I started my undergraduate career being supported by REAP. REAP gave me access to higher education. When I was studying at UJ, I was later offered a bursary by the Department of Health which promised me a job after graduation. This promised job did not materialize. After graduating and qualifying as a podiatrist, I was at home for 8 months. Even after I registered with the health professions council I waited for too long for this placement until I decided not to wait anymore. I applied for a number of posts on my own but I was unsuccessful. I then met a lady with a private practice who was working part time (one day a week). After she heard my story, we both decided that I would join her and convert her practice to a full time one. I then worked with her for two months, which was very hectic because it was just like starting a new business as she had very few patients. The lady then told me that she was not interested in private practice anymore. When she eventually left, I had to start managing the practice on my own. It was challenging initially to pay for the building but with support from some family members, I managed to continue running the practice. I was doing the marketing myself- distributing flyers and advertising online and now I can say I am comfortable running my own private practice.
Highlights of working for myself- Private practice has taught me to save money and be responsible by saving for rainy days. I can also work flexible hours and manage my own time.
Challenges- Working at a loss at times and dealing with client and medical aid issues. I also find myself having to work long hours to accommodate certain patients.
Advice to REAP students and recent graduates- If you don’t get a job and your course allows you to go privately- pursue that option. If a lot of capital is needed for you to start, do your research on how much you need and how long it will take to make profit. You could find someone who can help you apply for a loan to start your business. Finally, believe in yourself, if you want something, go for it- don’t give up!!!!