“Hustle” … a word that South Africans have become all too familiar with nowadays. In a challenging economy with exceedingly high levels of unemployment, more people are establishing side hustles to supplement income or pursuing their own ideas full-time to create income and feed their passions.

Metropolitan recently invited two of the country’s hungriest and most successful hustlers to share their insights on what hustling stronger means and what it involves, drawing on their own experiences, during a virtual masterclass as part of the WeStart2021 stronger initiative.

With a local business that has found success on a global stage, fashion guru Laduma Ngxokolo is no stranger to the hustle. He says that because we lost out on so much last year, 2021 will be the sowing year, and that people will reap rewards in 2022.

YouTube blogger and make-up artist Mihlali Ndamase has no plans of stopping her hustle anytime soon. She says that 2020 has taught us to be innovative and find ways of working around the pandemic to make money. “We have a huge unemployment crisis in SA, and young people are coming up with ideas and using digital platforms, resources and information to better themselves.”

The #WeStart2021Stronger initiative was launched in December 2020 when Metropolitan reached out to South Africans, encouraging the sharing of stories of loss, to learn lessons from these experiences and to allow for healing to take place. Following an overwhelming response to the virtual series, Metropolitan decided to not only provide a platform for sharing, but to play an active role in equipping the people of SA with tools and knowledge that they need to take control of 2021.

This includes providing an understanding of what you need to know to hustler better and stronger in 2021.

Get your head in the game

Entrepreneurship is by no means an easy road. There will be challenges along the way and when they arrive, you may feel unprepared or ill-equipped to tackle them.

“Your mindset has to be in the right place before taking on risks,” advises Ngxokolo. “And this requires guts. As Raymond Ackerman put it, starting his business took 10% capital and 90% guts.”

Drawing on his own experience, he says that a positive outlook is critical because “at the end of the day, I don’t build my business alone. It is [managed] by a team. If I, as the main head, don’t have a positive mindset, it highly unlikely that my team will have a positive mindset”

Bring the personality

Many people may overlook the fact that you must possess various characteristics to make your hustle successful. “Charisma is enticing, and you must use that to your advantage as a hustler,” says Ngxokolo. “There are many people who are not necessarily qualified for job positions that they are in, but used their charisma, strong will of convincing and diplomacy to get them there.”

Enhance and diversify skills

It is also important for entrepreneurs to identify which resources and skills they need to better themselves. Ngxokolo explains that one of the skills often overlooked by especially young entrepreneurs is financing. “Entrepreneurs need to be versatile enough that they can read and understand the financial aspect of their business and keep a close tab on money coming in and going out. If you are sticky about money, you will be sticky about decisions you make. In some cases, you will have to find ways of cost saving.”

Whether it’s training in finance, or speech to improve communication and presentation skills, continuing to work on yourself will strengthen your hustle. This training doesn’t necessarily need to be formal or come at a significant cost – you can enhance your skills but simply spending some time at the university of YouTube.

Be realistic

“Many ideas can be unlocked by money, but effort is what matters,” says Ngxokolo. “In some cases, people have started ventures without any capital. This means working hard, staying focused and having patience. Nobody is doing you a favour, you are doing yourself a favour.”

He explains that he managed to become the successful hustler that he is by making sacrifices get to where you need to be. “You need to reinvest in yourself and be prepared to miss out on time with friends and family to realise your goal.”

 Keep your wellbeing in check

YouTuber Mase however stresses the importance of keeping wellbeing in check. “Entrepreneurs and creatives often forget about this. You can only execute work to the best of your ability if your mental health and health in check. This means planning properly to enable smart work and time management but also eating well and exercising and seeking support from a professional. Bettering yourself means looking after your wellbeing,” she says.

Where do I start?

Mase says that everyone knows their passion, and what makes them excited. “If your job is not doing that for you, identify your passion and potential ways to make money off it.”

She advises budding entrepreneurs and side hustlers to start with some sort of a game plan: “First, identify your market and niche. That way you will know how to position yourself and understand the core of your brand. This is also something that will keep you levelheaded and focused.”

Fortunately, she says, it has become easier to monetise passions and dreams. “With social media and other platforms available to us in the digital age, you can set up a way for consumers to purchase your products or services online and market these offerings to a potentially wide base for little to no cost.”

For details on the upcoming #WeStart2021Stronger Masterclass, visit the Metropolitan Facebook page, MetropolitanZA.