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Best side-businesses to start while working full-time

‘The issue is not the idea, actually. It’s to do it’ – Gil Oved, co-CEO, The Creative Counsel.

SIKI MGABADELI:  We are talking about the best side-business ideas to start while working full-time. I know that a lot of people who want to start their own businesses tend to do it in this cautious way to see if the idea will work, and they test the waters before they go full-time. Or they just do it concurrently, at the same time, because you can.

So we are going to get some tips today. Let’s welcome again Gil Oved, who is co-CEO of The Creative Counsel. Gil, thanks so much for your time today. Is it stressful, though, to run a business while you are working full-time?

GIL OVED:  I think it is stressful, but the life of an entrepreneur is one of stress. It’s just a natural thing.

SIKI MGABADELI:  You’re smiling as you say that.

GIL OVED:  Absolutely. I love entrepreneurship. My biggest stress would be to not have something to do. That’s when I get really anxious. When I go on a holiday the first two days are great and then I get antsy.

SIKI MGABADELI:  I’m the same. Like: okay, what am I doing, why am I doing this?

GIL OVED:  People say like, “Be in the present.” I am in the present, man, but I need to do stuff.

SIKI MGABADELI:  Let’s get straight into some ideas. What’s the first thing that pops into your mind?

GIL OVED:  I guess the first thing that pops into my mind is not necessarily what to do but why to do it and how to do it. The first thing is why do you want to do it – many reasons, extra cash, lifestyle business. This is your entry point and at some point you are saying, let’s test the water. And if it gets to that special magic moment, I’ll leave my permanent employment, take the big leap. I don’t necessarily need to do it up front because entrepreneurship is tough, as you were speaking to Wayne now. This is a tough time to be an entrepreneur, so you’ve got to be confident that you are doing the right thing.

I guess the thing is to find your passion. Really, there are so many opportunities out there for side-businesses. People come to me and say, “What shall I start,” and I ask them, “What do you love doing? What will keep you motivated at two in the morning?” When you stand in the shower, what are the ideas that come up?” That’s the first thing to decide on, on how to start your side-business.

But there is a lot of help out there. For the first time in the world, in the history of humanity, we’ve got all this information at your fingertips. There are a lot of how-to’s. And the democratisation of the internet means you could be doing side-business work from the comfort of your home anywhere in the world and vice versa.

SIKI MGABADELI:  With customers around the world. We’ve been talking about the so-called “gig economy” – where people are literally working for themselves, freelancing for people on the other side of the world.

GIL OVED:  Well, actually is one of the websites that I was going to recommend to you, because it’s a site for freelancers of all kinds. And there are so many categories, there are so many opportunities.

Here’s the deal. You may not have skill sets right now, but you may have a passion and you could go online, you could go onto YouTube, you could get courses online and become an expert in a short space of time. You don’t necessarily have to be the best of the best in order to get business. You just need to have certain skill sets and away you go.

SIKI MGABADELI:  And be persistent.

GIL OVED:  And innovative about how you go about it. There are so many websites out there that you could latch onto, and all of a sudden it sends out your message to the rest of the world. I think that’s where the opportunities are.

SIKI MGABADELI:  And advice on testing the idea? When do you ask your best friend, your partner, your neighbour? Like, “Would you pay someone to do A, B, C?”

GIL OVED:  There is a problem with that, because often they don’t see the talent necessarily. Yes, I think ask a lot of people, get advice, be open to suggestion, be open modify and to have some free flow. At the same time, you know what, people are going to say to you things like, “Don’t take a chance, stay here.” I say don’t listen to them, take a leap. It doesn’t have to be a leap of faith, it doesn’t have to be a blind leap, but take a leap. Take a chance. You never know.

And the thing is, business changes over time. Facebook wasn’t Facebook when it started. It was a way of meeting people. And now it’s just hit its all-time high – 1.7 billion people. Zuckerberg, when he started Facebook – The Facebook as he called it then – had no idea. And neither will you when you start it. And that’s okay. That’s fine. You just start something and it will modify over time and all of a sudden you go from not knowing something to becoming an expert.

SIKI MGABADELI:  Absolutely.

GIL OVED:  And there are cool things out there. Like for example, if you are designer, if you are interested in design, – it’s the craziest thing. You pay $5 to get a logo or a snippet or a sound bite. You say to yourself, $5 – will I work for $5. Well, for $5 you work for a few hours a day and all of a sudden you are starting to make a lot of money.

There is a website called, which does productions like audio-visual productions. And they are global. You can either be the recipient of it or the creator of it. They follow a certain template and within a couple of days they send you an unbelievable company presentation. Of course, this is a skill set that is required. You could learn things like graphic design, web design, web development.

And it’s not just IT. If you’ve got other skill sets like tax preparation, there are so many people out there…you can learn it and all of a sudden offer it. Online coaching, online courses.

A big thing now is blogging. Blogging is huge, and people are making big money. There’s a South African company called Webfluential – an unbelievable company. It’s just such a crazy world. Basically what they do is, if you generate a lot of influence through your social media, then advertisers will pay you. And so it’s a marketplace that connects bloggers to their followers, and the more times people re-tweet and re-share and engage, the more money you make. It’s a marketplace.

I see someone thinking…

SIKI MGABADELI:  I’m thinking one can always supplement one’s income.

We were talking about how difficult it is right now for people to find employment, to keep employment. The latest unemployment stats are actually quite scary, people losing their jobs. So doing this and thinking about starting a business – it’s probably the best time.

GIL OVED:  It is a good time and actually ironically some of these side businesses are actually your full-time employment.

SIKI MGABADELI:  What you are doing, anyway.

GIL OVED:  You may be fractionally unemployed or seasonally unemployed and the truth is that’s sometimes when your businesses happen. So you kind of think I’ll do this for a while. When we started the The Creative Counsel, I promise you, I said to anyone who was asking, “It’s our side business while we work out what we really want to do with our lives.” And that was 15 years ago. Little did we think we would end up with what we have.

SIKI MGABADELI:  Let’s take a call from Jeremy in Parktown. Hi, Jeremy.

JEREMY:  How are you today, my dear?

SIKI MGABADELI:  Good thank you.

JEREMY:  Mr Oved. Ideas, creative, right. Make sure that all the people who have ideas of what they want to do make a blueprint of it and patent it, otherwise people will take the ideas and you lose a lot of money.

SIKI MGABADELI:  Thanks, Jeremy. I get a lot of questions like that. People ask: “How do I protect my idea if I have an idea?”  What do you think about that?

GIL OVED:  I think very often people think that their idea is so unique. There are very few things that are unique nowadays. When you talk about patents, you are talking about a billion-dollar medical research.

SIKI MGABADELI:  That’s a know-how-to-turn-water-into-wine.

GIL OVED:  Then I want to invest in that! And I need to sample it personally, immediately.

But, short of that, honestly ideas are not that unique. Even the best ideas are probably not that unique. People come to me, saying: “I want you to sign an NDA before I show you my idea, or you consider investing in it.” Cool, no problem, I sign an NDA. We Google it and within ten seconds you find 20 ideas that are similar.

The issue is not the idea, actually. It’s to do it. Ideas are a dime a dozen. But go out and make it happen and then when things go wrong, you go out and you fix it and you innovate on it, and you build an IP, and you create systems and processes and policies all around it. That’s what happens.

SIKI MGABADELI:  We need to chat quickly about Shark Tank, because this is a great place for people to actually present some of their own ideas before entries are closed.

GIL OVED:  Absolutely. There are two more days left of entries and I’ve heard that the calibre of entries has been amazing. But there is still an opportunity for you if you’ve got a dream and you need some money, you need mentorship, you need guidance, support from five Super Sharks.

SIKI MGABADELI:  You are one of them.

GIL OVED:  I’m the least of the lot. I can tell you they are all really amazing. The show is going to be on air on Sunday October 2 at 6pm prime time. I am very excited about it. Entries close on July 31.

SIKI MGABADELI:  How do you enter?

GIL OVED:  Just go onto the M-Net site, Shark Tank – you’ll find it. You can do an optional 60-second video. I encourage that. Do the video. Just take your phone, do a selfie 60-second video and make it happen.

SIKI MGABADELI:  It’s not hard. Thanks so much for your time. Always a pleasure to have you with us, Gil Oved.

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