When I was 18 years old, my dream was to become a successful writer and journalist. I never had the opportunity to fulfil this dream and landed up in the corporate world as an office secretary. Time passes by, I got married and became the proud mother of two beautiful children, Pieter and Arlene.
At the young age of 22, I saw a gap in the real estate market and registered as an estate agent with the EEAB. I launched my own Estate Agency in 1984 when I was 27. At that stage of my life, I had a lot of self-confidence, thinking that it will be effortless, there cannot be any obstacles in making a success of this business.
Six months later I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and landed up in hospital, having a massive operation. The medical specialists advised me to settle for less, staying home for at least a year to recover as I was very fragile. We had to sell the business. It was only then that I realised how many pitfalls there can be if you do not have the necessary expertise in a particular field. We never received the settlement amount for this transaction. There were too many red tapes we never attended also while selling the property and the buyer made use of every loophole to not pay us the monies they owned us.
It took me eight years before I got enough self-confidence to start something new again. I changed my profession and established an award-winning accommodation establishment in the northern suburbs of Cape Town. We started the business with one small self-catering unit at our house. Today we run 30 apartments, variating from a studio (one room) apartment, up to a six-bedroom multi-storage residence.
Being Businesswoman of the Year for 1995, a finalist for Sanlam and Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year 2016, an award for The AA’s Best Self-catering Accommodation in SA, Trip Advisor’s Best Self-catering Accommodation in our area, as well as several others positively speak of the long road to excellence we travelled.
Through above, I met many other potential entrepreneurs in South Africa who have a dream of starting their own business, but because of all the pitfalls in the different industries, are scared to take up the step to financial freedom.
Two years ago, I wrote my life story, which is not about the hospitality industry and business. My book is about the road which I had to travel because I am 50% hearing impaired, having lymphedema in my left leg, as a result of cancer I had and many more. Obstacles I faced on my road to independence. A mere two pages are dedicated to the way I had to walk in business.
Then came the moment that I realised that I could still start living my dream of being a writer and journalist. I love to write and communicate, and sometimes friends will comment that I am quite quirky!! As a result of this, it caused that my posts on social media draw attention and then the question came up: “Whereby do you measure the success of your business? Please tell us what to do and not to do. Please write another book regarding the journey you traveled, starting your own business up to the point where you are today.
So here I am. Streetwise vs. Business Clever will take you on a journey of starting your own business, the pitfalls, the up and downs and also some success stories of other entrepreneurs who dared to begin living their dream.
If you have a dream, start living it now – don’t wait until tomorrow.
“Whatever you can do or dream you can begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” – Johann von Goethe
Nerina Truter Smith
Author of “Reis na Oorwinning” Available from the writer firstname.lastname@example.org; +27-21-939-0009
The above book is in the process of being translated, as well as updated with add-ons and more stories about other women Nerina met during her road to victory.