"You’ve got to grow some tough skin." 3 women who don’t work 9-5 tell us about the perks and pitfalls


Iman Mkwanazi 


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1. What do you do for a living?

I own Ihlanzekile Cleaners, a cleaning company based in Johannesburg.

2. Is your day ever routine or is every day different?

I try to keep a routine with the mornings, I start my day around 9am and I immediately start with admin. After 1pm I’m available for meetings. I’m currently studying my PDBA for my MBA so in between I’m trying to find time to study.

I’m also in the process of trying to publish a book so a lot is happening, time management is key! 

3. What are the perks of working more flexible hours?

I get to do more, I’m not limited to just one job. I can invest myself into different opportunities and create more than one stream of income. 

4.  What are the pitfalls?

You have to do everything yourself, you’ll also learn that the people you thought would always support you disappear quickly when you need their assistance. The first three or four years are the toughest so you’ve got to grow some tough skin.

Zipho Ntloko  

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1. What do you do for a living?

I'm a freelance makeup artist and beauty writer.

2. What's your day like?

Every day is different. Some days are spent attending to my beauty commissions for the week which entail:

Researching on a topic a client has requested I write on

Contacting makeup artists, hairstylists, dermatologists, oral hygienists and other professionals in the cosmetics industry to contribute practical advice for the pieces

Sourcing products to feature as recommendations or in step-by-step beauty guides for the magazine's readers

When I'm not writing articles, I'm busy working on set doing makeup for editorial or brand campaign shoots. As someone who thrives on creativity, I look forward to these days the most as they offer me a chance to be a little more artistic during the week.

Lastly, when I'm not doing either, my days are devoted to admin — so responding to client emails and sending or following up on invoices. 

3. What are the perks of working more flexible hours?

You get to choose your work days and the variety of jobs that you do.

4. What are the pitfalls?

There are periods in the year where work becomes more scarce, particularly in winter. Therefore as a freelancer, it is crucial that you learn how to budget and save in advance so you are able to make do during months when jobs are few.

Georgia East

READ MORE: Is hepeating keeping you from nailing that work pitch?

1. What do you do for a living?

I'm a food and travel writer and photographer. I also work as a food stylist and do some copywriting on the side.

2. Briefly describe your day, is it ever routine or is every day different?

I enjoy routine when I'm setting my own hours. I'm generally at my computer by 9am unless I'm shooting that day. Some days I'll be on set with a client but I mainly work out of my studio at home. I always try to get away from work for 40 minutes to an hour every day to take a walk on the beach. It aids in giving my mind a break – something I feel that is important when handling every aspect of one's career. 

3. What are the perks of working more flexible hours? 

You reap what you sow. I am directly responsible for the salary I earn. I'm able to structure my week according to both my professional and personal life. Because I'm in charge of my income, I don't like to waste time – a reason I hated working in an office environment were the distractions – and the amount of time I wasted sitting in traffic.

4. What are the pitfalls?

Since I started working for myself, I've become very disciplined. I enjoy working. I would imagine that anyone who shares the same ideology wouldn't have any pitfalls about working away from the 9–5. You need to be structured though – there isn't anyone to tell you what to do. This can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on the kind of work ethic one has. It matters little to the client if you work for yourself or a company as they will expect the same quality of work either way.

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