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‘I downloaded all my experiences onto paper’: Miles Kubheka talks about writing Vuyo’s: From a Big Big Dreamer to Living the Dream

Published in the Sunday Times

Vuyo'sVuyo’s: From a Big Big Dreamer to Living the Dream
•Miles Kubheka (Tracey McDonald Publishers)

Many people remember the Hansa rags-to-riches television advert of an entrepreneur named Vuyo who starts selling boerewors rolls and grows it into a billion-rand global business. When I realised that Vuyo was fictitious I promptly trademarked the name and I became Vuyo.

When I was starting my business I struggled to find books written by people at the beginning of their entrepreneurial career. I knew starting a business wasn’t going to be easy, but I was surprised at just how difficult it has been.

That’s why I wrote the book. I wanted to tell a would-be entrepreneur that there are going to be moments that are gut-wrenchingly hard and you need to prepare for them psychologically. Many first-time businesses fail because when it gets hard, people quit. They think they either must be doing something wrong, or perhaps they have a bad business.

Another reason entrepreneurs quit is because they go into starting a business for the wrong reason – money. If you start a business to make money, I can almost guarantee you certain failure. You are not going to see real money for at least three to five years.

You need to start a business to make a change in a product, service or a market that you think is under-served. If you start a business with a mission that is bigger than yourself, money will come. When times are tough you will not quit because you will be purpose driven. You do need the business to make money, because without revenue you have no business. Money is a driver of the business but it cannot be your mission.

What I found interesting in writing the book was that it was much like launching a business. The start was very hard. I procrastinated mostly due to the same fear of failure as in starting a business; this fear can engulf you in a state of paralysis. This was made even worse by not knowing how to actually write a book. So I just started writing – I didn’t pay attention to grammar or spelling, I just downloaded all my experiences onto paper.

I found finishing the book almost as hard as the beginning. The fear of failure loomed even larger because now I would have to submit my manuscript to a publisher to assess. It can become easier to say, “I am writing a book,” instead of, “I have written a book.”

My mother said I must stand for something and change the world for the better. I remember thinking, lay off, I am only three years old.

That sense of purpose has stayed with me. You spend most of your adult life working so make sure you are doing something you love and that you’re passionate about. And more importantly, let the world be better for it.

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