When running a small business feels like running Comrades

In less than a week, entries open for the Comrades marathon. Mentions of this iconic race have started to slip into conversations. For me, it conjures up memories of the intense training that goes into preparation for race day. KK heading out on his early morning long runs, driving to the ultra’s and the months of carbo-loading & daily lunch preps. It’s a tough & long buildup.

I’d say that nothing else compares to how tough this is, but lately, it’s met its match. As previously mentioned, KK and I have bought a small business.

Our excitement and enthusiasm has been fiercely squashed as we’ve struggled to get business bank accounts opened, a courier account registered and our first order processed. With no previous knowledge of how things work and with zero credit business references, not many people have been willing to help us. But we’ve persisted.

As with any marathon training, there any many days where as a runner you want to give up. When getting out of bed to run is a huge mental struggle. When there is this mountain ahead. And from what many have reported, you start to hate the training and long for race day to come.

It’s all been a learning journey and as most runners will tell you, they enjoyed their first Comrades marathon the most. Maybe as newbies, it’s not knowing what to expect and just never letting anything get in your way? It’s the rush, the euphoria, the dream. 

Regardless of all the obstacles, I must admit that sitting in this space right now feels amazing. Green behind the ears, excited beyond words, Comrades down run, here we come

Ps: don’t forget to enter Comrades! It’s the journey of a lifetime!

I’m an entrepreneur, at work

I sat at my desk last week a different person to the one I was just a few months ago. Butterflies fluttered around in my stomach and felt like I was tiptoeing on clouds ready to leap off a cliff at the same time.

KK and I have successfully started our own small business. We are officially entrepreneurs!

No one around me noticed the change (or perhaps panic in my face). People are busy and there’s very little time nowadays for anyone to stop and check-in on one another. It’s a pity because I’m not the only one standing at the edge of that cliff.

As I gazed around the desks, it dawned on me that I would not be where I am today had it not been for many of my colleagues. Their support, friendship and lessons over the years has grown me into the person I am today.

Pulling this off would also not have been possible without all the skills I had picked up during my 15 years of service at Standard Bank.

  • I’ve learnt the power of networking. Of relationship-building.
  • I understand the brand and how important it is to be true to what it is I’m selling.
  • I know how to assess the market & be aware of my competitors.
  • I’ve picked up key skills such as negotiation and buy-in.
  • I guess what excites me the most is the social media and engagement with potential customers.
  • I’ve also been taught that while the good times come, so do the bad and that it’s only by putting hard work into something that you see success.
  • Most of all, I’ve learnt patience. Things happen when the time is right.

    The view from the 4th floor of my office. Development is happening all around me.

As the bank grows, so do I. The courses I go on, the people I interact with. All of it adds to moulding me into a cleverer thinker, to be more strategic and constantly have a business-like mindset to every decision I make.

The more I grow at work, the more my business benefits. And because I’m eager to make a success out of both, the more effort I put in.

It’s a win win situation.

Is the sun going down on you?

Call it a midlife crisis, inspiration from a TED Talk or just mid-year review, but I've been on this mission to make time for more quality in my life. Notice that I said "make time" and not "find time". You will never find time, trust me on this one.

In order to make time, you need to do a combination of the following:

  • Plan your day. Make sure you know where the gaps are and which meetings at work will be productive or not.
  • Be selfish with your time. When you say yes to every meeting, every interruption and every invitation, you don't have anything left for you.
  • Make sure you're allocating enough quality time towards doing the things that enrich your life and make you happy.

To force myself to make time, I've been committed to getting home before the sun sets. I've taken a photo every day to prove that it's possible.

I've made time to bake in the middle of the week.

I've walked the dogs when I've arrived home from work.

I've even ensured that I look after myself physically and get my hair done on a regular Friday afternoon. There's no better feeling after a busy week to kickstart the weekend feeling fresh and beautiful!

More importantly I've made time to run and stick to my training programme. That's the single thing that I didn't sacrifice. Guess what? I ran a race on Saturday and was thrilled with my time! Just 2 minutes off my PB!
It pays off and the rewards come.

Make time for yourself and the things that matter in your life!

Are we racing or taking it easy? 

It’s a tad overdue but I wanted to share my review of the Northgate 10km road race with you.

It shouldn’t have been an official race for me. I gleefully jumped back into bed on the Saturday morning the day before when I saw that it was drizzling outside and promised myself that I’d run the following day. 

My training schedule read 12kms easy. Knowing that I had already skipped hills on Thursday due to work commitments meant there was no way I was getting out of this one.

I bargained with my Coach. I asked if I could run the Northgate 10km and simply add on the extra 2kms to make up 12kms. It would be easier. The race was packed with people (close to over 2000) with water stops. Sure, he said. Brilliant! 

But I was not in the right frame of mind when I started. I didn’t feel much like running and thought I’d take it easy. But when you’re in the middle of a road race, surrounded by hundreds of other runners panting and heaving & aiming to run faster than the dude next to you, you push yourself. 

The route promised to be flat and fast. But they lied. 

It didn’t matter, I kept reminding myself that I was out for an easy Sunday LSD 10km, right? Wrong! 

As much as you try slow down and not let it bother you that the walkers and prams have shot passed, it does! And so every now and then, I’d try push myself harder to keep up and do well. 

It was a flipping tough route. For me in any case. When I finished, I saw many a PB recorded on Strava. How? Did we run the same route? Well organized, packed! But hilly. 

Running the extra 2kms after completing 10kms was mentally tough! But I did it. 

I get it. It’s a race and that’s what people are there to do. As much as I thought I wouldn’t get caught up in the vibe, I couldn’t help it. It ended up being a really hard run because I didn’t know whether I was coming or going? 

Mmm, important to know before you start. If you’re not clear on what your run strategy is, it can be difficult to know if you had a good run or not. 

Lesson learnt. Oh and I’m never running the Northgate 10km race again! Just saying.