IN­SPI­RA­TION She’s build­ing a prop­erty em­pire

Owner of Xoliswa Tini Prop­er­ties tells how her pas­sion helped her to achieve her dream

Move! - - CONTENTS - By Boi­tumelo Mat­shaba

IT IS said that there is a lot of money in the prop­erty busi­ness but the in­dus­try can be very chal­leng­ing. En­trepreneur Xoliswa Tini, who is in her late 40s, got into the prop­erty busi­ness purely be­cause of her love for beau­ti­ful homes. She did not know that her pas­sion would one day lead to her start­ing her own suc­cess­ful prop­erty busi­ness. Xoliswa Tini Prop­er­ties grew so suc­cess­ful that the busi­ness wo­man fran­chised it.


Xoliswa grew up un­der poor cir­cum­stances in the small town of Burg­ers­dorp in the Eastern Cape with her par­ents, brother and two sis­ters. The busi­ness wo­man says she and her sib­lings got their en­tre­pre­neur­ial skills from their mother.

“When we were young, we had to wake up very early and sell fish be­fore go­ing to school. Be­cause the town was so small, many other chil­dren were also selling other things, in­clud­ing fish, to make ends meet,” she says. “My mother taught us how to sell bet­ter than the other chil­dren and make more money. She told us to tell the cus­tomers what in­gre­di­ents were used and why our fish was bet­ter than that of oth­ers. Thanks to the skills that my mother passed on to us, there was a pe­riod where I was the only one who was selling fish in the area.”

The mar­ried mother of three says her mother truly in­stilled in­de­pen­dence in her. As the el­dest daugh­ter, Xoliswa also set an ex­am­ple for her younger sis­ters. “All my sis­ters are in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sion­ally,” says a proud Xoliswa.


When Xoliswa was in Stan­dard Six (now Grade 8), her par­ents wanted her to leave school and get a job to help take care of the family, which was ac­cept­able back then. But Xoliswa had com­pletely dif­fer­ent plans.

She in­sisted on con­tin­u­ing with her stud­ies un­til she passed ma­tric. She went on to com­plete her Teach­ers Diploma as per her plans. In 1994, she got mar­ried and started her own family.

There­after she went back to teach­ing to help out her family and sib­lings fi­nan­cially. She promised her­self that she wouldn’t stay in teach­ing for longer than two years.


“I be­came a teacher for only two years and re­signed. I was feel­ing stressed be­cause I wasn’t en­joy­ing what I was do­ing,” she says. “In 1999, my family and I were in the process of look­ing for a new home and my hus­band had given that task to me. I was shocked to re­alise that there were no black real es­tate sales agents in East Lon­don at the time. I also fell in love with the beau­ti­ful houses I was view­ing. I was fas­ci­nated by dif­fer­ent set­tings, lovely gar­dens and all it takes to live in the north­ern sub­urbs of the city. I felt that I wanted to wake up ev­ery­day and do that kind of job.”


With the in­ter­est of prop­erty brew­ing in Xoliswa, she de­cided that she wanted to get into the busi­ness. She be­came one of the few black real es­tate agents back then.

She started con­tact­ing all the real es­tate agents she had used to help her find her dream home for a job in the busi­ness. Be­cause of her lack of ex­pe­ri­ence in the field, she was turned down.

How­ever, one wo­man, who was also in the real es­tate busi­ness, told her about a com­pany that would take her pro­vided she paid them for oc­cu­py­ing their space and us­ing their re­sources. She took the risk, ap­plied for the po­si­tion and was ac­cepted.

“Not long af­ter start­ing with the com­pany, I be­came the best in the of­fice. I gained as much skills and ex­pe­ri­ence as pos­si­ble, and made good con­tacts,” she says.

In 2006, af­ter two years of work­ing as a real es­tate agent, Xoliswa felt that it was time to open her own busi­ness. BUILD­ING AN EM­PIRE Xoliswa started as a onewoman show. “I be­gan work­ing from the com­fort of my liv­ing room with my per­sonal com­puter to avoid un­nec­es­sary ex­penses. I only paid some­one to de­sign a logo for my busi­ness,” she says. “I also in­vested in small news­pa­per ad­verts be­cause I could not afford any­thing bigger. The busi­ness grew and later, I could afford two full pages of ad­ver­tis­ing.”

The busi­ness wo­man also says in the first year of busi­ness, she re­ceived many neg­a­tive re­marks, es­pe­cially from com­peti­tors.

“I was told my busi­ness would not last and that it isn’t a busi­ness for black peo­ple. Black clients did not trust us and other clients used the com­pa­nies they knew,” she says. “My com­peti­tors would some­times move my show boards, caus­ing po­ten­tial clients to get lost. But through God's grace, soon my brand be­gan to cir­cu­late and I be­gan to be recog­nised. To­day I have fran­chised my busi­ness in Midrand and Pre­to­ria.”

Xoliswa Tini Prop­erty also has es­tab­lished a real es­tate academy, which offers real es­tate train­ing and teach­ing. It also teaches peo­ple how to run their own busi­nesses.


Hav­ing a strong sup­port­ive sys­tem can also help you suc­ceed in life, and Xoliswa’s story is no dif­fer­ent. “I've al­ways had the sup­port of my hus­band, who runs his own man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness, and other mem­bers of my family,” she says.

Xoliswa adds that she owes her busi­ness suc­cess to con­sis­tently giv­ing good ser­vice. “When you give clients good ser­vice, they will tell oth­ers. I am also ded­i­cated to my job and feel very pas­sion­ate about it. When I got into prop­erty, I didn’t know there was money. I did it for the pas­sion and money fol­lowed,” she says.

Her ad­vice to other en­trepreneurs is to trust their in­stincts. “Choose to be pos­i­tive, take risks and never be too cau­tious," she ad­vises.

Xoliswa Tini has turned her love for beau­ti­ful homes into a lu­cra­tive busi­ness

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