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Solo Artist And Entrepreneur K.O On Embracing Limitations

Ntokozo Mdluli, better known as K.O, got his start as a member of hip hop act Teargas. Today he is a successful solo artist and entrepreneur.

GG van Rooyen

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Even though I was a performer, I wanted to do something more

I wanted to create a platform that would give other local artists an opportunity to showcase their talents. That’s how Cashtime Life came about — it’s a management company and a record label.

It was really just a management company at first (and we still view it primarily as a management company) but it also became a label in 2014 because we realised the importance of owning what was produced. It’s important not to relinquish control of your intellectual property.

Being at the head of a business has forced me to grow as an individual

When you run a company, there are a lot of sacrifices that need to be made. Moreover, a lot of these sacrifices go unnoticed. It’s a humbling experience, but it also gives you an opportunity to grow. I’ve learnt some very tough lessons. I’ve had my share of failures, but thankfully I was able to learn from them and apply these lessons to other ventures.

Related: 10 Inspirational African Entrepreneurs

I’m not a businessman. I am an artist

Because of this, I realised the importance of partnering with someone who had real business acumen. I have a partner named Thabiso Khati who is the CEO of the organisation. He runs the day-to-day aspects of Cashtime, which allows me to focus on the creative side of things.

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If you want to be successful, you need to be true to yourself

It is important to be authentic. There can be only one Dr Dre, Kanye West or Steve Jobs. And no one cares how well you can impersonate someone else. You need to tell your unique story. 

A good reputation is priceless

You need to be conscious of how you present yourself and always treat people with respect. When it comes to my work, I always try to engage sincerely with people and put real effort into my work.

No one is great at everything

We all have our limitations and shortcomings. As mentioned, I depend on my business partner a lot when it comes to running Cashtime Life. What’s important is to make up for your shortcomings in other areas. What unique skills and abilities do you bring to the table? In what areas are you invaluable? You need to find that area where you can offer real value.

Related: Silulo Ulutho Technologies Tackles Tech Target Market

Social media is becoming an indispensable tool

It doesn’t matter if you’re running a business or trying to build a personal brand: Social media is important. It allows you to tell your story. No one can afford to ignore platforms such as Instagram and Twitter.

Everyone is now a publisher

We’re not just passively consuming content these days. We are now creating it as well. There are people out there with 40 million Twitter followers who have tremendous power when it comes to promoting products or services. You need to look at how you can leverage technology to create your own audience and extend your sphere of influence.

I have a motto I live by

Those who matter do not judge, and those who judge do not matter. I always keep this saying in mind. You will inevitably find those individuals who are negative and judgemental, and it’s important not to let them get you down. That said, it is also important to be honest and realistic about your limitations and take legitimate criticisms to heart. Nobody is perfect.

GG van Rooyen is the deputy editor for Entrepreneur Magazine South Africa. Follow him on Twitter.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mpumelelo Dlamini

    Jun 8, 2016 at 14:15

    Nice one K.O I am inspired

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