Archives for Apr,2017

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Leaving a Legacy

In closing off my previous post, I mentioned that the hard work and long hours of running your own business is all worth it in the end. Irrespective of whether you own your own business, work in a full-time job, or you’re a stay-at-home-mom/dad, the time and energy you are investing is worth it, because you are building your legacy.

Today I want to talk about legacy – what it is (from a dictionary point of view), my definition, and what legacy I would like to leave behind. My hope is that you will start thinking about what your legacy is looking like at the moment, and if you haven’t thought about it, that this will be the start of that journey for you.

 

Inheritance

One definition states that legacy is “a gift of property, especially personal property, as money, by will; a bequest” and further that it is “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.”

Another definition puts it this way, “something such as a tradition or problem that exists as a result of something that happened in the past”, and “something that someone has achieved that continues to exist after they stop working or die.”

I particularly love this definition –  “something handed down from one generation to the next.”  Legacy can also mean “gift – which is something acquired without compensation.”

Legacy refers to receiving or inheriting something from someone, without having to work for it. One of the definitions even refers to inheriting a problem, so legacy isn’t always positive. And that is exactly why we need to deliberately make a decision about the legacy that we will leave behind.

Planting so that someone else can harvest

Taking the above and adding a Zunshine flavour to it, I believe legacy is building something for those around you (current and next generation) so that they don’t have to start from scratch. Building a legacy is being a forerunner, laying foundations so that those who come after you can continue building. Making a path where there wasn’t one before. Sharing the wisdom and insight you learnt from making mistakes so that others don’t have to go through the same (painful) process.

Starting so someone else can finish well.

Planting so that someone else can harvest.

Investing so someone else can benefit.

You labour so that someone else can enjoy the fruit. You build, you sweat, you invest everything of yourself, so that the next generation can be victorious. Legacy is about investing into the future. Of course we can’t forget about today, but the plans you are executing today were plans made weeks, months, and even years ago. By bringing them to life today, you are living legacy now.

 

Being legacy-orientated

To live legacy, I believe you need to start by changing your mindset. We currently live in a fast-paced, instant-gratification world. However, being legacy-orientated means doing today so there will be benefit in the future – delaying the gratification and ultimately being altruistic in your efforts. It is about taking off the blinkers, and having a big-picture view.

It’s like race horses who get blinkers when they race so they can maintain tunnel vision, however, in order to be legacy-orientated, you need to stop being a race horse and get into the hot air balloon to see things from above. In the hot air balloon, you are positioning yourself to see the horison and the wide open spaces around you. Look far into the future at what the end goal looks like, and plan for the actions that need to be taken now that will ultimately get you (or those that come after you) there. Remember, legacy is not a sprint, it is more like a relay that goes on into eternity. The one runner hands over the baton to the next runner, to the next runner, to the next runner…

Before I started my business, I had to sit down and define what the purpose of my business would be. The heart behind Zunshine is, and will always be, people. I want Zunshine to help people unearth their true identity, polish off their dreams and goals, and journey with them to become the best version of themselves. By being the best version of ourselves, we are laying foundation for legacy in our own lives and ultimately preparing to pass on the baton to the next runner.

Of course legacy will look different for everyone, and this is merely my take on it, but we all want to work towards something. So take some time, explore your heart, dreams and passions, and start working on it so that your legacy will echo into eternity.

If you would like to start your legacy journey, give me a shout (zazel@zunshine.co.za) and we can get together for a cup of tea. 

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How I Started My Own Business

Today I want to share the basic principles I applied when I started my business, and how its helped me. I realise that everyone’s journey will look different but I am sure that you’ll be able to apply some of the principles I used, even if you are not looking to start your own business.

 

The Dream

In December 2014 I was sitting on the beach in Struisbaai (a beautiful little piece of heaven in the Western Cape, South Africa – 8km from the most southern tip of Africa), just letting the gentle waves wash over my soul. As usual, I was reminiscing about the year that was, and the year that was to come, and I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me in the direction of starting my own business. That was the first time I seriously started thinking about going out on my own.

