The Start of My Entrepreneurial Journey PT 2

The Start of My Entrepreneurial Journey PT 2

Welcome to part 2 of my entrepreneurial journey…in case you missed it, read the first installment here. 

I started my business venture in my house in Bloubergstrand as I had a study on the bottom floor. I wanted to keep my overheads as low as possible. In the beginning it was slow going and I had lots of time to spend with my daughter Sophia while my wife was out working as a medical rep. As soon as Sophia could start walking and talking I put some rules in place regarding “my office”. If the door is closed Daddy is busy, and if the door is open you can walk in and come and chat to me.

One day I was on a very important call and she burst in and shouted “Dad I need a pooh!”. The next day I started looking for office space close to my house. A friend of mine owned a property in the same street and he offered me the top floor. He was renting the ground floor to other tenants. And so, the entrepreneurial journey that has lasted 15 years had begun. Three offices later and seven staff members richer, I feel proud of making it through those early stages. I remember people calling my landline number and asking for the “accounts department”. I would just say you are talking to the accounting department! 😊 

The transition from Rugby to entrepreneur was by far the most difficult thing I have ever done. Going from Hero to Zero in a couple of weeks and going from a healthy salary to no guaranteed income was incredibly difficult.

In my leadership talks I often talk about the most difficult person to lead. I have no doubt that the most difficult person to lead is the one you look at in the mirror every morning. If you can manage to lead that one all the rest are very easy to lead. I was captain of most of the teams I played for so I was used to having a team of people with different skill sets. Suddenly I had my own company with no staff and I had to lead myself.

The definition of discipline is doing the right thing at the right time even when you don’t feel like doing it. Boy did I have to remind myself of that phrase many times over the first year before I appointed my first staff member who was my receptionist. I always realised that I needed to build a team if I wanted to grow the business, but I also needed more business to grow my team. I learned many incredible lessons in those early years and I am still learning. I will share those lessons in a separate post.

5 Entrepreneurial Lessons Learned:

1. Shareholders agreement: 

In my first partnership I didn’t sign a shareholders agreement. After two years things didn’t go according to plan, and we had no document to refer to. It became a bit messy, and a Shareholders agreement would have made it much easier.

2. Staff: 

When you employ staff, trust them and allow them to do their job without your consistent interference.

3. Office: 

I really believe in creating an office environment that is conducive to peak performance. I don’t believe in working from home. Dress up, show up and interact. Iron sharpens iron.

4. Reward: 

Pay people what they are worth and not what you can get away with. If someone can add massive value to your company, then pay them accordingly. Don’t wait for them to get offers from someone else before you try and up their salary.

5. Networking: 

Don’t get stuck in your business. Get out and network with like minded people. I have done some great business with people I met many years ago and at some point, things align, and you can do business. “Don’t get stuck in the engine room.”

If you are keen to share your personal journey and thoughts, please follow my story on Facebook and LinkedIn. If you would like more information about Debunking Motivation, please take a look at my speaker sheet or contact me on

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