The other day on a brief visit to Pretoria I stopped at the Groenkloof butchery to buy some boerewors (farmers’ sausage). I hadn’t ever bought boereworse from this butchery before so I asked the woman behind the counter what it tasted like. She said the boerewors was so delicious that some South Africans even tried to smuggle it in their luggage on their way overseas. The woman told me that their record sales on one day for the boerewors was over two tons – on 31 December for New Year’s day parties. The day I was there she said that they had already sold 500 kg by 3 pm.
It’s amazing how the basic skills of practising as a butcher can be turned into something so valuable. Hats off to this butcher who has come up with a special recipe for sausage that is in great demand. It just goes to show how valuable learning a skill can be.
I saw an interesting article about a young man in Nigeria whose father encouraged him to acquire a skill. At a young age, he chose to make footwear while still at school and opened his own shop after acquiring the necessary skills. Even though he has a business administration certificate he has rather used his shoemaking skills than tried to chase scarce white-collar jobs. He makes cover shoes, sandals, slippers, casuals and customised shoes of a quality that can compete favourably with foreign shoes from developed countries.
In some countries such as Germany trade and craft skills form an integral part of many people’s working life, according to Wikipedia. In Germany there are something like 342 recognised trades including those such as plummer, oven builder, dispensing optician, mechanic, baker, joiner and electrician. In the past, the trade and craft professions were not fully understood by young people who clamoured for office jobs. Nowadays it’s different because of economic conditions — there is a demand for vocational training for trade and craft skills.
Even if you don’t attend a formal course or training program, there are other skills that you can acquire that may be cash generators. The obvious ones are skills such as music and writing and the arts but because these are so accessible and so many people do them, it’s hard to find a niche and make money from them. Acquiring new skills will depend on your interest level or passion but before you jump into something consider also whether it will have a cash generating potential down the line. Often it’s not the popular skills that provide opportunities for cash but the more basic ones such as making footwear, cutting and making clothes that can corner a reasonable size demand and allow for turning your skills into cash.
A little exercise may help you: why not make a list of the skills that you’ve already acquired and start to think how you could raise your game so that you could bring it to a more professional level. Either you decide to increase your skills level or start making products for sale. A cash-paying skill whether it is a hobby or sideline can come in handy in these times to supplement income.