INSPIRATION She’s building a property empire
Owner of Xoliswa Tini Properties tells how her passion helped her to achieve her dream
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.
LIFE BEFORE PROPERTY
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.
WHEN I GOT INTO PROPERTY, I DID IT FOR PASSION AND MONEY FOLLOWED
“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.”
GETTING INTO PROPERTY
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.
DELIVERING GOOD SERVICE
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