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Turning your side hustle into your main

My Hustle
My Hustle

They say ‘do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’, but not all of us are lucky enough to pick how we make our living. For 27-year-old Pulane Mota, choosing her passion was a massive battle as she already had a flourishing digital-marketing career. We talk to her about how she managed to turn her side hustle into her main gig.

Tell us a bit more about your business and where it all started.  

At Puly’s Cupcakes we engineer fun and stylish designer homemade cupcakes with unusual flavours according to your specific needs. Back in 2015 I already knew that this was what I wanted to do. It was bigger than just a side gig to me. I might not have initially believed in it from the onset, but people on social media would tell me they believed in me. Traditionally, in an African family you’re expected to work in a typical nine-to-five job, be it as a doctor, teacher or nurse, as the assumption is that you will make money or at least earn a secure income. My grandmother was anxious, but I took the jump regardless. 

How did you manage to turn your side hustle into your main gig?

I made sure the business was up and running. I was ready for opportunities – if you wanted cupcakes, you knew where and how to contact us. I immediately set up a website and social-media pages that had our customised contact details, as I didn’t want my potential clients to struggle to get hold of me. I drafted a business strategy detailing how to turn the business into a sustainable one that can grow. 

I’m a creative and had no business skills, so I had to upskill myself. Can you believe that I didn’t even know how to price my cupcakes? So I asked for help. Someone gave me a pricing structure, and I did research and priced my ingredients so that I could make a profit. The money I got from my nine-to-five job I put into the business. But I only had a personal account, so I thought that all monies were for my own use and I would spend it as such. So my next move was to register the business so I could open a business account. From then on, all monies I received I put back into the business. 

What sacrifices did you have to make?

I had to give up my career. I’m a digital marketer by profession. Look, I love digital marketing, so giving it up was a battle. But baking is my passion. I sacrificed sleep too; there is no rest when starting a business. I play all the roles in my business: I’m taking orders, managing social media pages, baking, making deliveries and preparing invoices. And I sacrificed job security, as well as the comfort of a salary.

Can all side hustles be turned into mains?

Yes, all side hustle are potential mains, but you need to understand that your business won’t be a success overnight. Be intentional about your moves and find new ways to grow your business. When the going gets tough, you must pick yourself up. You are your own motivator, so you need to go the extra mile to get your business to the next level.

Looking to start your own business? Check out SimplyBiz® to learn how you can register a company or set up a business banking account.

Stay informed! Visit the SA Department of Health's website for COVID-19 updates: