Driven by a passion for food and the hospitality industry, in 2013, Noni Masombuka started a business catering for private jets in Cape Town.
That business laid the foundation for BlackOlive House (BOH), a private catering, meal prepping and laundry services lifestyle company that Masombuka co-founded as a side business while working full-time as a flight administrator for a Cape Town-based airline.
Today Masombuka is Pretoria based and BOH has grown from being a two-man show to a team of six employees and rendering their services to both Pretoria and Johannesburg clients.
“We are a growing company and still have a lot to achieve,” she says.
Noni Masombuka, co-founder of BlackOlive House, preparing a meal.
One of the most challenging aspects of running an entrepreneurial venture while also dealing with the demands of a full-time job and other commitments is striking a balance, which has become increasingly difficult as the business continues to grow, says Masombuka.
“It was much easier when BOH was still small and we were doing markets on weekends only, but now that it is growing at a fast rate, it is becoming more and more difficult to balance the two. I also want to focus 100% on my business and having a full-time job hinders that,” she says.
Masombuka says she is not able to fully nurture her business because of time constraints.
“It limits your ability to fully engage in your business, it means your attention is split. Opportunities will miss you in most cases because of [your] unavailability,” she says.
There are, however, benefits to being a part-time entrepreneur. She was able to self-fund the business and continues to earn a salary.
“Having a salary at the end of the month to help with cash flow and day to day running of the business and if the business gets stuck financially, you always have the means to support it,” she says.
Why a side business can work
Sometimes it’s not about taking a huge leap, but rather an additional path, says Masombuka about her entrepreneurial journey. Her advice to others who may want to start a business, but do not feel completely ready, is to consider starting a side business.
“Stop thinking about it and procrastinating, just make the decision to start. Understand that you will never be ready so take the leap. Be prepared to put in the work because when you have a business and a full-time job, you literally work from Monday to Monday and you work 24 hours. This requires discipline and dedication,” she says.
Here are Masombuka’s 4 principles for growing a side business.
1. BE DEDICATED
“I am very dedicated and determined, I do not believe in not being able to do this due to certain limitation. Boundaries and impossibilities are suggestions to me, but they are not my truth.”
2. CHOOSE SOMETHING YOU LOVE
“My passion and love for food and hospitality was what enabled me to do what I have done with BOH, without passion, one is unable to unlock their full potential. If there is anything I believe in, in this world, it is love and that propels me to be great in whatever I do.”
3. BE READY TO PUT IN THE HOURS
In any business one cannot be lazy, you cannot be afraid of hard work, says Masombuka.
“Now this is not a buzz word used when people give interviews on how one becomes successful, this is meant in the most literal of contexts. I am a very hardworking person, in fact, hard work motivates me. The more something challenges me mentally and physically, the more I am drawn to it and the more determined I am to make it work whatever it takes”.
4. STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR GOALS
Masombuka says you have to stay focused on your goal, on what it really is that you want to achieve.
“Wake up every morning and see only that one goal, focus on it so much that it is all you think about, it becomes you and you do nothing without thoughts of it. I do this and watch the law of attraction unravel in my truth. Maybe I’ll even change my name to BlackOlive House because I have become my passion”.