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Danei's story on... leveraging experience

“I never imagined myself being a Founder so early in my life and it's been quite the journey to get here.  It was not expected so I still feel out of my comfort zone most days.”  

As part of her Industrial Engineering studies, was the prerequisite to intern. The business that Danei completed her internship at, was fortunate enough to witness her great work ethic first hand, and she continued to work with them part time during her studies and after completing her degree.  She believes that given any opportunity, we should always strive to give it our all, as we never know who is watching and why they are watching.  Danei was later approached by her colleagues to join their StartUp venture - in the most unexpected way, she fell into self-employment in the very early days of her career.  When we truly show our potential and prove our worth, opportunities come knocking!

Danei has been part of the change we are beginning to see in the workplace, the trend for business uptake in hiring external expertise in the form of partnerships or contractors over employment.  For her, this helped to de-risk the entrepreneurial journey where she was able to continue in a contracting capacity to a client who deeply valued her services while in tandem, building her business to a self-sustainable point.  She calls out the excuse of not jumping due to funds, there is always a way to make it work if we are willing to find it, and she is testament to that.  

“As soon as I grasped what it meant to be a consultant/contractor in my own right, I realised that now I could decide how I spend my time, I was in control.  It was a blessing also in that it was a StartUp I was involved in, giving me much needed  exposure to building a business from the ground up.  Not really realising at the time, I was learning a LOT that would help me in my very own venture”. 

Brought together by their shared history of what it was like to lack financial management experience, coupled with witnessing this growing problem for many during the Covid-19 pandemic, Danei and her co-founder set forth to give people the liberating feeling that comes with understanding money and managing it wisely.  Exploring various failed avenues to bring this idea to life, they went back to the one insight that almost everyone shared with them: they wished they learnt about money earlier on in their life.  Today, they proudly make this possible.  Danei and her business partner are addressing the need for financial education from a young age through a gaming experience. 

“When I hear the anecdotes from people who have interacted with our product and how it has made a real impact in their lives, mindsets, and behaviours around their finances I am inspired to keep going and increase our potential for impact on a larger scale”.  

Danei goes on to talk about what makes a good Founder and she believes it takes all types, there is no one size fits all for the entrepreneur.  Being the practical, safe, and calculated Founder that she is, her co-founder brings the ying to her yang with his more risky, blue skies and visionary approach to business.  Together they have the combination to really bring it all to their venture playing to their own innate strengths.  She advises Founders to take advice from those who show greater likeness to their character as there are many ways to tackle the entrepreneurial quest, best to find a way that works for you.  One non-negotiable: the burning desire to keep going.

“You can be an entrepreneur before you even realise it, even when you are still in a job.  If you are problem solving oriented, thinking about what a solution could look like, you are already exhibiting entrepreneurial behaviour.  It just takes one more step (leap!) to become a fully fledged entrepreneur.” 

Danei acknowledges that when going into entrepreneurship young, you are thrown into decision making, many times with little experience to draw on to do so.  She advises Founders who can identify with this, to find mentors to impart the knowledge they lack, even if just to remind us that we are not totally insane for doing what we are doing!  This journey is already lonely and overwhelming, there is no need to make decisions that feel over your head when there is a very generous entrepreneurial community willing to offer a hand in advice.  Reach out. This Founder is wise beyond her years.

“Solving niche challenges Founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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