‘Dreams Are Not Things to Be Feared’

Zakiyyah Smailovic, cre­ative di­rec­tor of House of ZS;

Cosmopolitan (South Africa) - - CAREER & CASH -

‘I founded my jew­ellery brand, House of ZS, when I was 23, and many peo­ple told me I was too young and in­ex­pe­ri­enced. The day I launched my on­line store, I got an e-mail from some­one I didn’t know telling me, “This kind of on­line busi­ness won’t work.” Well-mean­ing friends and fam­ily threw all sorts of crit­i­cism my way – things such as, “You don’t know how to do busi­ness” and “This in­dus­try is not for women; you’re a dreamer!” It was painful and de­flat­ing, and made me ques­tion ev­ery­thing I was do­ing.

‘What no-one seemed to un­der­stand was that, yes, I was (and still am) a dreamer – and that’s not a bad thing! Dreams are not things to be feared, but the means by which each of us is mo­ti­vated to be our best, whether by start­ing a new busi­ness or tak­ing up a hobby that could turn into a life­long joy.

‘I’ve had to learn not to take peo­ple’s opin­ions per­son­ally, and not to let them de­fine me or dampen my self-be­lief. Sure, I was young and in­ex­pe­ri­enced; so are most entrepreneurs when they first start out.

‘It’s easy for peo­ple to un­der­es­ti­mate you – but I’ve learnt to see that as an op­por­tu­nity to prove them wrong. Noth­ing will keep you on course as much as your own gut, in­tu­ition and pas­sions – things that out­siders of­ten don’t un­der­stand. And FYI: I’m proof there’s no such thing as “too young” or “too in­ex­pe­ri­enced” if you have drive and pas­sion.’

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