The truth about entrepreneurship

With the continued lack of employment for people with disabilities, entrepreneurship can offer a great alternative for earning an income. However, it is not always as romantic as it seems

They told us we would be our own bosses, earn a lot of money and become wealthy. They never told us we would fail many times before we succeed; that we would work five times harder than our employees and sometimes make no profits; that this would cripple our credit score; or that we would be heavily in debt.

No one told us this would cause conflict between us and our family and friends; that we would be a joke to society, especially when we start changing from one business to another. No one explained that sometimes we would be without an income for six months; that we would be living on the edge and surviving by borrowing money. No one told us our businesses might need to close their doors as we fail to pay staff and they can’t get to work.

No one ever speaks of the possibility of finding ourselves homeless with our children; that our wives or husbands, girlfriends or boyfriends might leave because they don’t understand our journey; that we will have to be more than patient. Never did they mention we would make so many mistakes and lose money.

We had to figure this out all by ourselves. Many gave up along the way. Although the journey is chaotic, it is also rewarding and priceless. For some, after all the pain, success is non-negotiable. Some of us are never giving up, no matter what. It’s success or nothing for us – and it’s too late to go back now.

We are entrepreneurs!

The past year was very challenging for most people, but a very successful year for the privileged few, I guess. Whichever group you find yourself in, one thing is certain – 2019 brings new possibilities, new opportunities and a new dawn for all.


Emilie Olifant is a disability activist, entrepreneur and motivational speaker. She is the director of the Emilie Olifant Foundation, an organisation that strives to address socio-economic issues experienced by people with disabilities. email:

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