Desiree Brouwer is the co-founder of Nonzero Africa, a company that builds bridges between “Small and Growing Business (SGB’s)”, and the available knowledge, resources and networks required for sustainable growth. Featuring on episode #2 of our popular Future Females Show hosted by Media Personality & Transformational Coach, Susana Kennedy, and Co-Founder & CEO of Future Females, Lauren Dallas, Desiree talked about how to translate your purpose into a business model.
“They’re not doing you a favour, you are bringing something exceptional to the table and adding value to them…”
You chose your business partner in a very interesting way… Tell us more about that journey.
Me and my business partner, Tanya, could not be more different. As a result of that, we haD met each other quite a few times, but we didn’t like each other at all. When she initially reached out to me to work together on the pilot for a television show, I was kind of reluctant because I didn’t have a connection with her. Our first meeting didn’t go so well, but we decided to meet again. We were two women reluctantly bringing their A-game and although we both still didn’t like each other, we knew we would pay money for the other’s skill set. That is how we started working together. It is a proper marriage for both of us and basically the most functional relationship either of us has ever had.
What’s really important is that we tend to work with people that are our friends and the beauty is that, the moment you have a complementary skill set, it automatically becomes very clear. Like with any other marriage it is a consistent growth journey. We check in literally every single quarter to make sure we still love what we are doing and that we are still aligned with what it is that we are building.
Choosing a partner that is good for you because of their skill sets and not necessarily because you want to be friends with them is a strategic move that so many of us (women) sometimes forget because we get excited
What would be the most important thing you would say to female entrepreneurs who want to succeed in this world?
There are three things I would like to share. Firstly, it is super important to know your WHY, to be very clear on why you are getting out of bed every single morning, and to know what it is that you are contributing to the world. I see a lot of small business owners and founders who have some sort of vision, but it is almost too loose. Unless you properly solidify it and give it roots, you tend to become all over the show. It is like the money leads you, and the money guides you and as a result of that, you tend to almost end up with nothing. The moment you know your WHY, it becomes your compass. The big thing for me is to change your perception of what it is that you are doing.
Secondly, 99.9% of people out there are not going to make that cold call, they are not going to walk up to that person at the conference, and they are not going to send that email. As a result of that, the moment that you do, you instantly place yourself with the key decision makers, the change makers, and those people who are truly making a difference – because they have done that too. It is this thing of stepping out of your comfort zone, properly, and going there. You will see that most people in positions of power will respect it because they recognize themselves. Nobody got to that top spot by following the rules. If you really want to make a change and shoot for the moon, then actively step out of your comfort zone.
You never know who knows who… You are always four people away from meeting Beyoncé – Susanna Kennedy
And lastly, I constantly see women trying to be something that they are not, having to feel that they need to behave a certain way. The biggest thing, and this has always been my biggest strength, is to truly be your authentic self. As a result of that, you will start to attract partners and sponsors that are like you. It is so important that you are in touch with yourself. As a result, you become very selective. Instead of trying to push through, go for places and strategically find the places where you find those people that believe in what you believe and who are like you. If you know what it is that you stand for, you can proactively go out there for every single client that you don’t want and who is toxic.
You are worthy of going after your dream, standing in your truth, and succeeding.
What is your version of success?
For my personal life, it is really about embracing this constant growth journey and accepting who I am, but also who I am not. Work-life balance is also really important, specifically being an entrepreneur!
In business, for me, it is about the amount of lives we can actually impact, the amount of businesses we can grow, the ripple effect, etc.
If you could celebrate yourself for one thing, what would it be?
Freedom. Being able to be free has always been very important to me.
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