Entrepreneur interview: Getting to know a food truck owner

I have to confess: I have never eaten any cuisines sold by a food truck. It’s on my bucket list though.

The closest thing to a food truck for me is the ice cream trucks. I hear the ice cream truck’s song in my head now.

Recently, while taking part in the #rsabizblogs blogging challenge by Sam Posselt of the SA Biz Chat tribe, I met Julie George who is a food truck owner. Whoop whoop!

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[All images supplied by Gourmet Girl PE.]
Her gorgeous pink truck also known as The Gourmet Girl PE is seen driven around in Port Elizabeth. Julie sells pancakes with sweet and savoury fillings. Hmmm!

Other delicacies include doughnuts and carrot cakes. Julie says she also does catering.

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Here’s 10 things you should know about this food truck owner:

1. She’s from Johannesburg originally. “I now live in Central in the Heritage district,” she says. “I love it!”
2. This is her third career in her life.  “I started out as a Graphic Designer, did that for about eight years. Then I went into kitchen and bathroom design and did that for 15 years. Two years  ago I went into the food and hospitality business.  However, I have been doing specialty cakes for the past eight years.”

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Julie George, owner of the Gourmet Girl PE.

3. Where did her entrepreneurship journey start? “Well it’s hard to pin point as I have had a couple of businesses in my younger years, so I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart.  Gourmet Girl was started in September 2015.”
4. How did she get hold of the food truck? “I bought the tuk tuk from Klinicare – it was their delivery vehicle. I then had a friend of mine convert it and paint it.”
5. Tell us about maintaining your tuk tuk. “Maintenance is a bit tricky in Port Elizabeth, as there is now only one place that does it. I am fortunate enough to have a friend who is very savvy and has been doing all the necessary maintenance for me.”
6. Does she clean the truck herself? ” Hahaha no! I go to the car wash and have had a young chap looking for work, clean it for me.  I do however clean the serving areas myself every time I use it.”

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7. The best part of her job is the people she works with, especially the customers. “I love the festive atmosphere at events and always have a good time.”
8.  Her small achievements this year? “Well I’ve had some big (to me anyway) achievements this year, mainly getting my blog up and running.  Winning the #rsabizblogs challenge was a huge achievement for me, and just learning as I go along in this business is an achievement.”

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Yummy carrot cakes!

9. Lessons entrepreneurship has taught her: Never give up.  “I’ve learned it’s not all glamour, but extremely hard work. The most important thing I’ve learned is how rewarding it is [to be an entrepreneur].”

10. She joined the SA Biz Chat tribe and says it’s beneficial to belong to a network. “Since coming into the blogging tribe, I am blown away by the camaraderie and friendliness shown by all and the willingness to help one another.  I am very blessed to be a part of it.”

Thank you Julie for giving us the opportunity to get to know you. All the best with your journey ahead!
Connect with Julie AKA Gourmet Girl PE on Facebook or Twitter.

7 Steps to Use Twitter When Attending A Live Event + Why Your Business Should Tweet

It pays to live tweet at an event. People who attended the MTN Business South Africa‘s digital entrepreneur masterclass literally saw how the best tweeters of the day got rewarded. The winners got prizes from the day’s sponsors.

Some of the tweets were direct quotes of the day’s speakers, while others posed questions relating to the topics.

As a journalist I learnt the importance of live tweeting a few years ago. At my previous job, Die Son in Port Elizabeth we even got paid airtime if we were great tweeters for a month. That was a great incentive for me – especially since I have family who lives in Cape Town that I had wanted to call. [I owned a Blackberry, I never bought airtime, only data 🙂 Ja, I’m a cheapskate.]

Reasons for live tweeting an event:
— Most people (especially those who love checking their social media platforms like Twitter for news) suffer from Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).
— Your publication or business gets airplay, meaning their news gets seen by many people and if it’s great content, you get retweets.
— If you continuously share good content, you become a trustworthy source.
— Lastly, YOU GET MORE FOLLOWERS if you share good content.

So what do you tweet, especially if you’re at a live event?

Live tweets are especially great if you are at an industry-related event. Before you tweet, ask the organisers if they have a hashtag [#] for the event. Also find out what their Twitter handle is so that you can tag them. These organisers can then retweet any of your tweets if they’re good.