I can be quite impulsive, but I knew that if I was going to go out on my own, I would have to take some time to plan this properly because let’s be honest – quitting your day job and just starting your own business is actually quite scary. Some people quit on a whim and jump right in, but my process took planning and some time.

 

The Principles of Preparation

It took me 15 months, from having that first nudge, to actually handing in my resignation, but I am glad I took my time to put solid building blocks in place for the foundation of Zunshine Consulting. I believe that the house you build is only as strong as your foundation, so I wanted to make sure my foundation was solid. I didn’t want to do things hastily and build a shaky foundation only to have to re-do things a couple of years down the line. I was fortunate, I had the time to put specific things in place before I took my leap of faith.

There are actually loads of things that go into thinking, planning and doing when starting a business, but the following 5 principles highlight, for me, the most important building blocks.

PRINCIPLE I – NAMING YOUR BUSINESS

You have to choose a name for your business. I believe there is so much power in a name, and therefore choosing a name for my business that expressed my vision and heart for Zunshine was important to me. Whatever your motives behind your name, make sure it means something to you and will to your clients too.

When I was a toddler, my parents used to say I brought sunshine with me whenever I entered a room. Even during varsity my close friends called me ‘Sunshine’.  I felt it fitting as I want to help people find their own sunshine (the light inside that makes you shine = potential) and shine brightly in their own lives. So I decided I would start there and go with ‘Sunshine’ for a business name.

And somewhere during the choosing-a-name-journey, the ‘S’ turned into a ‘Z’ and Zunshine was born.

PRINCIPLE II – YOUR DESIGN = YOUR IDENTITY

I went to see a graphic and web designer to help me express in my logo and website design the identity I wanted people to associate with my business. You can obviously design your own, but I wanted a professional look and feel right from the beginning. I wanted to do things properly. I loved working with Angie from Daniel+McKay.  Angie is funky, really listened to my heart for my business, and  made magic happen when we began to play around with some concepts (warm orange and yellow, circles like the sun, stabilising gray, and it’s all about the journey).

I read about the psychology of colours in marketing only after I had chosen the colours for my logo but it’s worth doing this before you choose your colours. I was fortunate, the colours stirred exactly the thoughts and feelings that I wanted people to experience when engaging with my brand:

  • Yellow:  happiness, optimism, clarity, warmth
  • Orange:  energetic, enthusiastic, fun
  • Gray:  balance, calm

PRINCIPLE III – GET THE ADMIN DONE 

Irrespective of the type of business you start, there will always be admin. Get the initial admin done quickly and put templates in place for recurring admin.

From all the things I spent my time on while getting my business up and running, admin took up most of it. Things to think about, admin-wise include:

  • Get a good accountant
  • Register your business and business name
  • Register a tax number (my accountant did my company and tax number registrations)
  • Write content for your website
  • Design a letterhead
  • Design a business card
  • Design a proposal template
  • Design a quote template
  • Design an invoice template
  • Design a presentation template
  • Design a quote and invoice register (to keep track of the amount(s) you quote and the amount(s) you actually invoice, as well as for document numbering)
  • Put a marketing strategy/plan together (my strategy wasn’t much of a strategy in the beginning, and to be honest, it is still evolving and changing on a monthly basis, but you have to start thinking about where you want to advertise your services/products, the social marketing channels you want to use, the content you will post, etc.)
  • Register a domain name for your website and email address (Angie did this for me)

The above is not an exhaustive list and I am sure we can spend time elaborating on each point mentioned, but that is not the purpose of today’s post.  Also, company and tax registrations mentioned above are applicable to the South African context.

Last thought on this point though, having templates in place made the actual work (writing a proposal, putting a quote together, sending out an invoice) so much more enjoyable because I didn’t have to spend time on designing documents when work started coming in. It might be time-consuming in the beginning, but it makes things so much easier later on and allows you to focus on the client and the actual work and not waste time on admin.

PRINCIPLE IV – RELATIONSHIPS ARE WORTH MORE THAN GOLD

Networking. Networking. Networking.

