We always encourage our queens to share their stories and motivate the next person. Trudy Zulu a fearless entrepreneur from South Africa shares her journey with us. If you also want to share your story on this platform email firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Trudy Zulu. A 29 year old Born and bred in White river Mpumalanga. I run a company called Bylvia cleaning services with my partner Bongiwe Hadebe. Our goal is to one day be the leading hygiene specialist in the country and branch out to creating our own hygiene products.
My entrepreneurial journey started with my family, I’m from a family of entrepreneurs, I think business is in our genes. I decided to take that leap of faith in 2014, as I had a background in beauty. That same year I met my mentor who told me ‘in business you should not be afraid to fail’ and I obviously did not understand what he meant at the time as I buzzing with passion, hope and excitement and my entrepreneurial journey ahead.
With no funding whatsoever I started offering make up services with the kit I had received from school. There are many things I learnt within the first year was that don’t over-promise on what you can’t deliver, doing so can ruin your reputation because word of mouth. Be realistic about the stage your at and work gradually within your means and BUILD. Have a clear goal and work towards it. Be sure of your vision before you launch to avoid doing many things at one time. Focus on one goal at a time and excellent in it before pursuing another.
I then found a space to run my business which was a crucial mistake as I had not yet done my market research in that area, nor had I developed a clientele base. Another crucial mistake was employing someone on top of it all. So in the end I was left with little equipment, not enough clients and a disgruntled employee. Not to mention that I now owed business banking fees with the threat to close the account. The point of running a business is not to enrich yourself only but to build a business that will sustain itself and create employment then also pay you.
I wish I had known this beforehand, by at least spending more time with my mentor or reading books, but sometimes we learn better when we go through these situations. These events, of course made me feel like a complete failure and I was conflicted because but i knew wired for a 9-5 and but on the other hand I was failing miserably in my business.
I then gathered up the courage to try again. This time in some form of partnership. It went well for a while and there was demand for my services and I managed to branch out to nails, massage therapy. But then I made the mistake of employing someone once again while I branched out for another form of income. This experience taught me that it’s important to be hands on in your business, work harder than those you employ because no one will put in as much as you the Vision bearer. Be careful who you partner with. Prayerfully consider a partner not excitedly.
This experience actually broke me because I came to a point of giving up, I swore that I would never go into business again. Failure seem to have been the order of the day for me, failed partnerships, failed attempts at securing investors, failed attempts and creating jobs, failed at financial insight. However the words the my told me before I got into business rung in my ears. To not be afraid to fail, it’s part of my story and all this has made me stronger, wiser and more resilient.
I have grown from every experience and even those I have not mentioned. Now I can say I’m a business woman. I’m not where I want to be nor have I reached the goals important to me job creation being the top of my list as well as creating funding for education but I’m working towards exhausting my potential. I’m a black, strong, resilient, intelligent woman and this is just the beginning for me.
Although our company Bylvia cleaning services is growing stronger everyday the door for the beauty industry is not closed for me, I’m still working on developing my own products and school. But with the right investors and timing it will all be unveiled soon.