Running a business and studying: Zanele Zulu's inspiring story
Zanele Zulu (24) is an IIE Higher Certificate in Business Principles and Practices, and an IIE Bachelor of Business Administration graduate. Zulu is a passionate entrepreneur who is determined to make it against all the odds. She is intentional about her craft and firmly believes that no matter how good you are as an entrepreneur, you need to have some formal training to perfect your craft and elevate your business.
How did your qualification groom you into the entrepreneur that you are today?
After high school, I was not sure what to do, so I studied an IIE Higher Certificate in Business Principles and Practices at IIE Rosebank College. After completing this qualification, my sister suggested that I consider studying further for an IIE Bachelor in Business Administration degree. I firmly believe that some formal training or a business qualification is essential for a business/career to thrive. My two qualifications gave me the knowledge and understanding to run my business.
What type of business do you run and why?
I run an events and d'ecor company called Enhle Events. My passion for d'ecor came to life when I was planning my sister's bachelorette party on a student's budget. I learnt how to work with a budget and used my creative skills to make it look beautiful. I was also inspired by a group of ladies who planned my sister's dream wedding. My sister is my biggest fan and has always inspired me to reach for my dreams. She suggested I start an Instagram page and showcase some of my d'ecor ideas. This is where, and how, it all began.
Did you always dream of becoming an entrepreneur?
I am an entrepreneur at heart. I am living my dream. When I was in primary school, I wanted to become a doctor. I have always had big dreams: instead of working at a hospital or clinic, I wanted my own practice.
How did you manage running a business and studying?
I love this question. It always brings back great memories of my tertiary years. It wasn't easy, but like I said, I love what I do. I maintained a great relationship with my lecturers and class representative. This allowed me to stay informed if I was not able to make class because of a business commitment. I also used the campus library between classes to research ideas for any event I needed to host.
What challenges have you faced in your business?
I had to learn to juggle my time, especially while I was still studying. If my class started at noon, I would leave the apartment at 8am to run my business errands first - so I could make it for class on time.
When I started, it was amazing. I loved the rush and the fulfilment it gave me to see my ideas come to life. I really worked and pushed hard, even taking gigs to sustain my small business. I found myself burning out because I would take on any and every client and try to make a reality of their not so real budget. I even had clients that would doubt my ability or look down on me because of my age and my experience in the industry.
The more events I worked on, the more I realised that I needed to define exactly what I wanted my business to look like and achieve. I took a breather, reflected on my journey and focused on empowering myself as a businesswoman and defining my intent for what I would like Zanele I'mbalenhle to become.
My passion for entrepreneurship extends beyond Enhle Events and Zanele I'mbalenhle Beauty Bar. There will always be more to follow from Zanele Zulu.