The Hubspot says that researching before an event is very important. You can create templates before the event and use it to promote the event beforehand – and while the occasion is taking place.

Tweet what you hear or see: Any interesting quotes of speakers will do.

Images and videos work well too. I sometimes take images of people attending the event, especially the speakers.

Try to be personal too: Ask questions relating to the topic discussed. You can also tweet your feelings about being at the event – being positive is key!

Regularly check your notifications to see if any tweeps send you questions about the event. Even if someone asks you where is the event or what is the agenda, try to answer – the more exposure the better.

Be engaging: look at what other attendees are tweeting. If anyone tweets something nice, retweet them. Also try to make a conversation with them.

My number 1 journalism advice: when in doubt, leave it out. This means that if you are unsure of any information, for instance you are not sure if the statistics mentioned at the event is correct, DO NOT TWEET IT.

I hope you found this informative. The above is my perspective. I wrote it as part of Sam Posselt‘s 7-Day #rsabizblogs Challenge. Sam is co-founder is the blogger and business network, SA Biz Chat.

To find out how to use Twitter, read more here.

If there is anything relating to Twitter or tweets you would like to teach me, please, you’re welcome to. Thank you for reading.

Networking: surprising ways to connect with strangers

I don’t know if it’s just me but I like watching people.
For example I used to watch people at night clubs. A lot of them seem expectant, like they are expecting to meet someone that night.

I have been at that stage too. You expect someone to talk to you and make a connection. Heck, I even met some new people in the ladies’ bathroom while we check if we still look good. [If the bathroom looks very nice, you take some photo’s with your friends.]

I am not saying everyone going to a night club is expectant. Some just go there to dance and drink with friends.

The same thing goes for being at a business event. A lot of us go there to network and meet new people, possible clients. But are you one of those that are a bit shy and expectant that someone might talk to you first?

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I have to talk to people, because I am a journalist. No matter how shy I am, I have to mingle because I might meet someone and find a new story for the publication I work for.

LET’S TALK NEWSPAPERS
I wrote a story this week on the Pocket Reporter. It’s a new cellphone app designed to help cadet journalists of the community and grassroots level.

So basically, it helps you get information for the story you are working on. For example, the app gives you questions that you can fill in while working on the story. This way you will have efficient information for your story.

Are there apps that help you talk to someone for the first time? I don’t know.

I do know that approximately 28-million people read independent publications. This is according to the Association of Independent Publishers in South Africa. The organisation says their members print more than 7-million (7,000,340) copies publications like newspapers per month.

So this means A LOT of people in the country reads community and grassroots level newspaper.

I have worked at a newspaper as a journalist and I have realised that a lot of people want their stories to be told. A lot of people want to be listened to. A lot of people want to read others’ stories, especially if they can identify with the person in the story.

WHAT’S MY POINT?
Newspapers or any other publication like a church or company newsletter being printed, shows us that there are stories to be told.

While being a journalist I always heard the term “everybody has a story to tell”.

So whether in a night club or a business event, you have a story to tell AND someone else has a story to share. Holler!

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HOW TO GET SOMEBODY’S STORY?
I often start my networking sessions at an event with a question that could come off as dumb. Like, “are you also an entrepreneur” I would ask the person next to me.

I saw Christopher Barrat’s video on Tedx Talks. He says (successful) networking can be placed in four categories: 1- Know. 2- Like. 3-Trust. 4-Buy.

In his talk, Barrat says you have to be interested before being interesting. That’s why the first two categories are important.

“It’s about how you make them feel [referring to the people you are networking to],” says Barrat.
“Be fascinated by them.”

If you are fascinated by them, chances are that they will start to like you. Once they like you, they will trust you.
Once the trust is there, this person (or people) will buy into you or [buy a product/ service] from you.

So whether you are a business-person or just someone who wants to meet new people, try expecting something different.

Instead of making it about, thinking “someone might talk to me tonight” – rather go and be the first one to talk, then try finding out someone else’s story.

Introduce yourself and get to know someone. Then follow Barrat’s steps.

To find out what else Barrat has to say on networking, watch this video:

Have you done any networking lately? How was it? Do you have any tips on meeting new people?