From all the principles that I applied, this has been the most important one. I am all about relationship-building as any business is ultimately built on/around people and you need good relationships to get people to work with or for you. My inner-introvert obviously don’t love big networking events (breakfasts, conferences, workshops, etc., although I try to attend at least one of these a quarter to stay up to date with what’s happening in my industry and to get my CPD points) but I love one-on-one tea dates with people. So that is exactly where I invest my time and energy when building relationships with others.

I also believe there is more than enough work and money to go around for everyone and if you have good relationships with other professionals in your industry, they are likely to refer work to you when their own plates are too full, or pull you into projects when they need a hand because they know you and have a relationship with you.

Relationships (building and maintaining) obviously look different for introverts and extroverts and you need to do what works for you. I met and built relationships with a lot of people and businesses during my tenure as a full-time employee, and from those relationships I have been able to establish one stable and consistent stream of income since I started my own business.

PRINCIPLE V – LEARN FROM OTHERS

There are many people out there who started their own businesses and you may already know a few. Call them up, arrange a tea (or coffee) date and chat to them. Make a list of things you are wondering about, things you are looking forward to, and things you are afraid of, and share them with this person. They are more than likely to tell you about their own journey and you can learn valuable lessons from them.

I had such a person – Marzenna (founder and owner of Holistan) who freely and eagerly shared her journey of starting her own business. She even ran a workshop on starting your own business in our industry, and wrote an e-book (Chasing the Dream which is so worth the purchase if you are a professional wanting to start a practice or consultancy based in South Africa). This gave me immense insight into the world of starting, owning and running your own business. She shared her wisdom and knowledge and I could apply some of the golden nuggets on my own journey.

 

Being Zunshine Every Day

In February 2016 I wrote my final board exam to register as an Industrial Psychologist and that, for me, was the final milestone to pass in order to get to a place where I could step out and start my business. After my exam day, I typed up my resignation letter and resigned. My notice month was bitter-sweet as I had joined the company as a graduate and had grown and learnt so much during the 9 years I spent there. My timing was somehow perfect as well, as the company was down-scaling and my job wasn’t big enough for a full-time person anymore, so they offered me a part-time contract.

After 15 months of dreaming and planning, spending time putting proper principles in place, and getting ready to take that leap of faith, I strapped on my parachute and on 1 April 2016 jumped out of the employee plane into the land of business ownership.

I make sure that I do every job with passion and energy, and let my ‘zunshine’ shine through to all my clients. Getting up in the morning and going through the day is really so much easier when you enjoy what you do. It is true though; working for yourself often requires more hours and working harder than ever before.  However, the reward lies in getting home after a long day, kicking off your shoes, enjoying a cup of tea, and knowing that your time and energy is being productively invested into building the legacy that you want to leave behind.

 

I hope this post helped you in some way – whether it’s to start thinking about your own business, setting new business goals, or pouring your energy into your current job, I would love to be part of your journey.

Drop me a comment or an email (zazel@zunshine.co.za) and we can have a cup of tea together and start chatting about getting a coaching relationship started. I look forward to hearing from you! 🙂

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Let’s get to know each other over a cup of tea

Life is like a cup of tea

I guess I should properly introduce myself before I ramble on. That would be proper manners. Go make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy a glimpse into the life that is mine.

I live in Johannesburg, South Africa. No, there aren’t any lions roaming around in the streets and I do not know Pieter Labuschagne that lives in Cape Town. South Africa has a population of 54 million people by the way.  I have just turned 33 and I am the proud proud owner of my own business for a whole year now in April. I am an Industrial Psychologist and specialise in psychometric assessments, people management and development, and woman’s coaching.

I have been married to the most awesome man for 4 years and 7 months. Very corny, but he really is the best human that I know (will refer to him as ‘my human’ from hereon). We met on a blind date, got engaged 3 months later and said our “I do’s” 9 months after that. It was just right and I knew that he was my person, but often when we talk about it now, we can’t believe that our parents didn’t send us off to a crazy institution for rushing into things. But like good red wine, being married just gets better and better with time. We are trying for little humans, so hopefully our human clan will be growing some time soon.

