How Natasha Alomia went from full-time employee to entrepreneur

Many of us dream of business ownership, and while some start-ups grow into successful businesses, many do not. And last week Mpho Vackier shared that same sentiment when she said "business isn't for everyone." And she is right. I know lots of people who tried to start a business of their own and lost. 

Preparing to transition from being an employee to becoming an entrepreneur takes more than just having a clever idea. Most entrepreneurs fail because they did not adequately prepare. Moving from employee to entrepreneur requires planning, a clear understanding of your career objectives, and confidence that you can do the job as an independent business owner.

Today we learn from Natasha Alomia that if you want to be successful in starting a business, there is a lot you need to do starting from when you are still an employee.  Natasha is the co-owner and director of JML Consulting. They are the creators and distributors of South Africa’s first and only range of premium alcoholic Popsicles:the Frost Popsicles range. She used ice cubes as building blocks for her business. She is 34 years old and has a Master’s degree in Strategic Marketing from Bond University, Australia.

Please share your story. How did you move from the corporate world into being a business owner? How did that process unravel? 

I always knew I wanted to control my own time one day. I think the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is thinking that there’s no benefit to working in the corporate world before chasing their dream. My 10 years in the corporate world, of which seven of them were spent working in London, followed by an additional two years running my own project management and strategic marketing consultancy in South Africa, equipped me with skills and exposed me to scenarios that have taught me invaluable lessons that I apply to my business today. The Frost Popsicles range of premium alcoholic popsicles is South Africa’s first and only product of its kind! Through corporate training, I learnt how I wanted to run a business and how I didn’t. I learnt how to problem solve and manage commercial budgets. Most importantly, my corporate work experience put me in a position where I could fund my own start-up with my business partner. Financial planning is key! Making the leap of faith from “full-time comfort” into the vast unknown was terrifying at times. Richard Branson once said that being an entrepreneur is like jumping off a cliff and then building a parachute on the way down, and I wholeheartedly agree. You can never be 100% prepared but you have to trust your gut and your groundwork and eventually make that leap, or you never will. It’s a leap I took almost two years ago after a 13-month product development process. Despite numerous challenges and many moments of self-doubt, I don’t regret it for a moment.

What were your fears about making the leap from a full-time job with a steady income and benefits to running your own business?

The fear of failure of course and financial instability. I was very comfortable in my consultancy with steady clients and a healthy income. Launching Frost Popsicles came at a significant personal sacrifice, especially financially. All of a sudden your safety net is gone, and there’s no regular salary hitting your bank account at the end of every month. You have to plan for this in advance and be willing to make lifestyle adjustments with the bigger, long-term picture in mind. If you're starting your own company or launching a brand, it’s very naïve to think you’ll be pulling in the big bucks from day one – it’s just unrealistic. You have to be willing to push through the moments of fear and self-doubt (and trust me there are many of those moments!). You have to learn to take a deep breath and remind yourself why you started and where you want to go. You have to do that daily. Become your own biggest motivator so that when you feel like quitting, you have a constant reminder of why you need to keep going.

What is your experience so far as an entrepreneur?

A rollercoaster of incredible highs and certainly some crushing lows. Frost Popsicles is now almost 17 months old and I am thrilled that the business is going from strength to strength. We’ve just done our first 2 product exports and we have a number of exciting new product flavours and opportunities in the pipeline. The business has experienced its fair share of hardships, but we have prevailed and they’ve made us stronger. Watch this space  Frost is on the rise. 😊

What advice would you give to women who want to start a business?

Plan, plan, plan and then go for it! Nothing excites me more than young women with focus and direction who want to run their own businesses. It’s not easy but don't ever let anyone tell you; you can’t! Look for someone who inspires you that you can contact for advice or guidance. You don’t have to do it alone and I’m a firm believer that if we support each other as women in business, we’ll all do well.

If you need her services, get in touch via

She is also on social media:  TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Such a powerful message from Natasha. The lesson today is that you shouldn't quit your job until you absolutely have to. The best thing to do is to stay on the company as long as is necessary so that you can build up skills and capital to run your business at a later stage.

Do you have a successful transition story for us? Or did you go through a bitter experience? If so, what did you learn from it? Share in the comment section.