PS. I have been focusing on the theme “what I learn as a journalist” this week after joining Sam Posselt‘s #rsabizblogs Challenge. Sam is the co-founder of SA Biz Chat, a network that connects brands and bloggers/ small business owners. Today is Day 6 of the Challenge. Today’s theme of the challenge is “anything goes”.

Thank you Sam for the cool tips you send via email.

Success story: Radio journalist share his small victory

I am starting off the week with my “Small Successes” series. In this series, I ask people from various career fields to share the personal achievements they could air- fist pump to. What is a small victory you had this year?

Izak Du Plessis is the first one to share. He is a radio journalist and presenter at RSG in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. This radio station is part of the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

Du Plessis’ love for storytelling makes him passionate about his career. This Gautenger says he also enjoys meeting people and experiencing the extraordinary.

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Du Plessis shared what his small achievement is, and also other little things about himself with us:

Where did you grow up & where are you living now?

I am currently living in Melville. My father was a magistrate who got transferred every three years. So, I grew up all over the country.

Why are you a radio journalist?

I love stories!

What does a day in the life of Izak look like?

I wake up at 5:00am. Rush to work just before 6:00 where I am part of the Monitor team, a current affairs program that takes place between 6:00 and 8:00 daily. After the program we prepare for Spektrum, which is a shorter format of Monitor in the afternoon between 13:00 and 14:00.

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HIS ACCOLADES

Have you won any awards for your job as a journalist?

Yes, in 2015 I received an Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuur Vereniging (the national Afrikaans language and culture association) Veertjie for a series I did on farm attacks.

This year I won the regional and national Vodcaom Journalist of the Year award for my stories on drought in the Bushveld, hijacked buildings in Hillbrow and a series on the Namaqualand.

What would you say are the small achievements you could celebrate this year?

I succeeded in being a good dad – according to my kids – in spite of being divorced. They visit me every weekend and during holidays.

THE FOLLOWING IS VERY IMPORTANT…

Izak, what lessons have you learnt?

Don’t live your life according to the expectations of others.

Thank you Izak for your time. We enjoyed getting to know you!

If you want to share your small achievements with us, email melissajavan1@gmail.com.

My ideal holiday looks like this

I am so looking forward to the holidays just so that I can go visit my family.

I realised that one strongly feels the need for family when you become a parent. Really, it does take a village to raise a child. So yes, I am looking forward to visit my family, because then I can share my duties.

There is no denying this: I am looking forward to my mother offering to bath my child.

The past few months I have learned to try and juggle being a working mother and a blogger. It is not easy and it is very frustrating.

So Cassarica Nadas, mommy of the online bloggers’ network The Blog Tag, here’s my answer to your question about what is my ideal festive season: My ideal festive season is being with my extended family – parents, adult daughter, sibling, cousins, aunts and uncles (in no particular order).

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MY NETWORK LIVES TOO FAR AWAY

My parents live in another province – the Northern Cape. We will have to drive more than 1300km from Johannesburg to go see them. All of us cannot wait, because the last time the grandparents saw the Princess was when she was three months old.

She could hardly even move around if I remember correctly. Princess is now crawling all over the place, packing out the book case and learning to walk. I also often find her singing or talking while she is busy playing on her own. Her dad says this is a good sign, “it means she has a great imagination.”

Princess was hardly a month old when I realised that I needed a village here in Johannesburg. It really sucked that my parents couldn’t physically help me raise my child when she was still a newborn. Yes, my husband was around, but I felt that another mother would help me better.

A few friends around here chimed in and even offered their nannies whenever I felt like I needed a break. This is the thing I noticed: other parents show their support. Even strangers, like this one lady took care of my shopping trolley when it seemed to be rolling away while I stood with a baby in my arms. We were both standing in line to buy pies at a shop that day.

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FAMILY MEANS FUN

The last time we had a get-together in the Northern Cape during December 2014 holidays was really fun. A lot of the families who came to visit my parents, booked themselves into chalets. We had this system where each day a group would have his chance to cook for the day.

I enjoyed the variety of dishes. For instance, my one aunt has a fish braai. In one of the fishes, there was even cheese in it. I LOVE CHEESE!

