Kgomoco Matjila is a fashion designer who, together with her partner Jacqueline Da Silva, runs House of JM Designs, a fashion business.
Starting a business is not as easy as many people assume: money is tight, the hours are long, the stress is immense and the journey is full of ups and downs. You have to be dedicated to your business each and every day, even on days when you don’t feel like going to work. When you start a business, there may be times when you have to use your own money for certain business expenses. It’s like having a baby – you constantly have to feed it, nurture it, love it and give it attention until it can stand on its own two feet.
Money is tight, the hours are long, the stress is immense and the journey is full of ups and downs. You have to be dedicated to your business each and every day.
It’s an uphill battle, starting a business. You need to prepare for this emotionally because it can really take a toll on you. It’s never as glamorous as people think it is. Some days business is up, other days business is down. Running a business means blood, sweat and a bucket load of tears – that is why you need a strong support structure, especially on those days when you feel like throwing in the towel. Luckily my parents are always there to give me the support I need and having a business partner is a blessing because whenever I’m down in the gutter, she always reminds to be positive and when she’s down I also remind her to be positive as well.
Being Young, Female and In Business
The challenges that come with running a business are even harder for two young women. House of JM Designs is owned by me and my partner Jacqueline Da Silva. What I have noticed is that because we are two young women, people often don’t take us seriously, they always assume we are inexperienced and not capable of doing the job until we prove them wrong. You constantly have to prove your worth to people who are skeptical.
You constantly have to prove your worth to people who are skeptical.
There are also people who try to take advantage of us because they assume we are naive and will fall for anything, and because we are also young, it’s extremely difficult to hire people who are older than us because they don’t like taking instructions from someone younger than them. You have to put up a tough front so that people will actually do their job. If you are nice, they see it as an opportunity to take advantage of you.
No Social Life
Another challenge is not being able to socialize as much as you would like to, especially when we have lots of orders. We work from early in the morning until late at night, and sometimes we have to sacrifice our weekends to finish our orders. This means you hardly have time to see your friends. You’ll give up many aspects of your personal life as you build your empire because your business demands all of your time and energy. Sometimes it’s lonely, because dating becomes stressful as you try to juggle work and relationships. It really isn’t easy to find someone who will understand that your business is a priority and not complain about you being at work all day, every day. I hardly have time for myself, let alone a partner.
You’ll give up many aspects of your personal life as you build your empire because your business demands all of your time and energy.
Learning how to balance work life, family life and a social life is extremely stressful. You are always under pressure to do better than the month before, so your stress levels are always high, but it’s also very important to take care of your health because stress is not good for anyone.
To start a business and to successfully run a business you need to be very brave in order to face all the uncertainties that come with being your own boss. You have to be patient and trust that all the hard work will pay off and you need to surround yourself with people that believe in you and always encourage you.