The Entrepreneur - by Rozina Myoya
“A poor employee is one who thinks inside the box, a good employee is one who thinks outside the box, but an entrepreneur doesn’t see a box to begin with.”
These are the powerful words of a powerful young woman who has broken every rule of conformity that society has placed on young women. Meet Tsepiso Makhubedu, Co-Founder and CEO of Royal-T books; runner-up of the Big Break Legacy (BBL), Season 2 – South Africa’s answer to Donald Trump’s The Apprentice; chairperson of the non-profit organisation Children of Success that aims to put an end to teenage pregnancy.
She is a pioneer in her own right by not only being the youngest, but the first female contestant on the BBL show to get as far as she did. She is also a motivational speaker who aims to inspire women all over the world to achieve their dreams no matter what obstacles they may face.
I had the opportunity to interview her not so long ago and in those 30 minutes it was clear that Tsepiso is well on her way to being one of the most influential women in the world!
- What inspired you to start your publishing company Royal-T books?
Most of my business ventures are inspired by the problems that I observe in society. As a social entrepreneur, I feel that it is my duty to use my knack for business to make the world a better place to some extent. My publishing company in particular, was established, due to the detrimental effects that the lack of adequate financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills, have been having on the masses – myself included. It is due to this reason why I established a company that purely produces content centred on financial literacy and entrepreneurship.
- What was your mission from the get go? (What were you planning on achieving with your company?
My business partner and I simply wanted to solve the financial illiteracy problem in the world. All financial problems can be traced back to financial literacy, or rather, the lack thereof. We want to be that company that not only shines light on the problem but already has the best solution in hand to solve it.
- What has attributed to your success thus far?
Apart from Role models in my family, supportive friends, and of course The Almighty, I would say that my will to fulfil my purpose has contributed to my success thus far. I truly believe that we were made to excel. You must measure yourself against your own goals rather than the perceptions of others because others don’t see the bigger picture of where you are supposed to be, but you do.
- What has been your best moment as an entrepreneur?
My best moment was being finally recognised as a valid social entrepreneur, not only by Wendy Luhabes and Lebo Gunguluzas, but by the masses in general, especially the youth – those I want to influence most.
- How has your success as an entrepreneur affected your personal life?
Success has given my life more direction. Success is not obtained through thoughts alone, but by thoughts coupled with actions and that combo requires time - time in turn requires prioritising. You start cutting out a lot of people in your life at the same time you bring in a lot of valuable people in your life. You gain new habits, cut out old habits. Business changes who you are as a person, but not in a detrimental way but in a way that benefits you in the long run. Success has taught me that with all things in life, quality thrives over quantity and that’s one lesson that I will always be grateful for.
- What motivates you to keep going?
The problems faced by society and the belief that the prosperity of the world is dependent on my own individual actions. There will always be problems, therefore, there will always be an opportunity for me to do more.
- What principles do you live by?
Integrity, ambition and compassion.
- If there was one historical figure you could speak to who would it be and why?
It would be my father, the late Joe M. Makhubedu. He was one of the greatest politicians of the ‘90s. He educated the masses about exactly what was going on during Apartheid and was very active with the youth. Having only been granted breathe until the tender age of 27, he did amazing work in his community – work that people still praise until this day. I am in awe of how one individual, through fulfilling his God-given purpose, has continued to build a legacy even after his death.
- What are the biggest obstacles you face as a young entrepreneur?
I am young, black and female; the only thing that favours me is a BEE scorecard. When it comes to boardroom meetings with conventional thinking corporate heads, all the elements that give rise to my score on that BEE scorecard are the very things that discredit every aspect of my ideas and opinions. Also getting people to buy into your idea is a problem. You may have so much passion and great vision and you might communicate it perfectly to others but it’s very hard for people to understand your grind when they are not blessed with your vision. Most people believe in what has been done rather than what could be done. If you stop at every “no” you get as a young entrepreneur then you won’t get anywhere
- Where do you see your business in the near future?
I see it as a leader. I see it being mentioned amongst Penguin and all your other big publishing companies. I see it having diversified. Royal-T books is just one leg of the group we want to create. We want to enter a lot of markets and dominate more than one industry.
- If you had to do it all over again what would you do differently?
I would have gone into formal business earlier.
- What is the one piece of advice you would give to a person trying to start a business?
Your idea IS good enough – Implement it now. The power is not in the idea – great ideas are a million in a dime, the power is in the execution! Waiting for the perfect time is just another form of procrastination. There is no such thing as perfection in business. With entrepreneurs we usually bite off more than we can chew and live on to chew on what is possible. Keep going, persevere and be persistent in your pursuit of success.
by: Rozina Myoya