The player: Amina Moses
The business: Wild Ginger Creative Consulting (2007)
The concept: Creative and marketing consultant specialising in web trends, branding promotions and events management
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or +27 (0)83 564 0622
Amina Moses had worked as a key account manager for an IT company for 10 years. Starting in a junior role with the company which was a start-up at the time, she gained valuable insight about working in a new business. When she decided to start her own business though, she discovered that running a business is a whole different ball game. Here’s her story.
“When I first started with the IT company I felt completely out of my element. I had been on maternity leave after leaving retail and had decided I wanted to have my own business. I didn’t have the big idea though, so while I was networking I came across this IT start-up and it looked to be a good challenge and they needed my account management skills.” The start-up needed a lot of help with collecting money because they were running on overdrafts, so Moses took the job and began a very steep and exciting learning curve that would serve as the foundation for her own business.
Ten years on, Moses felt she needed change and it was the right time to begin her own business. “The IT company was by now very successful, but I was tired, stressed and felt rushed all the time. I was also missing my children growing up. I thought that starting my own business would give me more freedom. I didn’t realise I’d be jumping out of the pot and into the fire,” she laughs.
Setting up shop
Moses decided on marketing because it best suited her personality and she was well experienced in the field. She soon realised though that there’s a lot more to running a business than skills, products and services. Moses financed her business with her provident fund, and low capex meant she was able to get to work quickly, but marketing projects come in waves and some months her expenses can be greater than income. With a business model of adding a percentage to branded merchandise and hourly rates of services, she also has to wait until invoicing before payment. As such she still struggles with consistently breaking even and is not in the habit of taking a regular salary.
Since attending Microsoft’s Women Entrepreneur Development Programme though, Moses has armed herself with indispensable knowledge about achieving sustainability before growing the business. To help her achieve this she plans on hiring an admin assistant and a marketing graduate to help ease the burden and allow her to focus on bringing in business.
A bump in the road
Moses’ business hit a setback in 2009 when her husband fell ill. “I found myself having to care for my children, my husband, the house and the business. I was stretched very thin and there were times during that year when I was offered jobs with other companies and I was very tempted to take it. But I decided to persevere because even if you are able to negotiate flexi-time, you’re still working for someone else and you don’t have the same kind of business and creative freedom. I want to continue learning and growing and being an entrepreneur lets me do that and live my dream of being a business owner.
Always think everything through. “Don’t just jump, plan, plan, plan. I had confidence that everything was going to be okay because I had capital, experience and skills – I was good at sales, project management, always met my targets and got along well with clients. But as the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” she says. “Had I planned better I would have found answers to issues sooner and I would have made a better profit quicker.” Moses reflects on her business and ends with this “There are challenges in anything, whether you’re employed and working for a boss or running your own business. The trick is empowering yourself with the right kind of knowledge and not mistaking experience with business acumen.”