I’ve always loved the idea of making extra money, although I don’t call myself an entrepreneur. In comparison to the majority of South Africa, I grew up in a comfortable middle-class home and didn’t get a lot of pocket money. I was undaunted by hard work, so I tried different ways to earn extra cash.
The money I made I saved to buy things I really wanted (such as a genuine leather bag instead of a cheaper fake one etc.) Making money was the predominant driving force behind my ideas and businesses.
I was a student when I met Jesus Christ, which changed my life. In His Word I saw that hard work and earning money were biblical principles. The woman in Proverbs 31 was a master entrepreneur and I loved that she provided the best for her household! I love the best or at least good things, so her testimony was an inspiration to me. My motivation in earning extra money did not decrease after my salvation.
I was still studying Law when my husband and I married, and decided not to pursue a career in it and therefore had to find other means of income, as my husband’s salary wasn’t enough to sustain us. In those years I learnt to be very thrifty with whatever we earned, something that stands me in good stead today.
In this blog I will share how I was able to do this. Some of my business ventures were more successful than others, but with God’s grace none have failed.
Here are some essentials for tips for small business ventures, (not giant ones like Amazon!) These are tips that I can give small entrepreneurs. All the little bits add up in the end!
1. What is in your hands?
What do you have in your hands, what are your strengths? I will never be a hockey coach for example, I can’t play hockey! But I can sew, cook, buy and resell. I use what I am good at or what I can learn in a short period of time. Moses only had a stick in his hand but God used it to part a sea! Don’t ever underestimate what is in your hand! -
So the Lord said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’ He (Moses) said, ‘A rod.’ (Exodus 4 v 2: NKJV)
2. Is it a Good idea?
I don’t just try things that are important to me or perceive as a gap in the market. We tend to use our own mindset as our only reference. To give an example, many women will buy and sell things for babies when they themselves have babies. This can be very good if you see a real gap in the market, but make sure there really is a gap and it’s not just a gap for you. Listen carefully to what others say and not just to get confirmation that your idea is good. Take it to God and ask Him to settle it in your heart. If you are unsure, consult your church leaders for guidance. They may not be entrepreneurs but they will have a sense from God if this is a good thing or not.
3. What is trending?
Thirdly, see what’s trending around you. I browsed in shops to see what fabrics, looks, designs etc. were trending and used that as reference when I designed or made something to sell. If for example the trending fabric was yellow satin, I used it! If the market is already saturated in that area, your idea will have to be extremely unique to work, rather consider something where the markets less saturated.
4. Is there really a market?
Make sure there is a place that you can sell what you have. In the beginning I only worked on orders and as my market grew I acquired more stock. It can be stressful to juggle that, especially if you are unsure of the availability of more stock if yours sells out. I talked to the suppliers to get an idea of how much stock they had and if their stocks were low I would take the risk and buy what they had. As I was a small business entrepreneur I wouldn’t take too many monetary risks. It is better to sell out what you have than to be left with stock that could have made a profit.
5. Start small:
Start small so that your monetary risk is small, I used money from one project to start the next one and was able to do that without ever going into debt. It is better not to incur debt! It places tremendous pressure on you to perform to make money to pay back the loan. Even if you start super-small, at least you are starting. Many people have fallen into the trap of wanting to start too big and then lose everything. Pray daily for wisdom!
6. Enjoy the ride – you only have one life! Lastly, enjoy the ride! If you are doing small entrepreneurial ventures, be cognizant that it will end. Be okay with that and willing to move on to the next thing. This scripture is an inspiration for me… Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going. (Ecclesiastes 9v10 NKJV) I have done a plethora of things, from catering, making and selling clothes, corporate gift packs, exclusive tea cozy creation, buying and selling chicken! I have run a tuck shop at a school and University residence, done market research and soft skills training. I really am a jack-of-all-trades. I have enjoyed the ride and made a few bucks in the process! So in closing, consider what’s in your hands and ask God how you can use it to make money. God loves it when we work and He partners with us to make it increase, as we trust in Him. Let’s work and eat well! For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. (2 Thessalonians 3v10 NKJV)
All the best