Hi Darlings, So today I spoke with Nothando Maposa. Before running her current catering business Nothando ran a modelling and promotions agency in Johannesburg. After taken a gap year to travel she found herself in The Netherlands. She takes people on a South African culinary safari and I had the pleasure to interview this boss lady. Read all about her career journey in the interview.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING EXACTLY?
Currently, I run a catering business, in which I host cooking workshops and pop up dinners as well as kitchen takeovers. Sharing is a big part of my culture which is heavily influenced by Mandela’s vision of a rainbow nation and Ubuntu. South Africa is a melting pot of people and cultures, I aim to showcase some dishes that are loved by these communities around South Africa, thus taking people on a culinary safari.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?
I found the food here bland and not varied enough, often those that tasted my meals came back asking for more.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS, AND IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS?
Prior to moving to The Netherlands, I ran a modelling and promotions agency that worked closely with a set of trending spots in Johannesburg. I took a gap year to travel and find myself and found myself in The Netherlands, I spent time in a culture exchange Au pair job, then spent a few years building my own family.
“No, is never an option. Seek the top! Sometimes you have to be that top!”
WHAT SPECIFIC ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Don’t look back, go for it!
MY GREATEST OBSTACLE AND HOW DID YOU DEALT WITH IT:
I found myself down and out in a toxic relationship, where I ended up in a woman’s shelter on two separate occasions. I was dealt a blow with depression and the realization that life needed to continue for myself and child. I was a shell of my former self, I had to rediscover who I was outside emotional and mental turmoil. With family, friends and faith I rebuilt myself and my confidence, I learned not to let the toxic past continue to haunt me, but rather put my best foot forward and rebuild a life again so my child could have a childhood worth remembering.
MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:
My proudest accomplishment would have to be all that I have managed to achieve in the last two years. I started with absolutely nothing but a small suitcase that my son and I shared and nothing else to our name, to be where I am currently with all I need, as I reach wonderful people eager to learn from my skill and culture.
HOW I BLEND LIFE AND WORK TO CREATE THE LIFE I WANT:
My job still allows me to be a hands-on mum. My child loves to cook as well and is often tinkering in the kitchen alongside me, shooting tutorials for his friends. I enjoy meeting new people, and I meet so many wonderful people at the events I host.
I AM INSPIRED BY:
I am inspired by the women in my family, from my mum to my gran and aunts, they have equipped me with all the life lessons and tools I used to be where I am today. I am greatly inspired by many who live their life purpose and share their journeys.
WHY I CHOSE THIS CAREER:
When I found myself living in The Netherlands, I had to redefine who I was and what I was going to do. My Dutch was terrible, to say the least, so I took on my passion for cooking and good food and turned it into a business.
HOW I PREPARE FOR SUCCESS:
I personally feel if you are able to envision what you want to achieve you have your foot in the right direction. The only way is to get up and do whatever it is you set out to do each and every day, whilst being your own cheerleader. With your goal and your focus in line, you are bound to become who you set out to be.
ARE THERE SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES, DISADVANTAGES TO BEING A WOMAN BUSINESS OWNER?
I do feel there are some advantages of women being in business. Often women in business are either not heard or overlooked by their male counterparts. I feel this has led to many women collaborating thus bringing out the best in their business. I also find that women tend to be a bit more patient and empathetic, this can be beneficial in leadership positions as they are more open to listening and working with others on new ideas or exploring the potential of their current projects.
Lastly, I personally find my ability to multitask at home while I juggle my son has been a great training ground. The ability to manage competing responsibilities also is important for an entrepreneur, as one often finds themselves wearing different hats at the same time.
Just as much as some men make great leaders, some women are just as capable. The beauty is everyone has their own strengths.
DID YOU WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN? WAS IT AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR YOU?
I did not start with a formal business plan, I do believe in having your objectives written down so you can reflect and see if you are still on course. I first started by mapping out my goals and left notes in various places of what I wanted to achieve, the notes had to be where I would come across them, journal, phone etc.
MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS TOOL IS…
I have found Social Media a great way to reach a part of my target audience. I also find attending meet ups, various workshops and events have helped.
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN IS…
The best advice I was given was “no, is never an option! Seek the top!” Sometimes you have to be that top!