Township Businessman Risks It All
Not many people have the courage to take risks in life. For those that do, however, the end product makes the effort worthwhile.
A small business in Diepsloot, Soweto
Johnny Maluleke is one of the courageous few that saw the end product and not the risk itself. At the age of just 26, he runs and manages an internet café, a recording studio and a graphic designing company.
Operating now for almost two years he decided to quit his job as a graphic designer at a prominent company to focus on his businesses full time. His risk-taking behaviour was driven by his curiosity, "I wanted to explore starting a business from scratch and to help people where I can," he says.
Located in the Ebony Park township in Midrand, he designs pamphlets, business cards, company letterheads, CD covers, posters, flyers and just about everything else that requires the skills of a graphic designer. He also works with various musicians and poets who he outsources for special events and gigs. "Most people I work with have recording companies but I find people who will do beats and balance the tracks for them," he says.
It all started when a friend of his went around saying that he wanted to start a business but didn't know where to start. Maluleke saw a gap and took it. His motivation stemmed from encouragement from his siblings and friends.
Maluleke wanted more in life, "People don't want to explore how the world works. It's all about working for a company and receiving a salary at the end of the month," he states.
Taking things one step at a time has allowed him to grow mentally and physically for what he is currently doing. "Before I started people kept telling me that I should stop day dreaming, that I won't make it".
Starting a business from scratch was very challenging because he was competing with existing, trusted businesses in his neighbourhood. Maluleke admits, "Being a breadwinner at home came with difficulty, before I started I kept asking myself what would we eat at home if I have no clients."
Next on the horizon for Maluleke is launching his own fashion design company. "I have a few fashion design samples. My goal is to eventually get it off the ground," he says.
His neighbourhood is filled with young and vibrant people who have strong ideas on fashion design. "I would like to involve them in the project as (opportunities for) fashion designers... are limited around the community."
Maluleke says that it's unconventional for people to start something that has never been done before in their neighbourhood, but encourages young entrepreneurs to be bold in launching their new business ideas: "People shouldn't be afraid to start their own business or to live outside the salary slip."
Ultimately, the key to Maluleke's success is his conviction that believing in oneself is the key to creating a successful business. His advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is straightforward; "Don't be afraid to take chances because you never know where you'll end up in life."