It was also a time to play games like dominoes and tennis. I woke up early one morning before we went to the beach for the day. I made a list of questions to ask my cousins. I was the game show host. It was a challenge to for example come up with questions about songs, because the ages of my cousins ranged.

I plan to set up this informal 30 seconds game again. I remember we laughed a lot while playing this game.

One of the challenges was: whenever a team loses a round, that team must abba (piggy back) the winning team. And like I said, the game had different ages and sizes of people participating.

TAKING THE BREAK IN THE NAME OF THE HOLIDAYS

For December, Mel’s Postbox is taking a break. Yes, my mind will probably not switch off yet from content ideas. I don’t know about you and your profession, but as a content creator, I always think of ideas.

The last time when we drove long distance – to Cape Town – I brought along my notebook and pens to write down ideas. I even created some of my blog posts in the back of the car while Husband was driving. It happens J

With my invisible blogger hat on, I plan to talk to my mother about her gardening. The last time I was there she said that she uses Rooibos teabags’ ingredients in her garden. That might be a good topic to write about next year.

I THANK YOU

I had a great couple of months as a blogger, so much that I am excited about next year. Yes, it is tough being a working mother of a busy 11 month old daughter who is busy teething. Sometimes, like last week I find myself so tired that I cannot focus on my blog. Last week was a bit tiring, because I was still recovering from a heavy cold I had.

For example, on Thursday 1 December 2016, I had such a great day networking with people at the Global Summit on Community Philanthropy. I didn’t only do networking, but I covered a story for my work and I did some live tweets. I think talking to so many people really tired my out.

For the first time I was also part of a speed-networking session. It is a similar concept of speed dating, as you would see in the romantic movies. People sit in two rows, with each person having another person opposite him or her. Then when the bell rings the second time, the one row moves up. Eventually I met and introduced myself to six people.

Anyway, I would like to THANK YOU for being part of my journey, for being in my village the past few months. I enjoyed learning from those who were active in leaving comments. Thank you for reading my blog posts.

I wish you a great festive season and hope you have a joyous holiday season. Travel safe, arrive alive, don’t drink and drive.

PS. What are you looking forward to this holiday? What are some of the family traditions you share?

Cape Town fashion blogger shares favourite photo-shoot locations

Hello everyone.

Today we are chatting to 19 year old fashion blogger Luke India Ramos about his favourite photo-shoot locations in Cape Town. I spoke to Luke a while ago and asked him what to wear this Summer time. Well, one thing he said he won’t pack away yet is his thin fabric poncho.

I am keeping some of my jerseys out, because Johannesburg’s weather is unpredictable. It rains during Spring- and Summer time.

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HIS SMALL VICTORIES
Before we learn about Luke’s favourite photo-shoot locations, he tells us what small achievements he’s had this year. This is part of Mel’s Postbox’s “Small Achievements” series.
This grade 12-learner of Malibu High School says his small achievements are regarded as “BIG MOMENTS”. You go Luke!

He was first asked to be Master of Ceremonies (MC) at his school’s annual Mr and Ms Matric event. “I didn’t know I would be able to pull it off, but I did! I was a hit, because I was later asked to be MC for my school’s cultural evening event.
“It was so much fun!”

He says another achievement was when he was selected as guest speaker at the career day of the matrics 2016.

Luke added that he was first featured as a blogger by Mel’s Postbox, earlier this year. Awww, it’s a pleasure Luke! We are proud of your big moments.

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WHY HE STARTED BLOGGING?

Anyways, I met Luke through social media. I liked his fashion images on his site, Style The Blog. This South African matriculant started blogging from August last year. “It all started after watching back-to-back episodes of Fashion Bloggers on E! (channel 124).
“I was really inspired and motivated by what those four Australian bloggers of that series did, that I decided to start my blog.”

Ramos says his favourite local bloggers include Jade Robertson from Just Jade Blog, Nadia Jaftha from the Birdline Blog and Aisha Baker from Baked The Blog.

Ramos, who lived in Blackheath and Eersteriver most of his life says besides his love for fashion and make up, his has a great interest for photography and travel.

