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Business success through determination and hard work

by Tia

For 20 years, Sandra Jones (52) worked at a sanitation-ware business, diligently doing her job every day. In 2004, she had a good look at her payslip as her wages were not covering her family’s needs. “I saw that after being a loyal employee for 20 years, I was still only earning R2 500 per month,” she says, “This is not what the Lord called me for,” she thought and decided to leave, determined to be her own boss.

Sandra opened a tuckshop in her home in Wellington. “It was a good business but selling on credit was my downfall, I didn’t know how to run a business.” Things began to unravel. Two of her three children were still in her care and her husband was unemployed. “We were living from hand to mouth. My son slept on the floor as I had no bed for him, I had no couches and no carpets – we were living very poor. We didn’t have money to live or do anything except buy a little food and keep ourselves alive. We could not care for ourselves or make our lives better. Things were desperate,” she says. 

Her pastor told Sandra about an advert he had seen for TCB’s programme for unemployed women and she leapt at the opportunity. “There were more than 100 ladies who applied with only 60 spaces, I was so lucky to get in! Praise the Lord,” she says. 

Sandra started with TCB in 2015. “I wanted to change my life. I could not wait for my husband. TCB tells us about becoming independent, that was what I wanted and needed desperately! I realised that I needed to rescue myself.” 

TCB trains unemployed South Africans to start their own business in the informal, circular economy. Their two-year Remake, Resell and Repair programmes teach people to be self-employed and escape the cycle of poverty. The programmes provide practical business and life skills which allow beneficiaries to build their self-esteem, save money, get out of debt and learn how to run a good business.

Sandra excelled at TCB. She did the two-year Resell programme, then was voted by her fellow ‘classmates’ to become a TCB ambassador. Since then, she has been a TCB mentor and is now a financial and business trainer and mentor at TCB in Paarl and still runs her business on the side.

Sandra says, “I quickly knew I was not here for someone else. I was here to get myself out of poverty. People around me were negative but I refused to listen to them. One of the first things I learnt was that you must save and have a plan for your savings, so I set myself a goal.”

Her goal in the first three months was to get a kettle and an iron for her home. Next, she wanted to buy her son a bed. “I was able to buy this cash within three months!” she exclaims. In the next three months, Sandra could buy tiles for her house. “Then I got into the habit of saving and all my debts were paid off.”

Sandra worked very hard to make this happen. “When you work hard and you have money on hand, your life is easier. It is such a great feeling! I was able to negotiate with the shop and I bought myself a washing machine. Every three months I can invest in things for my house and my family,” she says.

“I never ever had a birthday party in my life. My parents never gave me a birthday. I promised myself that one day, when I have money, I will give myself a party. I was 47 when I hosted my first-ever birthday party! I called it my ‘gratitude party’ and I invited everyone who supported me and provided for me in my life. I was also able to give back for the first time,” she says.

Sandra’s dreams did not stop there, her five-year goal was to buy a 4×4 bakkie. “I work and I save and I keep the dream in focus. I bought a bakkie on 15 July last year, in my birthday month. It is in my name and I am so amazed.” Sandra also saved to go on her first holiday, an MSC boat trip.

Sandra’s community see her as an inspiring role model. “I refuse to notice negativity and to listen to people who say that “It is not possible”. I am a problem-solving person. You must face the problem and then know in your heart that you will be able to find the solution. Focus on the solution, not the problem,” she says. 

A mentor and trainer at TCB, Sandra helps the ladies who have joined the programme with their businesses and overcoming issues. “I enjoy my work. Don’t wait for anyone; you can create your own “I can” moment – you have the potential,” she tells her students.

One of my goals is that I want my children to be taken care of when I am gone. My parents left me nothing and I wanted to change that. I am committed to save for my children and my grandchildren. I put aside some money for each of them, but mostly I hope they follow my example and become entrepreneurs too.


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