Against the odds: Turn desire into money

2012-06-16 10:32

Thabo Sehume quit his job as a flight attendant nine years ago in search of a business that would set him apart from his peers.

Today, after nearly closing shop during the worst recession in decades, and without borrowing a cent, the
35-year-old’s business is turning over R2 million a year.

Sehume’s B2B Staffing Solutions has an impressive national footprint and provides a variety of services including change management, executive coaching and job placements for blue chip companies, government departments and state-owned enterprises.

Sehume, who is also a motivational speaker, only has a matric after dropping out of Wits University in
the first year of his social sciences degree.

Such are his powers of persuasion that his friends have followed in his footsteps and, with his advice, have started their own companies that are now worth millions.

After leaving South African Airways, Sehume accepted a job at a well-known recruitment agency.

Although it paid less than other jobs, he only worked there long enough to learn how the business was run.

A few months later he resigned, bought a laptop – which he couldn’t yet use – and began recruiting for other companies. He read self-help books and began networking.

“If you want to be in business, you must desire. You must envy people who have made it and ask yourself how they got there.

“To envy doesn’t mean you must be negative; you must desire this for yourself,” he says.

Sehume had a rough time during the 2008/9 global financial crisis – a number of his business assets, including computers and furniture, were repossessed and he suffered a series of break-ins at his company offices.

Though bankruptcy loomed, he just kept on going.

“I always prayed that I would not become a typical SMME (small, medium and micro enterprise) that fails within five years of opening,” says Sehume who has now started his Employer Enabler Foundation of
South Africa to help job seekers and employers find each other more easily through social networking and text messaging.

His advice to struggling entrepreneurs is: “Hold on to your dream. I managed to keep the business running without ever borrowing from the banks or public institutions and you can too”.

To job seekers, he says: “You have to treat looking for a job as a job itself. It can’t be a pastime because you will get pastime results. “If you treat it as a job that means you are out there every day.” 

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