Looking back to the time l started hustling, but with nothing to show for it, it got me pondering deeply.
I have been thinking of all the hustles l have done since l was 20, I listed them down, and they almost got to a full page. I wonder why all these projects never succeeded, what was l doing wrong? I did some introspection on each one of the projects. Let me share on two which intrigued me and got me thinking whether l was an entrepreneur or a chancer? 🤔
Hustling Project 1
In my career history, l worked at this firm which specialised in cross boarder trading. I met a colleague whom l clicked with, and we became friends and later on hustling associates. She used to work at a shoe manufacturing firm, and she told me she knew how to make shoes. I was delighted with the idea and shared this business opportunity with my siblings, Lilian and Tinashe. We saw ourselves making big money from this idea.
The next day l went to my new associate and told her we wanted to partner with her and start the shoe manufacturing business and yes my siblings and l had the capital to get us started, and she had the know-how. She agreed, and we started planning on the logistics of how we were going to do all the operations. We did not have a factory or a place to use, so, we decided to work in my brothers’ room but without our father knowing. We used to sneak our associate into the house and do our production. Within first week, we had produced about 20 pairs and off we went in the market, they were bought like steaming hot cakes.
Our first project was successful and in 2 months it collapsed.
What did we do wrong?
We just started the project in a moment of hype, and never did a proper research or even drafting down a business plan. We never even discussed how the profit sharing was going to work and all that, in other words, we did not have a proper business strategy. So, when money started coming in, we did not know what to do with it. Since we never discussed with my colleague, she had the expertise, and we had the capital, so we thought, it was fair to go 50/50. That did not go well with her and the politics started.
Another thing which led to our failure was trying to cut cost, so we bought a cheaper glue, and the end product was not so strong as it is supposed to be. I remember this one client who called me in the middle of the night demanding her money back because the shoe had torn out when she was at work and the embarrassment she felt! I had to apologize and refund her back. I don’t know the other clients who bought if they faced the same ordeal or maybe theirs were strong!!
Hustling Project 2
During 2006 and 2008 l started my cross border trading, l used to go to Zambia and Botswana to buy clothes, and resale back home in Zimbabwe. I had my clients from church and saloons in town. That time I used to make good money. Did l say good money? Yes, l had to resign from the firm I was currently working for because my hustle was better, so l thought. After two years this was a flop again.
What went wrong now?
My clients used to pay in time and I would go and re-order with my capital and all the profit would buy myself new clothes and shoes of course. So, this was a cycle and the money on capital also had to cover transport, which meant the stock l bought the first-time could not double on the second stock because the rest of the money was all my salary. This was the cause of death for this hustle. I could not meet demand and customers went to other suppliers.
Lessons learnt why many hustlepreneurs fail
- Lack of Money Management Skills — Many of the hustling do make us good money, but we prioritize on personal needs not on the project itself. We do not think of the growth and continuity, such that all the money which comes get used from hand to mouth. I learned that with this mentality nothing fruitful will be attained. Why don’t we try to put something aside just a small percentage for business continuity we never know what other opportunities might present themselves in the future. Some time back I started practicing this and l am happy with where I am heading to. On all my dealings no-matter the mark-up l put 20% aside of the profit. I am practicing this religiously.
- Lack of financial goals for the project — Many of us get excited with the idea of starting something, and we do not put any financial goals down on what we will do with the money. So, when money comes where there is no plan on how to use it, it quickly vanishes. It is wise to have a financial goal plan on every cent you receive for your projects this way you will see that you can attract more money by taking good care of it.
- Poor money estimates — More often we miscalculate our return of the project due to a lack of proper research. I have resorted to do projects l have a full understanding on what they are and where l have skills and passion in. This also goes to inadequate pricing whether charging too high or too low. Just because we do not even know our target market.
So, tribe these are the lessons l have learned from my past mistakes, and now I am trying to build something concrete and which can last.
Please feel free to share your hustling projects mistakes and lessons you have learnt.
By Talent Tarie Manyonga