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Billionaires Under Construction: The Mindset of an Entrepreneur

Billionaires Under Construction: The Mindset of an Entrepreneur

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Billionaires Under Construction: The Mindset of an Entrepreneur

5/5 (5 valutazioni)
144 pagine
2 ore
Apr 1, 2017


DJ Sbu is not your ordinary entrepreneur. He was born to be great and refuses to settle for less. Have you ever wondered what goes on in the mind of a successful entrepreneur? How they come up with their ground-breaking ideas, how they turn them into flourishing businesses, how they deal with failure, and what drives and motivates them? Billionaires Under Construction answers these questions, and more, as it charts the rise and rise of Sbusiso Leope, one Africa’s most dynamic entrepreneurs. From his childhood in Tembisa to the global stage as a world-class musician and DJ, from music mogul and co-owner of TS Records – the label behind some of South Africa’s brightest young stars – and, more recently, as the force behind the country’s first black-owned energy drink, Sbu’s story is one of courage, resilience, inspiration and a refusal to let failure stop him. In his own words, you just can’t stop his go. Billionaires Under Construction is a blueprint of Sbu’s success; an honest and direct account of the setbacks he’s encountered, including his high profile dismissal from two of South Africa’s most prominent radio stations and his equally notorious run-in with Forbes magazine. The way in which Sbu handles adversity reveals the triumph of his entrepreneurial spirit and the tenacity of a man who does, indeed, consider himself a billionaire under construction – and he won’t stop until his goal has become a reality. So, if you have aspirations to join the Billionaire Generation, there is no better starting point than reading this book.

Apr 1, 2017

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  • Through it all, I’ve remained steadfast and committed to my dreams. It’s difficult but I never give up. Because en-trepreneurs just don’t. We are resilient.

  • Create a vision board and update it from time to time, especially if you’re feeling down and demotivated.

  • Our dream is to open an entrepreneurship academy for township kids by 2020.

  • I don’t do anything unless it has a purpose.

  • Remain steadfast and committed to your dreams.

Anteprima del libro

Billionaires Under Construction - Sbusiso Leope



Brought to you by Leadership 2020



The Mindset of an Entrepreneur


First published by Tracey McDonald Publishers, 2017

Suite No. 53, Private Bag X903, Bryanston, South Africa, 2021

In association with Leadership 2020

Copyright © Sbusiso Leope, 2017

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission from the publisher.

ISBN 978-0-620-72715-0

ePUB ISBN: 978-0-620-72716-7

PDF ISBN: 978-0-620-72717-4

Text design and typesetting by Patricia Crain, Empressa

Narrative compilation by Lisa Witepski, Creative Copy

Cover design by Ron Olivier, incynq solutions

Cover photography by Made2FlyCreative

Printed and bound by Pinetown Printers (Pty) Ltd


This book is something I have been praying about for many years. To be able to share one’s story is a privilege; to be able to help people learn something from it is an even greater one.

I believe that this is the billionaire generation. We’re all billionaires under construction – certainly, that’s my mindset. And my work ethic.

That’s what I am hoping you’ll take away from this book. My life has been an exciting, unpredictable mix of ups and downs, but I think that the lessons I’ve learnt will resound with everyone. I’ve had my heart broken, I’ve had my hopes dashed, and I’ve failed. Just like you. And I’ve come back, smiling and stronger than ever before. Just as you can. That’s the story of entrepreneurship.

If I can make people understand this, I’ll be making an impact. That’s something I’m passionate about, because I truly believe that entrepreneurship is the way of the future, and not only because we can’t rely on the private sector to provide employment for all Africans – which is, it goes without saying, one of Africa’s most complex challenges. There are also the hundreds of other benefits entrepreneurs bring to the economy. Consider how Elon Musk and Siyabulela Xuza are changing the way we think about energy. How Mark Zuckerberg changed the way we communicate. How Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, founders of Uber, changed the way we get around. How Herman Mashaba and Jabu Stone revolutionised South Africa’s beauty industry, how Thato Kgatlhanye is leading the way in social entrepreneurship with her Repurpose Schoolbags and how Mrs Daphne Mashile-Nkosi has pioneered leadership in business through her role in the mining sector.

These people haven’t just built businesses. They are shaping the way we live today. I salute and applaud them, and I urge others to join their ranks.

I know that doing so isn’t easy. That’s exactly why I wrote this book. Consider it to be a practical guide to what you need to do, and how you need to think, if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur.

I’ll say it again. We are the billionaire generation. We are whom we have been waiting for. Our time is now. It’s Africa’s time. We are in the right continent, ripe and full of opportunities. It won’t come to us on a silver platter. It’s time to get up, dress up and go get it. We cannot be stopped.

Expand your mind

Enlarge your thinking

Grow an abundance mindset

Start now

Be memorable

DJ Sbu




1 You can't stop my go

2 stay true to your vision

3 your network is your net worth

4 changing young lives

5 the hustle defined

6 brand building 101

7 curiosity didn’t kill the cat

8 the power of 20/20 focus

9 get the basics right

10 innovate and create your greatest problem


The One percent principle

1 You can't stop my go

Interviewers often ask me how many lives I have, because I’ve been knocked down so many times – and yet I’m still standing.

