The Superb Nic Haralambous

R5000, 6 weeks and stubborn grit created Nic Socks

Some people just don't know when to quit - Nic Haralambous does. In between varied influential roles in traditional media and communications he's been starting businesses, building them up and flipping them like pancakes for over a decade. So what's a guy to do when he's just sold his last business to Mxit and needs the next challenge? The answer is Nic Socks, a luxury sock brand Nic challenged himself to start on a shoestring budget and a ticking clock.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?

I try longboard skating as often as I can. It's a decent replacement for snowboarding when there's no snow around.

What’s the next thing you’d like to tick off your bucket list?

I need to finish my left arm-sleeve tattoo and then start on my right arm.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Morning for sure. I wake up at about 5:30am every morning and get the day started.

What’s the weirdest thing in your bag right now?

A mini measuring tape.

What’s the last thing you bought?

The Three Body Problem on my Kindle.

How did you start doing what you do?

I had just sold my previous company to Mxit and wanted to do something tangible for my next business that tested out e-commerce in SA. So I took R5000 and decided to start a sock company with some very specific rules: R5000 capital, 6 weeks to build the business and 30 days to turn some meaningful revenue. We launched the company on November 19, 2012, and haven't looked back.

What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs wanting to start a business?

Stop finding excuses. Shut up and build something. Right now.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I've never had anyone directly give me good advice. But the best advice I've heard recently is to speak less. Literally, use fewer words and say fewer things.

What would you do with a R100 000 investment?

As a retail business, we're always hungry for stock. We'd probably use the money to widen our range of socks even further.

Which words or phrases do you overuse?

I'm a big fan of "dad sayings". Think of something your dad used to say, I probably say it. I also hate that I use the words "rad" and "cool" so much.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

There is no single achievement that defines my life. I'm quite content with the way that I've chosen to live my life. I do things passionately and dedicate myself to my chosen path. 

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to face in doing what you do?

Managing a growing business is a constant challenge and that's what I love about building businesses. It's something I've learned to take at face value and deal with as best as I can. Building businesses is not for the weak, faint-hearted or easily dissuaded. It's a constant challenge to stay motivated and to motivate a growing team.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I'm brutally honest. Sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes it isn't. Some people love it, most people don't.

When and where were you happiest?

Right here. Right now. As Fat Boy Slim once said.

What is your idea of complete happiness?

Having the freedom to choose what you do every day is complete happiness.