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A number of young Namibians are involved in what most people call "side gigs”, which is doing a piece of work that one gets paid for.


Windhoek resident Sebastian Tjitombo is one of the many Namibians who has a full-time job but still dabbles in side gigs, saying the gig economy is serious business. 


Tjitombo says, to be able to have a side gig, one has to look beyond the normal eight to five-hour job, adding that one's hobbies and interests are able to generate income. 


“Small businesses are usually built around a core skill as I mentioned earlier, something that the owner is good at, something that the owner is talented in, and that core skill which forms part of or is their main business.” 


He says the trick to succeeding in the gig economy is to rely on what they term the ‘underground referral system'. 


“The URS you need to join is in a formal setup or informal setup. For photographers and creatives and so forth, we have a fantastic underground referral system, where we share work, details, tips, pointers, and positive criticism for us photographers.”


Tjitombo says one has to invest in more than one sector to avoid being wiped out.


“When gatherings were prohibited, I had to diversify so I did a bit of Agri photography. I visited a couple of farms, and I took a couple of pictures of livestock and their field and so on because agriculture at the time did fairly well so certain industries did well, like agriculture, ICT, and healthcare, those are some of the businesses that we try to target as well.” 


The side-gig entrepreneur says it's important to separate your work earnings from your side hustle earnings. 

He also advised newcomers to refrain from taking loans. 


“If You can run a business without a loan, without equity from investors, do so. Only reach for outside money if it's absolutely necessary. With countries that take out a lot of debt from outside institutions, at a certain extent, you surrender your sovereignty or business, if you constantly live on loans and so on, you surrender a piece of yourself. Use your own money for your business.”


Tjitombo was speaking at an event themed "Changing the Wealth Narrative for this generation" in Windhoek.

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Photo Credits
Larastock

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Author
Frances Shaahama