By Sinazo Mkoko
“Use the things that look like they are putting you down as stepping stones.”
So said Busi Selesho – an Internationally Accredited Money Coach, Money Consciousness Teacher and Speaker, who uses her knowledge and platform to empower people to have a better relationship with money, get out of the debt cycles and enjoy financial wellness and abundance.
The Author of Money and Black People: Why black people don’t have money, and how to heal your money story, shared her journey with Top Women about how she accumulated a R40-million debt, how she lost her businesses and how passion for entrepreneurship should be a cornerstone for each endeavour.
Busi’s entrepreneurial journey started when she went into the property business after quitting her job in Information Technology.
“I did not know anything about it, so I just went to a simple course that taught me how to buy property, renovate it, not a lot, just change a few things that would increase the value of the property and then sell it and make money. That worked. I went to the bank, submitted all that I needed, and then started a property business. It went so well that I was making almost R500 000 within two months, selling probably three or four properties that I had bought, flipped and sold. And then all of a sudden, the year 2008 happened – the world recession hit – and I lost everything,” she shared.
Busi says because she knew she owed the bank a lot of money, she decided to use the little that she had to venture into another business.
“Luckily at that time, the internet business was new, so I went to Pretoria and opened the biggest internet cafe with eighty computers.
“I had a market of different people who were doing all sorts of things and they would buy a seat thirty days in advance and pay cash. Now, hour by hour, they were paying me, so I was doing well.
“I was in a really good business. It was working and the bank was happy again,” she says.
This was until she woke up on one Tuesday morning to go and open her internet cafe and found that everything had been stolen and she had no insurance.
“If I had an MBA, I would have thought about the importance of having business insurance, but I did not,” she says.
One would have thought that she would have felt defeated, but this was not the case. Although she owed the bank more money than before, she started yet another business; this time in the trucking industry.
“I had learned what you needed to do to submit and say to the bank. Banks want somebody who notices when they are going wrong and knows what is going well – because at the end of the day, winning is what they’re hoping for,” she says.
She adds that the mistake that entrepreneurs often make is selling themselves short. “A lot of times when businesses borrow money, they borrow too little and overpromise investors only to realise later that the money is not enough to fulfil the promises. When you are busy trying to make ends meet, you could be missing the opportunity of a lifetime,” she says.
Touching on the importance of passion, Busi said she learned from all the businesses she had started, there was no passion and she went into them because she believed that there was money to be made.
“It will not last if it’s not something you are passionate about. I’m not saying you must be passionate about the exact product, but be passionate about what you are doing. I had not understood that your business must be a purposeful thing in order for it to last and stand the test of time.
“Now I know what I stand for. My main goal is to be so great that you will need a ‘Busi Selesho’ or anything else that she has to offer. When I have done that, when I’ve created that understanding about myself, then people will no longer question if I am good enough for their project,” she said.