It’s all about seeing a gap in the market right? I did that both with my PR agency and the Laser Hair Removal company that I started. I saw a gap in the market, a lot of big public relation agencies were spending a lot of time building corporate PR packages but no one really developed packages of the same value but for individuals. I decided to create state of the art and efficient PR for celebrities, SMME’s and individuals. Today we have worked and developed the brands of some of South Africa’s and Tanzania’s biggest celebrities. I did something similar with the laser business. We got the latest technology in that it caters for all races and also is completely pain free. We brought it into SA without really starting a full blown marketing campaign we manage to create a business that is growing at 200% every month and at the same time franchising out to all parts of South Africa. The beauty business is a billion dollar business and a lot of fun.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
I guess with the PR agency, the most difficult thing was establishing yourself as a power house since there is still a monopoly in South Africa when it comes to PR, even though you providing a solution to a problem people still use the law of convenience and credibility. I spend the first year building up the name of the company and to build its credibility. Through the success of our clients its now seen as one of the best agencies in South Africa. We are only 15 months old. It’s incredible. With the laser business it was also based on something similar, getting people through the door was difficult at first but after a few sessions with new clients, word of mouth and basic marketing did the job.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
I grew up in a family that was more service and professional based, there isn’t many entrepreneurs in my intermediate family. My whole family studied and practiced law. I too studied law and are able to practice but I don’t believe in the system where you work for a corporate company and make their CEO extremely wealthy off your hard work when you can open your own law firm and take most of those profits. At first it was difficult to convince my parents that opening up businesses and taking up the risk to find customers and clients and pushing all these businesses was the right idea but I just went into it without really much of a safety net other than my degree. Now they see the value and understand why I took that risk and why it is so beneficial.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
My ability to adapt to change. As an entrepreneur if you can do that you can achieve anything in this world.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
I fell in love with the idea of being an entrepreneur instead of putting in the hours first, I started to enjoy the life too much. I spent more time having lunch meetings which were pointless in relation to business and spent a lot of the money I made on Gucci and fancy watches. I now understand the importance of stabilizing your cash flow and investing money in the right things like property and shares , also building more diversification through new businesses , definitely not nice clothes and watches. I also had this fear of failing when I started so I was shy and scared to email and meet with people who I wanted to build relationships with in case they reject me but now I understand that with every 100 no’s , 10 opportunities will say yes and you can level up relatively quickly.
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
In my national best-selling book EMPIRE, I talk about many concepts like the importance of having a good circle of people around that you that have a similar mind-set like you. Also the importance of having mentors and many of them for the various aspects of your life. The most important advice I can give though is to never look for validation elsewhere, find it within. Trust your ambitions and trust your passion. Nothing replaces putting in the hours. A mentor of mine actually introduced me to the concept of 10 000 hours, if you want to be successful at anything you have to spend 10 000 hours on it. Nothing replaces working hard and smart, put in the time and effort and you are guaranteed to succeed. Also never give up, you will fail 100 times before you see success but that is all preparation for you to become better and do better. Never believe your own hype, be humble and stay consistent to your goals. Leave your ego behind and be kind in all of your actions. As an entrepreneur allow yourself the opportunity to adapt to change and lastly do your best to improve everyday with your personal self and your business.