March 14, 2020

The untold story of a black female entrepreneur

Last year was a highly taxing year for me. Spiritually and emotionally. I was walking dead. Every single area in my life was slowly dying right in front of me. What possibly began as a physical pain morphed into a deep spiritual pain that absolutely no human being could ever heal no matter how hard they tried. I was seeking counsel from friends, family, pastors but somehow failed to seek the Greatest Physician, My Heavenly Father. And oh Boy when I finally opened up to him, he started to do deep work in me, healing man-made wounds that had become the deepest darkest spiritual wounds I’ve ever had to encounter in my life. I had somehow managed to allow pain to lift weights in the cellar of my soul and boy was the pain strong, not easily defeated.

I signed up 2 big corporates but projects just never came. That led to me falling deeper and deeper in despair without even realizing it. My anticipation and I suppose the anxiety of finally handling Big Corporate clients crippled me. The thought of potentially becoming another added statistic of a failed Black Service Provider / entrepreneur frightened me. I remember clearly that one manager at …. Said they were taking a huge risk with me, that I seemed like I ticked all boxes but they were giving me this opportunity to also prove myself as an SMME. You can just imagine the pressure that came with this. I stopped looking for work because of fear of not being able to handle the pressures that would come with working on such big businesses especially as a Black Female Entrepreneur who is constantly forced to change the status quo. I wanted to allocate space and capacity to handle the projects, to do my absolute Best and prove them wrong. To prove that being black and producing great work is not a myth in South Africa especially Cape Town. I failed before I could even prove this phenomena, I budgeted on work and money that had not reflected in the business account because I had signed a 3 year contract with these companies, it was sealed but never quite took shape. I was no longer able to keep up with my bond payments, served the final notice from attorneys to sell the house But God, But God. Somehow the business managed to pay the lump sum that was required for the bank in order to restructure. I was behind with a lot of payments, but somehow I continued to still wake up each day hoping for better, trusting that the Business will inevitably succeed. In this equation not depending on God but rather the business was quite a formula for disaster. Our young marriage and children were affected ( this still brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it ), there was a cancer scare in my family, and the possibility of running the business down the drain. And Cash Crusaders was becoming very familiar with my face. It was too much to bear, too much to bear. As much as I had people who were trying to help, I still felt so lonely, having to reassure my husband that it was going to be ok, that as an entrepreneur I had it all together always brought me into a state of panic. Then I had to deal with clients and their needs, allow them to come into my broken state because it felt like I could handle it. I didn’t. I disappointed some, submitted good work but very late, I was even rude to some, impatient with their sometimes very challenging demands (To those I disappointed, I am truly sorry).

But the breaking point was when I cried not once but twice in meetings. Then I realized that I was not ok, that I needed help and I needed it soon. My Heavenly Father was right there to welcome me and eventually led me to a therapist that I’m absolutely grateful to start my journey with.  I’m sharing this not only as a sincere apology to my clients but to bring light to the realities that come with running a business. That it’s not always Rossy, that’s it’s easily the hardest decision that anyone can make. It’s definitely not an easy money making scheme, it’s tough, it’s tough and not all of us are cut out for it. Trust me when I say not all of us are cut out for it!!! I want to also say that Social Capitalism is important, that our friends and family can become a channel to our biggest breakthrough but also a downfall. I want to highlight too that its not fair to always expect work done for you at no cost at all, unless there’s a mutual consensus. Look at it this way, you are taking food right out of my children’s mouths. Maybe this analogy will drive something home, stop asking business owners to do things for free, its not kosher !!!

This year has turned out differently, I’m calmer, more kinder to myself. Im more present as a mother and wife, I’m more confident in my journey as an entrepreneur. But above all, I have forgiven myself from past mistakes / disappointments. To all entrepreneurs out there, the respect I have for you is beyond me. May God Bless your business, May He cover and protect your wellbeing. You are doing so well, well done. Remember to always take time out, to share openly about your fears and struggles and to seek therapy.

And to my family, friends and amazing team, thank you thank you thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you to Maven Solutions & Innovator Trust for literally putting up with me, for walking this journey with me, for allowing me the space to grow, to fail, to fail again but encouraged me to fail forward. Your belief in me as an entrepreneur picked me up at my worst. And not forgetting Glynn Venter & Tarryn Burton of Haas Advertising thank you for all you’ve done for me.

I can now safely stand up and say, this is me, I am a CEO, I am an entrepreneur and I am

Breaking the Status Quo.

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