Sam Posselt’s name has become known throughout South Africa, particularly among entrepreneurs and small business owners.  I discovered her blog and Facebook groups earlier this year.  However, it was only when I started my business that I followed her work more closely.

Sam is creating a network of entrepreneurs throughout South Africa who offer moral support, advice and tips to one another.  It is such an asset for a small business owner to belong to a group of people who are in a similar situation, who face the same challenges and who may even be able to offer sound advice from hard-won experience.

Best of all?  Sam is a Girlboss, a wife and mom, and finds time to nurture her tribe amongst all the other demands life makes on her.  I’m humbled by her continuously giving nature and thrilled to feature her in this series.

Q:  Briefly tell us about your business journey.  (What helped you decide to start your own business?  What did you do before working for yourself?)

My entrepreneurial journey began at the age of 17 when I found myself matriculating before the “legal” working age of 18 in South Africa.  I had a few months of “what am I supposed to do now?” before turning 18 and decided to help out a local video shop to pass the time.  While there, I started recognizing that clients would return video games with requests of referrals for people in town that could help them fix or upgrade their consoles.

Watching the owner of the video shop constantly say, “I’m sorry, I don’t know of anyone in town” made me realize that I had to be the one to find a solution.  A few months later, I was running a small referral business by connecting gaming clients with repair agents across the country.  As I started infiltrating the gaming industry, I was invited to sessions called “hackathons” and immediately took an interest in the undiscovered world of the Internet.  The rest, as they say, is history. 

Q:  What was the process you followed when starting to set up your brand?

To be honest, I didn’t follow any process at all.  At the time that I had decided that I wanted to own my own business, I had zero knowledge in terms of what branding was – let alone a skill set to accurately decide on what I wanted my brand to be.

Looking back now, I am thankful that I started my branding journey with a “I don’t know what I’m doing, so let’s go personal” approach because I am now known for attending corporate meetings in sneakers which came about from the fact that I am sneakers kind of gal.

As I matured, I started playing with different colours, fonts and styles and ultimately decided that my branding approach would be the Madonna style:  always reinventing.  My core branding elements are:   sneakers and beaded bracelets – items that I wear all the time.  I started handing out bracelets that I made myself to clients as my business card and word spread quickly as I was doing something different.  To this day, I still have people tweet me images of the bracelets I gave them 8+ years ago 🙂

Q:  How do you manage your branding and make sure everything you do (from business cards, to packaging, to branding collateral) keeps in line with your brand?

The best advice I can give business owners from a branding point of view is to delegate it to a professional!  I know that my expertise does not lie in the branding field so I turn to those that are trained professionals to help me.  Another lesson I learnt very quickly was to always be clear and authentic in terms of your message so that the professional may accurately help you keep in line.

Q:  How do you manage your social media commitments?

With loads of coffee 😉  The best investment I have ever made in my social media marketing business is the premium version of Buffer. I have “batch days” whereby I complete batches of certain tasks on certain days and then schedule them to Buffer for the week or month ahead.

I have also always tried to be very authentic online by telling my fans and followers that you know what, life happens and sometimes I cannot reply timeously because my daughter is sick or I am on leave or I am travelling.  My tribe completely understand and usually offer assistance which is very humbling.

Q:  How do you motivate yourself to keep going when your inner critic’s voice gets a bit too loud?

Oh great question!  I am firm believer that the key to success in business is collaboration.  I have aligned myself with a business strategist and accountability partner that helps me keep my inner critic at bay.  My hubby is also a great source of inspiration on the days when I am struggling to deal with a business loss or client setback.  Another source of motivation for me is my online tribe.  Often I have asked them to help me out on the days when I have had to face a major obstacle because I know that many of them are facing the same issues.  Together we tackle our inner critics and ultimately, forge stronger bonds.

Q:  What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned since you started your business?

The most important lesson without doubt:  some business owners will screw you over, to put it very bluntly.  I started my business journey being very naive and trusting and had many a knock.  Some of those knocks took ages to recover from, and I learnt the lesson of perseverance always wins during those times.

Join a business networking association!  Do yourself and your business a favour and get out there and network!  Like-minded people help to keep your motivation on a high and having a support structure does wonders for your self-esteem.

Train yourself to switch off, especially for your family’s sake:  I view my business as my third child and spend many hours nurturing it, sometimes to the point of letting my family down.  I have to remind myself daily to forget about my business by switching my phone off after office hours so that I can forget about my emails and spend genuine, quality time with those I love most.

Learn to delegate!  I truly believe each and every single business owner across South Africa needs to delegate more.  Often, we get so wrapped up in wanting to “protect” our business that we do more damage to it by over-working ourselves.  The minute I started delegating tasks to those that are better at them than I am, was the minute my business started to soar.

melissa de klerk

This series of blog posts is my participation in Sam Posselt’s 7 Day Blogging Challenge.  Her website can be found here.

Day 7 – 9 November 2016:  Today’s prompt instructs participants to interview and feature a guest.

Melissa De Klerk

Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi

Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.

You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.

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