-in entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had good fallback plans, but they came from wealthy families, and the cost of failure was relatively low for them. The same is not true for all South African entrepreneurs.
The key to becoming a successful entrepreneur is allowing yourself to fail, without failing as a founder. Failing is often what makes entrepreneurs learn to make strong businesses. Leaping into full-time entrepreneurship puts you as the founder (especially if you are inexperienced) at great risk of irrecoverable failure. Instead, think of how you can maximise your ability to learn from failures, and move forward on the path to success.
But what options does this leave on the table? Enter the side-hustle! Part-time entrepreneurship has seen increasing popularity in South Africa. It essentially allows entrepreneurs to work full-time (or part-time) jobs while pursuing entrepreneurship in their free time. Given that starting a business often requires financial resources, starting a business part-time can help you sustain the business by investing in it at a comfortable pace, whilst also earning a stable income and paying your bills. There is nothing worse than running a business and wondering where your next rent payment will come from!
Starting a business without a steady income stream can put you under a lot of pressure to succeed quickly. This kind of pressure can lead to rash decisions and shortcuts, which could harm the long-term success of your business. By pursuing your business part-time, you give yourself the time and resources to make more calculated and informed decisions, which can lead to a more sustainable outcome.
The legal side of things
In South Africa, employees are not precluded from earning an additional income. An employee cannot unreasonably be withheld or prohibited from supplementing their income, but under certain circumstances, such work can be expressly forbidden or limited by your contract – so read carefully and make sure your employer knows what you are doing.