Starting up a business is not all about getting a cash loan, but rather putting together the little you have and growing the small business one step at a time, says a self taught, interior designer, Eric Manyala who believes he is on the right path to success.
The 25 -year- old Serowe born Manyala who has partnered with a local cab driver, Ontihile Dintwe, to start the interior deco business, including making huge wall clocks and canvas prints says they took up small “piece jobs” to save money to start up their business.
“We went house to house looking for piece jobs including trimming trees and painting houses. For instance if we got a P400 job we knew by end of month we would have made at least P6000 and we could buy start up material,” he explained.
Manyala, who studied Environmental Health at the University of Botswana in Gaborone says his peers used to make fun of him when he painted people’s houses to raise capital for his business, but was never discouraged.
“Actually I feel I chose a wrong course because there are no jobs out there. I like deco and design and if given a chance I will start a different course along those lines. It feels good to be your own boss, you set your own targets and drive yourself harder,” Manyala stated.
He said his passion for interior deco started three years ago when he worked at a relative’s lodge in Palapye during semester breaks. He started designing and creating decorative ornaments for the lodge and never looked back.
“It was so fulfilling and visitors appreciated the new look, so I said, why not make it my full time career, after all it is a million dollar business idea. It did not make sense to wait for years for a P10 000 funding from government when I could find ways of getting the money, that is why I had to do other jobs to raise the start up fund,” he added.
Manyala’s first project for his new business was a canvas picture which he sold for a whooping P2500.00 two years ago.
“We make big customised wall clocks and mostly we target big companies, though we sell to individuals as well. We (and business partner) sell our products door to door. At some point Ontihile had to sell his piece of land so we could buy a car to transport the goods. We are still struggling, but we are able to sustain our livelihoods,” Manyala explained.
He was actually appealing to local companies to support their business; “we want to introduce more products. We will be studying part time as well to bring the best creativity in us.”