When I was 18 years old, my dream was to become a successful writer and journalist. I never had the opportunity to fulfill 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 Industry 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 very easy, there cannot be any obstacles in making a success of this business.
Six months later I was diagnosed with servical cancer and landed up in hospital, having a very big operation. The medical specialists advised me to settle for less, staying home for at least a year to recover as I was very weak. We had to sell the business. It was only then that I realised how many pittfalls there can be, if you do not have the necessary expertise in a certain field. We never received the settlement amount for this transaction. There where too many red tape we never attended too while selling property and the buyer made use of every loophole not to pay over the monies they owned us.
It take me eight years, before I got enough self-confidence to start something new again. I changed my profession and established an award winning accomodation establishment in the northern suburbs of Cape Town. We started the business with one small selfcatering unit at our house. Today we run 30 units, variating from a studio (one room) apartment, up to a six-bedroom house.
Being business woman of the year for 1995, finalist for Sanlam and Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year 2016, an award for The AA’s Best Selfcatering Accommodation in SA, Tripadvisor’s Best Selfcatering Accommodation in our area, as well as several others definitely 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 definitely not about the hospitality industry and business. It is rather based on the road which I had to travel because of the fact that I am 50% hearing impaired, having lymphoedemia in my left leg, as a result of the cancer I had and many more. obstacles I faced on my road to independence. A mere two pages was dedicated to the road I had to walk in business.
I hereby 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!! This 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 travelled, starting your own business up to the point where you are today.
So here I am. Streetwise vs Business Wise will took 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 start living their dream.
If you have a dream, start living it now – don’t wait till 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 at firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. Office +27-21-939-0009; Cell +27-82-499-8547
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”.