Almost two years ago, March 2015, after 7 years the in events industry, one failed business - well, a business that did not succeeding paying the bills should I say, I took to Gumtree and OLX in search of something that could keep a roof over my head and food in my belly.
Light bulb moment kids!
Yes kids, I love kids and surely looking after kids is easy money? So, I started an au pair job in the day time so that I could have my evenings free for extra work, actual work and possibly some building of this business I so dearly wanted to get off the ground.
Have you ever looked after children? I had three to take care of; a two year old, four year old and six year old - The most precious, gorgeous, clever, lovely kids anyone could ask for, but after a full day of actively entertaining kids and being impressed by everything, and I mean ev-ry-thing (from using the potty instead of a nappy to a half-arsed handstand or a scribble which you are told is a castle) the exhaustion you feel when you get home to your baked beans on toast does not exactly leave you keen and inspired to open your laptop, never mind work on business ideas.
So the "part time day job" became more full time and the “easy money” became the only money while the debt grew and the baked beans became boring. Suddenly there was a large scary man called Tom at my front door trying to repossess my car and 'phone lines were being cut off… and my self esteem sunk to the depths of the ocean.
Yet I didn’t give up, and there was hope; an interview, an opportunity, a life boat if you will. That is all I needed, that one chance.
In April 2015 I started a new adventure, an adventure where I got to meet the most unbelievable South African Pioneers, where I got to interact with the coolest entrepreneurs and where I heard the most inspiring stories, and I got paid for it!
I was appointed the Project Manager for Pioneer Nation 2015, sponsored by Levi’s, (whose founder's background is also a great story of a pioneering entrepreneur, but that’s for another post). I got to pull all my talents together and manage teams of people, set deadlines and embrace new challenges while every day learning new skills. Every day I got to meet another speaker who shared their struggles, trials and tribulations with me, and through these interactions I went from exhaustion to inspiration, from hopelessness to enablement. And there it was: everything to kick start my dream of having my own business.
In May 2015 I employed an assistant and in November 2015 we registered the company.
Don’t get me wrong, the struggle is real! I still have days when I wonder why I want a business when I could work for somebody else and have a fancy car and a holiday in Mauritius. My business is still a start up… that Forbes magazine cover is still a while away, but what I can tell you right now, in my second year of being a part of this amazing movement called Pioneer Nation, is: Every day I wake up inspired.
So, my tips to you?
1. You don’t have to sleep in your car in order to reach your dreams, but if you do sleep in your car, park next to someone else who is sleeping in theirs so that you can have 3am brainstorm sessions together.
2. There is no shame in working while you are trying to start up, whether you are a top account manager in a successful agency, a banker, a street sweeper or babysitter.
3. Bad times are bad, but good times are so good and the cliché of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is real! You CAN outlast the lowest points - you CAN get up after falling.
4. Find that one thing that makes you get up in the morning, be it religion, a child you need to look after, a friend, business partner, the sun, the Forbes magazine cover, the BMW X5, that pair of Levi’s that makes your ass look so to damn hot; or just the hatred of baked beans on toast. Find that thing and remember it each morning: hold on to it.