"I wasn't really deterred, it was just a matter of going back to the drawing board and trying a different approach." - Sihle Shabangu founder of BeatUnit
Where on the planet are you currently located? Durban, South Africa
You have founded a music start-up called BeatUnit which has already gained recognition, tell us more? We are launching BeatUnit very soon, BeatUnit is a C2C, eCommerce start- up that is aimed at connecting people with technology that works. BeatUnit is matching music producers who need to be heard with artists looking for beats and instrumentals that they can implement to their own musical creations. Beat Unit is not only a music promotion platform for producers but an opportunity to be paid what’s due for their work. The service is long overdue in South Africa and we have received really positive feedback. Its quiet an exciting time. (FirstStep.me says awesome stuff!)
What are the challenges with starting your own business and do you see South Africa as a good place to be doing such a project? Initially the biggest challenge was getting funding, I was very fortunate to win the Hansa Pilsener Special Ingredient Competition which is helping to build the entrepreneur culture in South Africa.
The other challenge is making an online service as accessible as possible, in my eyes South Africa has enormous potential as an investment destination, boasting first world economic infrastructure with a growing market economy and has a very stable business and political environment.
Was going into business always an option or ambition? Definitely an ambition, when i started BeatUnit, I was working in a call center as a Quality Assurance Manager. I was using a portion of my salary to fund BeatUnit. Unfortunately the webdesign company I was working with failed to deliver the project and I lost all the money I spent that year on paying them. I wasn't really deterred, it was just a matter of going back to the drawing board and trying a different approach.
Looking back, I am really glad I failed on my first attempt, there are many things I overlooked initially. The failure held me back but gave me enough time to learn, grow and become better prepared for business challenges. Failing was one of the best things that could have happened to me. (FirstStep.me says good advice for young business up-starts!)
What are your future plans for the business? I would really like to see BeatUnit as the number one online audio outsource and distribution channel. We are looking at hosting an annual awards ceremony that is aimed and recognizing and honoring talented unsigned artists, the goal is to expand BeatUnit into an entertainment center for music producers, musicians and fans.
Where do see yourself in five years time? I would really like to get involved in environmental and humanitarian causes. To summarize, a beach bum - philanthropist.
Do you kick-start your day with a coffee? I have recently stopped drinking coffee, depending on the number of hours I have slept my day starts with a glass of water or an energy drink.
If you could name your own planet what would you call it? Abundance ha ha ha.
Words of advice for the youth of the planet? There is never a perfect time to start something whether its a career or a business, you really have to work hard, believe and love what you’re doing, AND never be afraid to fail.