We have two non-human children – a German Shephard, Zara, and a Husky, Kiara. Zara is two and a half and Kiara is fourteen. Zara is the goof ball, with only one upright ear (her one ear didn’t get the growth memo). She loves attention, cuddles and playing fetch. In hind-sight we should have called her Shadow, as she follows me around EVERY WHERE! Kiara is our old lady, with a big attitude, but a bigger heart. She will come to you for cuddles when it suits her and you better not dare touch her when she hasn’t asked for it. Although she is old, and does a lot of face planting when her front legs give in while running, she still loves going for walks and runs, just at a slower pace.

My parents have been married for 35 years. Happily married and often act like teenagers, which my human and I find very inspiring, as we really learn a lot from them. I have a younger brother, who just turned 30 (gosh, I am getting old!).

I love to laugh, I am a tea cup fanatic, and appreciate a good book. I can eat copious amounts of popcorn, drink just as much tea, and love being outdoors. I avoid conflict, and when I can’t avoid it, I tend to be quite harsh with my words. I am a typical introvert, as per my previous post, and there’s usually more going on in my head than what is coming out of my mouth. I value honesty, realness, and honour. I can be quite impulsive. I believe in boundaries in your life and that you always have a choice. My life is grace and I am an eternal optimist. Holding on to hope gets me through bad spots, and for everything else my human makes me laugh and I drink a cup of tea (I really do love tea!).

Take me to the ocean any day, and I am a happy person. I love taking photos, (which my human doesn’t always appreciate), notice details when people change their hair or buy a new item of clothing, and love birthdays! I cry at weddings, I cry in all movies (even when I watch a movie for a second time, in the same scenes), and I cry when someone does something thoughtful for me. I love getting flowers (my human needs to still work on that one a bit), do hand-written letters to friends (yes, I am old-school), and sticking inspirational quotes and pictures on my motivation board.

My passion is to help others identify potential in themselves, or cultivate what they already have, and then journey with them from point A to point B. Helping others find their true identity is what it is all about for me. I am a motivator and love bringing positive energy into any situation. That ‘A-ha moment’ that people have makes it all worth it for me.

And, that is me.

So, welcome in my world. I hope that we will have fun on this journey together!

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First Attempt

Stepping stones(1)
Gosh, I badly want to start writing a proper blog. Not just ramblings (which this is probably going to be for a while) but a good, worth-while, people-actually-want-to-read-what-I-write, type of blog.

It’s not like I don’t write at all. I even have a little blog-notebook that I carry around with me. I’ve mapped out a couple of posts, even typed some up, but somehow I’ve never posted anything.

Hence, finally, this first attempt.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret…. I am an extreme introvert. If you know me well you would be shocked, as I laugh quite loud, love having weekly tea dates with my person, and can be quite funny, direct and sometimes overpowering and controlling, so people assume that I am an extrovert. Not true. On the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) I scored a 10/10 on Introversion. I do think the misconception is also related to the meaning of introversion and extroversion. It is not about how quiet or loud you are – it is all about where you get your energy from.

Answer this quick question: After a tough day, do you prefer to a) go home, be by yourself or one/two other people, and enjoy the quiet to reflect on the situation; or b) gather a bunch of people, socialise with others and talk about the situation to a group? If you prefer option (a), you are likely an introvert – you generate energy by yourself, think and reflect on situations and choose to spend your time with one or two other people at a time. If you prefer option (b), you are likely an extrovert – you generate energy by being with others, sharing your experience with a group and generally do not want to be alone.

Okay, so back to my previous thought – being an extreme introvert means that there is a heck of a lot of thinking going on, but not a lot of talking. Which results in me putting down my thoughts on paper or typing them up, but rarely sending them off into the glorious vastness of cyber space. The thought actually terrifies me slightly, to be honest. Am I brave enough? Can I actually write something for anyone anywhere to read and perhaps comment on?

I’ve read so many articles on how to write a good blog. What the do’s and don’ts are. Pinned things – I even have a board on Pinterest dedicated to writing a blog.

Have I blogged?

Nope.

Will I?

I will remain outrageously hopeful…

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