 

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FAVOURITE LOCATIONS
His favourite places to do a photo-shoot [to get images for his blog] are Stellenbosch, Long- and Bree Street in Cape Town, the Company Gardens in Cape Town and Observatory. “Long Street has to be my all-time favourite location to shoot because it has that city vibe to it and I love anything city.

“The street is always busy and along with the amazing buildings it creates the perfect backdrop for my street style looks.”

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Whenever he has time to take a break from shooting (for his blog), Luke says his favourite hangout spot is Smak Delicatessen & Restaurant (also known as Smak Deli) in Bree Steet, Cape Town.
“This is a coffee bar but has a more minimalist millennial theme. My favourite part about the deli is the fact that one can make up your own sandwhiches to order,” he says.

He adds: “In Long Street there is Beer House Coffee Bar – it is the one place you can enjoy local and international crafted beer and they have a menu that consists of delicious locally sourced food.”

MORE ABOUT LUKE
Luke, who is one of five children says blogging helps him escape from the pressures attached to being the eldest.

Although he has not been blogging for a long time, this hobby taught him to be patient. “I’ve also learnt that you should plan ahead… prioritise.
“Don’t try to do too much at once – just take it one day at a time,” he advises.

You can also follow Luke on Twitter: @lukeindiaramos

[This post was first written as part of The Blog Tag’s Spring theme. Thank you for reading!]

PS. What are your favourite holiday- or photo-shoot locations? Also, what was a small victory for you this year?

3 Lessons For Budding Entrepreneurs + IAAE entrepreneurs share successes

I am a journalist and a budding entrepreneur. I learnt the term “budding entrepreneur” on Saturday 19 November at the “I Am An Entrepreneur” (IAAE) event held in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Before I share some small successes, I want to tell you what some of the attendees taught me. Firstly, I learned that a “budding entrepreneur” is someone who is on his way to be an entrepreneur. This person might be in a job – employed by someone – but is taking steps to open his or her own business.

For instance, I met two partners who have not registered their business yet. While they are busy researching and implementing things to get their company in business, they have already drawn up a contract.

[All images are sourced via pexels.com]
[All images are sourced via pexels.com]
ADVICE FOR ENTREPRENEURS

Tip #1: Draw up a contract between you and a business partner, even if your business is not registered yet. Why, you may ask. This contract will for example list the expectations and duties of each one of you.

Tip #2: Networking is the reason to attend these events. I have already mentioned in a previous blog post that many entrepreneurs attend these events to see if they can get clients. Another reason for networking is that you might meet someone that you can have a partnership with.

Lynette Ntuli, founder of IgniteSA, said that one should make time not only to be interested, but also to share something interesting. “You might meet someone that can help you with something you are grappling with (or vice versa).”

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ABOUT THE IAAE

The IAAE was an opportunity for entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners (budding entrepreneurs) to engage with successful business owners and funders. One of the hot topics was getting funding and strategies to implement if you do not have capital yet.

The IAAE coincided with the Global Entrepreneurship Week. IAAE organised by My Start Up SA and Ignite SA, was hosted all over South Africa.

SMALL SUCCESSES

For my “Small Successes” series, I interviewed two entrepreneurs about what they regard as small victories this year.

Sonja De Buyn Sebotsa, co-founder of Identity Partners was one of the speakers at the IAAE. She said that one of her small achievements this year was hosting a women’s dinner. “I rarely have the luxury to enjoy my personal cultural interests. I enjoy the arts.”

She explained the dinner was a pre-launch of an art fair. “I had invited artists, curators and exhibitors. Among the guests was Pamela Joyner, the largest collector of black art.”

The event was hosted at a friend of Sonja’s home.

The challenge, Sonja said, was the guest list. “We had to invite the right mix of people. Also, we had to sort out things like accommodation for the foreign artists.”

Sonja said another achievement was that Identity Partners have gone in a partnership with Ethos Private Equity.

Theo Ngobeni, fashion designer and owner of Mr Slimfit, was an attendee at the IAAE event. He said his small victory this year was seeing his baby (business) grow. “From struggling to [becoming] stable.”

He added that last year he had two employers. Ngobeni now has seven people as part of his staff. “The fact that I am employing people is an achievement. They depend on me. I am feeding families… I am feeding seven families this year.”

Well done Sonja and Theo on your achievements!