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The Drive Behind Siv Ngesi’s Comedian Success

Dynamic actor and comedian Siv Ngesi is driven by an insatiable hunger for success.

Monique Verduyn

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Whether he’s in the Cosmo Sexy Men 2015 calendar or getting physical on the dance floor in Strictly Come Dancing, Sivuyile ‘Siv’ Ngesi is committed to being positive, always being better than he was two minutes ago, and changing people’s lives.

The natural born entrepreneur, actor and comedian is also in demand on the corporate circuit as MC and entertainer, and has seen his career skyrocket as local and international offers continue to come his way.

 

Related: Rich Mulholland on Carving Your Own Niche

I’m obsessed with making my mother proud

She turned 50 recently. She raised four children on a teacher’s salary, putting our needs before hers all the time. It was a difficult life, but she always encouraged us to follow our dreams. She is an inspiration.

Talent is not enough to make you a star

How do you make an impact on your target? Many talented people have died poor. You must be able to sell yourself, to market your talent.

I don’t care how brilliant your product is – if you can’t get it out into the market, it might as well not exist. It’s equally bad to market yourself at too low a level, simply to get your foot in the door.

Are you a PEP or a Dolce & Gabbana?

We are all brands and we have to ask ourselves which one we want to be. I know there are entertainers out there who are better than I am, but I have paid a lot of attention to building my brand over the last two decades. And slow and steady wins the race.

Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. Confucius said that. That’s what I live by. The number of zeroes in your bank account should never be the main driver.

The worst business decision I ever made was trying to impress everyone else. I was so busy being cool that I lost my authenticity.

When that happens, you misplace what makes you unique and different. I was in the Philippines a few months ago, and I was so disappointed to see that every store was selling the same cheap items at the same price. There is nothing entrepreneurial about that. No one is trying to stand out, or do something different. You’ll never innovate if you’re following everyone else.

Do not make the mistake of trusting too easily

It’s hard to face the reality that people can betray your trust so badly, but it happens in business, in love and in life, and you can end up paying a steep price.

Fearing what will happen if you trust your gut instinct can cloud your better judgement. Sometimes we have so much invested in the status quo that we’ll avoid anything that threatens it. Pushing through the fear is what leads to success. Now I know that if doing what I want makes me a diva, then so be it.

Related: 10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing

Give back to your community and help people where you can. I do my bit through an organisation that helps people in Gugulethu, which is where I grew up.

I don’t believe in failure. When something bombs, you learn how not to do it in future. It’s a learning opportunity, not the end of the world, or something to be ashamed of.

Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.

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