Against the odds: No job? Go it alone

2012-06-16 10:13

Sick of spending months trying to find a job without success, Stephanie Lesabe from Pretoria generated her own work.

Hers is a typical story of a young South African struggling to find work even when armed with a tertiary qualification.

The 26-year-old’s marathon job hunt in 2009 failed to yield the IT career she had longed for all her life.

“After completing my IT diploma I established a clothing line, Moonyu, as I was not getting any jobs. While doing this I also started freelancing as a graphic and multimedia designer,” she says.

It was tough going as she could not rely on anybody but herself for start-up finance. But she didn’t give up.

“When I started, the only funding I could rely on was my own, which made things move at a slower pace. As I have continued to freelance my database has grown and demand has increased, although finances are still low.

“I’m in the process of applying for funding from the NYDA and hopefully they can approve this application so as to assist in expanding and exposing my business to those in need of my services,” she says.

Her business model centres around her devoting her attention to a single client until the job they hired her to do is finished.

“My company is run solely by myself. So it is my responsibility to source clients, and prove myself to them by making sure that I deliver all set requirements timeously and in the most professional manner,” says Lesabe.

To those thinking of venturing into freelancing, Lesabe says it requires discipline to be one’s own boss.

“Opening a business has definitely been one of the most challenging things in my life, but people must have passion in abundance for what they want to do,” she says.

“They must be willing to sacrifice a lot of their time to achieve their goals and, most importantly, they must be ready to work very hard and, while appreciating that the rewards can be great, understand that it is not at all easy.”

Deadlines, she says, are sacrosanct.

“Some clients make the most unreasonable demands, but at the end of the day I have to make sure that I am able to manage my time efficiently to be able to deliver on time, and that means spending a bit more time on what I do rather than starting from the typical 9am and finishing at 5pm every day,” she says.

Lesabe is confident of a bright future for herself and for her consultancy.

“I would love to be in a position where I have a successful business and create jobs for others as I understand how frustrating it can be to have a qualification but no job.” 

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