Running a side business

Think you can do 2 jobs at the same time? Here’s advice from someone who does.

How to Start a Side Business

From Monday to Friday, Leonard Kubheka (not pictured) works in Mafikeng as a sales manager. But every Friday after work, the married father of 4 takes a 3-hour drive home to Soweto, to work at Kubheka Distributors – his side business – for the weekend, cutting and fitting aluminium windows, doors and gates.

It’s hard work juggling 2 jobs, but according to Leonard, it’s worth it.


How it started

Leonard knew nothing about working with aluminium when his son asked him to help with his new business. As a sales manager, though, he knew about customer care. “I know how to find out what people want,” Leonard says.

Father and son couldn’t agree on how to run the business, so they parted ways. The business grew by word-of-mouth, and soon enough, it was making a profit. Today, 4 people work in Leonard’s workshop in Naledi, and he makes half of what he does as a sales manager running Kubheka Distributors. His clients are mostly in Soweto, Sebokeng in the East Rand, and Sasolburg in the Free State.


Making it work

During working hours, Leonard is focused on his main job. But in the evenings and on weekends, his attention shifts to his side business.

It’s all about finding balance. Leonard calls in to check on workers and customers while he’s in Mafikeng. “I also have someone I can trust in my workshop, who looks after the workers,” he says. Monday to Friday evenings are great for admin, such as sending quotations. On weekends, Leonard drives workers around, supervises fittings and meets his clients.

Having a full-time job is good for business: “I’m not depending on my business for my income,” explains Leonard. This means he can afford to be flexible with customers, since he isn’t short of cash. Leonard gives his clients the choice of 3 or 6 months to pay off debt.


It’s a business, not a hobby

Leonard’s business might be part-time, but he runs it like a proper company. “I insist on a 50% deposit before I do any work,” he says. “I’ve made things formal.” He never takes cash – all money goes into a bank account – and he puts everything on paper, from the measurements to the quotation. He also gives a receipt for every job, and a business card to every customer.


The pros

“I’ve done so much with the extra money,” Leonard says. He owns 7 cars, all fully paid: 4 are vans for the business and 3 are private cars. The money has also helped him afford a comfortable life for his family and, most importantly, a good education for his kids. “I spoil them a bit, but I emphasise education, and my hard work is an example to them,” he says. He’s also proud to be able to give jobs to others in his community.


The cons

I don’t go on holiday,” says Leonard. Why? Because he simply doesn’t have free time. “I used to play golf, but I just don’t have the hours you need to enjoy it.” Managing workers comes with stress. “Sometimes things break, and I have to accept that it’s a mistake,” says Leonard. The business has also got tougher. There are more people doing this than there were 10 years ago.

Leonard’s focus is still customer service. “If you have 100 happy customers, you will get 100 more,” he says.

Was this article helpful?



You may also like...