Roberto CoelhoBy Roberto Coelho|June 26, 2021|10 Minutes|In Billionaire Tomorrow

Billionaire Tomorrow

“I experienced 10 years of failure.”

He saw through start-ups and sold them; he saw business in bright socks and now wants to teach others how to step up their side hustle. Meet Nic Haralmbous – serial entrepreneur.

“Don’t take advice from someone who is not brave with their own lives.”

It cascades down Table Mountain towards the bright, blue, sea. Cape Town, South Africa- they call it the Mother City – but you could argue it is the mother, father and midwife of many of Africa’s great tech entrepreneurs.

One man looking to stand out in this city is the well-spoken, bearded, gentleman Nic Haralambous. This is the story of how Haralambous conquered different businesses, one startup at a time.

Do not let his charm detract from his deadly serious focus. He has founded and sold three startups and written two best-selling books. He is a magic box full of tricks and tips.

Haralambous has lived in South Africa his entire life and as such he is not immune from the reversing economy caused by 10 years growth stolen by corrupt politicians, a brain drain, followed by the worst pandemic in living history.

As the avalanche of bad events continues, official unemployment rose to 32.5%. Still, this hides the true picture. At a macro level, the situation is reflected in South Africa’s junk-status, at a micro-level it all points to a slippery slope down to poverty.

While most armchair quarterbacks point fingers at what should have been done, serial entrepreneur Haralambous is getting up and encouraging change with yet another new venture.

Slow Hustle is a business where entrepreneurs can learn from his 21-years of experience as an entrepreneur. There is an online course, a book written by Haralambous together with other tools to start and grow a side hustle.

In addition, Haralambous began a Slow Fund, a non-profit organization that will give away R1000 for 365 days and training from Haralambous to 365 different side hustles.

“We started in response to Covid. South Africa’s future in the hands of small businesses. Vodacom will not hire another 10000 people over the next 10 years but maybe 1000 side hustles can become real businesses and hire 10000 people.”

However, as a self-professed capitalist at heart. His well-being was also at stake when Covid struck.

“One week before lockdowns started, I was a public speaking event and when lockdown hit, I lost my main source of income.”

But what gives Haralambous the right to tell others how to start and run a business?

“Most people reacted as expected and did the bare minimum. I overreacted; it is who I am. I am bald because I am an anxious person.”

Nic Haralmbous (Serial entrepreneur)

To answer this question, we go back in time to when he was a young boy, searching for answers with passionate curiosity.

“I have been writing and learning from a young age, younger than most according to my Greek Mother…”

He taught himself how to code at age 11, started his first website at age 12, hack his first computer at age 13 (but he soon stopped that), and started his first business aged 16.

Growing up, Haralambous wanted to be a war correspondent and studied journalism at Rhodes in South Africa.

Why did this never work out?

“Because journalists are broke and I am a capitalist at heart.”

Haralambous is also a natural public speaker. At school, he was head prefect and spoke before Nelson Mandela. He is a globally recognized public speaker, speaking at events including TEDx. He founded and sold two businesses before the age of 30.

As Haralambous hit the big 30, his friends suggested a skiing trip to northern Italy. An epiphany in an Italian airport proved the spur for his next venture. There was a store selling only socks: all shapes and colors. It was the birth of an idea that became Nic Harry, an online platform selling funky socks across the globe.

“I knew South Africa was about two to three years behind global trends, hence there was a high chance in the future this trend would spread to SA.”

Armed with this knowledge he created a business plan on the flight home. The goal was to launch using only R5000 ($300) with a six-week deadline to turn a profit.

“Throughout creating business, I have learned many skills, hence I was able to leverage off these skills. I used the R5000 on things I didn’t know.”

He was able to turn the R5000 into R30000 ($2000) worth of sales within the first week and grow the business for 6 years until, in 2018, he decided to sell.

“The point of the story is to leverage the skills you do have to achieve your goals.”

Haralambous wanted to show it was possible to start with R5000, which most people in most brackets can save R500 a month, for 10 months, to start their businesses.

“You just need to start; you don’t need to be an expert.”

Listening to this story sounds too easy. It cannot be that simple?

“It is not easy; being an entrepreneur is hard and anyone who tells you different is lying.”

“I experienced 10 years of failure from ages 16 to 26.”

Haralambous is open about his failures, believing too many individuals are too scared of failure and holding back because of the fear of failure.

“Fail fast and fail forward.”

A strong belief of his is for everyone to try, we should not be afraid of others who pretend to live perfectly curated lives.

“Don’t take advice from someone who is not brave with their own lives.”

Haralambous proudly accepts his failure, as he did during the lockdown period.

“When Covid began I started a business called Remote Keynote, a platform to connect businesses and keynote speakers. However, people developed faster than I anticipated, and the business failed. I failed fast and I learned from the experience.”

When lockdowns were enforced by the government, Haralambous’ unique response was to overreact. He started two businesses, Slow Hustle and Remote Keynote, started consulting, and wrote a book.

“Most people reacted as expected and did the bare minimum. I overreacted; it is who I am. I am bald because I am an anxious person.”

This overreaction has placed Haralambous in a position to capitalize from the wave of individuals seeking to learn from home, not only in South Africa but around the globe.

“We should all use to internet to take advantage of the global economy and no longer be limited to our neighborhoods.”

One would assume entrepreneurship is his passion, however, this assumption is incorrect.

“I am a curious person looking to learn, there is a saying that goes interesting people are interested,”

Solving problems and learning quickly is how Haralambous has evolved over the past 20 years as an entrepreneur.

“I do not revolutionize myself, I am always growing and learning and changing. I evolve to the world around me.”

Looking to the future Haralambous reads the past; keeping to a promise to himself only to read books older than 100 years.

“I believe the future belongs to those who are focused on EQ, IQ can be offset now.”

The future is unknown as COVID has taught us; skiing the slopes of life Haralambous has successfully overcome several challenges.

The future looks bright and interesting for a man for whom curiosity drives his game.