So you want to be an entrepreneur?

I attended the HP FY13 channel strategy event on Wednesday where you gave a talk on the economy and the happenings in and around South Africa.

I just wanted to drop you a note to say thank you, sadly I missed you in the crowd at the event but I really enjoyed your talk and I listened attentively. I’m 32 years of age working in the ICT sector.

I come from a small mining community called Orkney in the North West and started my career in Johannesburg back in late 1997 and have since rapidly moved through the ranks as a technical specialist in IT.

In the last four years I have quickly progressed in the management ranks and have really taken a liking to the world of business and more so having a personal desire to become a successful entrepreneur. Sadly my passion seems to have moved away from IT into what I believe would be a lifestyle addiction to the world of motorcycling (I’m sure you probably have little or no interest in that given your passion with horses) but I have very recently decided that I would much rather wake up each day doing what I love most.

The point I am trying to make is that after your talk that evening and having just read some of your articles on your blog, I find your talks and blogs to be extremely insightful and I’ve taken some key points that really resonate or make sense for me:

South Africa and the African continent is really full of opportunities, don’t just leave on a whim, understand the economics and how well we are positioned as a country and seize the opportunity.

Be bold and follow and follow your dreams. You made the call to start Moneyweb above your garage back in 1997 and you made a success of it. Of course each decision should be a well calculated one.

I might be young and possibly naive but I want to be successful but more so happy and for that I want to follow my dream. I am in the process of researching how to go about launching a successful magazine and I don’t expect it to be easy by no stretch of the imagination but I’m up for the challenge.

My condolences for the loss of your good friend, David Carte, I wish I had a way with words as you do. I want to commend you, not that you need it from me, but still for the contributions you have made to all that have read your articles and followed you.

As my boss always reminds me… as Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see.”



Alec Hogg responds:

It’s such a pleasure to reach out to young, bright minds. Especially when they care enough to write about it. Thanks Allan. Because of you, it was my pleasure to be at HP last week.

The good news is from what you have explained, there’s no doubt you’re on the right track. Over the years I’ve engaged with a lot of successful entrepreneurs. You’d be surprised how many come from small towns like Orkney. And have, like you, risen rapidly by applying themselves in the corporate world before discovering something didn’t quite fit. Usually they chafed at being told to do things they disagreed with; hating not being able to apply ideas that were so obvious to them but too risky for the corporation. So they took a leap of faith, gave up the security of the salary cheque and threw themselves into their passion, a field often far removed from their existing occupation.

Before you start your exciting new journey, a word of advice. Be sure you absolutely KNOW what you are going to do is better than what is available. And remind yourself constantly of this fact. There will be dark days when it will feel the only thing sustaining the dream is that knowledge, that conviction. Great businesses really are built through 99% perspiration and only 1% inspiration. That’s why entrepreneurs need magnums of passion.

You might also learn from my experience. Always keep 51% of your company. Even if it takes a bit longer to get to the destination, it’s so much more satisfying doing it your way. And removes the chance that someone with deeper pockets and different opinions hijacks your dream.

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