I’m always interested to know why they think I was knocked down, but the truth is, yes, I have faced many challenges, both personally and professionally. I’ve been fired from two radio stations and almost sued by a major international media group. I’ve been called a controversial figure, desperate, a down and out, a fraud. The press has a feeding frenzy every time I face a challenge.

Back in 2006 when two of our most powerful artists chose to leave TS Records, the label I started with TK Nciza, newspapers libellously claimed it was because we had mismanaged their money. When Metro FM fired me because I had used their awards ceremony as a platform to promote my energy drink MoFaya some of my peers in the entertainment industry snubbed me, as if their own reputations would become tarnished if they associated with me.

Through it all, I’ve remained steadfast and committed to my dreams. It’s difficult but I never give up. Because entrepreneurs just don’t. We are resilient.

The truth is that nothing comes easily. If it did, everyone would be an entrepreneur. Everyone would be rich. Everyone would be successful.

As entrepreneurs, we need to have faith – even when we’re facing obstacles. Our job is to believe in something that probably doesn’t yet exist, and to convince others to believe in it, too. We are leaders, showing others the light, finding loopholes, turning negatives into positives. We don’t take no for an answer. The climate might not always be conducive, but even in times of disaster, a true entrepreneur will find a way. In fact, it’s sometimes when things are at their toughest that entrepreneurs shine, because we think differently from everyone else. Our views are almost diametrically opposed to the mainstream. When others are saying no, we are saying yes.

But you can’t do that unless you are resilient. If you don’t have what it takes to bounce back, you might be able to run a business on behalf of an entrepreneur but you’ll never be the guy who creates an empire.

How do you become resilient? Life forces it upon you. You cultivate resilience through the challenges you encounter. It’s channelled through the people around you – your parents, your grandparents, your guardians, your friends, your family, your mentors.

I believe that anyone can develop resilience, because no one’s life is perfect. For me, growing up in Tembisa and working at my Mom's hair salon and my Dad's spaza shop since I was 12 years old, it's easy to think I had it easy. But we all faced challenges, which seemed monumental to us. It’s all relative, and no one passes through life unscathed.

Because of this, I think that anyone can become an entrepreneur. Some people may disagree, saying that there are individuals who were born to be entrepreneurs, and I understand their view, too. Certainly, the Richard Bransons, Donald Trumps, Tim Tebeilas and Aliko Dangotes of the world seem to have a Midas touch, succeeding at everything they put their hand to and sparking creative ideas that they later transform into thriving businesses.

But what’s important to realise is that entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes. Not every entrepreneur is a millionaire. Some are forced into business because they have no other option; they can’t find a job, say, and they have to create their own employment. The people who sell food on the side of the road are a great example. Rather than turn to crime, they’ve made their own solution.

The key here is that they had what it took to create a new situation. Again, that’s where resilience comes in. Some people are content to float along with whatever happens in life; others crumble when something bad happens to them. The entrepreneur doesn’t fit into either of these camps. No matter how many doors slam in the face of an entrepreneur, he refuses to stay down. I’m like that. I refuse to lose. I refuse to let anything stop my go.

The story of MoFaya, the energy drink I launched in 2015 illustrates this perfectly. It all started with my partner, Siphiwe Likhuleni Shongwe, a chemical engineer who made contact with me after following my career for some time. Siphiwe had the idea to start an energy drink business, and he thought I would be the best person to launch it with because its aims – education and empowerment – match the goals of the Sbusiso Leope Education Foundation (SLEF) which I founded to help educate underprivileged youth. Siphiwe has spent many years researching the energy drink industry. At the time of our first meeting, he pointed out that there were 33 energy drink brands available in South Africa, in an industry that was worth R3.7 billion – yet none of them were black-owned.

At the same time, however, the black market has enormous potential. People would rather buy an energy drink than, say, a Fanta or a Stoney, but most are too expensive. Siphiwe’s idea was to create a drink that gave people the kick they wanted, but that was more affordable.

When Siphiwe and I met, I was in negotiations with Brandhouse to represent J&B Whisky. My role was to appear in a TV commercial, put in appearances, and generally act as brand ambassador. I managed to shift thousands of cases of J&B Whisky, so I thought why not do the same thing with my own brand of cider or spirit cooler? I suggested a partnership to Brandhouse. I knew it could work; just look at the prestige Diddy’s association with CÎROC has brought the brand. But they weren’t interested. Rather than accept that the door was closed, I started taking my chats with Siphiwe around MoFaya more seriously.

We invested hundreds of thousands of rands, which soon became a few millions, of our own money into developing the product. We hired dietitians and taste specialists who helped us settle on a fruity flavour so that MoFaya had the appeal of a soft drink (which people still wanted) with the aspirational quality that made energy drinks so alluring.

We got

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  • (5/5)
    A Very good read ?I really really loved it #billionaire