In light of August being Women’s Month, I thought it would be the perfect time to promote some hard working mums. You could find the service provider you were looking for or be inspired to take that leap you’ve been dreaming of.
Q&A WITH EVETTE
1. Tell me a little about yourself without including details of your family and work (it’s tough I know 😂)
I am number two of four kids, raised by two of the strongest people I know, from a small town in Limpopo. A qualified interior designer by trade, with a passion for anything that is creative, pretty and clever at the same time. I won’t call myself an extrovert, but I enjoy spending time with interesting people, especially the ones that make me stop and think. I dedicate most of my time to work, home and close friends and family, and I would much rather choose a quiet campsite over a noisy crowded event. I’ve been called ambitious and innovative, although all I can say is that I decided from a very early age that I “don’t want to work for a boss”. I guess that’s been the all-time inspiration behind my entrepreneurial spirit.
2. How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I have one for now. Olivia will be turning one year old later this month.
3. What is your side hustle? And when did you start?
I’m the owner of Soccermom (www.soccermom.co.za) – a transport solution for kids with busy parents (although these days it’s more a case of parents with busy kids). The company was established in 2006, but I took over the reins in 2016. We place reliable drivers with families to assist in getting the kids to school, home and activities. Almost like Uber for kids, but the family have the same (usually lady) driver all the time. We operate in Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban.
4. What did you do before starting your own business AND what made you leave?
I worked in the design and building industry. My last job was with a fairly large property management company, and although I enjoyed the business, the corporate culture got the best of me. That, and the traffic. I could never come to terms with the fact that I was spending 3 hours of my day in my car, going (what felt to me) nowhere slowly! I quit in 2013, then tried a few creative things which wasn’t necessarily successful, although very enjoyable! Before getting involved in Soccermom late in 2015, I was working as a freelance interior designer and still take on occasional projects where possible.
5. How do you allocate your time between work and family?
I am blessed with an amazing support structure. Thanks to family looking after Olivia in the mornings, I have about 4 hours of uninterrupted “office time” during which I do everything that must be done in office hours such as phone calls and meetings. The rest of the work must wait until later in the evening. I try to spend as much of the afternoons as possible with Olivia and evenings together as a family until her bedtime. Although there’s always something to be done in the office, I do try to switch off from a Saturday afternoon until Monday morning.
6. What have been the hardships of running your own business?
Successful time management. With a small business you’re required to wear all the hats, from coffee lady to managing clients to marketing your business. Deciding which to prioritize and when is by far one of the hardest things to get right. Just as you think you have a good system going, a new idea (or new problem) comes up that demands attention.
7. What have been the highlights?
Personally, getting the opportunity to operate and grow a business on my own terms – as I’ve always dreamed of. I was involved in Soccermom from very early on: started as a driver in 2006 during my student years, then got the Cape Town branch going in 2009 before stepping away for some time. I returned in 2015 and when I got the opportunity to buy the business in 2016, it was as though the circle was completed.
On the business side, taking our business from a fully manual operation (as in fill out, scan and email back a word document as application form) to a functioning online system where every client and driver have a personal profile to effectively manage their schedules, details and payments. It’s something I’m very proud of! It’s still in its teething phase with a few problems, but in general we’ve made huge progress in less than 2 years with ongoing improvements and new service offerings to ensure value to our clients.
8. What advice do you have for other women who are on the cusp of taking the leap into entrepreneurship?
Making the decision to leave your job (with the guaranteed income and leave days) will turn out to be the easy part. Being a “work for myself” mom is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but at the same time there’s nothing more rewarding than knowing all the hours I put in is 100% for myself and our family’s future.
– Time management is key – without a schedule and/or routine you’ll be going around in circles all day long
– Set yourself up in such a way that you can work wherever you are. Answer emails on your phone while you wait in a queue, get a mobile app for sending quotes, develop your site to be mobile friendly – every spare second becomes useful if you have the right tools at hand.
– Don’t be afraid to ask for help
– “Be where you are”: if you’re at work, focus on that. But when you’re at home, put away the phone and be totally present with your family. If not, you’ll end up doing everything halfway anyway J
9. How can we get in touch with you?