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Lessons from one entrepreneur’s journey: A social scaling success story

If you told me two years ago that I would be writing about what it’s like to own a global entrepreneurial accelerator I would’ve written you up as one of those pie-in-the-sky-dreamer-not-doer type of people.

If you told me that I would be part of the solution that:

Helps a virtual assistant to scale from having 1 – 12 clients in three months
Helps a web developer to go from retrenched to earning 115% of his salary in 6 months
Helps a marketing agency owner scale to the point where he’s now building is $10,000,000 business

I would’ve told you that you probably are talking to the wrong Nestene, even though there is only one Nestene that I know of in this world. But as I’m writing this, the fact of the matter is that I am that Nestene, and I have been a part of doing that. And I am so grateful for being that Nestene.

See, two years ago, I lacked confidence. As an entrepreneur I had just gone through the terribly difficult journey of building up my own audit practice, from scratch and with no help. I built that practice from zero turnover to R1,200,000 turnover. I started it by myself. By the time I was done with it, it was supporting a team of four. It took me around 5 years, and every ounce of strength, resilience and determination I thought I had within me to achieve that.

And, even though I had done all these things… I still lacked confidence in my entrepreneurial ability. The road to success in entrepreneurship is never easy, or clear, and it had taken a toll on me! We had achieved a lot, but it wasn’t enough, and I wasn’t sure how to go about building it to the point where I could take from it what I needed most at that point in time – a freaking holiday!

Then I met Peter. Peter introduced me to a different way of building and scaling. He showed me how to make friends with the people that would potentially become our scaling solutions, even way before we would enter into negotiations.

He called this “the coffee first, business later” mentality. We built a community around it. Every person that joined our community we focused on becoming friends with. We focused on building a sense of camaraderie, purpose and community amongst our newly acquired friends.

And we tied it all together with a bow of values centered around Fun, Authentic, Caring, Teachable, Safe and Supportive entrepreneurship. In the beginning we didn’t have money to hire any of these people to help us with anything. What we could offer them was – assistance, our feedback, our minds, strategies, connections, and some of the resources we’d been building up in the community and so we gave this.

We gave whatever we could. Even when we were living on bowl after bowl after bowl of only rice, we kept giving what we could. Build the relationships and the money will follow, is what Peter said during those days. Even when we needed the money, if we felt we found an entrepreneur that couldn’t afford to be a part of our community but NEEDED to be there, as long as they were someone we could build a strong relationship with, we would just give them access.

We gave, and gave, and gave.

Slowly, our situation changed. We started having enough funds to cherry pick hire entrepreneurs from the community to help us with some of our processes, asset creation, etc. It was incredibly easy at that point in time to know who you needed to hire in, for what process. Because we had been spending time with all these individual entrepreneurs, we knew their stories, we knew their skill sets, we’d seen what they are capable of producing.

Read the rest of my story in Dr. Meiya‘s Financeium Magazine Issue 03. Find it here.

Thank you, Dr. Meiya, for encouraging me to share my story and the lessons that go with it. 🙂